Thursday, 22 March 2012

You are... bread?

My sister...?
You are what you eat my mother always says! And so does my sister come to think of it... does that mean my sister is this?

I certainly hope not, because that would be kind of creepy. Humans aren't meant to be made of vegetables... eat them? Sure. Be them? No.

This week I have to write a summary of an article done on my blog topic, which is healthy weight.

The article is Here. It is an article on the effects of beverages on children, and we are specifically looking at sugary beverages, such as fruit juices and sweetened fruit drinks.

The aim of the study was to pinpoint if there was a link between the consumption of such beverages and its effects on weight status, IE obesity. The sample for this particular study was gathered through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2002), and targeted preschool children specifically.

There were four elements to the study. First was the element of parent reported demographic descriptors - Eg, the ethnicity of the child, physical activity level, age, income of the family, etc. Secondly, there was a 24 hour dietary recall, with a trained interviewer getting the parent and child to reflect the foods and drinks consumed by the child that previous day. Thirdly, there was a physical fitness test of sorts, though simple for younger children. Finally, there was a standardized physical examination by a doctor.

100% fruit juice drinks were considered to only be so if they had no sweeteners, fruit drinks were any sweetened fruit juice, a drink flavored with fruit, or drink that contained fruit juice in part. Milk drinks were drinks that contained dairy, and was sub categorized further by percentage of milk fat. Any sweetened soft drink was classified as soda. Diet drinks were any of the above that were sweetened using a low calorie sweetener. Water was not included in this study. The amounts were reported in ounces to make the study easier.

The limits used for underweight were less than 5% BMI, normal weight was 5%-85%, risk of overweight was 85-95%, and overweight was greater than 95%. There were so few underweight, that their numbers were rolled into the 'normal' category.

There were 1572 children between the ages of 2 to 5, and were therefore included in the study. However, many of these had missing data, and were removed from the data set. The final number was 1160 children. 49.9% were male, while 50.1% were female. 35% were Caucasian, 28.3% were black, and 36.7% were Hispanic.

The findings were as follows:

24% of the children were overweight or at risk for being overweight. (OUCH thats a lot)
10.7% were overweight.
Overweight children tended to be older.
83% of children drank milk. (I personally hate the stuff)
48% drank 100% fruit juice.
44% drank fruit drinks.
39% drank soda (SO BAD)
The average child consumed 26.93 oz. per day, with 12.32 oz being milk, 4.7 oz of 100% fruit juice, 4.98 oz of fruit drinks, and 3.25 oz of soda.

HOWEVER - there was no conclusive statistically relevant finding that the drink that one consumed in the day affected your BMI. All that was affected was ones energy intake for the day, which would increase, but the body could adjust to those increased levels, and those levels would have to be maintained extensively to cause a change to BMI.

That's all for now!

Giant Greg Out.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Bodies and Masses and Index, Oh my!

So this week for my class, I was supposed to write about a controversy in my field - in my case, my field is healthy weight.

So, I have chosen to write about BMI and BFP!

BMI stands for Body Mass Index, BFP stands for Body Fat Percentage.

The two sides to the controversy are this:

Side A: The idea that BMI can be used as an effective tool for non-medical personnel to understand something about their weight, and if it is at a healthy place or not;

Side B: BMI is simply a diagnostic tool for medical personnel, and reflects little in terms of an individuals healthy weight., while BFP (Body Fat Percentage) is a significantly better and more realistic indicator of healthy weight.

So lets start with a quick background of both of these ways to measure the weight and height in comparison to each other. Where did they come from? Who invented them? How are they calculated?


Ancel Keys on the cover of Time
            Originally invented in the 19th century, called the Quetelet Index, it was relatively unused for very many years. However, in 1972 in the Journal of Chronic Diseases, Ancel Keys published an article called "Indices of Relative Weight and Obesity". In this article, he explored the different ways that body weight and height could be related to each other, and thereby confer some information to the doctor and/or the the patient. In exploring these relationships, he found that the ponderal index (height directly related to mass) is actually a fairly poor way to measure the healthy weight of an individual. However, according to Keys, the BMI (weight to height squared) is in fact the best indicator of healthy weight of those studied. (Keys)

There is a very important key word in that last sentence - that it was the best of those studied. As a debater, I have a tendency to see things like pretty easily. The medical community however, did not see that caveat. The result was that the BMI was utilized and became widespread through medical professionals.

This guy would probably be 'obese'
            The problem with BMI is essentially this - BMI utilizes averages of height and weight to determine if someone is on a healthy weight or an unhealthy. However, if someone is extremely muscular or very thin and wiry, they can often come in above or below their expected BMI, and in theory can therefore be termed 'obese' or 'underweight'. Quite obviously, this become problematic for athletes such as gymnasts, or people who are built rather heavy, but mostly of muscle. (Organization)

The biggest issue with BMI is that deals with averages based on populace, and doesn't make any kind of measurement of fat on the body, simply based on weight in relation to height.

It is also important to note that because of the average based importance of this type of study, it is good to be used as a population study, but not to be used for individual study.


It is unclear as to whom discovered how to calculate body fat percentage initially, however it is clear that there are very many ways to do it. From underwater weighing, to measurement with calipers, BFP gives a direct understanding of how much fat the individual has on their body, calculated as so:
Measuring Calipers

            Body Fat Percentage = (495/Body Density)-450 (Sports)

As you can see, it is body density that needs to be measured here, and that is what is measured through these various techniques.

General Body-fat Percentage Categories
Table of measurements relative to men and women

For men, your goal is between 2-24% body fat, which ranges from athlete to average BFP, while women aim for between 10-31% BFP, with the same scale. The reason for the difference is that men physiologically have more muscle and less fat than women, and as a result have lower indexes to worry about. (Muth)


To me, it is very clear. While BMI gives an excellent understanding of where you are in relation to other people, it gives a very small understanding of your own personal health. BFP gives an explicit number in terms of how much fat the individual has in their body, relative to the rest of their mass, regardless of their height.


Giant Greg Out.

Sources Cited

Keys, Ancel. Sciverse - ScienceDirect. Journal of Chronic Diseases, July 1972. Web. 7 Mar 2012. <>.

Organization, WHO. World Health Organization. World Health Organization, 1995. Web. 7 Mar 2012. <>.

Muth, Natalie. "What are the Guidelines for Body Fat Percentage Loss?". Ask the Expert Blog. American Council on Exercise, 2009. Web. 7 Mar 2012. <>.

Sports, TopEnd. "Testing Body Fat Percent". Top End Sports. Top End Sports, 2012. Web. 7 Mar 2012. <>.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Work-In Plan

Why hello everyone!

I recently got a request from a reader to post my workout plan!

Now what I want people to keep in mind is that I am trying to lose weight but in a healthy way. This means I am not trying to gain muscle mass, but work on burning fat. As a result I am not doing any weight lifting or muscle building.

So I say work-in, not workout. Why is that Greg?

The reason is because I hate the term workout. Over time, I have grown to hate the idea of workouts. I have taken the out to mean taking time out of the things I enjoy. This has been one of the primary reasons I have chosen to not workout in the past.

The difference between a work-out and a work-in is that a workout is an arduous task that takes a bunch of time from your day, and isn't fun or exciting. A work-in on the other hand, is something you look forward to, something that is enjoyable. The key is finding a task that is actually enjoyable for you!

This summer I was more fit than I have been in a long time. I was sprinting, doing chin ups, but the most important thing I was doing was boxing.

All I had was a punching bag in my backyard, but as I'm sure you can imagine, I'm pretty big (that's the 6"4' coming into play). My punch is powerful. My 100 pound bag was just enough of a challenge for me to hit it and move it, but only by exerting myself.

It was fun! It was something I decided to do, by myself, I went out and bought the punching bag, the gloves, the wraps, educated myself on technique, etc. Over time, the fun slowly went out of it - but because I started thinking of it as a workout.

The important thing to take away from this is that working out in is something that you have to enjoy - for now, in the winter, that means biking for me on an indoor bike.

Now, my work-in plan!

Monday - 45 minutes on the exercise bike, as many chin ups as I can pull off (close to 2 -_-), and core exercises, looking at planks, sit ups, etc. Basic toning.

Tuesday - 45 minutes on the bike, more if I have the time.

Wednesday - Starting to get busier! 30 minutes high intensity - hardest difficulty almost the entire time. Toning and core as per the other days, if time allows

Thursday - I don't have time to workout. I have class all day :(

Friday - Same thing. Also, this conveniently gives me two days of rest during my week!

Saturday - When I can, I try and switch things up here. Do more toning, core, and a little bit of lifting (the ladies have to see my arms, y'know?) with my weights for my arms. This also works core, so is a dual purpose exercise.

Sunday - Technically the day of the lord's rest (Used to be a catholic - old habits die hard!) But as long as I remember and aren't too tired, I do another 30 minutes to an hour, depending on available time on the exercise bike.

Hope this answers some questions! Get back to me in the comments section and let me know if it doesn't.

tl;dr - I'm focusing on cardio, and I walk anywhere I can.

Random link - I have friend whose brother runs an LSAT prep school. He's marketed as one of the best out there, and with highly competitive pricing! Check it out if you're interested in the LSAT - I am! LSAT Prep

The Work-in Plan - Copyright Greg von Euw, 2012

Giant Greg Out

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Hey all!

My play on words for my title was so bad this week... I want to apologize. But what's written cannot be unwritten!

I have been lacking in terms of my postings, because I went to Tofino with my family! See my sister's blog Em's Blog! for a full explanation of our time there.

But then I got back from Tofino, and was scared to weigh myself. We ate a lot in Tofino, and I was worried that I had gained. BUT I LOST!

I am now 281, and feeling great! Lighter than I have been in a couple years, and singing like a beast, working out etc. I love it.

My drink of choice
So I gave myself a treat. I went to Whistler with some friends for a night! Partied it up, drank (alot) and had a blast!

Anyways, the play on words is actually relevant! When I was waiting for the greyhound, I actually had a girl check me out, for the first time in ever! Caught her staring at me twice - felt really good about myself after that.

So there are noticeable differences! It's cool. I will post a picture of me in the near future - show the difference!

Giant Greg Out

Thursday, 9 February 2012


I figured it out!

My problem is portion control!

During my vegan week, I felt pretty awesome (yes, it`s over, and no, I don`t think I`m going back to it full time. Maybe a week a month or something)

The point is, during that week, I ate as much as I wanted, didn't feel guilty about anything. Problem is, I just came back from the SFU food court, trying to find healthy food. Got some noodles and such. They weren't horrible, but the amount of food I got was excessive. And then, of course, being me, I ate it all.

I was hungry! I hadn't eaten today! I had no time to prepare a lunch! 

All bad excuses. I shouldn't have eaten it, or at least so much of it. SIGH. Gonna have a long workout tonight, maybe an hour on the bike once I get home (at 10 PM...).

Here's a picture that inspired me, on the side. 

Ahh, General Ackbar - you never fail to make me laugh!

Thanks for reading guys.

Check out this video - it's funny!

Giant Greg Out.

Update: Had a workout tonight. 760 calories, 45 minutes on bike. WOOHOO!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Basil Metawhosiwatsit?

So first of all, I'm confused today.

Yesterday I wasn't hungry all day, so I didn't eat very much at all. I had a grapefruit, some hummus and flatbread chips, some healthy stir fry by Mum that night, and some tofu. Also a couple things of tea, and I worked out.

What I don't understand is that I gained weight. WTF body.

There's no way I took in over 500+ calories yesterday. Even if I did, my BMR - I know, not the basil Metawhosiwatsit, but rather my Basal Metabolic Rate, is really high.

The BMR is the rate that your metabolism passively burns calories without you doing additional work to prod and push it to burn more (aka cardio).I calculated mine at two different websites, within 5% of each other the results were the same. To see what your BMR is, Click Here!. Mine on this site was 2666.3 calories, assuming being in bed all day.

So following my math correctly, I burned 2666.3 (BMR) + 500 (Workout) = 3166.3 calories burned. Not including the fact that I wasn't in bed all day yesterday, but was in fact tutoring, singing, walking, etc. But first thing this morning, when I weighed myself, I was 285. WTF BODY.

Can someone explain to me exactly how, when I have that many burned calories, that little intake of calories, how I could possibly have GAINED weight overnight. I don't understand, but damn I want to know.

Thanks for listening to my rant :)

Also, my veganism ended today. I haven't decided if it really has or hasn't yet though - I'm a thinking.

Giant Greg Out.

Update: Had a 45 minute bike workout, 900 calories down dem tubes. Yeah!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The End of Days.

For me at least. My veganism ends tomorrow!

However, I think I have had a change of heart. Originally, I was only going vegan for a week. But I think that has changed. I'm going on a family trip to Tofino shortly, and to eat vegan there is very difficult and pricey. So I think that for the time I am in Tofino, I will eat whatever the rest of the family is eating (except my sister, she will still be vegan), and when I come back, shall reassess the situation.

Though I am leaning heavily towards veganism if not vegetarianism.

I like what it does for me. I have lost significant amounts of weight, feel like I have more energy, am happier, and my workouts feel better. Less arduous.

That being said, I am up a pound today >.<

Foolish Greg! Damn that hummus sitting there in the fridge with those tortilla chips nearby! They were so tempting at 11 o'clock last night - irresistibly so. I ate a bunch of it, and before I knew it, was out of chips. That's where the pound came from, SIGH. Oh well. I have another day of loss before a return to normal and maintaining!

Also, for those interested, these are two of the single most creative and talented guys I have ever seen on Youtube - check them out. They are incredible! The Piano Guys . A friend told me about them, and I am going crazy for them.

So far today, I had a grapefruit, some hummus and flatbread chips (so irresistible!) and a few glasses of water.

On the note of my family vacation coming up - I am looking for some music that my family would enjoy. They enjoy almost all kinds of music, but with minimal swearing, and ideally something I can torrent, since I don't have much money. Leave your thoughts and suggestions in a comment below! Thanks all.

That's all for today!

Giant Greg Out.

Update: Long day so far! Waiting at Starbucks for my debate executives to arrive so that I can plan the last details of the tournament I'm running this weekend. Awesome! Also, had a workout - 500+ calories, half hour on the bike! Didn't have much time today between tutoring, vocal jazz, midterms, papers, job hunt, Ututor, and debate. Oh well!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Scaling weight!

I'm so excited guys! I'm now 284 - the lowest I have been since I started this whole deal! I'm so excited - this is clearly working, and this is before the exercise! I can only imagine what tomorrow will be like!

Just wanted to let you guys know this is working :)

Update 1: Just finished a workout. 546 calories burned, and metabolism pumping away! Excellent. Gonna go eat, including my leftover cake from Naam :)

Sunday, 5 February 2012


Today and yesterday were interesting days.

Last night I made my first foray into the world of vegan restaurants, and it was awesome!

My girlfriend planned a date for us, since she wanted to support me in my cleanse, and its been a while since we were able to spend some substantial time together, so we went to a restaurant in Kits, called Naam. It's this sweet little place, that has vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free menu's and best of all, it's open 24 hours a day! Perfect place for my vegan taste buds : )

So we went in, and as soon as you walk in, you walk in - again. There are two doors to get in, and then there is a standing line to get a seat. There is live music, many small tables, and a ton of people, both working, and inside. It was pretty sweet.

Anyway, I ordered the Naam Burger Platter, since I was super hungry, hadn't had much to eat that day (aka, some juice, and an apple or two). It was a carrot based burger, on a whole wheat bun, with Dijon mustard, garlic aoili, sprouts, tomatoes, and lettuce. There was a side of sesame fries, with miso gravy, and a salad with a ton of avocado dressing. It was awesome. I couldn't even finish the salad because I was so full! It was soooo goood. Definitely going back there! (Click Here! )

Then my girlfriend and I went down to the beach nearby, walked and talked for a while. Very sweet <3

Today tested my resolve. I was running a debate tournament at my old high school. For those who know about debate, it essentially means gratuitous amounts of free pizza and cookies, and generally unhealthy food. I was also then put in charge of dealing with the food... so hard to stand behind a ton of pizza, and not eat any of it. I did it though! Had like 5 apples during the tourney, and a ton of water, so I survived. Then my debaters did really well at the tourney, and they took me out to White Spot for dinner. Not many vegan options there.

I had to get the Portobello Provolone Burger, and held the cheese, the patty, the mayo, and the colesaw. They added extra portobello mushrooms which made it ok, and gave me a discount which was cool. Awesome server.

After I finally made it home on my bike (Oh - didn't I mention I biked everywhere today?)  I was surprised by my wonderful vegan sister (Click Here!) She's awesome, and her blog has some amazing food recipes. If only I had time to make them : ( Good thing I get to try some of hers!

Anyways, today was a good day. Ate some awesome food, loved it, and am gonna work out tomorrow again, since I have some time. Off to sleep for now though, I'm exhausted! Thanks for reading.

Giant Greg Out.

Friday, 3 February 2012

The Great Cleansing!

So this is working.

I weighed myself two days ago, and I was 296.

Now, I am 287.

This is totally working!

Plus I started working out again, so I think that contributed.

Food diary time:

Yesterday I ate 2 apples, a handful of seeded grapes, 3 oranges, a small banana, two vegan chocolate chip banana oatmeal cookies - I broke down :( - a big stalk of celery, a large salad, and a bunch of cherry tomatoes. Oh, and I drank like 6 liters of water or something ridiculous.

My plan today is a bunch of celery and cherry tomatoes, 3 oranges, 2 apples, a lot of water, and some pistachios. When I get home after school tonight I'll probably eat something else, so I will update before bed tonight.

Giant Greg Out.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

A Pill a Day Brings the Doctor to Stay.

Blog – Incorrect facts

This week for my class, I had to find a website that had ridiculous facts or errors about my topic, which is healthy weight/weight loss. I found this page

Right off the bat, I want to say this is ridiculous. There is no such thing as a pill that will make you lose weight like this. If such a thing existed, then we would all take them. We wouldn't have to worry about food.


Alright. So let's go through the pills one by one.

Adapexin - Hungry? Not anymore!
Starting with Adapexin-P. This is an appetite suppressant mainly, that limits your body’s ability to feel hunger, to make you lose weight. The problem with this, is that to lose weight, you can stop eating sure. But that won't get you to a healthy weight. Rather, this will cause your body to go into 'starvation mode' eating all of your lean muscle, because it believes that it is starving. So yes, this pill will make you lose weight, but in such a way that it is incredibly unhealthy. (Department of Health, 2008)

Phenphedrine - It'll give ya the munchies

Phenphendrine (That sounds like a bad pokemon name ;) ). This one is similar to the previous, but has one additional side effect, which is probably why the website argues that it is their highest order/re-ordered product – it gets you high! The previous pill was mainly an appetite suppressant, with the goal being to simply lose weight, pretty much ignoring how the individual feels. This one imitates the feeling that you get when you work out, with a rush of endorphins, causing you to feel good. This one is not only a bad way to lose weight, for the same reasons as #1, but in addition, could potentially be addictive!

Examples of patented ingredients of DecaSlim
Deca slim – This one I can't actually find much issue with. It seems to simply be a concentrate of 10 superfoods – blueberries, nuts, broccoli, red wine extract, green tea, safflower oil, tomatoes, dietary fiber, spinach, garlic, and flaxseed – which seem harmless. The issue that this pill has in particular, is that almost all of these foods and the extracts used in this pill are patented, and produced by large corporations. That is an issue. That, and that if you just ate the bloody foods themselves, you would benefit even more – whole foods are 100% better than the concentrate or extract - so says James Duke, a retired US Department of Agriculture botanist, who studied the differences between supplements and the whole food version of them. (Duke, 2008)

Anoterix – kind of sounds like a dinosaur. And that's exactly what it is. An outdated conception on how to lose weight and the body. Again, this one focuses on the idea of losing weight as a whole, not targeting fat, and not a healthy weight, focusing on starving yourself to lose that weight. The bottom line to learn from this is, is that losing fat and getting to a healthy weight is not pain free. That this is only a solution if you don't care about your health, but just a number on a scale.

To be honest, it's not even worth listing the rest of the pills on this page. The rest all do the same thing. They take away your appetite, so that you don't eat, and have side effects like restlessness, frequent urination, caffeine sensitivity, and jitteriness. These are not worth what you lose – since what you lose is not what you aim to.

The pills do what they promise to. You will lose weight.

The key word here is lose.

You lose self-esteem. You lose appetite. You lose energy. You lose muscle.

You lose weight, but at a steep cost.

Not worth it. Hard work is the simple solution to losing weight. It's no secret that continuous aerobic fitness over time will lead to fat burning, and getting you back to a healthy weight. It's not easy, but it is guaranteed.

That's it for today.

Giant Greg Out.

Citations (The site I found the information on DecaSlim from) (The site I got the rest of the diet pills from)

Department of Health, U. (2008, August). Very low calorie diets. Retrieved from

Duke, J. (2008). The green pharmacy guide to healing foods: Proven natural remedies to treat and prevent more than 80 common health concerns. Rodale Press. Retrieved from

Let the cleansing begin!

No, the title has nothing to do with my having German heritage!

Rather, it has to do with the fact that I am starting a cleanse!

For the next week, I am going to eat nothing but fruits and vegetables (and upon a little prodding from my stomach) nuts.

I weighted myself this morning. 292. Down 5 pounds from my point of origin, but that was close to a month ago now. My progress is not moving ahead as rapidly as it was, and it is now time to try something a little bit drastic. I had a workout today for the first time in a while, and as I was looking in the mirror, I realized that I had a pouch of fat hanging over my waistline. Admittedly, I was biking at the time, so hunched over, thereby exaggerating my paunch, but not by too much. I hated the way I looked. So change is necessary - I can't be hating the way I look. That's unhealthy.

Either way, the cleanse has started. I have an assignment that has to get posted here shortly, so you'll see that in the next day, but I'm also gonna keep you guys updated on what I'm eating to keep me honest!

Today I ate a juice of oranges and apples, an orange, a banana, and a bunch of grapes. Let's see what the weigh in says tomorrow!

Thanks for reading!

Giant Greg Out.

Friday, 27 January 2012

One bet to rule them all!

It all started as a bet for vodka.

Hi, my name is Greg. I'm a third year political sciences student studying at SFU, I run a small business with my business partner, run two clubs up at SFU, the vocal jazz group and the debate society. I coach my university's debate team, a high school team off campus, and tutor countless other debate students. But enough about me, for now.

I'm hoping to get people of all ages and audiences to read this. Ideally people who care about their weight, and struggle the same way I have and do. It's a constant battle. I'm 6"4', very tall, and also about 300 pounds.

That’s pretty heavy. To those who know me, and are reading this, they will probably be surprised that I am that heavy. I hide it well, but also have a lot of dense muscle - I am very strong. I say that not to brag, but in all honesty. I work out a bit, but mostly lifting weights and building muscle.

But all that changed a couple weeks ago.

I was out with my girlfriend and one of our mutual friends for dinner, at a sushi joint. After the meal we were chilling in my girlfriends car with her, and got to the topic of our weight. Neither me nor unnamed person A were happy with out weights, and wanted to lose some. And thus the bet was born. I had to lose 50 pounds by May 1st, and mysterious person A had to lose 7 by May 1st. She is fairly skinny and small, so in relativity, we are losing similar amounts of weight to our body masses. Long story short, the person who accomplishes their goal gets a Texas Mickey of Grey Goose - a giant bottle of expensive vodka.

Weight loss is something I’ve been struggling with for a long time. Finally got around to dealing with it. Its a serious issue that has massive health repercussions, with huge medical issues focusing on the heart, diabetes, and even mental health, such as depression. It can greatly limit a person, both physically and even impair them mentally, depending on the extent of their weight issues. Mine have been more severe in the past, but I need to tackle them. I’m starting down that road now.

This blog will have things like cool little exercise tips, healthy food options, updates on my weight progress, the debunking of some myths abut healthy weights, an issue of major controversy (to be determined), and finally a research article explained.

Tl;dr, I`m big. I want to lose weight. This blog will tell you about how I`m doing that, and a few other things along the way. Join my journey!

Thanks for reading. See you soon!