www.Hypersmash.com Beating Lyme

zondag 8 februari 2015

How I gave up diet soda and why you should do the same


For 10 years I was dependent on diet soda. My drug of choice was diet coke (a.k.a coca-cola light). At an absolute minimum I would need a can a day. If I didn't have this I couldn't function. But usually I had way more than a single can. I would often buy 1.5 liter bottles and go through the whole lot in a couple of hours.

During the early years in my recovery from Lyme disease I knew that I should give up diet coke. However my consumption actually increased. It was my crutch. I was trying to work full-time whilst sleeping 2-3 hours per night. Whenever I had to give a presentation or attend an important meeting I didn't feel like I could function unless I had a diet coke beforehand.

Then one day I stopped. I had done this many times in the previous years but this time it was different.

It was still hard. The cravings were super strong. But I stuck with it. And eventually I got through the day. Then the next day. Then the next. It's now been 9 months since I had a diet coke (or any other fizzy drink). There are still times, particularly after a terrible night's sleep, when I hesitate whilst walking past a vending machine. But so far I haven't weakened and I'm determined to keep it that way.

5 reason I gave up
These 5 reasons below were the reasons I gave up diet-sodas and are what I focus on to stay strong if I'm experiencing cravings. Most of the reasons are really referring to aspartame, the artificial sweetener in diet coke and many other diet sodas.

1 - It's toxic
The initial reason I switched to diet coke back in 2004 was that I was seduced by it's message of zero sugar and zero calories. It seemed a drink I could enjoy guilt free. On the contrary there are many health issues linked to aspartame consumption. To confuse matters, some of the studies that have been undertaken on aspartame show it to be safe. However there are often conflicts of interest issues behind many of these studies.

2 - It can prevent recovery from Lyme disease
It's reported that aspartame consumption can cause relapses in Lyme disease and lock the Lyme bacteria into the body.


3 - It can makes you fatter
Some studies have shown that aspartame can increase insulin and leptin levels, which can lead to obesity and diabetes. The fact that it has 0 calories does not mean it'll help you lose weight.

4 - It's expensive
I was probably spending close to 600 euros a year on diet coke. Plus often when I bought a diet coke, I bought something to eat from the vending machine. So in effect I was spending close to 1000 euros a year to make myself fatter and sicker.

5 - I feel much better without it
Once I made it through the first week I started feeling much better. I could sleep better. I didn't go through a huge dip every day at work. My brain fog lifted.

How did I quit?

- I focused on the reasons above to keep in the front of my mind why I was stopping.

- I found a substitute (green smoothies) that gave me a lift without the bad side effects.

- I focused on getting through one day at a time.


- I drunk more water
Often I had diet coke when I was thirsty. I found that if a craving for diet coke reared it's ugly head I could defeat it by drinking water.

- I watched out for my weak spots

For me a weak spot was long car journeys where I used to use diet coke to keep me sharp. I swapped out diet coke for coffee and also pushed myself less when undertaking these journeys. If I was tired I would find a place to sleep rather than ignoring my body and pushing through it.




The first few days were the hardest. Once I made it through a week most of the cravings had gone. However occasional triggers (such as long car journeys) brought them back again. In these times I focus my attention on getting through the moment and not giving in.

In the months since I've given up diet coke my health is significantly better. It's impossible to isolate how much of this improvement is due to giving up diet coke as I've also made other changes in my diet and lifestyle. However feeling better and sleeping better are huge motivators to stay on track and aspartame free!






maandag 2 februari 2015

new beginnings with my blog

(I'll be running up the Eiffel tower on March 20th 2015)


I've been very slack at my blog the last few months.

I'm planning on turning that around in 2015 and devoting more time to blogging. I'm still busy with my Lyme journey and learning so if I can share that and possibly help someone else then that makes it worthwhile.

Health wise things have been going well for me. Last December I placed 4th overall at the dutch stair running champs and was the first old guy (40+). Recently I got selected to take part in the first ever Eiffel tower running race in March 2015. At almost 1700 steps that is far longer than the races I'm used to doing so I'm working hard on my fitness.

I'm still having trouble sleeping. Sometimes I have good periods, for a few days, a week or so. But then I also have periods where I'm only getting 2 or 3 hours of quality sleep a night. This only came on when I first got sick with Lyme disease 5 years ago. I've been numerous times to the doctor, sleep clinics, neurologists but their view is that this is not a lyme disease problem but something in my head. Unfortunately I hear many stories of people who are terribly sick with Lyme disease being told the same thing.

Luckily for me I can still function, and usually thrive, through lifestyle and nutrition choices.

Beating Lyme for me to all about being vigilant. It's about working out the strategies that work for you and making them habits. I fully appreciate that I am one of the lucky ones. Many people aren't diagnosed and some who are sick are probably too far gone to make a full recovery. However having said that I think the power of nutrition (especially fruits and vegetables) and lifestyle choices to heal is incredible and too many people give up before exploring all of these options.

I wish you all the best for 2015.




zondag 31 augustus 2014

16 week fat loss challenge - end of week 7




Alriiight....86.1kg !!!! The last time I was down at this weight was 10 years ago!

The progress the last few weeks has been awesome. Recently I've been reading about intermittent fasting and I am going to give it a try. Actually I already did... I tried it yesterday and it felt fine. Normally for me I gobble down breakfast as soon as I wake up but this morning I 'broke fast' after getting home from my yoga class at 12:30. Breakfast (well it was really lunch but it was breaking fast in it's truest sense) felt different from my normal breakfast. I could really taste and appreciate the food much more.

So I'm going to keep the intermittent fasting up for a while and I'm going to aim for 2 days a week. The approach I'm trying is 16/8, so 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. So I'm going to have my last meal about 18:30, and then break fast the following day at 10:30.

Intermittent fasting is touted to have many benefits beyond weight loss. Once I have read more and tried it out for myself for a period of time I'll report back as to how I found it.

zondag 17 augustus 2014

16 week weight loss challenge - end of week 5....



OK - so I've only lost 200 grams from my last weigh-in post 4 weeks ago which looks pretty average BUT I just spent 3 weeks on holiday so any weight loss at all over that period is pretty awesome I reckon!

I was strict on my diet on holiday and most days I did at least a couple of hours cycling and lots of swimming in a (very cold) mountain lake but it's all paid off.

So now I'm back about to get into the normal work/home routine and I've got 12 weeks to really buckle down and get down to my goal weight!

Weight = 89.1kg
Body Fat % = 21.2%

zaterdag 16 augustus 2014

my fitness test - Cetta to Carmo Langan


I'm very lucky to be able to enjoy holidaying a few times each year in the magical village of Cetta, set 800 metres above sea level in the Ligurian Alps (Italy).

My family and I have been coming to Cetta for 7 years and it is an amazingly tranquil and beautiful place.

As you can see from the photo, Cetta looks out over a valley (national park) and it is in this valley which I have a fitness test which I do about 4 times a year.

The test is to walk or run up the old path from the river (basically the lowest point when looking up the valley in the photo) to the road (close to the highest point when looking up the valley). The path that I follow is many hundreds of years old but these days I'm pretty much the only person using it (I've never seen another person on this path in the 7 years I've been walking it).

When I first walked the path a few years before I got Lyme disease it took me 40 minutes. Over a number of attempts I managed to get this down to 36 minutes which I thought was pretty good.

Then I got sick. There was a year or two when I didn't attempt the path and when I finally tried again I couldn't make it. I had to turn around.

But I kept persevering.

In May this year on my 40th birthday party I was able to do the path in 26 minutes 16 seconds. That time blew me away. Was far faster than any other time I've done.

3 days ago (August 2014) I did the path again. It's brutally hard. It's 600m of altitude gain clambering over rocks and tree roots. If you go all out you're huffing and puffing and swearing like a trooper before you make it a quarter of the way up. I gave it by best shot and ended up completing it in 24 minutes 34 seconds. WOW!!!!! That's a full 10 minutes faster than what it took me when I was much younger and prior to getting Lyme disease.

I was pretty chuffed.

I'm going to keep training away and I reckon I can bring the time down even further. Getting below sub 23 would be awesome, sub 20 would be epic!!!


ps - in earlier posts I had talked of my fat loss challenge. I wasn't able to weight myself for the last 3 weeks (on holiday without scales) but weighed myself this morning and was 90.3kg. That is slightly heavier than a few weeks ago but after 3 weeks of holidaying in Italy I reckon that marginal weight gain is more than acceptable! I ate super clean most of the time and so managed to keep the weight under control.

zondag 20 juli 2014

16 week weight loss challenge.... end of week 1



Time since beginning challenge: 7 days
Weight lost: 2.2kg (91.5kg to 89.3kg)
Fat % change: 2.5% (23% to 20.5%)

Really successful week for losing body fat. Due to time constraints I didn't have the chance to do much exercise but I did eat SUPER clean. I also limited my fruit intake. Whereas normally I put banannas, dates and berries in my smoothies, this week my smoothies consisted of broccoli and kale. Not that tasty but effective for burning the fat.

The challenge is really going to be to try and lose (or at least limit the increase of) body fat over the next 3.5 weeks when I will be on holiday.

zondag 13 juli 2014

16 week fat loss challenge..... day 1 !!!

I've written a fair bit about the new sporting challenges I've taken on in the last couple of years; stair running and recumbent bike racing.

I feel now I've got the energy and determination to really get fit so that I can be competitive in these sports, especially in stair running.

To be competitive means getting in good shape and getting down to a good, lean racing weight.

2.5 years ago I weighed 103kg. I've done well since then and have got down to 91kg. Of course that is a much healthier but I'm still about 10kg above where I should be. At 103kg I was obese. At 91kg I'm overweight.

So the challenge for the next 16 weeks is to see whether I can drop enough fat to get down to my goal weight. I've got two primary goals. The first is to get down to below 85kg. I want to achieve that by September 11th. That date will be my 10th wedding anniversary and the last time I weighed less than 85kg was my wedding day.

2nd goal is to get down to below 79kg. My goal for that is November 13th, 16 weeks away from today. Last time I was below 79kg was when I was super fit, having spent 3 months biking around Europe and the USA.

They're both challenging and difficult goals. I've tried many times before to lose the fat but have never been able to lose it and keep it off.

I'll write more about the fat loss strategies I'm using in later blog posts.

I want to sign off today with a photo of the scales when I weighed myself this morning. I'm going to take a photo every Sunday and post it on here to be accountable. Any support is very much appreciated so please leave a message here or e-mail me. And if you also want to tackle some goals in the coming 16 weeks let me know and we can be accountable to each other.

photos 13th July 2014: (23% bodyfat at 91.5kg)