Jonny Bowden, M.A., C.N.S., is a respected expert in the fields of fitness and nutrition. He is the
author of "Jonny Bowden's Shape Up!", "Jonny Bowden's Shape Up Workbook!", and most recently,
"Living the Low Carb Life: From Atkins to the Zone Choosing the Diet That's Right for You".
His work has also appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Cosmopolitan,
Seventeen, Fitness, Family Circle, Marie Claire, Allure, Men's Health and Walking.
He frequently appears on television and radio as a fitness expert and is also a popular speaker at
media events and seminars. His course, "Becoming a Personal Trainer," is a frequent sell-out at the
Learning Annex in New York.
Jonny will take your questions
about fitness and about low carb! Have a question for Jonny? Send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
While not all questions can be answered, we'll do our best to publish all we can. We are grateful to Jonny for taking the
time out of his busy schedule to lend a bit of advice to our readers!
Question from Sarah Pittman Feagans:
Copyright © June 2004 Jonny Bowden and Low Carb Luxury
Dear Mr. Bowden:
I'm in the middle of an educational dilemma. I'm 30 and I already have a B.S. in Marketing and in Business Administration. However, about five years ago I discovered The Atkins Diet and it changed my life. I've been overweight since my early 20's and five years ago I hit my breaking point. I had tried all the low-fat advice and it just ended up making me heavier as well as hypoglycemic and, generally, a big fat mess! I lost 70 lbs. on Atkins and, in the process, became intensely interested in nutrition, disease, and biochemistry.
I decided to go back to school for an M.S. in Molecular Biology but I have to start at the beginning because, as you can guess, business curriculums have very few biological science course requirements. My husband and I would also like to start a family in the next couple of years and I would like to home-school my children. I think it may become difficult to attend regular classes at a University (the closest is almost an hour away from our home) and raise children at the same time so I'm afraid it will take way to long to achieve the degree in Molecular Biology. I am currently thinking of changing my major to nutrition. I will be able to complete an M.S. in Human Nutrition in less time and I have seen some programs that allow online courses.
The problem is that I am not as excited about a degree in nutrition because, after looking at the curriculums various schools have to offer, I've come to the conclusion that nutritionists and (especially) dieticians are severely under-educated in the "hard" science behind how the human body functions. This impression is compounded by the fact that I have encountered many nutritionists and dieticians, personally and through research, who do not seem to have a basic understanding of biochemical principles and how nutrition manipulates degenerative outcome.
Am I getting the wrong impression? I realize that not all nutritionists are "created equal" and what I get from school is definitely not the end-all-be-all of what I learn. However, I really want to get the most for the time and money I spend on my formal education. Will I be wasting it on a degree in Human Nutrition? Should I keep my nose to the grindstone and continue with molecular biology? Or, will becoming a nutritionist give me the satisfaction of knowing that, based on my education, I can truly consider myself an expert on the subject? Also, if you think a degree in nutrition is a good choice, are there any online, accredited programs you could recommend?
Thank you for your help with my little dilemma! I enjoy your input to the Low Carb Luxury Magazine. I have your book (Living the Low Carb Life) on order and I'm looking forward to reading it.
Sarah Pittman Feagans
Wow, you would certainly make a great addition to our field, and I hope you pursue your dream in one form or another. You are definitely not getting the wrong impression — in my opinion, the philosophical bent of the American Dietetic Association is stuck in the 1950's. I do not, however, think a Masters in human nutrition would be a waste of time at all provided you get it from a responsible, forward?thinking accredited place.
Two to consider: The University of Bridgeport (which is outstanding) and, for an online experience, check out American Health Sciences University (the National Institute of Nutrition Education) which I believe now offers a masters degree. Remember, too, that nutrition is a continuing education — I go to seminars, workshops and conferences almost every month! Good luck.
Question from Sandra Cohen:
I am a 59 year old menopausal female and lowcarbing (Atkins style) for 3 l/2 yrs. I've lost 56 lbs, but
it's been a constant struggle and I am still 20 lbs. from my goal weight of l66. I have osteoarthritis
and do not exercise except for walking, which at times gives me pain as I have bone rubbing on bone in
my knee. So to cut to the chase...
I cannot lose the last 20 lbs. I've been on a plateau for 6 months. Everyone says slow is good, but
this is too slow (3 l/2 yrs.) Most of the loss came in the first 9 months. I am on Atenenol 25 gr.,
Norvasc 5 gr., And Bextra l0 gr. Plus I've just started Armour Thyroid (from an alternative doctor)
as internist poo poo'd my concerns. I have decided to cut out coffee and dairy products for two
weeks to see if this makes any difference.
What do you suggest if this does not help? I eat approximately 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrate each day
with most of my carbs coming from low glycemic veggies.
This is a very tough question, because, quite honestly, we just don't know what the metabolic
effects of a cocktail of medications can have. They may (or may not) be playing a role in your
inability to lose more.
I think the Armour is a good idea, and I think the cutting out of dairy is an interesting experiment.
Why? Because food sensitivities can contribute to weight gain or stall weight loss. Short of doing
expensive and difficult food sensitivity testing, the best way to investigate this component is with a
kind of "do-it-yourself" rotation diet. Remove any possible offending food or food group for a couple of
weeks and see what happens. Among the biggest "usual suspects" are wheat, dairy, soy, sugar, corn, and
even — believe it or not — eggs.
Rotate your foods, and begin checking calories. You may be eating too much (or too little, for
that matter.) Don't eat after 7 pm and try upping your water intake. Be willing to experiment and
do it in the spirit of inquisition and curiosity rather than desperation.
And remember, you've done a great thing with your weight and your commitment. Even if — worst
case scenario — you remained a few pounds from your goal, you're still far better
off than you were before!
Jonny Bowden, M.A., C.N., C.N.S.
Certified Nutrition Specialist