Everyone has their own version of the truth. Here’s mine:
Your body needs calories. We didn’t evolve to what we are today by forgetting to eat, or not having enough to eat. A long time ago, humans who forgot to eat, or didn’t pursue enough food, died and probably didn’t pass on as many genes as the people who pursued food more aggressively. We evolved to want food and in the right amounts. Only the hungry survive.
Trying to restrict your calories to lose weight is like trying to not sleep to take on a second job. It’s just not going to work for too long. You’re going to crash. You can’t say that’s ill willpower. Don’t do this to yourself.
This is why conventional advice to ‘eat less, move more’ is arrogantly over simplified and ineffective.
Carbs create insulin.
Reduce/ manage insulin spikes that cause a surge of calories to be stored for later use by managing carbohydrate intake. The body sees high blood sugar as a medical emergency and will do everything it can to throw those calories somewhere to get them out of your bloodstream ASAP and it does that by changing it to triglycerides and storing it as fat.
This is why excessive carbohydrate intake causes high triglycerides which cause heart problems much more effectively than dietary fat intake.
Also, the carbs cause inflammation in the arteries, making the arterial walls swollen and therefore smaller passage way. Inflammation causes leaky gut, high blood pressure and increased toxicity due to increased gut permeability. Coupled with high intake of toxins (chemicals, artificial food, pesticides, pollution, Frankin foods) is a recipe for increased cancerous cellular division.
When your body has an “emergency” like high blood sugar or toxicity this takes priority; much higher priority than normal maintenance like muscle growth and repair.
People with higher metabolisms and/or lower body fat can handle more carbohydrates. This is why there is no perfect diet. Everyone has different needs.
Carbs are immediate energy. It’s either used or stored. If you are more concerned with having more energy (i.e.an already lean endurance athlete) then eat carbs. If you are more concerned with fat loss, eat less carbs.
Insulin is, literally, the hormone that allows energy to enter the fat cells. Without insulin, fat storage is impossible. (This, however, isn’t the same as the release of energy from the fat cells)
Ask your muscles to take the calories instead of fat cells by strength training.
Fat provides energy too, just without the insulin spike. Extra fat will be stored as fat, don’t get me wrong…but it isn’t rushed into your fat cells in an emergency situation like carbs are.
And breaking down fat (ketone bodies) for energy is a little bit longer process than breaking down sugar. (remember the immediate energy thing) That’s why, your first trip down Paleo path makes you feel like a sloth. But don’t forget how wonderful and adaptive your body is. If you ask it to do this more often, it will become much more efficient at it. But if you constantly have carbs in your system ready and willing to provide immediate energy your body will always burn them off first, preserving fat for after they are gone.
A ketogenic diet (<30-50g of carbs a day) fells like crap the first month or so, but after that your energy delivery is much more consistent and you are burning fat like a motherf’er. But most people quit on the 2nd week of feeling like crap and ungodly strong carb cravings. And one cheat and your back to burning sugar and you start over. However, someone who spends the majority of their life as a fat burner as opposed to a sugar burner will have a much easier transition back to ketosis after a cheat. I know this, trust me, I’ve talked to many people who were able to achieve this, have a monthly or so cheat, and be back into ketosis in 1-3 days. This is my goal (at least for right now) of where I would like to be.
Exercise is a great way to burn calories but your body is smart. You will want and need to eat more when you train more. The more frequent, intense and/or high volume the exercise the more you will want/need to eat. You can’t change that. You probably won’t replenish ALL of the calories you’ve burned, so yes, exercise (cardio/metabolic conditioning) does help reduce body fat but much less effectively than proper nutrition and redirecting calories to muscle (strength training). (Notice I said body fat loss and not body weight loss.)
But don’t negate the importance of exercise. It’s very good for your heart and provides endorphins. And if you think mood/stress/sleep doesn’t affect weight loss you need to do your homework.
I also feel the need to touch on Leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone released in the hypothalamus to tell you that you’ve had enough to eat when you’ve had enough to eat. Insulin blocks Leptin and this causes Leptin Resistence. With high insulin, the message can’t be transferred and you over eat. This isn’t a theory. It’s a fact, and it’s very recently discovered, actually. Look it up. Most people who binge eat have Leptin Resistance.
Medium chain triglycerides (i.e. coconut products and ghee) are a very easy to break down fat. Basically the structure cannot and will not be stored as body fat because of the nature of how fast it breaks down. Much like a carb but without the insulin spike, and won’t convert to body fat! Basically they are a carb like structure without the negative effects of carbs and will provide immediate and concentrated energy. They will also help to reduce your carb cravings and help prevent glycogenesis (converting protein to glucose) when in a reduced carbohydrate state.
Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio is huge! Take Omega 3 supplementation and eat quality omega 3 sources. Generic and cheap “Fish oil” is usually omega 3-6-9 and defeats the purpose of the supplementation. Saturated fats (animal fats) are omega 6’s. There is nothing wrong with saturated fat as long as it is from quality sources and you are consuming more omega 3’s than Omega 6’s.
Carbs, over-eating in general, not exercising, inflammation and not having enough omega 3’s in your diet cause heart disease and/or high cholesterol, not dietary cholesterol/ animal fat and/or saturated fat. Do the research; it’s there. And EAT THE FUCKING YOKE!
I know, I know… the American Heart Association disagrees…and they have made awesome advancements in the field of preventing heart disease and obesity and all but…..(I’m being sarcastic)
As for trans-fat, they fuck everything up. I suggest you eat nothing fried ever under any circumstance no matter what. And vegetables oils are bad too…and soy is the devil; full of estrogen and GMO.
Buy Organic, don’t support Monsanto, Round-up or cancer. Seriously, that shit is NOT safe. Again, do the research. Monsanto owns some 98% of the food supply. They have money. They know people. They pass laws.
Try to eat quality meat as much as possible. Always buy organic/hormone free/pesticide free and try to buy animals that ate food that they are supposed to eat. Full fat grass fed beef is good for you. Taco bell meat it not. The way they raise these animals and crops (especially imported fish) is really gross and unhealthy. This is where all the ‘meat it bad’ data comes from. Not from quality meat. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
Last thing: I intermittently fast. I can’t decide if I think it’s a good thing or not, but I’m self-experimenting with it and hope to have some sort of conclusion in the future. I like to be able to eat larger portions too. I do think anyone struggling with psychological eating issue (and these are probably WAY more common than you’d imagine) could benefit from periods of fasting. It helps you to identify habit/boredom/sadness/whatever vs. hungry. And many studies have shown health benefits of periods of fasting. I’m sure cave people fasted, just not intentionally.
The most important thing is that you not trust people. Research, experiment, try, think about…keep an open mind. Don’t believe what I say, just consider it. Everybody talks. Most people have good intentions but are just reiterating what someone else told them and are too arrogant, lazy, naive or close minded to investigate. Don’t be that guy. If you’ve read this, you clearly have an interest in your health…good for you. Now go do something about it.