In this article, I'd like to tell you about health, fat loss and some successes that have befallen hundreds of my clients. I will outline in simple point form the principles behind effective, long term fat loss and health. I will also describe to you why current dogma is failing and has produced a world wide epidemic of obesity and Adult Onset Diabetes. Other information by dieticians and nutritionists should not be discounted, but it should certainly be questioned, so you are confident you've arrived at an informed decision based on your own judgement.
- Insulin is a highly lipogenic (fat producing) hormone which, when present in the bloodstream, inhibits the use of fat as a source of energy.
- Carbohydrate (starch and sugar), when ingested, is converted to blood sugar (glucose) very quickly, eliciting an insulin producing response by the pancreas.
- Insulin’s primary role is to reduce blood sugar at all costs as quickly as possible. This is done in several ways:
- Convert glucose into energy for immediate energy needs.
- Convert the glucose to stored carbohydrate (glycogen) if energy needs are not sufficient.
- Convert any excess glucose (not used in the above) to triglycerides and store it as fat.
- Prevent current glucose and fat stores being converted into blood sugar and used for energy
- It is a simple process for the body to convert carbohydrate to fat.
- We do not need to eat carbohydrates for energy; they simply make us fatter or at least prevent us from becoming leaner.
- High carbohydrate diets promote an insensitivity to insulin, causing the pancreas to produce more in order to get the desired result, creating a condition known as hyperinsulinism (leading to Adult Onset Diabetes), which is commensurate with obesity. Currently 50 percent or more of males in Australia are classified as obese!
- In the absence of carbohydrate from the diet, the body learns to produce its own carbohydrate by converting stored fats back to glucose (gluconeogenesis) to be used as energy.
- The body fat level considered to be healthy in a male is 15 percent of body weight from fat. In an 80 kg male, that would give him 12 kg of fat and a whopping 108.000 calories of stored energy.
- We do not need to eat food for energy; carbohydrates are not our evolutionary food. Refined starches and sugars have only been in the diet for essentially a century. More sugar per person is consumed now in two weeks than it was in one year two centuries ago.
- Glucagon, insulin’s forgotten brother, is produced in the pancreas in response to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Its role is to produce glucose from non glucose sources (gluconeogenesis). It converts fat to glucose, allows stored glucose to be accessed and raises blood sugar commensurate with the body’s needs.
- Fat cannot be accessed for energy without the presence of glucagon. Glucagon release is inhibited by the presence of insulin and our desire to eat "something sweet" when we feel low in energy (which we invariably do!).
- Insulin, as previously mentioned, converts carbohydrate to fat. The fact is evident: consumption of carbohydrate in the form of sugars and starches is making society fat.
How do we change? What can we do? Essentially, it is quite simple. We must endeavor to reduce our intake of starchy foods, increase our intake of proteins and associated fats and, by doing this, teach our bodies to make use of our fat stores. This in turn will reduce the current incidence of obesity and all its deadly relatives such as Adult Onset Diabetes, elevated cholesterol, hypertension, stomach ulcers, migraine, arteriosclerosis, chronic fatigue and hypoglycemia.
HEALTH & LIFESTYLE FACTORS
Current statistics show that 55 percent of males, 45 percent of females and 48 percent of adolescents are classified as medically overweight. That means half of our entire population is regarded as clinically fat. This is an increase of 20 percent in the last decade. The facts remain obvious to even the most cynical observer:
- We are far less physically active now than we have ever been.
- Jobs are becoming more sedentary as tasks are made supposedly safer.
- We are being encouraged to move less and maintain supposedly "safe ergonomic positions."
- The abundance and availability of food is at an all time high.
- We now consume greater amounts of "energy rich foods" than at any time in recorded history.
Our body is primed for survival. Mentally, we live in almost the 21st Century. Agriculture and mechanization can still be classified as "recent history," with the former having basic beginnings 7,000 years ago and the latter as little as 200 years ago, while physically our evolutionary and genetic programming is around 50 million years old. In short, physically we haven’t evolved at the same pace as our environment, and we are paying the price of suffering an out of control obesity problem with all of its deadly relatives.
Our body is designed to survive and protect against perceived risk. Historically, one of humankind’s greatest threats to its survival was the threat of famine and dying of starvation. Our genetic programming is still set up to "defend" against that by allowing our bodies to store unlimited amounts of energy in the form of body fat, which it has learned to do in times of plenty (like the present). Our mind knows that food will always be available and that there will be no threat of starvation, but our body’s instinct is still primitive. It thinks we are only in a temporary situation (summer) where the food is plentiful and the need to hunt and search is only temporarily suspended, that the situation will quickly change (winter) and survival will depend on our ability to "store energy" in the form of fat to be used as energy when food has to be hunted.
We’ve been in "summer" now for about 50 years, and the problems are only just beginning to show. People are living longer now, not because they are healthier but because of better medical care, access to drugs and the elimination of many viruses and bacteria. But whole new sets of plagues are being thrust upon us by our own doing! these include:
- Adult Onset Diabetes
- Elevated cholesterol and triglycerides
- Cardiac disorders and arteriosclerosis
- Chronic Fatigue
Each of these is as potentially life and survival threatening as the plagues we have managed to systematically eradicate.
What are the solutions? How do we fix it? Well, there are no easy answers to fix the overall problem, but there are solutions for the individual who is willing to make some changes to his or her lifestyle.
You don’t need to wear a loincloth, carry a spear to hunt for your food or drag your partner around by the hair! But we must:
- Become more active
- Eat less high energy foods
- Teach our bodies to access our fat stores more efficiently for daily energy needs
- Smoke less and reduce consumption of alcohol
I will now look at these points individually and give tips on how to follow them.
This does not mean you have to go to the gym or enroll in an exercise class, although that would be great. It simply means you have to move more than you do at present. For example, if you can walk to your destination, then do it and don’t drive. Climb stairs instead of using an elevator. Walk the dog or park the car away from your destination and finish the journey on foot. Ideally, you should accumulate at least 30 minutes of activity over and above your normal daily routine.
Less High Energy Foods
Foods that provide you with energy in the form of sugars and simple starches actually prevent you from accessing your own store of fat as energy. They contribute to fat gain, lead to cravings for more and set you up for Adult Onset Diabetes and related problems. Your food choices should consist of items that have received little or no processing (i.e., lean meats, seafood, chicken, eggs, cheeses and sugar free yoghurts for protein). Carbohydrate in the form of green, yellow, orange, white and red vegetables and salads, low sugar fruit such as avocados, rockmelon, watermelon, strawberries, green apples, berries, grapes and tomatoes and minimal starches like brown rice, potatoes (with skin) and Lebanese style bread. (These starches should actually be contributing the smallest percentage of content to your diet). Essential fats should come from your consumption of things like nuts, avocados, vegetable oil in the form of salad dressing and whatever is in the lean protein sources. Keep to an absolute minimum (or if you can, completely avoid) foods like white rice, bread, pasta, cereals, high sugar fruits, sweets, sugars and anything with sugar as one of the first ingredients on the label. This is a shift away from what is considered normal, but it is actually more normal for us than the current dogma. The Internet has an abundance of low starch/carbohydrate recipes available.
Teach Our Bodies to Access Fat Stores
Follow both the above instructions, and it will happen. Individual adaptation will vary according to genetic pre-disposition, personal application and adherence. The results will vary as well, but it will make a difference to how you look and feel.
Less Alcohol and Cigarettes
This is a personal choice. The dangers of smoking are well documented, and there isn’t a smoker alive who is unaware of the risks involved, not to mention the reduction in fitness, the sting in your wallet and the increasing anti social attitude towards it. Consumption of alcohol increases the intake of high energy providing substances into the body, making it less likely that you will be able to access your stores of fat. The health risks, while not in the same league as smoking, are nonetheless still high. Out of all the choices of alcohol, wine (in moderation!) is probably the best choice.
Affecting Long Term Change
If any program is to work and have tangible benefits, it must be followed for long periods of time. That is why "quick fix" schemes never work in the long term. In order for the system to work, the following points must be considered and applied:
- Do you want to or need to change to improve your health?
- Can you and will you adopt a new regime as part of your lifestyle?
Any new routine must contain the following elements:
- A minimum disruption to current patterns
- Elements of what you enjoy doing
- Elements of what you need to do
- Flexibility for adaptation
- Achievability in the long term (it must be able to be followed essentially forever)
What we are aiming to do is fix/improve/maintain our health status for life, not just shed a few pounds for a special event. Although that is often a powerful motivating force, as is suffering a traumatic experience due to self imposed "lack of health" (i.e., a heart attack), there is no more powerful motivator than the fear of a close call with death. Many of us may not want to change. We may be happy with our lives and ourselves. It is a personal choice, but we all must live by the consequences of our own decisions and actions and remember that what we are and what we get is entirely controlled by the choices we make.
Fifteen minutes of exercise and making one meal healthy every day for five years will have a greater, more significant benefit to your health than one and a half hours of exercise and changing all your meals each day for a month. Decide what you can and want to live with and MAKE THE CHANGE.
Suggested Eating Plans
You may notice an energy slump in the first couple of weeks. This is normal and is the interim period between your body burning carbohydrate for energy and converting to burning fat. Stick with it and you will achieve your goals.
The program is a 5-½ days on 1-½ days off schedule. The days off may be fitted in at your convenience, but weekends are probably best.
- Meal 1. 2 eggs any way, or 10 egg whites, 2 slices of ham, 20 gm l/f. Mozzarella cheese. Make into omelette if desired, add chopped veggies & tomato paste etc. =270 kc.
- Meal 2. Small tin of tuna in oil (drain oil), ¼ avocado, salad. = 200 - 250 kc.
- or 2-3 scoops Musashi Whey in 300 ml water.
- Meal 3. Chicken breast w/- veggies &/or salad (stir-fry) & ¼ avocado. = 250 kc.
- Meal 4. Handful of nuts & 6 strawberries or melon equivalent =200 kc. Or protein drink as above.
- Meal 5. Steak (150 - 200 gm) with veggies, 100 gm rice/pasta, salad & ¼ avocado. =300 - 350 kc.
- Meal 6. (Optional) Aeroplane Light jelly, crushed nuts & fresh cream 50 kc.
- Drink tea, coffee, diet drinks or water (a load of brewed coffee is best)
- Use artificial sweeteners to sweeten protein drinks & hot beverages if required.
- Absolutely no fruit or sugar sources outside the weekend except where indicated.
During a 36 hour period on Saturday and Sunday, basically eat whatever you feel like, but try to keep it fairly healthy. Monday you get strict again.
- Meal 1. 2 rice cakes, lite Philly or l/f cottage cheese & 1 egg, or 2sl ham & tomato. Or 200 ml (10) egg white omelette w/- mushrooms, tomato, l/f cheese, onions etc and tea, coffee or water.
- Meal 2. Salad w/- ham, cheese or tuna. (If no rice cakes am. Have now.) Or handful of raw nuts & cheese Salad w/- ham, cheese or tuna. (If no rice cakes am. Have now.) Or handful of raw nuts & cheese
- Meal 3. Chicken breast w/- veggies &/or salad & ¼ avocado Chicken breast w/- veggies &/or salad & ¼ avocado
- Meal 4. 1 tub of Nestle diet yoghurt or raw nuts & strawberries. 1 tub of Nestle diet yoghurt or raw nuts & strawberries.
- Meal 5. Lean meat, fish or chicken with 100 gm cooked rice, pasta or potatoes, veggies, salad & ¼ avocado. Lean meat, fish or chicken with 100 gm cooked rice, pasta or potatoes, veggies, salad & ¼ avocado.
- Meal 6. (Optional) Aeroplane lite jelly, crushed nuts & fresh whipped cream. (Optional) Aeroplane lite jelly, crushed nuts & fresh whipped cream.
In order for the transition to this diet to be smooth and relatively discomfort free, a lead in period of gradual carb reduction is suggested. This is a fairly simple process:
- Week 1. Diet plan only on Tuesday & Thursday.
- Week 2. Diet plan on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
- Week 3. Diet plan every day except Wednesday.
- Week 4. Diet plan Monday to Friday.
This should see you make a smooth, pain free transition into the amazing world of fat burning.