If you are afraid of the truth, read no further.
By the time you are done with this series of articles, you will realize that the solution to weight loss is not all about food. As a matter of fact food plays less of a role than you could imagine. In this series articles, I will outline:
- Why this method always works
- How this method requires little expert guidance (maybe some handholding for most and more involvement by a doctor for those with medical conditions)
- How this will save you time and money
- That this method does not require cooking skills
- That there are no memberships or dues to pay
- That there are no meetings required
- The differences between having surgery and this method
Bariatric surgery, without the surgery.
We will be discussing Intermittent Fasting. Don’t turn away just yet. We are not only talking about energy draining fatigue associated with intolerable hunger pangs and using willpower; no one has to not eat. On the contrary, weight loss should be an easy process. Let me explain…
It is not rocket science, however it is sound science. When you say the word “fasting” a typical response is a stressful one. You may be asking yourself, “How is this different from calorie restriction diets which did not work for me in the past?” The quick answer, very different. The long answer, keep reading. I will argue against calorie restriction and I will argue for intermittent fasting. People typically start to envision how difficult it is to be hungry all the time and how that can give them the jitters, a headache, low blood sugar, etc…, But I would not recommend any process that I thought required you to feel sick, suffer, or that otherwise requires extreme willpower. What I will be proposing is achievable by anyone.
My practice is not a weight loss clinic, but many people who follow my process to cure their own chronic “I-don’t-feel-good-itis” typically lose weight (That is, if they need to lose weight). Weight loss can be a wonderful side effect of restoring your nervous system, metabolic systems, and immune health.But so many people ask me questions about weight loss as their primary goal, so I am writing this as a go to series of articles to save some time explaining the same thing repeatedly.
Doing the same thing over and over, that has not worked in the past, with the intention of trying harder, is insane.
How is it that the most dominant force and advice in the weight loss arena that is responsible for selling millions and millions of books, supplements and memberships, is one that has a 98% failure rate for over 100 years?
How is it that doctors who go to the most expensive, most advanced medical schools in the world and have access to a health care finance system willing to pay more than double the next richest country per person on healthcare services, continue to propagate the same advice on weight loss that has been proven repeatedly to be WRONG for 100 years (or more)?
How is it that we as a culture, continue to do the same thing over and over hoping for a different result thereby confirming our insanity?
This series of articles is being written as a review of the work of Dr. Jason Fung along with additional research from multiple sources.
Dr. Jason Fung promotes the idea that various forms of periodic fasting can result in great health gains in addition to sustained weight loss. I have used intermittent fasting for many health conditions related to the brain and immune system function. However the weight loss benefits are astounding, sustainable, and easy for those who need to lose weight. We put people on an intermittent fasting protocols even when they do not need to lose weight, a topic for another discussion.
A Small Dose of Cynicism (Please excuse the soap box)
Weight loss, we are told and truthfully, is what will prevent or cure:
- Metabolic syndrome
- Heart disease
- Chronic pain
- And more…
“Eat Less, Exercise More” is, for the most part, the sage advice that can be found in virtually every diet book, nutritionist and doctors office for the last 100 years. It is the reason for the success of the reality show, The Biggest Loser. Sure there are some variations but the advice is essentially a formula that says:
Calories Burned > Calories Consumed = Weight Loss
This has been the solution promoted to the health problems listed above. When the advice you are given fails, we will blame it on your weakness of character (lack of willpower), your genetics and then give you a number of pills for your symptoms of elevated blood sugar, elevated blood pressure, chronic pain and arthritis, depression, acid reflux, etc…
We will pay for you to have bariatric surgery and joint replacement surgery, save your life in the ER by cracking your chest open to unclog some vessels around your heart, and maybe even replace your heart. Your fellow taxpayer will pay for these non-solutions for the rest of your life at an expense no one can afford. Chances are you will live a longer (maybe not so much), sicker, more unfulfilled, less mobile and more depressed than the generations before you. Maybe the extra 10 years you will live longer than your grandparents, is lived with severely diminishing mental and physical capacity.
YES! It’s a depressing pessimistic view of the future, but it’s the view that will be experienced by too many Americans.
You are willing to take matters into your own hands. Taking control of your health has been difficult because it seems that the “expert” advice keeps changing. First, the experts say, “Don’t eat fat,” then they say, “Eat fat and eat eggs.” Then it’s, “Don’t eat eggs, and take aspirin every day,” but a week later it’s “Scratch that about the aspirin,” and it never ends. Do whole grains lower cholesterol or raise blood sugar? Is gluten bad only if you have celiac disease or is gluten avoidance generally a good idea?
Perhaps our failure is because of the evil-government, evil-big pharma, evil-agro-business, evil-fast food companies, evil-food pyramids, evil-school curriculum which emphasizes that human health comes from not smoking and not taking recreational drugs. You can blame it on all of those things.
But the truth is if you are willing to accept some basic axiomatic truths about human health and physiology, you can be immune to all of those evils and the ever changing notions of what constitutes good and bad advice. An axiom is a foundational, unchanging principle.
Like we see in The Biggest Loser contests, “Eat less, exercise more” will work for 3-9 months, and you can lose an impressive amount of weight. They cut calories they take in as food and increase the calories they burn with exercise. This result in weight loss.
Let’s say you start out with an exercise routine, burning 2500 calories (including activities of daily living) per day and then taking in 2000 calories. The weight begins to come off. Then over the next 12 weeks, your metabolism reduces to burning 1700 calories. This is the same fitness routine that burned 2500 calories per day when you got started. We typically begin to reduce our metabolism’s efficiency with calorie restriction by 750 calories per day with the same amount of physical activity. But we’ve known for 100 years that your metabolism will adjust to the calories that are made available. Basal metabolic rate drops with caloric restriction.
Then typically there will be a plateau. You may redouble your efforts and crank up the willpower, you may try to reduce your calorie intake further from 2000 to 1750 calories per day and then again to 1500 perhaps. That’s significantly less than the 2500+ you were used to before you started. But, then if you are burning 1250 and eating a sparse 1500, you are not happy, not satiated and you start gaining weight. You are pissed off because you are working out as much as you did when the weight was shedding off and now the weight is coming back up. You are tired, cold, prone to injury, the exercise will not last.
You’ll quickly discover that the plateau is impenetrable. You’ve maxed out your results. You are exercising unsustainably more than you’ve ever have in the past, eating unsustainably less than you’ve ever had to and there are no more pounds coming off and actually you are gaining weight. Since your metabolism has slowed down, your energy gets depleted, you feel cold all the time and soon you dont have the energy to continue exercising. After a few months you may be as heavy or even 20% heavier than when you first started. This is exactly the predictable path for everyone who chooses the eat less move more pattern for weight loss.
The above information has been known based on studies performed in 1915. That’s 100 years ago. We’ve known it does not work.
Bariatric Surgery Works (But we are certainly not promoting bariatric surgery as a primary course of care for sustainable weight loss)
Let’s not pretend there are not major health concerns and risks associated with bariatric surgery, there are. When we say it works, what I mean is that it does not promote the rapid reduction of metabolic rate and therefore the weight loss can be more lasting. It is for this reason that bariatric surgery patients do not experience what the contestants of The Biggest Loser experience we stated above. They have other problems associated with the type of bariatric surgery they had. A topic for another article.
How can I benefit from this knowledge?
Where to begin
Do not begin by reducing calories. Even if you have to reduce calories, you do not want willpower to be the method to do so. You would want the reduction in calories to occur naturally, where cravings play little to no role. Click To Tweet
Improve your relationship with food. Most people will say that if you start removing certain foods from your diet, that you will limit your choices and eating becomes boring. I disagree. When you remove certain food groups or ingredients, what you’ll find is a wider set of choices, flavors and tastes as long as you are willing to engage in trying new things. Food should be enjoyed, we find that most people without an food restrictions tend to eat the same foods day in and day out. They are the ones without variety in their diet. Variety is made possible by having to put more thought and creativity into food which can be a lot of fun.
Begin with reducing the types of foods that your immune system is more likely to react to. You can spend some money to find out what kinds of foods fall into this category or you can just remove the most common foods that are likely to result in an immune system reaction.
An immune system reaction to food is when your immune system treats the presence of large undigested proteins or polypeptides as a potential threat, the way it perceives a flu, cold or any virus as a potential threat. Immune reactivity to food has many reasons. It could be as simple as some proteins are more difficult to digest and breakdown that others, resulting in an increased likelihood of the immune system losing tolerance over time. Gluten found in grains and casein found in dairy are good examples. Some proteins and peptides are attached to byproducts of farming and processing thus alerting the immune system to a potential danger. An example of this is a common pesticide chemical called glyphosate. We could write a whole book on this subject, so I’ll stop here.
The takeaway is that there are some foods that have a higher “immune value” than others. Removing high immune value foods is a good idea. Begin with grains and dairy (Two food groups we have very little use for, genetically).
Remember, your body should not feel as if it is in any type of unnecessary stress or danger. When the body perceives it is in any type of danger, it will recruit resources that are for protection and defense as opposed to growth healing and repair. These are typically called the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system respectively.
The sympathetic (protection and defense) part of the nervous system senses and reacts to both external dangers, lions, tiger and bears oh my! As well as internal dangers (infection, inflammation). One of the characteristics of the sympathetic nervous system is the release of stress hormones and increasing insulin resistance (an enemy of weight loss).
In Summary- Follow these steps for the first week
- Remove high immune value foods. Begin with grains and dairy. Do not focus on eating less.
- Improve your relationship with food. Spend more time shopping, preparing and cooking food. Watch some YouTube videos on preparing foods you are interested in. A paleo style diet is what you are looking to move towards for a diet rich in vegetables (but not so much fruits), eggs, nuts and seeds and healthy meats.
- Eating fat does not make you fat. If your fats are coming from high quality sources you probably need more of it not less. Coconut oil for cooking, olive oil for flavor and dressing, grass fed and pastured meats and poultry, wild fish.
- Rules of thumb:
- Shop the perimeter of the supermarket not the center.
- Buy food that spoils. Packaged food that can last in your pantry for a millennium is probably not food.
- The foods you should eat more of will tend to not have labels for you to read.
Next week we will introduce the methods that will make attaining good health, as well as your ideal weight, feel like a natural process which requires little effort.
Thanks for reading!