Want to Lose Body Fat for Good? Ok, so the answer is almost always yes – most of us think we could be a little (or a lot) leaner. And we all “know” what we need to do right? If it’s so bloody obvious, then why is it so goddamn hard for the majority of people to stay in shape throughout their lives?
In three words – naivety, misdirection and addiction.
In this informative and specific how-to three part article, I’ll address the above statement, and give you the practical tools to firmly put yourself in the drivers seat.
What to Expect From This Three Part Article:
- Part 1- Level-setting on some Key Facts regarding our Western Diets
- Feedback on AdapNation Food Diary Meals
- Do we actually know how many calories we are eating and burning?
- The deliberate Lies and Misdirection we’ve been told for decades
- You’re not Hungry, you’re Addicted to modern food
- Part 2 – Practical Principles & Knowledge to Take Control
- Calculating your Calorie Expenditure and Calorie Goals
- How to think about Exercise and Movement
- Which and how much Macronutrients to have
- Foods to Remove/Reduce and foods to Add/Increase
- Meal ideas and inspiration
- Part 3 – Top 10 Practical Tips & Insights For Fat Loss
- Covering Intermittent Fasting, Tracking, Meal Timing, Meal Frequency
- Guidance on how to Diet and still Eat Out
- Importance of Sleep to controlling weight
- Healthy Fat Loss Rates, what to expect in first week, and cals in 1lbs of Fat
- Two Bonus Insights for Women only
Steve, Your Food Looks Great, But…
…”There are too many calories for us mere mortals! You’re alright Jack – you work out like a beast and want to get bigger. You’re living in cuckoo land promoting these indulgent portion sizes, and you’re just like the rest of them in your space. People will blindly eat what you say and be surprised when they lose no weight or get fatter. Give us low calorie, small, low fat and ‘diet’ options if you want to help”.
I’m paraphrasing a little, but have had a dozen or so similar messages regarding the AdapNation Food Diary Micro-Blog. These people are not coming from a bad place. They simply think I need to be more relevant to be helpful.
Totally fair. Or is it?
My food portions are big to look at, and for many, the volume on my plate will be too much. Hence I give a lower volume/calorie option with every meal idea we post. But here is the first problem getting in the way of having the body you want – naivety.
Do You Actually Know What You Are Eating?
When I use the word naivety, I am not trying to be mean or judgemental. But I am being honest.
Can you answer these questions with confidence?
- How many calories should I specifically be eating to lose/maintain body fat?
- How many calories do I consume daily through home prepared and packaged foods?
- How many calories are actually in the ‘healthy’ or ‘bad’ restaurant meals I have?
Most people have not built up either the knowledge or intuition to eyeball their plate of food and mentally keep track of their consumption throughout the day.
So, how reliably can most people judge whether what we are suggesting as meal ideas are more or less calorific and effective than the foods they choose to eat day to day?
At best people are likely judging on the portion size, or perhaps reaching the conclusion I must be lean due to some metabolic genetic gift (check this out – no gift!).
Or, more likely, there is a knee jerk reaction to the calorie transparency we are offering, which without context and guidance appears to be gluttonous.
Quick couple facts:
#1 – Grabbing a healthy cheeky Nando’s
I have nothing against Nando’s. It’s a great restaurant and we eat there a fair bit throughout the year. It feels like a healthier option to a burger joint, fast food restaurant or options such as Indian, Pizza etc.
I would agree – minimally processed untampered food is always the way to go. But did you know, a Halloumi starter, followed be a Medium Half Chicken, Sweet Potato Wedges, Perinaise, and a Corn on the Cob is at least 1,600 calories! That’s without butter, nuts, olives, drinks and some frozen yoghurt. And you swerved the pitta and fries…
#2 – How many calories to eat daily is VERY individual
Age, weight, body fat percentage, lifestyle, daily movement and exercise all have to be considered to understand what calorie number to stick within to maintain or lose body fat. Sounds complicated, but it’s actually super simple to get an approximate individual number for you, and there are many easy things you can do to increase this number, that in turn makes dieting less restrictive. More on that later…
So, we can’t manage what we can’t measure, and if we don’t know how to measure, then we absolutely have no hope of being able to control weight for the long term, in a way that feels easy, precise and sustainable.
That leads us onto the next issue we struggle with – Misdirection…
Sorry, You’ve Been Lied To For Other People’s Benefit
Argh, another statement that is not going to make me Mr Popular in many circles.
The reality is though, that the industries of food, fitness, nutrition and weight-loss diet marketers are chockablock full of white lies, and even big fat lies. These lies, or misdirections, serve profit making, the food industry or the latest new fangled sales opportunity that convinces us to constantly shell out more cash every year.
But you are not the priority here. Money making is. The reality is, maintaining a healthy body is not sexy, nor particularly complicated. You can’t stick a label on it, brand it and make millions.
So, this $80bn a year industry instead offers up a host of marketable solutions, much of which disempower you. Keeping you naive will keep you coming back for more silver bullet solutions.
Please understand I am not calling the entire fitness and wellness industry a bunch of snake oil salesmen, or that they are ill intentioned. But there is a lot of crap to swim through to find the well-intentioned sources of truth.
Here Are Some Of The Lies We’ve Been Told:
#1 – Dietary Fats are bad for you and make you fat
No they aren’t and don’t! This was a play to protect the sugar and wheat industry when obesity started to ramp up quickly over the last twenty years. The problem these guys faced though – how do you make popular products low-fat and still tasty? The trick is simple – you put in more sugar.
That way, all these processed foods continue to be popular, claim to be better for you as they are low in fat, but not lower in calories. Just higher in sugar…
#2 – Carbs are evil, make you fat and make you Diabetic
Nonsense! Carbs are the least important out of the three macros, but do play a role in fuelling our body, brain and movement. The ridiculous amount of Processed/Refined Carbs and Sugar is what’s making us fat, Diabetic and diseased. More on this later.
#3 – Whole Grains and Wheat is good for you
Hmmm… that’s fantastic costly marketing over recent decades than science fact! As 200,000 year-old modern humans, we’ve only started consuming wheat and grains recently, and exponentially so once mass milling, farming and genetically modified crops were ramped up 50-60 years ago. This ties in perfectly with the epidemic rise of obesity and diabetes we’ve witnessed in that time. Coincidence?
Moreover, you find that flour-based products are typically ‘fortified’ with extra nutrients, and in many countries this is mandated by government. Why? Well, the issue boils down to the cheap and readily accessible multitude of wheat-based foodstuffs and hyper palatable food products, which come with a high volume of calories and carbs, and not a great deal of much else nutritionally.
The easy over-consumption and reliance on wheat-based foods causes a displacement of others nutritionally-dense foods in your diets. Resulting typically in much reduced nutritional diversity in ones diet.
We’ve not evolved to thrive on wheat, let alone at the volumes we do today…
#4 – Be strong and healthy by consuming lots of Milk and Cheese
Really? Optimal health is drinking the milk of cows – the mothers milk that supports the development of calves? And even better, consume a cocktail of cows milk from hundreds of mass-farmed antibitoic-riden, corn and soy-fed cows in every bottle.
In all fairness, I think we can derive a lot of goodness from ruminant milk, but the milk system we rely on in western societies is not delivering a healthy product. Local farm, minimally processed and/or raw milk from A2 Cows and Goats has merit, but that’s not what we’re buying in the supermarket. Good for health, or great for these massive dairy companies and subsidising governments?
#5- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
As the saying goes, ‘Eat Breakfast as a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dinner like a Pauper’. We’re told you need cereal and the like in the morning to fuel your day – and as such these foods are now synonymous with breakfast.
I remember all the adverts from the cereal companies that pushed this idea so hard as I was growing up. Turns out when you eat this stuff, it takes energy away from you and makes you ravenous again within a couple of hours.
Intermittent Fasting is proving that you have way more energy and less hunger when you DON’T eat these breakfast foods in the morning.
#6 – You lose weight by going on a Branded Crash Diet
You can and do, for sure. But the weight typically does not stay off. You abstain for a while, reach some milestone, and then get drawn in to eating normally again, because these diets are so restrictive and unsustainable. You put the weight back on, plus a little extra for luck, and are back again next year, this time trying the next new thing. Is that serving you?
These lies are worse than misleading, the foods recommended have been designed to be highly Addictive…
You’re Not Hungry, You’re Just Addicted
Fasting is becoming increasingly popular for its profound health benefits. Take a listen to the Fasting Masterclass AdapNation Podcast for the full scoop on why fasting is so so good for you. It turns out the average person could last 40 days on their fat reserves and just consuming water, before reaching dangerously low levels of protein stores.
There are medical institutions putting people through 21 day fasts to cure a whole variety of otherwise chronic diseases. As a more accessible option, 2-3 day fasts are becoming incredibly popular as a body reset.
So, if it is safe and actually marvellously beneficial to periodically build in fasting into your life, then why is it we are ravenous and hangry two to three hours after eating, or why do we plough through a whole tub of ice-cream, tube of Pringles or packet of cookies? I’ll give you a clue – it’s NOT TO FUEL YOUR BODY!
It’s because you’ve been intentionally guided to have many food addictions, that can genuinely rival that of substance addiction.
Sounds Sensationalised, But It’s Scientifically Proven
We’ve evolved with an innate need for calorie-dense foods, and it’s our motivation and successful consumption of calories through millions of years that has not only prevented extinction, but made us the most advanced species in the world.
And how have we evolved to maintain such a strong motivation to seek and consume calories? Through an unconditioned automatic process called the Dopamine Pathway.
Foods that trigger a surge in reward-seeking Dopamine are calorie-dense foods that contain Sugar, Fat, Starch, Free Glutamate (Umami taste) and Salt (for hydration). These are not conditioned taste preferences – we all seek out these foods to varying degrees.
The problem is, up until recent times, food availability was limited. With the abundance of food, and more importantly Big Food processing, our innate needs are being manipulated to over consume…
Properties in Wheat (specifically Wheat Germ Agglutinin and Gluten) are able to escape into the blood stream and pass the blood-brain barrier, and can be degraded into opioid-like substances.
Food scientists are paid handsomely to concoct the perfect fat-sugar-salt combinations that override our natural systems that signal to our brain that we have sufficient nutrients and energy.
Think about it – could you mindlessly shovel broccoli into your cake hole, consuming tons of the stuff without realising? No way! You won’t find sugars and fats together in natures food in a meaningful way – that’s all our creation. Ploughing through a pack of indulgent cookies or ice-cream however – no problem.
VANISHING CALORIC DENSITY
Cheetos, Pringles and Doritos and the like are some of the most well-known foods that have been scientifically designed to be addictive, as they create this phenomenon called Vanishing Caloric Density. The fat-salt combination, combined with texture and melt-in-your-mouth sensation sends no signal to your brain that you’ve had food, let alone enough. Dangerous.
HIGHLY PROCESSED REFINED CARBS & SUGARS
These digest too quickly, breaking down in your small intestine as opposed to your large intestine. It creates a proliferation of unwanted bacteria and yeast too high up in your disgestional tract. Candida for example (a type of yeast) feeds on sugars.
So it’s not necessarily that you have poor self discipline or will power, but instead that your bacteria are craving sugar and there is nothing you can do to dampen their screams for more. Nothing, other than killing them off (to a large degree) by intentionally starving them of their food source – sugar. Ever noticed if you abstain from sugary stuff for about a week, that the cravings go away? You’ve downsized the candida population within.
It Doesn’t Need to Be this Way Though
The good news is, like with any addiction, eliminate the offending substance, combined with changing your environment and seeing that substance for all its damaging consequences, and the addiction can be a thing of the past. Remove the addiction to food and then all of a sudden, you are back in control.
I know, as I’ve been on both sides. I am a recovering wheat and sugar addict. It was like being asked to cut off my right arm when contemplating mostly eliminating wheat-based products and seriously dialling down my sweet intake. The panic and disbelief prevented such action for years.
I am no longer hangry. I can go all day (if I want to) without food and not get emotional or panicked. I love food, but now choose foods that my body will benefit from, as opposed to the rubbish that takes energy, vitality, and self control away.
You can too can claim this control. Do so and you will never consider a fad diet again. Instead, you will have a sustainable and tasty way of eating, that you can run all year round. And when you need to drop some weight, you non-dramatically just reduce the volume for a while, before returning to your maintenance calorie levels.
Ready To Take Control?
If you’re ready to take control, then carry on through to Part Two – Losing Body Fat for Good – Here’s all you need to know – Part 2 of 3.
Follow this and other topic areas in our longer-form Articles series as they unfold. Comment if you have questions or ideas.