Deprivation Works. And Doesn’t.

dieta

Of course deprivation works!

What does it mean to lose fat? It means to burn fat because:

  • you are starving to death, and
  • you are not giving your body enough fuel to do the functions it needs to do

If you ARE getting enough fuel, then you’re NOT going to burn fat. There’s no magic. You’re just NOT going to burn fat without depriving your body of what it needs – fuel.

..And that’s why losing weight feels shitty. No matter how you do it.

You can lose weight:

  • Slowly, by eating SLIGHTLY LESS than you need over a long period of time;
  • Quickly, by eating FAR LESS than you need over a shorter period of time;  and/or
  • *Optional* by increasing your need for fuel by increasing your energy output (exercise) [slowly or quickly]

You can also:

  • Set yourself up for success by understanding habit formation;
  • Set yourself up for success by removing addictive foods from your diet and life (at least for a short period);
  • Set yourself up for success by understanding how willpower and motivation actually work.
  • Set yourself up for success by understanding the basics of appetite, and also becoming mindful of your appetite.
  • Set yourself up for success by understanding the basics of metabolism

Deprivation works to lose weight, NOT to maintain it.

I CAN’T lose weight slowly.  Healthy or not healthy – I just can’t do it. I spent 20+ years trying. I can’t deprive myself ‘slightly’ day after day for months, hoping to lose 1-2 pounds per week.  I can’t continue to eat a diet of processed foods, while counting calories. It just doesn’t work for me.  I can’t do it, and I won’t do it.

I CAN lose weight quickly through “RESPONSIBLE Deprivation.”  Here is what I CAN do:

  • lose weight (relatively) quickly in spurts, and *IMPORTANTLY* punctuate these periods with periods of maintenance.
  • use methods like intermittent fasting to lose weight
  • cut out processed foods that I find addicting for long periods of time during weight loss periods

I CAN’T maintain my weight through responsible deprivation. I CAN’T maintain my weight through:

  • counting calories,
  • cutting out food groups, and/or
  • dieting.

To me, that’s not a life – it’s too much deprivation. In the end, too much deprivation will cause me to gain weight.   To maintain my weight – I eat a mostly whole foods diet. Here is how I eat. My weight maintains itself:

  • mostly plants, most days (including starchy plants)
  • mostly whole foods, as little processed food as possible
  • watch my alcohol intake
  • never eat unless I’m hungry
  • lot’s of soups and salads

We need to separate “weight loss” from “maintenance.”

Weight loss is hard! Somewhere along the line, something got messed up and now you need to fix it. The only way to do that is by giving your body less fuel than it needs. And that’s fucking hard! Your body thinks it’s dying. So it’s best not to gain weight in the first place!  (duh!). 

..but once you do find yourself in a position where you need to lose weight, then forget the weight loss myths. Lose weight however you can, and forget the lies. Just be careful of the following:

  • don’t give yourself nutritional deficiencies
  • don’t give yourself electrolyte imbalances
  • don’t physically exert yourself while suddenly eating less
  • listen to your body

Weight maintenance should NOT be hard! 

Why? Because if weight maintenance is hard, you’ll gain the weight back. You can’t deprive yourself forever. You can only do it for short periods.

If maintaining weight is hard, that means you’re eating the wrong things. What are “wrong things”? “Wrong things” = foods meant to addict you aka processed foods.

Being Fit in an Unfit World

This post is largely an oversimplification.

But my point is this: many of the things you hear about weight loss are myths and fantasies.

When it comes to weight loss, do whatever you CAN do. Because weight loss is hard, and you need to fight this uphill battle in whatever way works for you. Just be careful not to hurt yourself, and be smart.

And once you lose weight, be mindful! You can’t deprive yourself forever, so you need a system for success.

My system is sticking (mostly) to foods that human beings are suppose to eat. This means avoiding things that come out of boxes, but enjoying these things in moderation to whatever extent I find reasonable.

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On Fasting

“In poor countries, people die of starvation. In rich countries, people die of over-eating.” – Fauja Singh, world’s oldest marathon runner (aged 101).

Single black olive and parsley
Congratulations, this is what you get to eat today.

Fasting is not yet fully accepted.

Despite mounting evidence of the health benefits, there are still doctors who tell you to “never skip a meal, least of all breakfast!”

I, on the other hand, believe we were designed to starve occasionally, and even perhaps regularly. I also think breakfast is bullshit.

But anyway. I fast in hopes of longevity. We don’t have enough time in this world, and I want to live forever so I can do all of the awesome things.

Does it work? It seems that way. Right now, periodic fasting and caloric restriction are some of the only practices showing real promise in extending our lifespans and improving most markers of health.

I also don’t think fasting hurts. At least not most people. As a filthy atheist, fasting is the closest I get to a spiritual practice.

Here’s what I do

Weekly: I usually do a full water fast one day/week, but I don’t keep it regular, and I don’t track it. Some weeks I just do two VERY low cal days each week (as in 5:2 plan). Weekly fasting is VERY easy to do, I don’t even think about it I just do it subconsciously.

Monthly: Each month, I make sure I fast 2 full days, water only. Usually on the 1st or 15th of each month).

Seasonally: 4X a year I turn my 2 day fast into 3 days!

Keep in mind

Fasting isn’t for everyone, but it’s probably great for most.

If you never skip a meal, just start by doing that every once in a while. Unless you have an actual medical issue, skipping meals is good for you. You also shouldn’t fast if you’re underweight.

Contrary to popular belief, fasting does NOT increase your appetite in a manner that will lead you to gain weight. In fact, regular fasting will most likely decrease your appetite. As far as compensatory eating? It happens for some, but generally not to the extent of the caloric loss you experience while fasting.

Of course, this may not apply to disordered eaters. And fasting may not be right for you. Even so, I think IF could be great for binge eaters and yo-yo dieters.

A 5:2 plan is VERY easy to do and may alter your appetite completely. For more info, check out the book “The Fast Diet” by Michael Mosley

You can also check out this awesome documentary, also featuring Dr. Mosley.

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Seven Magic Pills to Regulate Your Appetite

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          These magic DNA pills will give you thigh gap.

I spent 26 years looking for a magic pill to regulate my appetite.  I spent the last two years finding quite a few.

  1. Veggies and Fat with Every Meal. Non-negotiable. And yes, this includes breakfast.
  2. Eggs. The best food to ever exit a chicken’s pu**y. Need I say more?
  3. Start Your Diet with a Juice Fast. Good for you? Bad for you? I don’t know. But a few days of juice torture and I promise you  this – either you will be dead, or your appetite will be.
  4. Water with Every Meal. I know you know this already. Don’t roll your eyes at me.
  5. Hot Soup with Every Meal. Even in the Summertime. I wanna see you sweat!
  6. Intermittent Fasting. It works for me. Try it.
  7. Never eat carbs alone. Trust me, you won’t stop.
  8. Drive Slow Homie. If you can’t control your appetite, don’t begin a diet and exercise regimen at the same time. First get used to your new eating habits.

FAQ’s

1. What if I want a donut?

You can have one. But only if you eat a large plate of veggies first.

2. What if I want a chicken parm sandwich?

See question one.

3. What do I do if I hate all of your suggestions, and I’d rather be stuck to my couch? 

It’s a free world! Do it. Couches are comfortable.

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Five Awesome Books for Fitness

If you’re smart like me, you read a lot of books. And if you’re sexy like me, some of those books are about health and nutrition.

Here’s the thing – I want to look good. But what I want more than that is to be fully immortal.

So these aren’t diet books. They’re books about health. And some of them contain new or different thinking which might be controversial. But they’re all interesting.

  1. Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson. I fucking love this book. So will you please read it? I don’t know. Maybe you’ll find it boring.The premise is that even if you eat fruits and veggies, our modern varieties are not necessarily giving you optimum nutrition, because we’ve bred out some really good stuff. Each chapter covers a category of produce. The author provides the following info:
    1. the history of the crop;
    2. the genetic history;
    3. how to pick the most nutritious variety;
    4. how to prepare it for optimum nutrition;
    5. how to store it for optimum nutrition;
    6. interesting facts that will surprise you

The book is fantastic. Its just brilliant. Even if you’re not so into nutrition, it’s just a super interesting book about plants. I listened to it on audiobook maybe three times. While exercising, of course 😉

2.  “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan. Even though it’s not so old, this book is basically a classic. The info is so basic, and the author is just so smart. The premise is to just eat fucking food. It’s great.

Pollan rails against “nutritionism” and tells us why we shouldn’t really trust what we get from nutritional studies. He gives me lots of fuel for my anti- FDA government conspiracy fire. And yet he’s not at all a conspiracy theorist. He’s just a smartie pants.

3. “Good Calories, Bad Calories”  by Gary Taubes. This one is a classic in nutrition circles. Just give it a read.

4. “Grain Brain” by Dr. David Perlmutter.

This is where my list starts to get a bit controversial. Dr. Perlmutter is kind of one of those “hippie” doctors.  You may not agree with him. I tend to agree with a lot of what he says, and I think he’s very careful in his claims.

This book isn’t about weight loss. It’s about how our grain-heavy diet affects our brain. He also tells us how to eat to best preserve our brain function into old age. Hint: it’s not bagels.

I think it’s a great book and an interesting book.

5. “The Fast Diet” by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer

Hate the title. Love the book.

This isn’t a diet book. It’s a primer to Intermittent Fasting, and it takes a very gentle approach at that.

Basically, this book touts the benefits of greatly reducing your caloric intake for two days a week.  So it’s not really about “fasting” per se. But if you don’t know much about fasting, this book is a great start. It’s very approachable. And I love that it gives both a male and female perspective on fasting.

But wait! There’s more!!

If you just so happen to be an ignorant fool who doesn’t want to read a book, you are in luck. The Fast Diet was based on a BBC Documentary, also featuring Dr. Mosley. You can check it out on youtube here. It’s great.

While you’re at it, check out my list of awesome documentaries here.

Happy Reading 😀

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