The Eat Less, Move More Weight Loss Gospel is the approach most commonly recommended by doctors, dieticians and politicians weight loss program. And it fails, 99% of the time. Ask any chronic dieter.
I am proof. Approximately 6 years ago, following a popular weight loss program, I lost about 30 pounds but was stalled. Determined to win my battle of the bulge, I committed to ‘move more’ and for 5 years – yes FIVE – I faithfully met with a personal trainer, 3 – 4 times per week. Sure enough, I got stronger, corrected some muscle imbalances and got to know some really terrific ladies. But weight loss – NOT.
About a year ago, hidden deep in the googles, buried amongst mountains of nutrition nonsense I stumbled across the work of Dr. Jason Fung, ranting about the evils of sugar and flour, claiming obesity is a hormonal imbalance NOT an energy imbalance.
Everyone KNOWS that more calories in than calories out equals weight gain. Everyone KNOWS that a high fat diet is bad and is clogging our arteries, making us prone to heart disease and premature death. It has been preached to us since the early 80’s. It was taught to me in medical school.
In his book The Obesity Code, Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss, Dr. Fung very convincingly argues the Eat Less, Move More weight loss gospel is quite simply wrong. He presents the evidence from the medical literature, connecting all the dots, that support this outrageous claim. Fascinating. Furthermore, he argues we are not obese because we are sedentary overeaters, but we are sedentary overeaters because we are obese.
In other words, our inability to adhere to the Eat Less, Move More gospel, is not our fault. In fact, our body is responding perfectly to the well-intentioned dietary advice of doctors, dietitians and politicians – five to six (or more), low fat, calorie restricted meals and snacks throughout the day.
We listened. We got fat. And are getting fatter.
Let’s look a little deeper into what happens when we eat sugar/flour – our beloved refined carbohydrates.
Refined carbohydrates – sugar and flour – are very concentrated forms of glucose. When you eat sugar/flour, it is rapidly digested and absorbed, flooding your bloodstream with glucose. Your primitive brain, doing its job very efficiently, is like “whoa, this is great stuff” and squirts a little dopamine (our oh-nice neurotransmitter) reward to prompt you to remember. This job of your primitive brain is extremely useful if food is scarce – “this is where the blueberries grow, remember.”
But nowadays, food is not scarce. Sugar/flour is readily available. A leisurely stroll to the refrigerator or pantry or at most, a short car ride to the grocery store, is all that is required to get a hit. Your brain adapts to ‘too-much-of-a-good-thing’ and decreases the number of dopamine receptors in your brain, and BOOM – sugar addict. You need more and more sugar/flour to get the same effect.
As a society, we are addicted to sugar.
Every time you eat something with sugar/flour – perhaps a bagel with cream cheese (low fat of course) with a little homemade strawberry jam (how bad can it be?), you flood your bloodstream with glucose. Insulin – our fat storage hormone – responds beautifully. A surge of insulin follows a spike in blood glucose. Insulin pushes glucose into the cells of our body, providing them with the energy needed to remain healthy, and stores an emergency energy supply in the muscles and liver (in case we encounter hungry lions and need to make a run for it.) The excess, is stored as fat, for future use should famine hit.
Well done insulin! It kept our cells energized, protected us from hungry lions and future famine.
About 2 hours later, your cells send out a yellow alert alarm “Hey, I’m out of fuel.” Your body mobilizes the emergency energy stored in the liver and muscles, but shortly thereafter – red alert – your cells are complaining, “more glucose, NOW please.” (The please is because I am Canadian!)
You start to feel grumpy, perhaps even a little shaky or light headed, your stomach growls and you cannot focus on the task at hand. Hmm. Time for a mid-morning snack…. Muffin anyone? You eat. The sugar/flour of the muffin are rapidly digested and absorbed, flooding our bloodstream with glucose, insulin is released….
And the cycle repeats…. For your lunch… For your mid-afternoon snack… For your dinner… For your before bed snack….
You are providing a steady stream of glucose and insulin responds accordingly, storing fat for future famine.
As a society, we are sugar burners and fat hoarders.
This steady stream of glucose with insulin mop-ups is just not helpful if you are trying to lose weight (body fat.) You never access your fat stores because insulin is very efficiently, hoarding fat. When insulin is high, we are in fat storage mode. When insulin is low, we are in fat burning in mode. You cannot store fat and burn fat at the same time. Physiologically, you are doing one or the other, never both.
To lose weight – to access and burn your fat stores for fuel – you must make the switch from sugar burning addict to a fat burner. To become a fat burner, you must lower your insulin levels.
- Eliminate sugar/flour containing foods.
- Do not snack.
- Eat three meals, 5 – 6 hours apart throughout the day.
- Eat real food (unprocessed).
- Fast for 12 hours over night.
After 2 – 3 weeks (sometimes more, sometimes less) your body is like, “well… harrumph, seems the glucose supply is a bit low these days, guess I will have to use up this body fat.” And it starts burning its fat stores. It starts producing dormant fat mobilizing enzymes and burning fat gets easier and easier.
Before you know it, one day you will notice, “Huh. It’s been 5 hours since breakfast and I’m not in the least bit hungry.” Badass fat burner! Whoop! Whoop! Not only are you not hungry, your thought processes are clearer than they have been in years, you have energy at the end of a long day, and your sleep is awesome.
Sugar addict, turned badass fat burner!
Buff it up, my friends
Are you ready to Buff Up Your Brain? Ready to, lose weight, increase your mental clarity and polish up your thoughts? Let’s chat.