Let me start by saying this: everything in this email I have done myself and totally stand behind. I have absolutely nothing to gain by sharing this with you, and I'm not trying to sell you anything. In fact, I'm very outspoken AGAINST spending any money to lose weight other than in the grocery store (and a gym if you belong to one). Also, please keep in mind that fat loss should/will be a byproduct of health. And that being said, follow what I lay out here and you will feel amazing. You'll be healthier, have more energy, and you'll slim down in the process.
If you want the simplest approach to losing fat, cut out grains and sugars. No, you do not need grains. No, not even "healthy whole grains."
Exercising more and eating less has been preached all over creation for decades, and it's never been the answer. In fact, we just keep getting fatter. And that's because this approach--the idea of an energy imbalance, expending more calories than you take in--is just plain wrong. The calorie in/calorie out concept is not based on any type of science and stems from assumptions that were made about how the human body functions. The simple truth of the matter is that fat is driven by insulin, and insulin is affected by carbohydrates. Even thinking about eating a high-carbohydrate meal signals the release of insulin into the bloodstream. Dietary fat, however, does NOT affect insulin. If you want an AMAZING resource on this topic, read Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes. And it's not a book based on statements like "studies show" and crap like that - it's science. Gary Taubes is an investigative journalist/writer with a science background who took on the subject. It's not about studies - it's biochemistry.
Fuel for your body:
Your body uses basically two types of fuel: glucose and fat/triglycerides. It takes to burning glucose first because it's faster and, from what I can tell, essentially a poison/toxin that the body is trying to rid itself of. It can then switch over to burning fat, but the mechanism to do so is fairly inefficient. If you get yourself "fat adapted," as they say (which means you've effectively cut out grains and sugars), your body will use not only the fat you take in from your diet, but it will then more effectively use its own stored fat for fuel. Becoming fat adapted will lean you out AND let you go longer without eating. You will learn to be sated by fat instead of by grains and sugars, which really just make you hungry again soon - you crave them. And after a week or so, you will no longer crave them. You'll no longer miss the brown rice you had with your dinner or bread you used to have on your burger.
That leads me to:
Do not be afraid of dietary fat. Every time I say this to someone, they always agree that "some healthy fats" are good. But here's the thing: if you're eating real food (steak, coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, real butter, heavy cream, fish, etc), you don't have to really worry which fats are the good ones. And do not be afraid of the amount of fat, either - you should be eating full-fat versions of foods (cheese, sour cream, yogurt [so long as it's plain and not loaded with sugar :-)], eggs with the yolks, etc). Start looking into the glycemic index of foods (and how adding fat can actually lower the glycemic index of a meal). Also, saturated fat is necessary for your body to function correctly, as is cholesterol. Scientists are more and more proving nowadays that cholesterol is NOT the cause of atherosclerosis and other such artery afflictions: it's inflammation. Look it up ;-)
There are many approaches to exercise, but one thing is certain: long duration, steady-state cardio is NOT the way to do it. If you LIKE to run/jog and do it as a hobby, then more power to you. But if you're suffering through it because that's what you've been told will slim you down, STOP. If you want effective exercise, follow this: lift heavy weights, walk often, sprint occasionally, and never jog. "Sprint" in this instance refers to short bursts at 100% effort: this could be running, doing burpees, using a rowing machine or an exercise bike (a little more difficult with a treadmill). And I mean short bursts. You can look up workouts/plans, but I'm talking like 20-30 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest, repeat for about 4 minutes. Then go lift some heavy weights (and if your argument here is that you don't want to bulk up, then...just shut up and trust me - it ain't that easy).
I started my journey down this healthier path by stumbling upon a podcast. I started listening, and the guy was saying all sorts of things that went against everything else I thought I knew about fitness and nutrition. But then it slowly dawned on me that he wasn't trying to sell me anything - he was just trying to spread the truth. In fact, he's a Hollywood celebrity trainer--he makes a living getting people to exercise--and he's straight up saying that exercise is an ineffective way to lose fat.
From that moment, I stopped listening to anyone who was trying to sell me something (the supplement company-funded magazines, personal trainers, DOCTORS) and stuck to those who were simply dealing in truth. LET ME CLARIFY HERE: most of the people I listen to have something to sell - books, mostly. But the difference is that they are spreading the truth, giving the info away for free, helping people on some real levels, and then say, "Also, if you want more detail you should buy my book." That's a far cry from "buy my workout system" or "if you want the secret, read this book" or crap like that.
I was, at one point, spending nearly $300 a month at GNC, and buying/eating TONS of food (mostly carb-rich) to follow the plans laid out for me by "experts." Once I stopped listening to them, though, I almost immediately started seeing the results I want to see. I do nearly no cardio, I don't count calories, I eat A TON of fat, and guess what? Now is the first time in my life I've ever been able to see my abs. And I feel absolutely amazing. But it's funny - it's really difficult to get people to listen to me. I've never been overweight, but I most certainly never until now had the body that I wanted (there's still work to be done, but I'm a lot closer).
Ok, I'll wrap this up. If you want tons of corroboration for any of the above info, then you should...
- READ THESE BOOKS: Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes and Wheat Belly by William Davis. Soon, two books will be coming out that I'm VERY excited to get my hands on and tell people about: The Paleo Coach by Jason Seib (some time in March) and an as-yet-untitled book by Vinnie Tortorich (release date TBA).
- LISTEN TO THESE PODCASTS: America's Angriest Trainer with Vinnie Tortorich (the one that started it all for me); The Fat Burning Man with Abel James; and Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness with Jason Seib and Sarah Fragoso.
- CHECK OUT THESE SITES: vinnietortorich.com; everydaypaleo.com; fatburningman.com; civilizedcavemancooking; and nerdfitness.com.
- WATCH the documentary Fat Head (it's great, but you have to finish it - the end is where it all comes together).
I've blathered on long enough. I could really go on for hours about this stuff, but I'll leave you to it. Also, keep in mind that I wrote this very piecemeal: it's difficult to focus when your brain is going a million miles an hour and you're trying to make sure you say everything.
Have a good one and we'll talk soon!