I’ve touched upon this in a few other posts, but I figured it was worth it’s own post too.
See, although I don’t give you detailed links on the research I’ve done, you can look up anything that I’ve written on my site (you do know how to use Google, right?). One of the things that’s been like someone turning up a light slowly has been that fat people don’t live by the same rules as fit people. We just don’t.
I’ve also said that a few times, and nowhere is it as obvious of a difference than in what we can eat.
I know you’ve read the article on the thermic effects of food (vastly overblown, by the way, but still somewhat relevant) you’ve read about eating your 5 meals a day (also tying into the thermic effects of food, and the drive of your metabolism down) and you’ve heard about not lowering your calories too low because your body will stop losing weight and will go into Starvation Mode (MYTH!). That makes me chuckle.
Ok, you’re probably pretty fat. You may not even know how much. But you’re fat. The body stores fat to keep energy for a “rainy day”. It’s the body’s way of storing up for when you’re not getting any food and it must survive until you actually get some food. Think, our ancient ancestors who were hunter and gatherers. Yeah, them. Our DNA is still like theirs and we store fat for the same reason they did. To survive the time when there’s no food to eat.
Ok, so we now know why we have this fat all over our bodies, but we can eat whenever the hell we want! So we really don’t need this layer of blubber that makes us have to cinch up our belts to keep our pants from sliding down off our love handles! We would LOVE to tie our shoes without getting out of breath!
Well, the fastest, easiest way to lose weight is to follow a violently strict diet. You can never lift a finger to do any exercises, and just eat right for a while, and you will lose weight. I once lost around 100 lbs in 4 months JUST eating right. The problem is, as soon as I went off the egregiously strict diet, I started gaining weight. (I have a notoriously slow metabolism)
Not only that, my freaking cravings were off the charts. I would get depressed when I drove by a new Krispy Kreme opening up or a new Mexican restaurant I wanted to try. But I would still eat my fish and salad, or apple. I also got so angry when my work (I worked in an office) would have potluck or a holiday dinner or an after hours get together because people would expect me to get involved and eat, but none of that food was on my diet. It sucked. I got pissed.
I still lost the weight. It works in the short term, but it’s not sustainable. (I once thought, man if I can start a diet after the new year, there’s no holidays or anything for months!) You can’t do it for more than a few months. You MUST live your life. Any diet will eventually stop working because you just cant stay on it forever.
It took me a long time to realize this. But I did. So I stopped going on diets.
Now I eat whatever I want.
I don’t buy low-fat butter, or high protein bread, or any of that nonsense. I buy normal foods. I don’t do low carbs (even though studies say low carb diets help you lose more). I don’t do Jenny Craig, or Weight Watchers, or Nutrisystems. Why waste the money? It isn’t like we don’t know baked chicken and a salad is better for us than a medium pizza. But our society is so programmed to not accept responsibility for our actions and to take ownership of our problems. (Hello bariatric surgery centers that are popping up everywhere!) We require these support systems to lift us up and keep us motivated. Friends, you’re the only one going to keep yourself motivated. But I digress.
So, you’re asking, “Then how do you lose weight if you eat whatever?”
My answer, “Slowly”
See, I am not in it any more for the quick weight loss. I don’t need to drop 20 lbs in a month, even though I could if chose to. I don’t. How much weight you lose per month is up to you, but understand losing 50 lbs in a month is just as healthy as losing 10, if you’re really pushing yourself hard.
For me, to do something SUSTAINABLE, I had to make the decision that I would eat right when I could. So that’s what I do. I have a lot of social activities I have to be involved with, so often I can’t eat right for days. But I always go back. And it works. I never guilt myself for eating wrong (see Lesson 10)
Why does this method work? I think it’s because I also work out–violently, but that’s another post.
For my diet, I have a weird schedule. I follow IF, which is intermittent fasting. There are TONS of benefits to doing it this way, including a massive surge in HGH (research HGH to see why this is significant). But for me it’s easier. I don’t have to worry about eating every five hours or extremely counting my calories.
I follow the 16/8 IF plan, which is when you don’t eat for 16 hours, and then eat for 8 (16+8=24 hours) Now, if you wanted to do this, and not be bothered by it too much, you could eat dinner at 7PM, skip breakfast, and then eat Lunch at 11 or noon the next day. That would give you around 16~17 hours of letting your body digest the food you already ate and to let it enjoy being empty for a while. Then you could eat lunch, and eat dinner that night, and then don’t eat again until lunch the next day. Breakfast IS NOT the most important meal of the day. That’s just silly.
There is also a method out there where you don’t eat for 24 hours two days a week, but you still eat every day. So, you stop eating at 7 PM on Tuesday, and don’t eat again until 7 PM on Wednesday. I have done that once. It was actually kind of cool. But that’s not my typical eating plan. It is this:
I eat dinner around 6-8 PM then drink some whiskey around 10-11 PM then don’t take in any more calories until 6-8 PM the next day. That’s not quite 24 hours because I have the whiskey, but the reason I follow this is because I want to work out on an empty stomach, and I can’t workout until I get home from work, which is 5 or so. So I don’t want to eat lunch and then work out a few hours later. I want to work out on a completely empty stomach.
All this is saying is, you eat whenever works for you. This works for me and is great. I don’t have to plan out all my meals to take to work. I go to work with NO food every day. It’s so damn liberating.
Do I get hungry? Sure. But I have come to LOVE that feeling. I have a cup of coffee and it calms my stomach. I also seem to have more energy when I do this during the day. People at work even say, “You look younger.” and “You are always so energetic now”.
All that on an empty stomach. And that empty feeling is great. I am almost depressed when I have to eat.
Now, notice I haven’t really gotten into WHAT I eat, just how I eat?
So typically for my dinner, I will eat either some chicken breast and vegetables, like broccoli or brussel sprouts, or a salad. Or I will have steak or fish. And most nights I have some chips and salsa. But see, that also rocks. Remember how I said track all your food? Well, if I don’t eat ALL DAY, then there’s nothing to track and when I eat at night, it’s GREAT. I can have between 2000 and 3000 calories (depending on my workout) that I can eat! It’s so awesome. But I can usually only get in around 1000-1500 calories, and I am stuffed.
Of course part of those calories are reserved for my whiskey, but if you don’t drink whiskey, then you can eat those calories. Whiskey is the only calories I drink. Don’t drink your calories if you can help it.
Again, you know what is “healthy eating.” Having pizza for dinner is not healthy. We all know this. Stop playing dumb and go buy some chicken breast or fish.
And I reiterate: if you work out HARD and OFTEN, you can have that pizza.
And I still lose weight.
See, I realized that I will never stick to a diet for the long haul to get this damn fat off my body. So I started working out, hard. (Well not at first, I was completely out of shape) And after a few months, I got into a groove of working out hard all the time.
I’ve said before, working out hard is the great equalizer. It permits you to slip up and still lose weight.
But the biggest thing I can say here is, if you work out, you can eat as little as you want and sometimes you can eat as much as you want. You know if you lower your eating your metabolism will go down a little. But if you’re working out, it stays up and increases. If you want to have one bagel a day with some cream cheese, you can. As long as you workout.
Your body will drop weight still (it has no fucking choice!) because you’re burning more calories than you take in. Your body has no choice but to burn the fat up to make energy to workout if there’s no other source of energy.
I will be posting up soon on my workout regime in detail.
Does all this make sense? I hope it does. It’s hard to explain some of the more esoteric ideas of this. Suffice it to say, if you’re fat and need to lose weight, just drop your calories low and work out. I know some will say if you don’t eat for a few days, that will cause you to binge later. Maybe it will, but maybe you need that binge. As long as you keep that binge in line and you know that even though you’re getting that pint of Ben and Jerry’s you’re going to go back to eating right the next day, that’s perfectly ok.
Remember, this is something that needs to be sustainable for you for a LONG time (think: the rest of your fucking life) so you need to find something you can live with. That takes patience and trial and error. Experiment! That’s the fun part. I’ve been experimenting for months now! My weight loss has been kind of slow (30 lbs in 4 months) but it’s something I can KEEP UP with for YEARS if I need to.
So don’t follow someone else’s eating plan, follow YOUR eating plan. What can you do? What’s the strictest diet you can follow and no insane and quit? Then do that. Succeed. Kick it in the ass.