Thursday, July 10, 2014

What's the Best Diet?

We are what we eat. Literally. All of the parts of your body are entirely dependant upon what you poked into the hole in the middle of your face coupled with whatever activity and genetic influences you inherited.

We are made of what we eat - made of it.

You can calorie count but it's boring and psychologically depressing, no one wants to accept that they are actively depriving themselves of fun stuff so I suggest take a long term view and stick to simple rules and basics (you can add detail as you like (or not)):-

1.  Avoid 'White' Stuff. Read Tim Ferris Slow carb Diet.  You can get as elaborate as you like with tweaking (like using cinnamon, water, timing your meals with exercise, etc) but in essence FAT is NOT an issue.  If you want to know what 'simple carbs' are then read Ferris lists but understand this - during most of human evolutionary history quick energy foods were hard to get hold of so we have a biology which, when presented with sugar, bread, pasta, rice, pasta, bread, corn flakes, sugar, etc on what has become a simple carb conveyor belt of hell our body will latch onto it pronto and do what? Does it stay a carb? No. It turns it into FAT - it get's stored by your body 'just in case' it's the last meal for a while (as it must have been in out not so distant past).

Is this oversimplified? Except for rare cases that's pretty much it and it's been the thrust behind the Paleo Diet Fad which to some has become a lifestyle.  Due to human variability we don't all respond exactly the same way to this diet.  Personally if I don't eat ANY 'white' stuff I can eat like a horse and drop 5kg in 2 weeks.  As soon as I eat chocolate and ice cream or just lots of cereal (obvious simple sugary things) I can put 5kg back on in the same time.  If I eat or don't eat fat it makes little difference.  If you eat fat AND sugar together all hell breaks loose. Females hold onto fat easier (sorry, talk to your creator) so you wont experience (nor should you) such dramatic short term changes if you are female.


3.  Willpower.  Noooooooo!  When presented with the truth of our biology our first reaction is to ignore it, pray, and continue on our merry path to weight gain and metabolic breakdown.  Old habits die hard so it does take mental effort to walk back into Coles and choose differently.  We're like robots really, so ingrained is our cultures approval of stuff which just isn't good for us. "But it's LOW FAT!"  This was my wife's mantra for years and no amount of reason made any difference so one day I said "Don't listen to me, just look at the label and ask yourself how many spoonfuls of sugar are in that."

4.  Cheat Day!!  Yay!  To offset the mental breakdown you are about to have by forcing yourself to change habits, there is the cheat day.  One, even two days (if you're active) a week of eating whatever the hell you want and not feeling like a diet leper makes such a difference and not just because it's a mental health day.  If you've been a good boy or girl the other 5 days your body will react to the 'starvation' of simple carbs by lowering your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).

This means that your survival mechanisms will slow you down to conserve resources - you don't want that.

BMR is the rate your body burns calories while you are doing nothing.  Our body evolved to survive so if it senses that it's being somehow deprived it will down regulate.  This is often why people diet, loose weight, then plateau, get frustrated then break diet and go back to the chocolate Isle at Woolies. The injection of fast food one day a week tricks your body into maintaining it's BMR.

5. What about exercise?  Go to the other post.  Strictly speaking you don't have to exercise to lose weight but of course it can help.  Also if you are active you have to inject some simple carbs into the routine otherwise you hit an energy wall and fall over.  Ferris goes into that.

7.  Body loves a Shock!  Anything new or 'novel' gets noticed by our organism (us).  Abrupt changes force adaptation.  Sorry to sound morbid but if you want to kill Granny (or a pet) just prevent her from moving and feed her the same dull, white diet.  Again we evolved to engage with different situations and we thrive when challenged.  Food is no different hence the restriction/binge nature of this approach can work quite well.


Doug Scown

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