DIET: The dreaded word that translates to eating tasteless foods and being constantly hungry. It’s no wonder most people struggle with the concept of weight loss because that is exactly what they have to go through 95% of the time. Pain, military-style discipline and a whole lot of unconventional requirements that make it seem like a punishing ritual. It’s no coincidence that the term DIET has the word DIE in it. The reason why most people barely diet for over a month is because most diets are very hard to adapt to their lifestyles. Not to mention too many rules, regulations and requirements.
It is estimated that every overweight person has at least tried to lose weight more than 5 times in his/her lifetime. Basing it on my own trials and tribulations, I have tried more than 15 approaches to dieting in my lifetime. Most of us however only got temporary results that came at the hefty price of constant hunger, pain and discomfort. We eventually quit because the end results were not worth it compared to the effort we were putting in. To make it worse, we even gained more weight much quicker the moment we stopped. This unsustainable painful approach is what I want to debunk once and for all. I have been a victim of such bias my whole life and it didn’t serve me the way I hoped it would. Instead it made me more miserable and hopeless. It’s as if the more I had tried, the more I failed and the more frustrated I became. The cycle became pointless to a degree that I was actually on the verge of quitting the gym and dieting altogether. I had literally told myself that it wasn’t worth it and that I just wasn’t cut out for a leaner and more aesthetic physique. At that point I had spent 3 years at the gym, eating a bunch of soups and tasteless foods, yet I still kept gaining weight. If anyone had accused me of being lazy and gluttonous, I would have been justified to respond with a profane insult. By accident, while reading Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography entitled: Total Recall, I stumbled upon a nutritional plan that finally yielded effective results in the easiest manner. I ate a lot, yet I still lost weight faster than I could have possibly imagined. It wasn’t persistence that eventually prevailed, but a totally different approach altogether. Losing weight is easier than you think as long as you have the right formula and you understand the science behind it. So let me take you through it by firstly debunking these common FAD diet misconceptions.
THE MODERATION MYTH
The major problem with the notion of “eating less” is that you are advised to moderate portion sizes and quantities of the same foods that were causing you to gain weight in the first place. It eliminates the “quality factor” of food and how different foods contain different nutrients. These different nutrients are digested and utilised differently by our bodies. They also trigger different enzymes and hormonal responses. Foods rich in carbohydrates for instance stimulate the production of hormone insulin which induces fat storage, whereas proteins and good fats stimulate hormones that allow the metabolic breakdown of body-fat. At the end of the day, it is not necessarily how much you eat, but what you eat and how it affects your body. Eating low quality, high carbohydrate foods even in moderate proportions will still cause weight-gain whereas eating large quantities of high protein meats, good fats and fibrous vegetables will still result in weight-loss. So from now on I shall encourage you to eat as much as you want, provided it’s good quality foods that limit starchy refined carbohydrates. The recommended food types will be explained in later chapters.
THE CALORIE MYTH
The rumour that ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL should also be discarded once and for all! Your body is not a linear mathematical energy input-output machine. Breaking down and converting those calories depends on variables such as genetics, enzymes and hormones which play a much more vital role pertaining to weight-loss. Ignoring such factors can be detrimental to most people. It has been proven time and time again that 2000 calories of potato chips are treated by your body much differently than 2000 calories of steak (meat). The former makes you fatter and hungrier whereas the latter makes you leaner and fuller (satiated) despite containing the same amount of energy (mathematically). Both are digested and absorbed in a different way, and require different enzymes to break them down. Both trigger different hormonal responses and their different nutrients are used up by the body in different ways. The amount of energy expended to break down and digest proteins differs drastically to the energy used in digesting and absorbing carbohydrates. Even carbohydrates themselves are not treated equally. Some foods contain carbohydrates such as fibre which cannot be digested at all despite their “calorie load”. Your body ends up expelling such nutrients without deriving any energy content whatsoever.
THE LOW FAT MYTH
The Harvard School of Public Health mentions how: “The lowfat, high-carbohydrate diet” may be among the worst eating
strategies for someone who is overweight. . . . People on lowfat diets generally lose about two to four pounds after several weeks, but then gain that weight back even while continuing with the diet. Nutrition author Jonathan Bailor expresses how foods containing fat do not make us fat, but we’ve been led to think so because a gram of fat contains more calories than a gram of carbohydrate or protein. Fat has 9 calories per gram while protein and carbohydrate have only 4. Fat’s higher quantity of calories does not mean eating fat causes us to store body fat. That thinking is rooted in the calorie counting theory, which is known to be wrong. According to the National Academy of Sciences, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and dozens of other well-respected medical organizations, obesity itself is not associated with dietary fat in either national or international studies. No solid evidence proves that dietary fat or percentage of calories from fat causes weight gain. On the contrary, certain saturated fats known as medium- chain triglycerides (such as those in coconuts) and polyunsaturated fats known as omega-3 fatty acids (such as those in fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, and grass-fed beef) are especially helpful for heart and brain health and have been shown to help us burn body fat.
THE FASTING MYTH
When you put your body through constant hunger (your biological trigger that tells you that your body cells are not getting enough nourishment), your body switches to its biological “starvation survival mode”, whereby it interprets the lack of food as a lack of immediate resources. In turn your body slows down your metabolism and becomes more efficient at storing fat. To make it worse your body also starts breaking down your muscle tissue which metabolises fat in order to preserve the remaining energy reserves (body fat) and to prevent it from being rapidly utilised. It is actually easier for your body to break down muscle tissue than fat because your body prefers fat fuel for its ultimate survival. So yes you are going to lose weight during the first few weeks, but you should also bear in mind that you will be losing both: muscle and fat tissue. Less muscle mass means slower metabolism, and a slower metabolism means rapid weight gain the moment you resort to eating normally again. But will you eat normally the moment you finish your 8-12 week challenge? Realistically: NO. The moment you stop your dreadful starvation diet you will find yourself eating more than usual. This is your body inducing a voracious appetite in order to get back to its previous weight as fast as possible. Researchers call this “fat super accumulation,” and they believe it is a primary trigger for yo-yo dieting. The most disturbing aspect of fat super accumulation is that it does not even require us to eat a lot. All we have to do is go back to eating a normal amount and you will gain all your weight back (if not more).
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CARBS!
Nutrition author Gary Taubes couldn’t have expressed it better by mentioning how most FAD diets work, not because they offer a specific magic formula, but because they all involve the reduction of one major nutrient that causes weight gain: starchy and refined carbohydrates. When you fast, you limit your intake of carbohydrates. When you moderate, you cut down your intake of carbohydrates. When you are on a cabbage soup diet, you are limiting your intake of carbohydrates. When you only eat raw foods, you are CUTTING OFF REFINED CARBS! When you only eat grapefruits and drink lemon juice: guess what? YOU ARE CUTTING OUT REFINED & STARCHY CARBS! So how-about you only focus on avoiding the main root cause and enjoy the rest of the food groups without going hungry and without the need to fast. You don’t need to get a food scale in order to measure each and every meal. You don’t have to torture yourself by being on a liquid diet. You don’t have to waste money on protein shakes and a whole bunch of herbs and pills. Just throw out the rotten apple, and enjoy the rest of the bunch. This is the healthiest, easiest and most sustainable approach.
Oscar (Dj Sulfa) is a weight-loss expert, graphic designer , musician, dating coach, motivational speaker and author . A self- proclaimed experimenter who is fascinated by cracking the codes to achievement in order to make life easier, faster, cheaper and more pleasurable in the pursuit of the results that you seek. Follow him on the following social media links: Facebook Instagram