So you have decided that you are over-weight and you need to go on a diet. The typical wisdom that you will get from most nutritionists, doctors, and diet gurus is that you are just consuming more calories than you are burning. All you have to do, according to conventional diet wisdom, is eat fewer calories and exercise more. Simple, easy, why didn’t you think of that? The problem is, it won’t work.
You just have to keep track of every single calorie that you eat, all day long! Then, you have to calculate just how many calories that you burn in every activity you perform, all day long! Then you have to make sure that you are burning more than you consuming, all day long! That is a lot of work! That would also be very stressful, too!
What happens when you “stress-out” and are trying to loose weight? Stress causes you to release cortisol, an adrenal hormone, that promotes insulin resistance. Insulin resistance causes you to gain weight more easily and leads to Metabolic Syndrome (more on it next time). It also makes it difficult to lose weight. So stressing over a diet and exercise program is self-defeating and it will actually make you fatter! And we wonder why people can’t seem to lose weight on most diets!
So, what should you do if you want to lose weight, get stronger, feel better, and become healthier? You must first understand that this “eat less, burn more” approach is not workable, especially long-term. Our ancestors would not have stopped in the middle of the forest, pulled out a scrap of bear skin and a charcoal stick, and calculated how much energy they had expended and how much more they could eat that day and still stay slim and fit. They had no idea what a calorie was, what a protein was, or what a carbohydrate was! And these are the people responsible for your genome! How did we survive?
Actually, we survived quite well! We ate as much as we could and were lean and fit. How did this happen? Lets look, briefly, at the macronutrients. These are fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
When you eat protein and fats, you have an off switch. This switch tells you when you are “satisfied” and it is time to stop eating. With carbs, you have no off switch. You will eat carbs until you are full, and a half hour later, you will find yourself standing, with the door open, at the fridge, looking for something else to eat! Why?
Our ancestors were hunters and gatherers. They ate meat and fats and veggies. Veggies are mostly low carb foods. When in season, they ate fruit and berries. These would be the only high carb foods they ate. Because of that, they would gorge themselves on the fruit and berries. This sudden increase in blood sugar would cause insulin to store the excess sugar as fat, for a rainy day. They would soon be hungry again, and would gorge to store more fat for the lean times.
High carb foods were a rare treat for hunter-gatherers. They ate all of it that they could, whenever they could. Now days, we have an overabundance of carbs! They are everywhere! And, we have even refined them and made them much easier to digest and absorb, causing sharper spikes in blood glucose and insulin and more fat accumulation! We have thought of everything! Except…for an off switch for our carb appetites.
So, what can we do? Stay tuned for Part Two!