Originally posted on Steven Waddell’s blog
Low calorie diets will not let the dieter achieve sustained weight loss. For the past two years, I’ve eaten about 3,000-4,500 calories a day, with most of the calories coming from high fat sources. According to traditional weight loss models, I should have put the 100 lbs that took me more than a decade to lose right back on–but I didn’t. I am not an exercise junkie, either. I only workout 1-3 times a week. I wasn’t born with a speedy metabolism. But I changed the way my body works so that I have one.
If you are overweight, there is a good chance you are communicating to the ancient part of your body that there is a famine happening around you. By “a good chance” I mean that you are; unless you have a medical condition, you are sending this message to the really, really old caveman survival instinct control center–the part of our bodies that got us, as species, through the Ice age. Your body responds by slowing down your metabolism, making you gain weight and lowering energy levels. If this continues on long enough, you may feel depressed or even have thoughts of suicide.
This is nature’s way of telling you there isn’t enough food for the species to survive and you need to get out of the way. This way, your children have a chance at survival. A good example is: we have to hunt deer in the northeast because we killed all their natural predators. If we do not hunt them, their numbers will be to great and they will exhaust their food sources before the winter is up. Unlike deer, humans have been an apex predator for a long time. This means that we have systems encoded into our DNA that manage things like overpopulation. When these responses are triggered, we begin a shut down process that will eventually lead us into an early grave. Examples of stress on the body that mimic famine conditions are:
- Eating carbs at every meal: Yep, it’s actually stressful for your body to get your blood glucose back to normal. This is because if your blood is too thick (from the glucose) it’s hard for your body to transport nutrients around and toxins away.
- Eating foods with toxins on a consistent basis activates your immune system which causes a stress response.
- Not eating enough makes your body think there is a famine.
- Abusive relationships: A significant other, family, friends or boss.
- Environmental toxins like chlorine in water and heavy metals in fish
- Negative self talk
- Going to bed feeling like you have things left to do
- Video games
- Drugs, including alcohol
- Eating food that causes inflammation such as gluten and dairy proteins (for some people this is worse than others–it is very personalized. I cannot consume either, but I know people who can without an incredible amount of inflammation)
Ways to help get rid of these stressors:
- Eat lots of healthy fats: Grass fed butter or ghee, coconut oil, and red meat are the basics. Egg yolks and olive oil are good options as well. This makes your body think it is in the land of plenty and it’s time to enjoy life. Also, cholesterol, which is only available in animal products, is needed to make many of the fat burning hormones.
- Get rid of toxic people; surround yourself with positive people moving forward in life. There really is no neutral in life!
- When in doubt, eat more fat.
- Workout to enjoy moving your body, not to burn calories.
- Get enough sleep and put yourself in a positive mindset before you do.
- Drugs, alcohol and video games = weight gain
- Love yourself unconditionally
- Eat less carbs and eat them less frequently. Women do need more carbs than men do. Try a goal of eating carbs just once a day and see how you feel. Remember, this is something that may take you 6 months to work up to. This will train your body to use your fat stores as fuel.
- Make weight loss fun! If you want to eat a 1/2 gallon of ice cream do it until your tummy hurts and just laugh while you do it. The self hatred while you eat the ice cream is far worse than the ice cream itself. Your body is pretty good at getting toxins out. Any inflammation and water weight gained will be gone in 2-5 days (notice how I said water weight). The stress of feeling like you’re doing something bad and the negative self talk can make you gain 5 lbs even if you were eating a salad.
- Eat lots of veggies so your body gets the nutrients it’s craving. Load them up with butter or ghee to make them taste amazing.