The first post in this series discussed current dietary wisdom and why if fails both physiologically and psychologically. In fact over 95% of all dieters will regain the weight (and a little extra) within a year or two. In part two of this series we examined probably the most popular diet today; Paleo and its’ cousin the Ketogenic diet. We briefly examined how they worked and whether they were good for you. Today we will wrap up by discussing how you can figure out the best, safest and most productive dietary plan to follow.
Before we get started a friendly reminder. If the conventional methodology of “eat less, move more” worked the world would be crawling with gorgeous bodies and being overweight would be an anomaly. Just go out into the public and walk around for a while. The world is not overrun by extras from the next Baywatch movie! So since it’s a no brainer that the standard stuff doesn’t work (remember, that means you lose the weight and KEEP it off!) I sincerely challenge you to open your mind and be willing to learn new things. Ready to begin?
- View yourself as an Individual, not part of a Group: While all humans share the same genetic stuff, we all start trying to lose weight (or gain muscle) from a different starting point. We all have different genetics, different backgrounds, family and peer dynamics, injuries, personalities, etc. All of this influences what you do and how you’ll do it. Many people are trapped by their preconceptions of these factors. The truth is that some folks will have it easier or harder than others. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and focus on what you need to be successful.
- The Past does not equal the Future: It does not matter how many times you have been down this road. Whatever happened in the past, whether good or bad no longer matters. We can certainly learn from our past but unless you have Doc Brown’s DeLorean from Back to the Future going back in time to change anything is out. So forgive yourself, and push forward.
- You need real Science not Celebrity endorsements or pseudo-science! : I’m a big movie buff and I love music and sports, but just because someone looks great does not mean that they know what they’re talking about. And they are being paid to tell you how great the product or service is. There’s nothing wrong with that in itself but you have to be aware about why they are doing it.
- Be Suspicious of Extraordinary claims and “new” Discoveries: Real university level studies and successes in the realms of medicine and athletics are NOT presented to the public in the form of an info-commercial or magazine ad. That’s not to say something is illegitimate just because it’s on TV, but you need to watch for bogus and outrageous claims. “I’m Bob and I lost 62 pounds in 3 weeks with the Special Q Diet plan! Only three easy payments of $39.95 for a 6 month supply of the Special Wonder Beetle Extract for the Jungles of Brazil! Eat whatever you want and look like a God! But wait there’s More! Order in the next five minutes and get this free bonus valued at $99. Yours free if you call, Now!” Use your common sense. If something like that really worked, it would be worth billions and would be all over the news, not a commercial.
- Know Your Metabolic Type: Everyone does not metabolize fats, proteins and carbohydrates equally. Knowing whether you are carb efficient or fat/protein efficient can be a huge saver of time, effort and your health. Diet plans that have everyone eating the same foods in the same ratios is already making a mistake. Over 70% of the population is fat/protein efficient so many folks will seem to validate a particular method such as Paleo. But it would be a mistake to just assume you fit in that category. The best way to find out is to have your blood profile (specifically your lipid profile and glucose) evaluated by a professional schooled in such matters. Which means at the very least someone with a bachelors in the health field and some level of clinical experience. The dude down at the gym isn’t gonna cut it. Physicians are great but often have little to no training in the practical application of exercise and nutrition. If a pro is unavailable to you there are a few things that are easy to do yourself which can put you on the right track. (A) Use the Stanford School of Medicine Insulin resistance formula- look at your Lipid profile; Compare the ratio of your triglycerides to your HDL cholesterol. If greater than 3 (this would be a marker of insulin resistance) then you would emphasize protein and healthy fats over carbohydrates. If less than 3, try to eat a more even quantity of carbs, proteins and keep the fats fairly low. (B) Look at your personal health history and your immediate family- a big red flag of being prone to disease’s related to blood sugar would be if yourself or your parents had developed Diabetes (Type 1 or 2) or alcoholism. This would strongly point to you being fat/protein efficient because you would have difficulty efficiently using carbohydrates for energy. (C) Buy Dr. Phillip Goglia’s book Turn Up the Heat. It will explain all of this far better than I ever could and in greater detail.
- Start Eating Correctly: Once you know what kind of metabolism you have, get on the right plan and stick to it! Nutrition is kind of like the miracle of compound interest. Once you get the ball rolling in the right direction its’ impact can be incredible.
- Get the Right Exercise Program: You don’t have to do anything extreme. There are all sorts of great programs out there to get you in shape but you need to pick one that you will be consistent on. The greatest plan and trainer in the world won’t produce any results if you go 1-2 days a week and continually miss training sessions. If you hate the gym but love doing yoga at home then do it, but be consistent and be willing to put in some work. And no matter what you do, you won’t out train a bad diet. If you are not sticking to a correctly applied food plan daily, your results will be fairly limited. Don’t waste all of that hard work!
- Have Fun! : Remember the basic driving forces of the human mind (a) The Need to avoid pain and (b) the desire to gain pleasure. Take the time to get the help you need. Organize your efforts so that you are set up for success with an exercise plan that works for you, and a nutrition plan that fits your metabolism and is practical to apply to your daily life. Don’t focus on how much work everything is. Focus on the empowering journey you are taking and the positive impact you are making in your life and in the lives of those closest to you. If you are enjoying the process and not complaining, hating the experience, the chances of you being successful are much higher.
This series of three articles have focused on the basics of what’s happening, why it’s happening and lastly how to step forward yourself and get a plan of success. Each individual will need more than the thumbnail explanations and guidance I have made here. Seek out the help you need. I can certainly help you and if not me please take my recommendations seriously about guidance. Whatever method you choose make sure you are making an informed choice! All of the material in these posts can help but it is presented for educational purposes only and not to replace the guidance of your physician. Be smart, do your homework and before you know it you could be on your way to losing fat, gaining muscle and finally getting the weight-loss monkey off your back!