Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not Eating What the People We Eat With Eat

As we transition from young guys into full-fledged men, a few
things tend to happen.

We move a little less...and we eat a little more.

Our metabolisms slow down and we gain fat. Maybe a little of it;
maybe a lot of it.

If you're like most guys, you chalk it up to aging, like losing
your hair or suffering from a low sex drive.

Well, I have two words for you.

Screw. That.

The PN crew have one of the only online, large scale implementations of weight loss coaching I know of, and have many clients and some good before/after shots to show for it.  

In my book, though, they could state things a bit more clearly.  My bet is that we don't move less and eat more, we move less because we become less carb tolerant, and some of the energy we eat becomes trapped as fat (and inaccessible due to high insulin levels).  We are low on available energy, and act like it.  We are also high in inflammation, and low in sleep quality (a little sore, and somewhat tired).  

But either way, we need a change, many of us, and it can't be hours of daily running or other "cardio" - at least, not if we want loving relationships and a career that will let us support our loved ones.

"Eat meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, and no sugar/wheat" is simple, perhaps too simple, because folks don't believe it.  The formula works, but the implementation is tough.  What do I eat for breakfast?  What about lunch at work or on the road?  What about dinner with no bread or pasta or rice?  "You can't get anything without wheat in it."  What about birthdays and holidays?  "I can't walk past all these sweets."  "I have to have my oatmeal."  Or, they try the Rx for a while, but eventually, revert to the norm.  

They do what humans do - eat what the people we eat with eat.  

The key is - what helps people change habits permanently?  Fear of looking fat doesn't do it.  Fear of disease does it - for the short term.  Even success only helps reinforce the right behavior in the short term.  What makes long term success, lifetime success, possible?

As I'm learning, being paid to help people regain health and lose weight in the process, there are three factors.  
1.  Do it with other people.  Find a group that eats like you want to eat and share food adventures.
2.  Keep learning and refining.  You get the lightening bolt of inspiration to do things differently, but it fades over time, and all the reasons you used to eat the shit that you used to eat will still be there.  If you learn every day, a little more about why it sucks to eat the shit you used to eat, you have a better chance over time of seeing that shit as shit, instead of the fun stuff to eat.
3.  Persistence.  I started carb restriction via the Zone in 1996.  I went into and out of weight loss from then through 2007.  In 2007 at 225 pounds and a belly of 39", I went back to the Zone and it worked.  But I found I could do as well or better without the weighed meals and five meals per day, in other words just focus on eating quality food, and that's where I've been ever since.  Turns out, the science shows that even intermittent carb restriction shows long term health benefits, so I was doing better with my start/fail carb restriction that if I hadn't been doing anything.

1.  Everyone quits when they try to change their behavior.  But don't quit trying to change.  Read a new book about diet and health every year.  Read a health and fitness blog you trust five days a week.  Keep thinking of things you can do to shift toward desired behaviors.  Find the easy changes and make them. Give yourself the question for the larger, harder changes - "how can I change this?"  As Tony Robbins says, and I believe him, if you want a better answer you have to ask better questions.
2.  Even if all you do is jettison some elements of the stuff that's killing you - bread for example - that's a win.  I sometimes look at the stuff I used to crave and wonder what the attraction ever was.  The attraction didn't die because I changed how I thought.  The attraction died because after a period of not eating that food, the taste that I had grown for the food just went away.  Short term deprivation became long term liberation.  And bread for example - how many people eat bread with no butter or other such topping to make it taste better than cardboard?   Ditto rice or pasta or oatmeal.
3.  It is about looking better, but the same changes that make you leaner make you healthier - so it's not JUST about looking better.  It's about living better, living well for longer.  The same processes that make you store fat and feel hungry are the ones that make you inflamed and sick.  You may be fighting for appearance, and eager to feel younger longer, but you are also fighting for your life, which is why it is critical to regulate blood sugar via, for most, carbohydrate restriction.

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