Enhance Your Health

Health Tip of the Week: Weight Loss

Over the years, as a former competitive bodybuilder, powerlifter and elite level rugby player, I have used my body as tool to perform at a higher level in sports. For some sports I weighed as much as 237 lbs and as low as 200 lbs for others. In general, I usually maintained an average weight of 215lbs. Once my high level competitive sports years ended, I decided that for health and fitness purposes it would be better to lose body weight each year rather than gain weight.

Most athletes retire from sports and continue to have the same eating habits they developed as competitors. This causes a weight gain as they are no longer burning off all of the calories consumed. In my search and trials to gradually lose weight, my weight would see-saw back and forth. Lose some weight, gain some weight, lose it again, and gain it again.

It took me the last 10 years to come up with a consistent plan based on the latest scientific research to lose weight and have it stay off. I developed a style of eating that shed my bodyweight, but once I reached a certain level, my eating kept me at the ideal weight and would not let me lose further pounds, moving into the unhealthy, too skinny area. The crazy thing now is with this eating style I have developed (based on the existing science), I cannot gain a pound. I tried as an experiment.

I have increased my caloric intake for days, but if I continue to eat the right foods, the weight stays the same. And if I take a meal or two that does not follow my “new” eating style (ex. go to Carmine’s Italian Restaurant and eat pounds of pasta), I have developed a trick that if used the very next day, takes that weight off immediately.  So, what have I done that has radically changed the way I eat and how my body responds to food?  I can tell you it’s not all new ideas, but it’s a combination of how you utilize food sources to make your body burn fat, work better and be healthier.

So, here you go. It’s all based on carbohydrates and how the body breaks them down into simple sugars. Sugar is what causes the body to gain weight and all carbs breakdown into sugar. To lose weight the body needs to avoid any and all sugar containing foods or carbs that breakdown into sugars.  This means (in general) no pasta, no bread, no cereal, absolutely no sweets and not even fruit. If the body does not have carbs for energy, what can be eaten to provide fuel for you to get through the day?  Fat.

Science is showing that fat is not the enemy to health that it once was. Oils (walnut, coconut, olive, grapeseed and fish) and organic, raw butter are very good for you and offer twice as much energy calories than carbs.  In the absence of carbs in your diet, the body will burn body fat. If your fat intake is sufficient, the body will not only be able to preserve muscle mass it will be able to build muscle.

Fat combined with lean protein sources (chicken, fish, eggs, turkey, lean meat and vegetable proteins) will lean your body out and get you to your natural genetic body weight. The eating style that I utilize is made up of high amounts of healthy fat, protein from animal sources and lots of vegetables, beans and nuts.

The carbs that are added to my diet are only from slow-sugar breakdown complex carbs.  Carbs like plain oatmeal, sweet potatoes or a whole grain like quinoa or faro. Occasional brown rice.

If you are thinking you can’t live like this, it’s not true.  It’s a very satisfying way of eating. Your blood sugar levels are stable and you feel really good. You are definitely not hungry because you can eat until you are full.

Once your bodyweight goals are achieved, you can add in what I call cheat meals 1-2 times per week.  Eat the junk carbs (pasta, bread), eat the deserts. You won’t feel that good the next day and you will gain a little weight from the meal, but if you apply my eating trick the next day, you will immediately lose any weight you have gained. What is my trick?  Intermittent fasting.

The very next day, after you have your big carb meals, do not eat anything till after 2pm. Just water. Coffee and tea are allowed. Your body will burn off all of those extra calories as energy between the hours of your last meal and 2pm. The good news is that most of that time is spent sleeping, not worry about being hugry. Intermittent fasting can also be used two-three days a week in the initial weight-loss diet phase as it will help the body lose weight as well.

A lot of these concepts may sound radical, but they are based on the latest biological science and they work. Have you heard of the Atkin’s Diet?  The Paleo Diet?  The Mediterranean Diet?  All of those plans have been around for years. Now science has caught up to why they work. It’s all about the sugar. Stop the sugar (carbs) and the weight comes off. With the no to low carb eating comes a major reduction in heart disease, diabetes and stroke.  Give it a whirl.


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