|What a thrill it was to be asked by Doug to write this guest post on diet and exercise. It has been far too long since I spoke with all of you, my friends at Know the Cause.|
Of course, the New Year is the time many of us resolve to lose our excess weight. And quite often, we choose to take drastic measures to do so, because we have made ourselves feel unnecessarily guilty about our supposed lack of willpower in the prior 12 months. But what if I were to tell you that your prior struggles have not necessarily been about a lack of willpower, but simply a misunderstanding of two simple principles? Once you understand these principles and start to include them in your health strategy, you will begin to shed your excess body fat almost effortlessly.
Principle 1: Fat loss isn’t about cutting calories; it’s about choosing foods that lower the fat-storing effects of the hormone insulin and increasing your body’s ability to get most of your energy from stored body fat. Crash diets always fail. Simply cutting calories drastically without paying attention to the kinds of foods you eat can lead to a miserable – and unsustainable – existence. Sure you might be successful for a while (yay, willpower!) as you struggle and suffer to lose those pounds and inches. But once you hit your goal weight and go back to your prior way of eating, you tend to put back on all the weight you lost and usually a little more. Nothing could be more frustrating. The reality is that if we can cut back on sugars, sugary drinks, and most starchy food products made from grains (bread, pasta, cereals, cookies and crackers), we can reduce the amount of fat-storing insulin we produce, allowing us to eat as much as we comfortably want of meat, fish, fowl, eggs, nuts, vegetables, fruits and many healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, and butter (yes, you heard me right!) with no real attention paid to the number of calories we are taking in. The idea is to re-train your body to become an expert at getting most of its day-to-day energy from stored fat and not depending on another meal of processed carbohydrates and simple sugars for energy. We are literally up-regulating enzyme systems that burn fat and down-regulating enzyme systems that depend on glucose – what carbohydrates turn into once you eat them. Eating this way has the added benefit of self-regulating appetite, so we get less hungry and find ourselves pushing the plate away when we are no longer hungry for the next bite. At my blog, MarksDailyApple.com, we call this becoming a “fat-burning beast.” This was your factory setting at birth.
Now, the other good news and principle #2: You don’t have to exercise that much to burn fat and tone muscle. Yes, you have to do SOME exercise, but not as much as you probably thought. It turns out that when you become good at burning fat, you burn fat all the time, whether you are exercising or not. In fact, exercising too hard or too often can sabotage weight loss, as it can cause us to unconsciously overeat when the body tries to compensate for all that lost energy. Exercise should only be about the types of movement that produce fat-burning muscle, and not the number of calories burned. Ironically then, walking has been shown to be most definitely one of the best forms of exercise ever devised. Try to find 30-40 minutes five days a week to get out and walk with co-worker, loved ones or friends. Then, as far as toning and firming, just one or two workouts a week of 15 to 30 minutes is all you need if you do prompt your genes to rebuild you as a strong, lean, fit person.
Fitness and health are really quite simple when you understand the principles. I discuss the details daily at my blog, and offer a free 90-page eBook on “Primal Blueprint Exercise” at www.marksdailyapple.com. I also created a low carb meal replacement to help you get in that fat-burning groove http://primalblueprint.com/products/Primal-Fuel.html. Make 2013 the year you get as healthy and fit as possible, with the least amount of struggle and sacrifice!