When I started this journey in May, 2015, I had no idea how true this statement was. All I knew was that I wanted to lose weight (again) and was tired of doing the same thing over and over without long term success.
I thought I “knew for sure” what to do – count calories and exercise to burn more than I ate. Sounds perfectly logical, except it didn’t work long term. Counting calories is exhausting – trying to figure out how to “save enough” for a “treat” at the end of the day or end of the week. Then, when you get tired and let your guard down, next thing you know, you have to start all over again. Sound familiar??
The other thing I’ve learned is how that approach can damage your metabolism over time. Remember “The Biggest Loser“? Not only did they gain the weight back, but their basal metabolic rate slowed so that the weight came back even faster.
In this blog post, Dr. Jason Fung explains in detail why exercise actually has very little to do with weight loss. “This is NOT to say that exercise is not healthy for you. It is like brushing your teeth. Good for you, do it every day, but don’t expect to lose weight.”
There are two general theories of obesity:
- Calories In/Calories Out
- Insulin Theory
Since I was tired of the first option, I decided to try the second. Limit carbohydrate intake, reduce insulin levels, and burn fat. Turns out, it works!
This, of course, is oversimplifying the complexity of metabolism, but you get the idea. Jeff Cyr has a great Facebook post on how the body maintains blood sugar levels and how it goes wrong in Diabetes.
The human body is a very complex machine and has evolved over millions of years to use two energy sources: sugar (glucose) and fat (ketones).
Another thing we “know for sure” is how bad saturated fat is. Turns out, that belief got us into very serious trouble. In the late 70’s, the warnings about fat and heart disease were not based on good science. Replacing natural fats with carbohydrates, in many experts’ opinions, was the beginning of the obesity and diabetes epidemics we see today.
All I know “for sure” is when I cut out processed food, most carbohydrates, and increased natural fats in my diet, I was finally able to achieve lasting weight loss (without hunger) and reduce most risk factors for heart disease. I think that’s a pretty good deal!