One of the ladies I look after recently asked for some advice on weight loss.
She mentioned that she has been following the standard Australian low fat, high carb diet (whole grains, lean meat, rice, pasta, veggies etc.) for years. She trains cardio (running and bike) every day in the gym, yet she still carries that spare tyre, has very little energy, a low immune system, sleeps poorly and sustains frequent injuries.
The first thing I asked her was what was her actual goal? She replied very firmly and without hesitation “to lose weight”
I then asked her what was to happen if the weight came off? She looked at me with a puzzled look on her face.
One thing I have discovered is that having weight loss as your primary goal means you tend to deprive your self of things that you currently enjoy.
`I like cake….. but I am on a diet so I can’t eat the cake.’ (Sound familiar?) Once you have reached your goal or you reach a “sticking point” or you simply find it to hard to sustain the “diet” then you unfortunately slot back into your old, toxic habits and find your self putting on more weight while sitting on the couch eating that cake that you told your self not to eat in the first place!!!!!
I then mentioned that if you followed a program (a paleo lifestyle) dedicated to achieving a gain in health, the weight would just melt away. Let me explain why.
First of all a paleo lifestyle you don’t have to give up anything you enjoy! You simply change the things that you enjoy over a 12-month period of time.
Secondly by following the standard `healthy food pyramid’ you will find it extremely hard to lose weight and keep lean, unless you have a very labour intensive job (ie. Landscaper, bricklayer etc.)
Lets have a look at what happens when you follow the standard food pyramid while doing lots of cardio type exercise, or worse – none at all! In a simple sense, every time you eat something your body breaks it down into carbohydrates, proteins (actually lots of different amino acids), and fats.
Common belief is that eating fat will make you fat – this could not be further from the truth!
In fact, when the Australian government decided to copy the U.S.A and introduce the `low fat craze’ we, as a nation GOT FATTER! The problem is that every carbohydrate you eat will eventually get turned into a simple sugar called glucose.
While glucose is a fuel, it is actually very toxic unless your cells are using it, so when you eat too many carbohydrates, (and I know you do!) you must rid this toxin from your bloodstream quickly. You will do so by filling the first glucose storage point, your big skeletal muscle and liver tissue.
Glucose is the fuel that muscles burn very quickly when you lift heavy things, you will reserve glucose within your muscles if you run long distances or do nothing at all! In fact spending a lot of time doing cardio increases the cortisol and stress response in your system (humans were designed to walk most of the day then a few times per week quickly and intensely hunt something, not spend hours running or sitting in front of a computer) automatically putting your body in “survival mode”, storing nutrients and fats just in case you don’t eat for a while.
Enter the first problem with chronic treadmills, exercise bikes and aerobic classes.If you are one of those inactive people eating the “low fat diet” your muscles and liver tissue will almost always be constantly full of glucose because you are not able to use up the storage.
The truth is, all the bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, rice, fruit, sweets, soft drink you eat and drink will eventually wind up as glucose.
This means that the excess sugar in your system must be put somewhere else….. yep, you guessed it… FAT CELLS!
Ready for the double whammy?
Because you are constantly trying to burn sugar from your system, the fat you eat won’t get used as fuel and will also get put into fat cell storage! And if that’s not bad enough your insulin levels will also need to be constantly high resulting in numerous devastating health problems (I will cover insulin problems in another post).
If we go back 10,000 or more years, we find that our ancestors had very little access to carbohydrates. There was some fruit here and there, a few berries, roots and shoots, but most of their carbohydrate fuel was locked inside vegetables. Very different when we think of what is recommend in today’s so called “healthy” food pyramid!
Remember, our genetic code as a human virtually hasn’t changed over those 10,000 years! Same Genes should equal same diet!
So, when you eat the commonly recommend breakfast cereal, a whole grain sandwich for lunch and meat and potatoes for dinner you not only consume toxic anti-nutrients (I will also cover this topic in another post) but you overload your body with carbohydrates eventually turning into glucose!
The paleo diet is the same diet we were eating for millions of years before agriculture. It follows the Paleolithic principles for human nutrition and therefore should not be viewed as a typical “diet”, rather a life long easy to follow eating plan.
There are literally thousands of “Paleo” (short for Paleolithic or hunter-gatherer) type recipes available world wide. Good luck!