Stop Counting Calories.

There’s a reason most diets don’t work.  It’s not because you’re a failure or you have poor willpower.  It’s because everything we thought about food is wrong.  If you care to take a drive with me down the rabbit hole, we can sort this thing out.  Let’s go.

Typically, a diet tells you not to eat this and that and to only eat this and that.  Meanwhile, you’re constantly hungry.  You crave.  You want to eat the doughnut, but you don’t because the diet told you so.  The diet is watching you and IT WILL KNOW.  Drop the doughnut and suffer like a good dieter.

“Somebody’s watching youuuuuu.”

This invariably causes failure.  Time and again.  An entire industry is built around YOU failing, and then trying again.  Big money is waiting to cash in on you jumping into and out of diets for the rest of your life.  They roll the advertisements out for the New Year, since everyone knows you’ve committed THIS year to losing weight.  Time to jump on the Weight Watchers bandwagon and lock yourself into a 4 year gym membership which you’ll only use for a month, right?

Dieters “fail” because most diets require a strength of will that only a marathon runner could endure.  Hunger is a daily, sometimes hourly, desire tugging at you like a little addiction.  Eat.  Eat.  Food.  EAT!

When you crash and burn and give up, the sugar-laden food industry welcomes you back with open arms and a knowing grin.  “Welcome back, old friend.  Have some ice cream, it’ll make you feel great.

The battle is always between carbohydrates and fats.  The majority of diets espouse a low fat/low carb mantra.  Basically, you’re supposed to deprive yourself like you’re living in a POW camp.  Enjoy your starvation!

I asked myself the other day,  “What’s the point of eating ANY kind of grains at all?”  The FDA recommends 9-11 servings of grain a day.  The basis of our diet revolves around grain.  Why?  What’s so great about it?  Let me blow your mind:  they aren’t necessary.  In fact, most carbs keep you hungry by spiking and then crashing your blood sugar levels.  Ever get that “shaky” feeling when you’re hungry?  That’s the carb addiction kicking in.  Eat more carbs.  Rinse.  Repeat.

We all know sugar is bad, but we eat a lot of it anyway whether wittingly or unwittingly.  The World Health

How could something that tastes so good, be so bad?

Organization released a report today stating that cancer rates will increase by 70% over the next 20 years, with sugar and obesity being among the top reasons alongside alcohol and tobacco consumption.  Wait.  Sugar and cancer?  Come to find out, cancer loves it some sugar.  And not just the refined white stuff or high fructose corn syrup, but also potatoes and flour.  Doesn’t the FDA recommend we eat 9-11 servings of this every day?  They do differentiate between whole and refined, but only suggest in a footnote that over half of your servings should come from whole.

In fact, the entire FDA “MyPlate” nutritional guide is based around calories.  Spend three minutes there and your eyes gloss over from the load of information they provide.  The very act of counting calories is a part-time job, and something most people will not commit to for very long before giving up.

Here is the problem with counting calories:  not all calories are created equal.  We’re told to eat 2,000-2,500 calories a day with a balanced diet.  Yet, 500 calories of sugar or refined carbs is vastly different from 500 calories of protein.  The physiological effects on your body between these two couldn’t be farther apart.  Sugar spikes your blood sugar, doesn’t fill you up, and has little to no nutritional value.  Proteins don’t spike your blood sugar, DO fill you up, and is an essential building block for your body.

What about fats?  Saturated fats have been enemy #1 for a very long time, and still are.  We’ve been told they clog arteries and raise our bad cholesterol.  Any kind of hydrogenated oil (trans fat) will definitely do those nasty things.  Unfortunately, this is the kind of oil we see in most of our food.  Hydrogenating oils make them stable, which means they can exist in your food for a long time before going rancid.  A fairly recent campaign to end use of trans fats in food was successful, but it’s still widely used, even in small amounts (Something may say 0 Trans Fats but can still have some).

The first widely used hydrogenated oil was a little something called “Crisco”.  Crisco was used for decades in American households for everything, from frying to baking.  Crisco is hydrogenated cottonseed oil.  Cottonseed oil is one of the worst kinds of oils, and then they hydrogenated it.  A generation of Americans clogged their arteries with this stuff and were told it was better for them than butter.

A balanced meal devoid of fat.

These days, saturated fats are being seriously re-evaluated again.  The growing consensus?  Saturated fats do not cause heart disease.  As the linked article above states, we’ve been told to replace “traditional” fats with ones we decided to make, like corn and soybean oil.  That natural butter and whole milk?  Yea, ditch those.  People have been eating them for generations but, look, this corn and soybean oil stuff is MUCH better.  Not to mention, we’ve genetically modified all the corn and soybean crops to resist our regular poison applications.  Bon appetite!

How has this paradigm been working, America?  Eat your grains.  Ditch the fats.  It’s almost a religious mantra at this point.  Yet it’s unbelievable to say that 1/3 of the US population is obese because they want to be, and are simply victims of their own weak willpower.  No, it’s the “carb” diet prescribed to us that keeps us in a state of hunger all day, even though we’re eating all day.  We’re all told to eat fiber and protein so we stay “full” longer, but that’s only part of the story.  We’re still missing a critical element: fat.

We’re not eating enough fat.  Fat has a bad name for itself because, well, it’s CALLED fat, something we’re all trying to avoid becoming.  Yet it’s not fat we should worry about but sugar, as studies are beginning to show that clogged arteries are occurring due to inflammation along the arterial walls.  Due to what?  Sugars, trans fats, and an imbalance of Omega 6 and Omega 3’s.  O6 is inflammatory to your arteries, and is commonly found in oils we all use and eat.  O3’s are an anti-inflammatory, so the ideal ratio of these two in our body is 1:1 or higher in O3.  The majority of the oils you eat have a high O6 level, particularly corn and vegetable oils.  We’re told to consume oils with polyunsaturated fats (because they’re “healthier”), but these are the ones with high O6 levels.  Most junk food and processed food use oils with O6.  There’s not much that we eat that have O3, so we are ALWAYS unbalanced towards O6 unless you’re also eating a lot of fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, and eggs that have O3’s.

So, what do we do?  Let’s break it down:

  • Stop eating so many carbs.  Let’s face facts.  Carbs are tasty.  Don’t get rid of them, just minimize them and choose good carbs.  Only eat whole grain and stop eating sugar.  Technically, you don’t need to eat any carbs at all.  When your body needs energy and doesn’t have any carbs, it cuts your fat cells apart like lumber in order to burn them for energy.  This is why low and no carb dieters, typically known from the Atkins diet, can quickly shed an incredible amount of weight.
  • Say no to refined sugar.  Stop eating refined sugar.  That sweet taste, often disguised with cute colors and fun packaging, is wrecking havoc on your body and appetite.  One day, sugar will be equated with smoking tobacco in terms of health warnings.  Get ahead of the game.
  • Eat good fats.  What’s a good fat?  Grass-fed butter and virgin organic coconut oil are two, for example.  Both have a great O6:O3 ratio, won’t raise your blood sugar, and they contain Medium-Chain-Triglycerides (MCT’s) which curbs hunger and provides energy like a carbohydrate.
  • Eat low-glycemic.  You still need fruits, vegetables and fiber, but choosing the right ones helps keep your blood sugar levels balanced (which is key in curbing your swings in hunger).  Eat strawberries instead of pineapple, whole oats instead of instant oats, etc.
  • The MCT Advantage.  This is the secret weapon against overeating and weight gain.  Most oils we eat are Long-Chain-Triglycerides, which are not absorbed easily and will store as body fat.  MCT’s, on the other hand, burn like a fire in your body and are well known to promote weight loss.  They also provide energy like a carbohydrate.  If you followed a no-carb diet, for example, you could instead get your energy needs from eating food with MCT.  Sounds crazy?  Read on.

There is a movement out there who rave about the effects of Coconut Oil.  A quick Google search will open that world up to you.  Specifically, Unrefined Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil.  My wife brought home a jar a couple weeks ago and said she “heard it was healthy”.  I looked at the saturated fat and shook my head.  One tablespoon equals 67% of my daily saturated fat content.  Healthy?  Right.

So I did some research and found that CO is very high in MCT through what’s called “Lauric Acid“, which is not typically found in our diets.  Breast milk is very high in lauric acid and is one of the reasons why breast feeding is widely promoted.  I decided I had read enough and would go “all in” with a low-carb/high fat diet that focused on using coconut oil daily.  Call me a suicidal guinea pig, but I’m sold.  It’s interesting to tell people I’m eating butter, saturated fats, and tons of food while still losing weight.  Since everyone equates eating fats with going to an early grave, they must secretly think I have a death wish.  It’s even more interesting when I tell them about the buttery coffee drink I have each day.  Read on for that one!

To say Coconut Oil is amazing is an understatement.  In the short two weeks that I’ve supplemented my diet with CO, I’ve eliminated my intense cravings, balanced my hunger, and lost weight.  Before I started eating CO, by the time I came home from work at 6pm everyday, I was so hungry I wanted to eat a large pizza.  Without fail.  Then I started eating 2-3 tablespoons of CO each day, and it all stopped.  At first, I didn’t change my normal eating habits and just added the CO.  When I got home from work I was barely thinking about food.  My caloric intake went down (not that I was counting), simply because I didn’t feel like eating sugar and snacks and  I no longer ate between meals because I just wasn’t hungry.

During the winter, my hands are normally dry and red and cracking.  Since I’ve been eating CO, my hands are hydrated and normal.  Yet, I’m told not to eat this much saturated fat.  Are my arteries clogging?  Time will tell, but it can’t be any worse than the diet that is causing heart disease to be the #1 disease in this country (with cancer being #2, and also directly related to our diet).

Oh, and if you’re really psyched about starting your day off with a bang, check out BulletProof Coffee.  I love it!  I use my own coffee, and my own butter/CO.  I haven’t bought any products from that website, I just like the recipe.  You don’t need a blender though.  Mix everything in a thermos and shake vigorously, you’ll get that creamy foam and a good mix of all the oils.  Fills you up, gives you energy, and tastes great.

Some foods that I eat:

  • Dairy/Meat:  Eggs, non-processed cheese, low-pastuerized/non-homogenized whole milk, grass fed butter (Kerrygold), grass fed hot dogs (Applegate Farms), lean turkey/chicken breast, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, uncured bacon, 2% Fage Yogurt
  • Fruit/Veggie:  Green beans, strawberries (or any kind of berry), broccoli, Morningstar brand foods (anything with ~20 carb per serving or less), Spicy V8, pears, peas.
  • Grains:  Ezekiel bread, Fiber One whole grain English muffins, whole oatmeal, brown rice
  • Stevia is an excellent sweetener for your fruits and snacks.  A bowl of 2% Fage with cut strawberries and Stevia will fill you up!  I also freely cook with the Kerrygold and/or coconut oil.

When I started, I weighed 174.  I’m a 5’11 male that’s already in OK shape and was just looking to get healthy.  I don’t gain weight very fast, but I was gaining and I knew my eating habits were unguided and unhinged.  I ate all day.

It took less than two weeks to lose 5 pounds, and I’m enjoying all the food I eat while keeping my appetite stable.  I’m no dietitian or scientist, so nothing I say here should be taken as gospel.  Everyone is different and certain diets may actually be very unhealthy for people with specific health conditions.  I’m just a guy who likes to look behind the curtain to see why I’m making food choices based on what others have told me.  Experts are regularly proven wrong, from economics to health, and knowledge is our first weapon in making our own decisions in life, for good or for bad.

The food we eat is far more complex than we are led to believe.  Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.  But for me, I’m sticking to low-carb/high fat/protein with a generous daily dose of CO.  I’m losing weight, eating all the right food that I want, and rarely hungry or craving junk.  Someone can tell me not to eat all that fun carby sugary stuff, but it’s just a whole lot easier if my body simply doesn’t want it.

4 comments

  1. cup112278

    I really appreciate you sharing your success with the low carb lifestyle. I have been overweight my entire life and consequently been a chronic dieter. Three months ago I drastically changed my lifestyle and eating habits because I was fed up. 3 months and 30 pds lost, I feel like a new person with this knowledge of eating healthy with the low carb lifestyle that I wish I had 20 years ago. Eating low carb/high protein and fat is the only thing that makes sense to me…but people need to understand how the body works and metabolism works before they get it. I don’t know how many times I tell people know now, “Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar does!” Haha……anyhow, I’m just grateful to Dr. Schwarzbein and her principles that I found her online and that knowledge has changed my life. Thanks again for the post!

    • Tim Scott

      Thank you for sharing your own story! Most people only dream of that kind of weight loss. It really is eye opening when you dive into how food and the body works, and as you said, people won’t “get it” until they either see your success or read about it themselves. Typically, seeing someone like you lose the weight will get them to ask questions and open up about learning. Honestly, with all the diets and false information out there, it’s no wonder people have such difficulty maintaining a healthy diet. Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. :)

  2. Maddie Cochere

    Hey, I’m with you all the way. Fish oil, coconut oil, low carb, low glycemic. It’s unbelievable how much better I feel when I eat this way. When I allow sugar and carbs to creep back in, it’s hard to get them out again. I think sugar is a terribly addictive monster.

  3. Tim Scott

    Hey Maddie! So true, I’ve been feeling way better eating this way. I don’t get tired or sluggish like I used to. It’s pretty surprising how much energy I have considering I eat little to no carbs. I agree, sugar is actually toxic to the body. Oviously, there’s a massive industry that would suffer financially if any regulatory body came out and made it official, so it’ll be a long time before we see anything like that. There is a movement to get it regulated like alcohol and tobacco, though, so at least there’s some effort! http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/your-brain-on-sugar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s