I was at the gym today, as I am four days each week. I saw a fat guy sitting on a treadmill, huffing, puffing, face red and arteries ready to explode. I wanted to tell him that he was going about this the wrong way. But 75% of the time, I would simply come across as a sanctimonious prick. I don’t want to be a sanctimonious prick.
You see, I’m nearing the end of my weight loss journey. Or should I say, fat loss journey. All told, I’ve lost 16lbs in a year. 16lbs is not a lot — but I have actually transformed my body.
Now, I could tell you how I did it. But I don’t think it matters. Not exactly. Sure, I could send you to Precision Nutrition, you could follow all their rules. I could send you to T-nation for a listing of exercise routines. But that wouldn’t help. Because everyone already KNOWS how to lose weight. A calorie deficit.
So why is it so hard to lose weight? Because we’re lazy (well, sort of) or weak (no, not really)?
For me, I ate too many calories because I was hungry. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? I was always hungry. I’d finish a meal and already start thinking about the next one. If there were a box of cookies in the house, they would burn a hole in my brain. A cookie, a cookie, a cookie. I’d sneak them. Yes, I’d sneak them. If there were a box of communal timbits, I’d try to figure out ways I could snatch a few extra. A timbit, a timbit, a timbit.
I’d done other weight loss plans. Sheer willpower (eat half), Weight Watchers, Men’s Health…but they never worked and they weren’t sustainable. Why? Because I was always hungry. Like an addiction. But imagine the recovering alcoholic who has to drink a glass of wine once a day. Always tempting themselves. They would fail.
And so it is with weight loss. You have to eat, several times a day, testing your resolve. All those tasty foods…
So let’s define the problem. We’re hungry. If we’re hungry, ravenous, we’re going to eat the first thing we can get our hands on. Usually, it’s crap food. Usually, we eat out at restaurants, or we eat whatever comes in a package. We never grab a green pepper. Or a tomato. NEVER. Why? I have no clue. I’m sure there’s a reasoning behind it. Maybe when we get that hungry our blood sugar levels drop so we seek carbs. I don’t know.
Once again, hunger is the problem.
Let’s eliminate it.
You’re not going to like the answer.
Carbs. They KEEP you hungry. I know this from experience. I know, I know – carbs are the enemy and all that. I could send you to hundreds of sites detailing insulin resistance, and glycogen levels. Carbs, carbs, carbs.
Hell, carbs are the delivery vehicle for almost every food. All pastas, sandwiches, nachos, hamburgers, hotdogs, casseroles, potatoes, rice, cereals, toast…you get the idea. Take those out. Replace them with something else. I bet you drop HALF your daily calories if not more (what to replace them with — more on that in a moment)
This is the weird part…if you cut those carbs, those processed, pre-packaged foods, and replace them with whole foods such as whole grains (oats, quinoa, brown rice), vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, eat em, eat em, eat em), fruit, some dairy, lots of lean protein — you won’t be hungry.
Try it for a week. It takes some planning. It takes TIME (you have prepare a lot of foods). Instead of pasta, put your sauce on spaghetti squash (honestly, give it a try). Instead of tacos, put your cheese, avacado, sour cream, salsa, steak, seasoning, tomato on lettuce. Have chili.
Eat often, but ONLY until you’re full. If you’re absolutely starving, you’ve waited too long.
Munch on veggies throughout the day. Even if you’re not hungry, have a handful of carrots.
You see, when you’re not hungry, all the cravings go away. Is every meal a masterpiece? No. You have to make some sacrifices, otherwise everyone would have a perfect body.
Carbs aren’t the enemy. Hunger is.
Update: oddly, just as a published this, Precision Nutrition had an article very similar (different POV) about food displacement and energy density.