Here’s a radical suggestion to help you lose weight: STOP EATING!
ALL. THE. TIME.
Stop snacking here. Noshing there. Grazing. Nibbling. Licking. Tasting.
Three meals a day plus snacks morning, afternoon and evening is too much eating!
Even healthy, nutritious foods. Give your body a well-deserved generous span of time in which to rest and digest.
Put that fork down! Step away from the table.
I know what you’re thinking: That’s crazy! We need food for energy. Right?
Of course, but not a steady influx every few hours.
In fact, our bodies were never designed, nor have they evolved, to be in constant food processing mode.
See all that stored fat on your body?
That’s where your energy comes from when you stop eating all the time.
But here’s the problem, frequent eating actually prevents your body from accessing those fat stores. Frequent eating keeps insulin levels high.
Insulin blocks access to fat stores.
The idea that” breakfast is the the most important meal of the day” has no basis in metabolic science.
It is nothing more than a marketing slogan that cereal manufacturers promulgated in the early 20th century to convince people to buy their cereal products.
Cereal took off because it was an easy breakfast to make and consume.
Don’t let me get started about the immoral, unrestrained marketing to children of colorful, super sweet cereals advertised on cartoon programs.
I know I got caught by that net. Relentless cartoon advertising caused me to badger my mother for Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Sugar Smacks and Lucky Charms.
Snap, Crackle and Pop and Tony the Tiger were so cute and appealing.
Cereal is nothing but a highly processed food, so empty of nutrients, manufactures crow that they fortify it with vitamins and minerals.
Let’s get our vitamins and minerals instead from real whole foods untouched by artificial vitamins and minerals concocted in some factory.
Ancestral biological programming rules.
Several hundred years ago, do you think humans followed the three meals a day rule? Do you imagine they even had access to foods that often?
In fact, Native Americans employed a practical approach to food. They ate when they were hungry. Which was far less frequently than we eat meals and snacks today.
They ate what they could gather and hunt and were none the worse for it.
They never had to deal with the addictive qualities of sugar and highly processed foods which hijack our brains and cause intense hunger cravings.
The three meals per day concept originated with European settlers.
They brought their eating habits with them to the new world. Unfortunately, this routine often encourages us to eat when we may not even be particularly hungry.
I’ve never been hungry for breakfast. Even though ubiquitous advertising tried to convince me that breakfast was the most important meal of the day.
The bottom line is this: To lose weight and keep it off for life, we need to rely on our actual hunger, not artificial societal norms and habits, to guide us when to eat.
But, as I keep emphasizing, when our hunger signals have been hijacked from eating too much added sugar and highly processed foods, we’ve got some work ahead of us to break free.
Dr. Jason Fung, another one of my metabolic function heroes, explains why the concept of eating all the time doesn’t even make sense.
The analogy of “stoking the fire by eating every few hours” is wrong.
Dr. Fung says no studies support that eating 6 small meals per day leads to weight loss.
From an evolutionary perspective, people did not eat as frequently as we do now. And, we are fatter than ever.
Timing of eating matters. A lot. The goal is to use the energy we’ve already consumed, rather than storing more of it in our fat cells.
Metabolism slows down when you cut calories.
Dr. Fung explains:
You can’t run on an energy deficit long-term.
When we lose weight with calories in vs calories out, the body adjusts by burning fewer calories. The body is smart. It does this for survival.
There are scientifically proven ways to circumvent the inevitable metabolism slow-down!
Every single physiologic process is a tight orchestration of hormonal signals.
Nothing in our bodies happens by accident.
Whether our heart beats faster or slower is tightly controlled by hormones. Whether we urinate a lot or a little is tightly controlled by hormones. Whether the calories we eat are burned as energy or stored as body fat is also tightly controlled by hormones.
So, the main problem of obesity is not necessarily the calories we eat, but how our bodies use them.
And the main hormone we need to know about is insulin.
Insulin is a fat-storing hormone.
There’s nothing wrong with that – that is simply its job.
When we eat, insulin goes up. This signals the body to store some food energy as body fat. Higher than usual insulin levels tell our body to store more food energy as body fat.
When we don’t eat, then insulin goes down. This signals the body to burn stored energy — our existing body fat.
A critical physiological variable such as body fatness is not left up to only the vagaries of daily caloric intake and exercise.
If early humans were too fat, they could not easily run and catch prey. They would be more easily caught themselves. If they were too skinny, they would not be able to survive the lean times. Body fatness is a critical determinant of species survival.
As such, we rely on hormones to precisely and tightly regulate body fat.
We don’t consciously control our body weight any more than we control our heart rates or our body temperatures. These are automatically regulated, and so is our weight.
Hormones can tell us we are hungry (ghrelin). Hormones can tell us we are full (peptide YY, cholecystokinin). Hormones can increase energy expenditure (adrenalin). Hormones can shut down energy expenditure (thyroid hormone).
Obesity can be a hormonal dysregulation of fat accumulation.
We can get fat because we’ve giving our body the hormonal signal to gain body fat. And those hormonal signals go up or down according to our diet.
Obesity is a hormonal imbalance as much as a caloric imbalance.
Insulin levels are almost 20 percent higher in obese people.
These elevated levels are strongly correlated to important indices such as waist circumference and waist/hip ratio.
The “insulin causes obesity” hypothesis is easily tested.
Does high insulin cause obesity?
If you give insulin to a random group of people, will they gain fat? The short answer is an emphatic “Yes!”
Patients who use insulin regularly and physicians who prescribe it already know the awful truth: the more insulin you give, the more weight people gain. Numerous studies have already demonstrated this fact.
Insulin causes weight gain.
As insulin goes up, one possible effect is that the body’s set weight goes up.
The hypothalamus can send out hormonal signals to the body to gain weight.
These hormonal signals cause us to become hungry and eat.
If we deliberately restrict caloric intake, then our total energy expenditure will decrease. The result may still be the same – weight gain
Once we understand that hormonal imbalances can affect weight gain, we can begin to make informed decisions about what food to eat and when.
If we believe that excess calories alone cause obesity, then the treatment is to reduce calories.
But just look at our obesity rates soaring year over year. I’d call this method a long-term failure.
If too much insulin drives obesity, then what we need to do becomes crystal clear. LOWER INSULIN LEVELS!
Effective weight loss strategies should balance both calories and hormones, especially insulin.
There are really only two ways that insulin increases.
Either we eat more foods that stimulate insulin or we eat those same insulin stimulating foods with greater frequency.
So if the key to long-lasting weight control is to control insulin, what are the best next steps?
There are no drugs that can control insulin.
Controlling insulin levels boils down to two simple factors:
- What we eat – determines how high insulin spikes
- When we eat – determines how persistent insulin is
Most diets concern themselves with only the first half of the equation, that’s why Dr. Fung believes they fail over the long term.
It’s not possible to address only half the problem and expect long-term success. No matter how hard we try, we can not fight biology and win!
Because insulin triggers fat storage, Dr. Fung recommends eating to lower insulin levels.
But he doesn’t tout any particular diet or any particular way of eating.
Not a low-calorie diet, low-carb, Paleo, Keto, Carnivore, low fat, Mediterranean, vegetarian or vegan.
If you want to reduce fat storage, you should lower insulin levels. According to Dr. Fung, this can even be done on a high-carbohydrate diet.
Many traditional societies have eaten carbohydrate-based diets without suffering from rampant obesity.
In the 1970s, before the obesity epidemic, the Irish were loving their potatoes. The Asians were loving their white rice. The French were loving their crusty baguettes, the Italians their pasta.
They didn’t think twice about what they ate. Until recently in human history there was no obesity crisis. Why?
The answer is simple.
People were not eating all the time.
When you are not eating, this is technically known as ‘fasting’.
This is the reason there is the English word ‘break fast’ or breakfast, the meal that breaks your fast.
During your sleep, you are not eating and therefore fasting.
This allows time for your body to digest the foods, process the nutrients and burn the rest for energy to power your vital organs and muscles.
In order to maintain a stable weight, you must balance eating and fasting.
During eating, you store food energy as body fat.
During fasting, you burn body fat for energy.
If you balance those two, your weight remains stable. If you are predominantly eating, you will gain weight. If you are predominantly not eating, you will lose weight.
So, here’s his best single piece of advice for weight loss. It’s so simple and obvious that even a 5-year old could have come up with it.
Stop eating multiple times per day.
That’s the theme of this blog post!
Unfortunately, most nutritional authorities tell you the exact opposite.
Stoke those metabolic fires. Eat six times a day. Eat lots of snacks. Eat before you go to bed. Eat, eat, eat – even to lose weight!
This makes no sense!
It sounds backwards because it is backwards.
Instead, it may be better for your overall health to use intermittent fasting. It’s been used successfully for countless generations throughout civilization.
Make it easier to use intermittent fasting to eat less frequently with coaching support.
When you’re considering trying intermittent fasting, let me help you ease your way into this new pattern of eating.
Take me up on my offer for a FREE Strategy Call. Let’s discuss how you can create a new scaffolding of thoughts and behaviors that make intermittent fasting a life style you can live with.
I’d like to teach you many tools, skills and strategies to make informed decisions rooted in science to lose weight more easily.
I began intermittent fasting over 3 years ago and have never looked back.
It’s the most significant change I’ve made that helped me lose over 30 pounds and maintain the weight loss without stressing out!
It has formed the foundation of the peace and freedom I enjoy today in my relationship with food, my body and my weight.
Go ahead. Schedule your FREE Strategy Call right here.
I’m looking forward to meeting you soon.
It’s Never Too Late to make your weight loss journey easier. A year from now, you will thank yourself.