Healthy eating is not automatically a fat loss diet


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What is healthy eating?

According to wiki.com, a healthy diet is one that helps maintain or improve general health. It is thought to be important for lowering health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer. A healthy diet involves consuming primarily fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to satisfy caloric requirements, provide the body with essential nutrients, phytochemicals, and fibre, and provide adequate water intake. A healthy diet supports energy needs and provides for human nutrition without exposure to toxicity or excessive weight gain from consuming excessive amounts.

I put the word excessive amounts in bold because this is what most people tend to ignore on building a “healthy fat loss diet.” People often interchange the word fat loss diet and a healthy diet.” These two are completely two different goals, although we can make a fat loss diet healthy or vice-versa. To many people, we can probably picture a healthy diet in our head as a diet with plenty of vegetables, plenty of fruits, plenty of lean meats, some healthy fats, and an occasional treat here and there. The problem here is that many people neglect the importance of context. To explain things further, let us try to use a context of a 130 lb. woman seeking fat loss. Theoretically speaking, her maintenance calorie requirements is around 1,950 calories per day just to maintain her weight. Note that this numbers are based on her predicted calorie maintenance and may not necessarily be accurate in real world scenario because there are some variables that may affect her caloric needs based on her activity levels, individual body response, etc.

Now, let us assume that she is one of those people who believes that eating a healthy diet automatically leads to fat loss. Using the common perception of what healthy eating looks like based on common people’s definition of a healthy diet, let us try to put it in numbers:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthy_diet

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If you look at what she ate in this particular day, one may perceive this as a typical healthy diet, but if we look carefully at the amount of total calories that she ate, she actually ate extra 128 calories on top of her predicted maintenance calorie requirements. Of course, no one gains weight overnight but if she continuously eat like this on a daily basis, at the end of the week, she would be eating an uncontrolled extra 896 calories. This is equivalent to 3,584 calories at the end of the month which is basically equal to a pound of fat which is 3,500 calories. As I’ve discussed in this blog, these uncontrolled surplus calories are what really makes people fat.

Please do not ever come to the conclusion that I am against healthy eating. In fact, I would highly encourage people to base the bulk of their diet from healthy, nutritious foods. I am just pointing out that a healthy diet does not automatically promote fat loss. Remember that in the context of fat loss, the primary determinant of fat loss is the presence of consistent calorie deficit.

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The real consequences of being a dieted down lean person


What is a dieted down lean person?

A dieted down lean person is someone who had gotten lean through manipulating his/ her diet and physical activities/ exercise to get there as opposed to a naturally lean person who can easily stay lean without doing much effort. Lyle McDonald of Bodyrecomposition.com wrote an excellent detailed article regarding this topic. I, myself belong to the dieted down lean person category because I’ve always been chubby and skinny fat all my life until I decided to do something about it back in 2006. In fact, I even wrote a blog regarding my own diet story. There were times that I purposely fattened myself up a little bit upon dieting down sine I wasn’t satisfied with the amount of lean body mass that I had after dieting down. It is a necessary evil thing to do in order to gain additional muscle mass — to be on hyper caloric diet (calorie surplus) to add some weight. There are various tactics that can be done to minimize the fat gain but for dieted down people most especially like myself, gaining some body fat in the process is an inevitable must.

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Skinny fat me back in 2003

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My international driver’s license photo back in 2004

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This pic was taken during my wife’s first pregnancy

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My rippest state after dieting down

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Photo of me during Culking (Cutting while bulking)

Now that you’ve seen the many faces of myself, I just posted those pictures to prove that I am not really a naturally lean person. I simply refused to let myself look like that again that’s why I am doing my very best to stay lean. If I ever let myself go again, I will surely gain all that weight again; maybe not that much but close with subconscious manipulation of the things that are within my control. I am dedicating this blog post for my current and future fat loss clients who are using/ will be using my fat loss consultation service for them to be mentally and physically prepared somewhat once they reach their personal desired leanness.

It is not easy but certainly possible!

My mission is to show the general population that the next level leanness is possible through the Context Dieting Solution. It will take some work, time and a whole lot of patience but it can certainly happen. Unfortunately, this comes with a price which I will enumerate below based on my own personal experience as an average person maintaining this kind of leanness all year round.

1.) Expect to be hungry.

If you’re previously overweight, chances are that your biological set point is high. People who have higher set point levels opt to have higher hunger levels than their naturally lean counterpart which makes it harder for them to stay lean. I wrote a blog regarding some tips/ tactics on how to combat hunger while staying lean.

2.) You may feel weaker in the gym.

Fat loss and performance doesn’t necessarily go along well together so, expect to have a compromise in the middle. This is the reason why context specificity or having one fitness goal at a time is very important. If your goal is fat loss, concentrate on fat loss.

3.) You may feel moody & grumpy.

I suspect that this irritability is a result of your body wanting you to eat some food. Hunger levels are associated with mood swings.

4.) You may feel lazy.

Since the human body is an efficient survival machine, this is the body’s way to conserve energy. Our body is favorable towards fat gain but will fight with it’s full arsenal for us not to starve to death. Our body doesn’t know the difference whether we’re just dieting down to look better naked or if we are starving to death.

5.) Fight food temptations.

Although there is no such food nor nutrient in isolation that can make people fat, once a dieted down person reached his peak in terms of leanness, his/ her calorie requirements will also be low as well. A lower calorie budget could mean a more restrictive diet. There are some strategies that can be done by altering the diet setup to still be able to enjoy some high calorie foods without gaining fat.

6.) You won’t burn as many calories doing the same amount of activities.

A lighter body burns fewer calories both at rest and while doing a specific activity compared to when he was still heavier.

7.) You may have a hard time getting a quality sleep.

When your calorie requirements are low to begin with and if you are hungry, it’s hard to get a quality sleep. From evolutionary perspective, it is probably more important to hunt/ gather some food than to sleep so that we would not starve to death or freeze to cold. Eating food also creates some thermic effect which keeps the body warmer. There are some strategies which I use personally such as nutrient timing or through melatonin supplementation.

8.) You may feel cold all the time.

Personally, I couldn’t even plunge myself in the pool even if the weather is hot here in Southern California. It feels like the water temperature penetrates through my bones that’s why I rarely use our apartment pool. Even at work, I often feel cold easily especially in my extremities (arms, legs) when I’m at work. I just had my thyroid levels checked and it was fine so it’s probably the result of either low body fat levels, calorie restriction or both. The body will do it’s best to conserve energy and heat production in the body can be metabolically expensive.

These are just some of the consequences a dieted down lean person may need to face as a compromise of staying lean. This is probably something that naturally lean people will never understand why it is much harder for other people to maintain leanness. A naturally lean person may still be able to maintain his/ her metabolic rate even if he is on his/ her leanest state.

When is the best time to do exercise?


Vague questions get vague answers

Finding the “best” time to exercise is like finding the best dress for all occasions because it just depends on the context of scenario. Would you wear a swim wear on a cocktail party? Of course not. Finding the best time to train for most people can be answered by two scenarios:

A. The time of the day when you feel the most energetic

B. Or during your free time when your schedule permits you

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The phrase I have no time to do exercise believe it or not is non-existent. No matter how busy a person’s lifestyle is, there will always be a free time for it. People simply needs to manage their time more efficiently. I work three jobs at the moment which includes my fat loss consultation service yet I still manage to train three times a week. I even tell my clients to train only three times a week for fat loss because for most people who simply wants to improve their health, feeling of well-being or those who seek fat loss, three times a week training is sufficiently enough thus, it i realistically sustainable regardless of the person’s lifestyle.

Let me go back to the options above. If you are an average worker who works 7am – 3pm or 9 am – 5 pm, using the A option above, training before coming to work might be the best option in this context if you want to have a productive workout. If you fail to wake up earlier or you simply feel more energetic after work, then train after work.

If you have a more complicated lifestyle like me who also works during the nights or is working double jobs, then we’re stuck with option B which is to train whenever it’s possible which is preferably every other day training to give the muscles some rest and recuperate. Personally, when I’m working 16-hour shifts, I don’t train on those days because the workout may cause more harm than good plus in that context, rest becomes more important.

If you have a spare time to browse the internet, use Facebook, watch tv, or what have you, I’m sure you will always find a spare time to do some exercise.

How important is compliance in fat loss?


Conformity, cooperation or obedience to the protocols of a fat loss is huge determinant whether a person will succeed or fail to see predicted results. As I always tell my clients once they sign up for my consultation service, this is going to be a 50-50 work. I will provide their diet setup and in return, I expect their 100% compliance. You may have the best diet or diet setup in the world but if you are incapable of complying to it, you will still fail.

This is yet another reason why I decided to go for one on one consultation instead of writing a fat loss diet book because fat loss dieting may fail in two ways:

1. The diet fails the dieter or;

2. The dieter fails the diet.

The above category must work synergistically which is why whenever I design a client’s diet including myself as a dieter, I make sure that I consider many factors such as their food preferences, their lifestyle, their behavior as a dieter, their personality whether they’re the type of people who likes to see fast or steady results, etc. In short, as a fat loss consultant, I always make sure that I will carefully design my clientele’s diet using the least amount of lifestyle changes simply because creating or breaking a habit is difficult to do. This is in fact one of the reasons why many mainstream diets fail many dieters in the long run. These diets expect their dieters to change almost everything which includes but not limited to the foods that they eat, the frequency of the exercise, meal frequency, the diet is very restrictive, etc.

Many experts always say that the key to long term fat loss success are lifestyle changes. Although this statement is absolutely true, it also happened to be a very vague statement at the absolute level. This is where personal fat loss consultation chimes in. Hiring someone with deep understanding about fat loss can be really helpful to pinpoint you the things that needs to be changed or maintained in your lifestyle. And these things highly varies from person to person.

When dieters fail to comply in their fat loss diet, this is a result of a poor diet setup to begin with. It’s either the diet is unrealistically sustainable or the diet simply doesn’t jive with the person or the person’s lifestyle. If you will ask or simply observe the behavior of successful fat loss dieters, all of them were simply successful because they’re consistent in their dieting efforts. This consistency is a product of compliance.

The fat loss assassin


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According to popular common beliefs, what makes people fat are foods that are high in calories such as fast foods, soft drinks, processed foods, pizza, donuts, foods that are high in fat and other foods that are high in calories. The truth is, there is no such food nor nutrient in isolation that makes people fat. What makes people fat is the unused surplus calories that accumulate overtime. Most people are simply poor on estimating the amount of their real food intake. This is also the reason why I am a strong advocate of tracking calorie intake whilst using digital food scale and a measuring cup to myself and among my clients in order to maximize their results. I even makes a joke among my coworkers that Church’s chicken‘s fried chicken breast (original recipe) has a good calorie: macronutrient ratio which is in fact true if you carefully analyze it. Imagine, for 200 calories, you’re getting 22 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs and only 11 gram of fat. When it comes to fast food standards, it’s calorie: macronutrient content is not bad at all plus it freaking tastes good! In contrary, Church’s chicken serves high calorie/ high fat foods but just like what I said earlier, it’s not the high calorie foods that makes people fat, but it’s those sneaky fat loss assassins such as under reported food intake which accumulates overtime which really makes people fat!

Fat loss assassins

These fat loss assassins which I was referring to are so sneaky that you won’t even notice that they’re stalking you behind. Remember those times when you ate 7 extra potato chips that you neglect to factor within your calorie budget? Remember those moments when you thought that a small piece of chocolate molten cake won’t hurt your diet? Remember those days when you felt lazy to weigh the peanut butter on the food scale because you are over confidently certain that you really know how much you were eating? Remember the times when you were not really hungry and out of boredom you just ate anything you can get your hands into? Remember those leftover foods that your kids did not eat but because you don’t believe in throwing foods away, you ate them instead? I’m not saying that people gets fat overnight. My point is, those extra 50, 100 or more extra calories a day could easily build up overtime. These are what I consider uncontrolled food intake. When you begin your fat loss diet, the very first thing that you must keep in mind to have control over how much you are eating. When it comes to fat loss, the amount of the calories that you eat is far more important than the type of the foods that you eat.

See, if there’s only one thing that must be avoided on a fat loss diet, that would be the uncontrolled food intake.

How to identify a bullshit diet


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Okay, I am also selling fat loss consultation and there is nothing wrong on selling, but the problem is when someone is selling us a product or service that is made of bullshit. Trust me here, there are so many people trying to make a quick buck out of our ignorance. The truth is, there is so much money to be made selling diets because people tend to become impulsive buyers especially if the product or service is targeting our emotions. Here is the list of diets that everyone should stay away from:

1. DETOX

A dead giveaway. The human body survived millions of years without doing any detoxification.

2. “Healthy diet”

The word healthy is the fitness world is an overly abused and misused by many people trying to make a quick buck. Any diet that is capable of creating a calorie deficit therefore can make you lose weight, is capable of improving your health markers. The truth is, most of the time, the improvements on health markers was made possible but not due to the diet type or foods eaten in the diet but as a result of the weight loss instead. People who diets of some sort tend to increase their physical activities or exercise or both, so there are many confounding factors which improves their health.

3. Health seminars

A common bait to make you join a pyramid scam. Apparently, these pyramid scammers figured a way to capture the masses’ interest to lure you to join their networking. Before you know it, you are already in the bottom of their food chain selling their new diet to others so you can go up to the ladder of the pyramid scam. Social support group is important on long-term weight management t but you don’t need to attend any seminars to do so.

4. Do X type of exercise to lose weight/ burn fat

There is no single type of exercise that can increase your fat oxidation in 24 hours. We lose weight/ fat as a result of consistent application of calorie deficit whether it is coming from the food intake or energy expenditure or both.

5. You need to buy the company’s patented supplement

Supplements can be helpful but are not necessary to produce results!

6. Avoid these foods, Don’t eat that

There is no single type of food nor nutrient that can make us fat in isolation. We get fat as a result of accumulation of acute unused surplus calories overtime period!

7. Go low fat, go low carbs

Context is the most important consideration. One does not need to go low fat nor low carb nor low anything to lose weight!

8. Avoid beer and other alcohol because it produces beer belly

No. There is no single type of nutrient that makes a person fat.

9. Calories doesn’t matter

Dead giveaway. Do yourself a favor and run away immediately.

10. No references

A person who is selling a diet or a service that is trustworthy should be able to provide you with references from various research.

11. Flooded testimonials

This is a biggie. Most of us decides based on our emotions. While there is nothing wrong on using testimonials to market a diet or a service, testimonials alone are not enough that the diet or service is legitimate. Hey, I could easily hire someone to say something nice about my product 🙂

12. Over instructions but fails to explain how things work

A person or a good diet should be able to explain why and how things work.

I will periodically update this list as time goes on but for now, keep these list in mind.

Change your mood to put yourself in the groove


In my experience as a long term dieted down individual , one of the problems that I’ve been tackling is finding motivation to do my workout sometimes. I am not always feeling lazy to do my workout but just like what I had explained here, when a person is dieting down way below his/ her set point, his/ her body will fight back in order to conserve the energy expenditure which may explain why I feel demotivated to be consistent in my workout. There are both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation that we can manipulate. Lately, I found some tactics which can vastly improve my mood towards doing my workout.

MUSIC

I don’t know if you like house and electronic music but in my experience, the rhythm of the beat can uplift a lazy mood. I personally use Digitally Imported app in my iPhone which I simply connect in my speakers at home.

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LIGHTING

Believe it or not, well lit environment can affect the mood or even gym performance. I train at home and for four years, I’ve been using soft lightbulb in my gym but I have noticed that during the winter, the yellowish illumination makes me feel sad and demotivated. Yesterday, I switched the lightbulb of my floor lamp into a daylight fluorescent lightbulb. I immediately noticed the positive difference in my mood. If you are training in the gym, it is probably best to find a gym with a well lit environment especially during the winter when many people is affected with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

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HOT SHOWER

It’s amazing what a hot shower can do before working out. It seems to loosen up the tightness in the joints.

To sum things up, there seems to be external factors that are in our control which can make a difference in our mood. There is another extrinsic motivation that works really well but I will keep that one as a secret but I might share that secret technique to my future clients who are going to consult with me 🙂

http://m.pom.sagepub.com/content/33/2/173.abstract

http://m.sgo.sagepub.com/content/2/2/2158244012445585.full