In the context of getting NOT FAT, an MBA in finance saying numbers don't matter is a like a fitness specialist telling people to forget exercise.
Guess what? Both these fools are right. And they are both me!
You can count and chronicle your calories, fat grams, steps and calories burned all you want to, but it ain't gonna help you get NOT FAT. At least not in a long-term, sustainable manner. Sure, it will work for a little while and it's probably worked for you before, but all these numbers and tracked movements are just noise and a waste of your time. Plus, they're taking your focus off of what really matters.
Let's start with calories. I've counted (and burned) more of them in my one lifetime than everyone I know combined -- try me by asking the calorie count of a food or burn of an exercise next time you see me.
A calorie is both a unit of energy and a meaningless concept for getting NOT FAT. We are not programmed to have some magic number we need to target or else.
Guess who loves the concept of calories and CICO (calories in, calories out) method? Big food because "a calorie is a calorie" (bullshit, 300 calories of ribeye or avocado is not the same as a candy bar) and big exercise because "you gotta burn those (evil) calories to lose weight!"
More picking on exercise. It is *not* a great weight loss tool. As a personal trainer, I used to tell my clients it was 50-50 food and exercise, then years later I realized it was more like 80-20. And now I know it's 99.9% food and not so much exercise that creates a NOT FAT bod. Exercise tends to increase appetite and lead people into thinking they can “work off” poor nourishment choices, especially among people who don’t like to exercise in the first place. It also stops people from cleaning up their diets: i.e., "I'll exercise once I lose some weight." The worst is the (brilliant) marketing concept that you need to "fuel your workout" and it's not just before, but during and after as well. This "fuel" is of course more products, usually with added sweeteners, preservatives and non-food.
This certainly doesn’t mean that exercise doesn’t have tremendous benefits! I love exercise and I'm less fun to be around when I don't move. It brings endorphins and pleasure, improves your circulation, sleep, resting heart rate and insulin sensitivity (meaning your body more effectively uses insulin which is a broken system in many). That doesn't, however, mean exercise should be a weight loss focus or tool.
One doesn’t need to “burn calories” to get NOT FAT, let alone count them. So what's a person who wants to lose fat or improve her health to do?
SHIFT THE PARADIGM away from CICO and to NOURISHMENT.
Instead of adding up calories or grams in a meal, make nourishment based choices. Just as a chef considers each ingredient's flavor "instrument" or profile in creating the "orchestra" of his meal, you should think about what each chosen food brings to your body and soul's table. Why are you placing a food in your pan or on your plate? What benefits does it bring in terms of nutrient density and flavor? Is there anything in the food that could or does cause me harm?
The majority of the "food" sold in our stores is made with three types of ingredients which offer no nourishment value, create inflammation and cause system dysfunction. The good news is that once you know what they are, you can easily avoid them. The bad news is that it's the majority of our food supply in terms of numbers of products. These include:
1. Industrial seed and vegetable oils = canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, etc. Learn more.
2. Sugar and processed sweeteners = the regular white stuff plus especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and fake, chemical laden products and even "natural" sugars like agave.
3. Additives and preservatives = if you don't recognize it, question it and remember that so called "natural" flavors are not.
So what are you supposed to eat? The answer is again, simple: real, whole foods. Did it grow or was it raised in nature? Would your grandma or great grandma recognize it? Does it have minimal packaging? Is it something you could make at home if you wanted? (An example would be fermenting your own yogurt from milk and the answer is yes.) Some hints:
1. If it comes in a box, especially with individual wrappers, it's extremely suspect.
2. If it has unpronounceable names, ditto.
3. If it's marketing to you or your kids (think characters), ditto. This includes "heart healthy" grains which are not.
Real, whole foods nourish and naturally indicate how much you need and when you need it. (Hint, if you’re snacking a lot, you ain’t nourished.) Be sure to pair them with plentiful amounts of healthy fat sources -- fruit oils and saturated animal fats (if you eat them, and I hope you do given their nutrient density). This nourishment mindset should spill over into the experiences you choose for exercise and beyond – ask yourself before you make a choice if it’s nourishing to mind, body or soul and if not, consider something else.
Grreat blog post
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