One of the hardest challenges anybody will ever face in their life is the uphill battle to reverse one’s unwanted weight gain.
The numbers on the weight scale always seem to keep going up, never down.
A fundamental, global dietary change is sorely needed.
In this article, I have done my best to deliver to you just the unbiased facts on how to successfully lose weight and keep it off for good.
I am not trying to sell you any books, pills, memberships or any silly weight loss supplements.
The Western world is deeply entrenched in an obesity pandemic and my only motivation is to educate as many people as possible so they can heal their own bodies and help others do the same.
I am not a physician, scientist or nutritionist but with the help of many citations and references from the industry’s most intelligent, impartial minds, I will deliver everything you need to know to succeed where previous advice has mislead you and failed you.
This guide contains many third party videos that are vital to your education so please make sure to watch each and every one of them.
Initial weight loss is easy, even when it’s done incorrectly, following outdated methods.
The more body fat you have to lose, the easier it is to lose a quick 5, 10, even 20 pounds.
After that initial weight loss though, we all know that trying to lose weight the wrong way, by following a calorie-restricted diet, you are almost guaranteed to fail and it is not your fault.
That’s right, it’s not your fault.
Fact: Excess Insulin, Insulin Resistance and Leptin Resistance are the primary root causes of Obesity
Let’s start the healing process.
If you truly want to lose weight, you are going to first have to learn how you actually gain weight.
Forget everything you think you know about weight gain and read this guide with an open mind.
Don’t be quick to dismiss the factual information you are about to learn.
If you don’t understand something or disagree, please ask your question in the comment section at the end of the article and let’s start a healthy dialogue.
The Next 8 Minutes will change you life…
Please watch this short video presentation by Dr. Lustig that completely explains how and why we gain weight.
After the video, I will summarize and explain each critical element. It might even be a good idea to watch the presentation a few times.
The Biology of Appetite, Fat Storage and Fat Release
In this section, we are going to be talking about three vitally important hormones:
Dr. Lustig talked about leptin and leptin resistance(1) in the video presentation above.
Leptin controls appetite and in healthy individuals, the fat cells send signals to the brain, letting the brain know when we are full.
Obese individuals have surprisingly high levels of leptin which seems to be counter intuitive to leptin’s role in appetite and metabolism.
It turns out, that obese individuals have developed a condition called leptin resistance.
The exact cause of leptin resistance is still highly contested and debatable.
Luckily for us, correcting excess insulin, insulin resistance and leptin resistance can all be accomplished following the same corrective, dietary guidelines.
So let’s keep the focus on correcting excess insulin and the leptin resistance will also be resolved.
One function of insulin is to help in the process of fat storage, meaning high levels of insulin causes weight to be gained and these high levels of insulin are generally caused by the foods that contain high amounts of carbohydrates.
After you eat anything, insulin is released into your bloodstream and its purpose is to maintain the correct amount of sugar in your blood to about a teaspoon.
If on a regular basis your body has more than one teaspoon in the bloodstream, it can cause the thickening of your blood, clogging up your blood vessels and slowing down your circulation. (This is what happens in diabetics)
Sugary foods like pastries and other sweets also release insulin into your blood. This insulin triggers your cells to soak up this extra sugar. Once the sugar is metabolised, some of it is converted into energy and the rest is stored as body fat.
Eating sugary foods on a regular basis will cause the pancreas to release excessive amounts of insulin into your body. Over time, this causes your muscle and fat cells to stop reacting to it like they are suppose to.
In effect, they slowly start to become resistant to the insulin.
Once your cells become insulin resistant, bigger health concerns start appearing.
Regular, normal blood sugar levels are essential for being in balance. High blood sugar levels results in the release of excess insulin with the sugars being converted into fat.
When your blood sugar gets to low, you start to feel drowsy or tired and then sugar cravings kick in to tell you to eat.
By maintaining normal blood sugar levels, you will eliminate these cravings.
Insulin resistant people need more insulin because their fat, muscle and liver cells cannot respond appropriately to the normal amount of insulin anymore.
The pancreas produces more insulin to keep up with the higher demand, but soon it can’t keep up. So, instead of the sugar being absorbed by the cells it just sits in the blood.
This eventually leads to type II diabetes.
A perfect example of wide-scale Insulin Resistance Not in America
Throughout my twenties and early thirties, I traveled extensively throughout Central America. I remember observing that the majority (my opinion) of the adult female population was overweight, especially the mothers forty and over, yet their children were very skinny and in many cases, looked to be suffering from malnutrition.
One might conclude that these women are selfish and eat all the family food. Obviously, this can’t be further from the truth, like any mother, they would starve themselves before letting their children go without food.
So why then?
It’s quite simple really.
The Hispanic countries of Central America drink Coca-cola like its water. The children’s bodies still have a normal reaction to insulin requiring small amounts of it to remove the excess sugar from their blood while their corresponding mother’s bodies have slowly over the years developed insulin resistance and the weight gain that comes with it.
The Master Metabolism Hormones: Insulin and Glucagon
The hormones insulin and glucagon control you metabolism.
Essentially, they are polar opposites.
When your blood sugar is too high, the pancreas releases insulin to remove the excess sugar from the blood and store it as body fat.
When your blood sugar is too low, the pancreas releases glucagon to raise the blood sugar levels. Glucagon accomplishes this by telling the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose.
Together, insulin and glucagon regulate our blood sugar levels.
Don’t bother looking for the magic Glucagon pill because it doesn’t exist. You can’t take prescription pills to regulate either insulin or glucagon.
Fact: Blood Sugar regulates Insulin and Glucagon
As we have previous stated, insulin and glucagon regulate blood sugar levels but luckily for us, the reverse logic also holds true.
So if we need to control our blood sugar levels to control our weight gain, we need to know which foods cause the greatest increases in insulin.
To accomplish that, we need to look more closely at what exactly we are consuming.
Fact: Food is Made up of 3 Macronutrients
Only the 3 macronutrients give us energy, measured in calories, while the micronutrients provide us with vitamins and minerals. Both macronutrients and micronutrients are essential to our survival and healthy well-being.
Most people have a fairly good understanding of why we need to eat foods containing protein.
Protein is an essential nutrient, without it, you will perish.(2) This is an interesting statement because the other macronutrient that is essential to human life is fat, not carbohydrates.
Hence the term, essential fatty acids.
Our Food is Made up of Different Combinations of Macronutrients
We don’t go into the grocery store and buy 100 grams of protein, 200 grams of fat and 300 grams of carbohydrates.
Foods like fish, meats and eggs for example are comprised mainly of protein and fat.
If you remove one macronutrient from your diet, you have to replace it with another.
This makes sense right? If there are only 3 macronutrients that comprises the food we eat and you remove one macronutrient, you are going to have to replace it with one or both of the other two if you still want to consume the same amount of energy (calories).
Our Food Supply Changed
There was a fundamental shift in our diet in 1977.
The 95th Congress 1st Session recommended the reduction of fat in our diet from 40% to 30%.
The food companies were happy to oblige.
I remember clearly the drastic changes made in our household growing up.
Butter was replaced with margarine, whole milk became skim milk then soy milk.
Eggs, bacon and avocados were outright banned.
Fatty meats were replaced by the leanest cuts.
Carbohydrates. Trust me, they didn’t replace the fat with protein; protein is expensive.
Before 1977, the recommended macronutrient ratio for our diet was 30-30-40 (protein, carbohydrates, fat).
But carbohydrates, they are cheap, plentiful and tasty.
So the food industry with the backing of the Ancel Keys‘ Seven Country Study and the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association and the US. Dept. of Agriculture, started replacing the “unhealthy” fats with sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
Fact: Fat is the Most Misunderstood Macronutrient
For the last 30 years, the food industry, nutritionists, and physicians have vilified dietary fats, primarily saturated fats.
As Dr. Lustig explained in the video above, insulin is the primary hormone that drives weight gain not the consumption of healthy fats.
Important Knowledge: Omega 6:3 Dietary Ratio
Fact: Dietary fat, by itself, is metabolically inert
I have to laugh every time I go to the supermarket. I walk the aisles trying to find healthy food and of course, I’m reading labels endlessly.
Everywhere you look, “Low-Fat” “No-Fat” “0% Fat”. Sometimes, I try to see if any products aren’t labeled low-fat.
The reason why I always chuckle is because when I see “Low-fat” my brain reads “added sugar”.
Dietary fat is metabolically inert. What does this mean? It means when you eat an avocado, your blood sugar levels barely move.
How can this be? Avocados are full of calories. Well, for starters, calories really have nothing to do with gaining weight.
Calories and the endless misinformation surrounding them
What is a calorie?
The Top 3 Most Ridiculous Calorie Sayings:
- Farse: Counting Calories
- Fiction: A Calorie is a Calorie
- Fiction: Sugar is an empty calorie
#3. Counting Calories
The main reason I dislike this saying is because it sends the wrong message, like #2 “a calorie is a calorie.”
Calories are not the enemy.
Poor food choices are the enemy.
Buying your food at conveniences stores, that’s the enemy. Washing your food down with a Big Gulp, that’s the enemy.
Counting calories only works in theory, with next to zero adherence and providing very little feedback to the consumer.
Counting carbs isn’t a picnic either but at-least it provides meaningful data you can use to construct healthy, balanced meals.
Calories are just measures of energy and we are going to need lots of energy to burn off all that extra fat you are carrying.
If you still preaching this ridiculous dogma, please do us all a favor and stop giving weight loss advice. Your biological reaction to 200 calories of sugar vs. 200 calories of broccoli is very, very different. Tell a diabetic “a calorie is a calorie”, then duck.
#1. Sugar is an empty calorie
This saying drives me crazy. Sugar is far from being an empty calorie.
Sugar is the most destructive calorie there is. Calling sugar “an empty calorie” is purely a marketing ploy used to make it sound neutral, like it’s not so bad, it just doesn’t offer you the goodness of other food choices.
You know you are reading a really bogus article when the next thing they tell you is that sugar causes tooth decay.
Sorry to all you dentists out there but I think mentioning that excessive sugar consumption leads to insulin resistance, obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, etc. might be a little more of an important health concern than tooth decay.
“Go ahead little Timmy, enjoy your sugary breakfast cereal, just make sure to brush your teeth afterward.”
The Corrective Measures Needed to Stop Unwanted Weight Gain
- Maintain even blood sugar levels, avoiding insulin spikes at all costs.
- Gain better access to your body’s human growth hormone supply.
- Anaerobic exercise especially weight training, resistance training and/or crossfit
- Stop eating HFCS, Sugar, Wheat, Soy
- Restrict alcohol consumption
- Eat your carbohydrates with dietary fiber
- Sugar and all of it’s many different aliases. Here is a list of sugar’s many aliases.
- Fiberless Fructose
- Sugary Drinks!!
- Trans Fats such as Margarine and Hydrogenated Oils.
- Wheat, it’s not about the Gluten
- Processed and Refined Foods
We will be using the same foods as the HFLC (high-fat, low-carb) diet which is essentially a traditional Paleo diet + dairy.
We are including dairy to help satisfy our daily fat intake.
All meats, eggs, fish, shellfish, low-carb vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy fats/oils are definitely included in our new lifestyle.
Don’t worry you don’t have to memorize the exact food list, just save and print off the shopping list below.
Here is a low-carb friendly shopping list you can utilize to lose weight and feel great.
Our Diet Plan/Lifestyle
We are not going on a diet because they would infer a temporary change in our eating habits.
We are making a permanent lifestyle change that you must believe in and adhere to, or your cycle of gaining weight and trying to lose weight will never end.
#1 Step: The Will to Succeed
There are a lot of biologically factors working against you. Insulin resistance, leptin resistance and sugar addiction top the list. The longer you’ve been overweight and the more weight you have to lose will also factor into how hard your weight loss journey is.
When you tell people you’ve switched to High-fat, Low-carb diet be ready for the many laughs, chuckles and jives. I personally won’t ever tell people “I’m on a Diet”. Why? Because you’re not. If you are a diet, this would infer you plan on going back to your old eating habits when this diet is over.
Here is a great article helping you to answer the questions that are sure to come your way. Remember, most people are still believing the ‘great’ dietary advice that has us in this current obesity pandemic so don’t let them get under your skin.
If you find yourself struggling to get the motivation to lose weight, try reading this article.
Also, friends and family sometimes don’t mean too but actually end up being the ones who sabotage your weight loss journey. Here is an article helping you to prepare for your saboteurs.
#2 Step: Metabolic Healing
Years and years of abusing your metabolism with poor food choices has left you metabolically sick.(4)
Any weight loss plan can only be successful if it is a sustainable, permanent lifestyle change.
It makes for a much easier journey if you know exactly why your body is storing fat opposed to the desired goal of burning fat.
We will be using a High-Fat, Low-Carb diet (IE. Paleo) to heal your body and reverse your insulin and leptin resistance. Optionally, you can reduce your carbohydrate intake even further and utilize a Ketogenic Diet. (ex. Atkins)
*Note – Many people mistaken this diet as a high protein diet. This is a moderate protein. For most people, we will be only increasing their morning protein servings.
Make sure to think of this diet as HFLC – high-fat, low-carb. You are reducing your carbs, replacing them primarily with healthy, juicy fats.
Let’s get started.
I divided the lifestyle plan into two phases: Healing and Lifestyle.
Healing – Repairing Insulin and Leptin Resistance
The first week is always the hardest, just like the first day at a new school. So you need to know what to expect and you need to be fully committed to making a long lasting positive change in your eating habits.
So don’t panic if your brain feels foggy and you have minor headaches for the 1st week (some people it will last a little longer).
The low-carb flu can really slowdown your thinking process so make sure you fully account for this before starting this lifestyle change. IE. If you have to do brain surgery on Monday, it probably isn’t a good idea to start this lifestyle on the weekend before.
Warning #2 – Eat adequate fat. This is the biggest mistake people make early on. So please make sure to get your necessary fat intake.
Here are some sample menus at the Ketogenic Diet Resource. Beautiful things like heavy cream in your morning coffee, avocados, cooking with butter and eating bacon are all now part of our diet.
Optional: Reduce your daily carbs to 20-50 grams.
If you drop your carbs into this range, you actually be using a Ketogenic Diet.
Lifestyle – Living a High-Fat, Low-Carb Lifestyle - Week 9 to Forever
Your goal for the rest of healthy life is not to become insulin and leptin resistant again.
Learn to love fueling your body with one-ingredient foods and make sure to get out and enjoy life again!
Lose Weight a Little Faster Options (Very Optional)
If you have made it to Week 9, congratulations.
If you are still looking for ways to speed up your weight loss, you could add intermittent fasting to your new, healthy lifestyle. Please note, IF, is not for everyone and most definitely, not necessary to complete your weight loss journey.
Intermittent fasting does bring added benefits to your lifestyle if you can stick it out. This article explains it a little more in detail.
This question was posed by Dr. Lustig in his video seminar, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”. The 3 facts make perfect sense, but if you don’t know the context of the first statement, you might think he was crazy.
Yes, you do burn calories exercising but this is again, like before when we talked about counting calories, the wrong mindset.
The Best Exercises to Lose Weight Fast
For starters, any physical activity is better than no physical activity. I bet you feel enlightened.
Growth hormone is touted by many to being the hormone of youth. We just want to lose weight, looking younger is just a bonus.
The best exercises to release HGH are anaerobic, primarily resistance training. (5)
The release of HGH happens 15 to 30 minutes after the completion of high-intensity exercise so make sure not to eat for at-least 60 minutes afterward. (6)
Your muscles are fat-burning factories and we want them all to be working 24/7.
Don’t Worry Ladies
You won’t bulk up from weight training. Testosterone is needed to bulk up, so please don’t be afraid, get busy.
Being a treadmill hamster is the slow route to weight loss. Trade in the treadmill for a rowing machine. Trade in the long, boring jogs for intense skipping.
Many people advocate finding a weight loss buddy; don’t. If you can afford it, get a personal trainer.
Personal trainers push you to succeed. Weight loss buddies just end up giving you excuses why they can’t workout today.
This is your journey, be responsible for your own success.
Another excellent option if you can’t afford a personal trainer, join a Crossfit gym.
Weight Loss Training Guide
Don’t: Eat Right Before/After a Workout
Many people give the advice to eat carbs before a workout – don’t! We are trying to stimulate the release of our growth hormone. Increased blood glucose levels will prevent this. Also for the same reason wait an hour after your workout before having that high-protein meal.
Don’t: Use Weight Scales as a measure of success
Far better measures of success is decreasing belt sizes and increased energy levels.
Don’t: Eat 5+ smaller meals a day
Per Dr. Kruse, don’t snack or eat 5 meals a day. In order to fix leptin resistance, your liver needs to re-learn how to use gluconeogenesis normally again.
Don’t believe the 5 meal/day disinformation.
So why do the exercise gurus and dietitians preach this, over and over and over again if there is truth behind it?
Food companies selling weight loss supplements know nobody has time to cook five meals a day and so if they convince you that you ‘must’ eat smaller meals throughout the day, you will be more inclined to buy their ready-made, portable snack products. (aka. the granola bar)
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
― Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Great Paleo Recipe Websites
Sources and references:
Eades, Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan (1996). Protein Power
Keith, Lierre (2009). The Vegetarian Myth
1. Kalra, Satya P.. “Circumventing leptin resistance for weight control“. National Center for Biotechnology Information
2. Hermann, Janice R.. “Protein and the Body”. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources • Oklahoma State University: T–3163–1 – T–3163–4.
3. Comparison of low fat and low carbohydrate diets on circulating fatty acid composition and markers of inflammation. 2008 Jan;43(1):65-77. Epub 2007 Nov 29.
4. Is adiposopathy (sick fat) an endocrine disease?. Int J Clin Pract. 2008 October; 62(10): 1474–1483.
5. The exercise-induced growth hormone response in athletes. Sports Med. 2003;33(8):599-613.
6. Neeser, Karl J.. The Exercise – Anti-Aging Connection. (Lausanne University, Switzerland)
7. Turcotte, Lorraine P. & Fisher, Jonathan S.. Skeletal Muscle Insulin Resistance: Roles of Fatty Acid Metabolism and Exercise. Phys Ther. 2008 November; 88(11): 1279–1296.
8. Bellisle F, McDevitt R, Prentice AM.. Meal frequency and energy balance. Br J Nutr. 1997 Apr;77 Suppl 1:S57-70.
9. Cameron JD, Cyr MJ, Doucet E.. Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet. Br J Nutr. 2010 Apr;103(8):1098-101. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509992984. Epub 2009 Nov 30.