The sad truth is that conventional ideas – eat less, run more – do not work long term. Counting calories, exercising for hours every day and trying to ignore your hunger? That’s needless suffering and it wastes your time and precious willpower. It’s weight loss for masochists. Eventually almost everyone gives up. That’s why we have an obesity epidemic.
Fortunately there’s a better way. Get ready for effortless weight loss.
The bottom line? Your weight is hormonally regulated. All that’s necessary is reducing your fat-storing hormone, insulin, and you’ll effortlessly lose excess weight.
1. Choose a Low-Carb Diet
If you want to lose weight you should start by avoiding sugar and starch (like bread). This is an old idea: For 150 years or more there have been an infinite number of weight-loss diets based on eating less carbs. What’s new is that dozens of modern scientific studies have proven that, yes, low carb is the most effective way to lose weight.
Obviously it’s still possible to lose weight on any diet – just eat less calories than you burn, right? The problem with this simplistic advice is that it ignores the elephant in the room: Hunger. Most people don’t like to “just eat less”, i.e. being hungry forever. That’s dieting for masochists. Sooner or later a normal person will give up and eat, hence the prevalence of “yo-yo dieting”.
The main advantage of low carb diets is that they cause you to want to eat less. Even without counting calories most overweight people eat far fewer calories on low carb. Sugar and starch may increase your hunger, avoiding it may decrease your appetite to an adequate level. If your body wants to eat an appropriate number of calories you don’t need to bother counting them. Thus: Calories count, but you don’t need to count them.
2. Eat When Hungry
Don’t be hungry. The most common mistake when starting a low carb diet: Reducing carb intake while still being afraid of fat. The problem is that carbs and fat are the body’s two main energy sources. It needs at least one.
Butter and olive oil
Low carb AND low fat = starvation
Avoiding both carbs and fat results in hunger, cravings and fatigue. Sooner or later people can’t stand it and give up. The solution is to eat more natural fat until you feel satisfied. For example:
- Full-fat cream
- Olive oil
- Meat (including the fat)
- Fatty fish
- Coconut oil, etc.
Always eat enough, so that you feel satisfied, especially in the beginning of the weight-loss process. Doing this on a low carb diet means that the fat you eat will be burned as fuel by your body, as your levels of the fat storing hormone insulin will be lowered. You’ll become a fat burning machine. You’ll lose excess weight without hunger.
Do you still fear saturated fat? Don’t. The fear of saturated fat is based on obsolete theories that have been proven incorrect by modern science. Butter is a fine food. However, feel free to eat mostly unsaturated fat (e.g. olive oil, avocado, fatty fish) if you prefer. This could be called a Mediterranean low carb diet and works great too.
Eating when hungry also implies something else: If you’re not hungry you probably don’t need to eat yet. When on a LCHF diet you can trust your feelings of hunger and satiety again. Feel free to eat as many times per day that works best for you.
Some people eat three times a day and occasionally snack in between (note that frequent snacking could mean that you’d benefit from adding fat to your meals, to increase satiety). Some people only eat once or twice a day and never snack. Whatever works for you. Just eat when you’re hungry.
3. Eat Real Food
Another common mistake when eating a low-carb diet is getting fooled by the creative marketing of special “low carb” products.
Real food is what humans have been eating for thousands or (even better) millions of years, e.g. meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, butter, olive oil, nuts etc.
If you want to lose weight you’d better avoid special “low carb” products that are full of carbs. This should be obvious but creative marketers are doing all they can to fool you (and get your money). They will tell you that you can eat cookies, pasta, ice cream, bread and plenty of chocolate on a low carb diet, as long as you buy their brand. They’re full of carbohydrates. Don’t be fooled.
How about low-carb bread? Be careful: if it’s baked with grains it’s certainly not low carb. But some companies still try to sell it to you as a low-carb option.
Low-carb chocolate is usually full of sugar alcohols, which the manufacturer does not count as carbs. But roughly half of these carbs may be absorbed, raising blood sugar and insulin. The rest of the carbs ends up in the colon, potentially causing gas and diarrhea. Furthermore, any sweeteners can maintain sugar cravings.
These three companies are not unique. There are thousands of similar companies trying to trick you into buying their “low carb” junk food, full of starch, sugar alcohols, flour, sweeteners and strange additives. Two simple rules to avoid this junk:
Don’t eat “low carb” versions of high carb stuff, like cookies, bars, chocolate, bread, pasta or ice cream – unless you are SURE of the ingredients (perhaps from making it yourself).
Avoid products with the words “net carbs” on them. That’s usually just a way to fool you.
Focus on eating good quality, minimally processed real food. Ideally the food you buy shouldn’t even have a list of ingredients (or it should be very short).
Less moderation, more quality
Finally – forget about the failed “everything in moderation” diet motto of clueless dietitians. It’s terrible advice and Americans who eat a more diverse diet actually gain more weight.
Don’t eat everything in moderation. Eat as much healthy food as you can, whenever you are hungry. Eat as little unhealthy garbage as you can. If possible none at all.