You may have heard recently that Obesity may be classed as a disability which has sparked much debate. My personal view is obviously biased towards NO for one main reason, the is a choice (albeit maybe subconscious) to adopt the behaviours that lead to obesity. Yes, there are emotional reasons for these habits, totally justified! Some medication or underlying condition can cause rapid and extensive fat gain, these are minority cases. I totally agree that the effects of obesity can be disabling, but so can other illnesses. If you have flu and you cannot work, you are by definition temporarily disabled. The symptoms of flu pass a lot quicker than obesity, and are much more easily treated, but the disabling effect isn't permanent and shouldn't be classed as a disability. True disabilities such as not being able to see or walk are what i class as disabilities.
That said, the support and education is lacking. The fitness industry itself is expensive and confusing and doesn't support individuals enough to achieve change. the fact that a lot of gym programmes are extremely boring doesn't help! Read my blogs on Whose fault is it your fat Part 1 and the importance of fun Be Like Tom Hanks in Big (Did you watch it over Xmas) for more insight in to these.
I want to write this post to overcome one of the hurdles you guys face in trying to lose fat - KNOWLEDGE. I lay a lot of the blame on the fitness industry for confusing every one with the diet and exercise fallacy! Yep, diet and exercise together doesn't work! In a study by Mann et al (2007) published in the American Journal of Psychology it was found that 95% of diets fail, with 66% of people actually HEAVIER than when they first started! And this is what we have been telling people to do for years, cut calories and you will lose fat!
Now while it is true, many people need to reduce their calorie intake, going on a crash diet is NOT the answer.
The other thing we tell people to do is lots and lots of exercise! Imagine trying to drive your car for miles and miles with no fuel! This is what we are telling people and IT DOESN'T WORK!
There are four things you can do when it comes to diet and exercise and shown in the below table
The table can be summarised like this:
1. Eat More, Exercise Less (Top Right) - what we do to get fat! We overeat and don't move! Simply this one, we need to avoid doing this long term otherwise we will become obese.
2. Eat Less, Exercise More (Bottom Left) - what we tell you to do, and while you do lose fat you also lose muscle. It's the muscle loss that is the problem! One it gives the impression you are actually losing fat when you are not. Two, our muscles are metabolically active ie they burn calories. The less muscle you have, the less fat your burn, which slows down your progress. The rapid fat loss also triggers a hormone response that triggers cravings and immense hunger. There is only so many times you can say NO to all the temptations you are faced with every day until your will power is drained and you give in and binge!
Sound familiar? If this is you, and you are trying a new "diet" hoping it'll work, please stop and try a different approach. After all, if you always do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got!
3. Eat Less, Exercise Less (Bottom Right) - Or the French one as I like to call it. I hate the French, they get to eat bread and drink red wine EVERY DAY, yet only 9% of them are obese (we sit uncomfortably at 24%) So what is their secret. They don't eat that much, in fact they hardly eat at all BUT they don't combine it with exercise. There aren't many gyms in France, in fact not many of them exercise, but they walk, they cycle, they move, they take their time to live. Not the hustle and bustle we live our lives by! If you are going to reduce the amount you eat PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE reduce the amount of exercise you do as well
4. Eat More, Exercise More - The gym bunnies will love this one! For all you people that love living in the gym, going to class after class, but find it hard to lose fat. EAT! This is the athlete one! You don't find many fat athletes BUT importantly you don't find many on diets either! You need to fuel all the exercise you are doing so it makes sense to eat doesn't it!
If you want to lose fat, do what non-fat people do. If you want to diet, reduce your exercise (like the French d'accord? Oui!) If you want to exercise a lot, eat!
How do I know if my diet is working?
Is your HEC in check?
HEC is an acronym that stands for Hunger, Energy and Cravings and was invented by Dr. Jade Teta at Metabolic Effect. He explains that when Hunger, Energy and Cravings are balanced, you are in fat burning mode! However, if you are hungry, have fluctuating energy levels or crave sugary, fatty, salty foods - you aren't!
Hands up if you experience unbearable hunger, will power sapping cravings, or low energy levels making it hard to stick to your diet. if this is you, you need to make changes as detailed above!
There are other factors that can throw HEC out of check such as illness, lack of sleep, stress and medication.
BUT for fat loss to occur, you do need a calorie deficit AND HEC in check!
Depending on your metabolic type, there are certain foods you should and shouldn't eat that can enhance your fat burning ability, if you want more information on this drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you have any questions on this blog please feel free to drop me a line. If you would like to enter the Inferno Nutrition Programme, and learn all the secrets to balancing HEC for your unique metabolic type, how much exercise and what type is best, how many times should you eat to match your exercise frequency then i have 10 spaces in the new year. To view the packages have a look on Inferno Nutrition and start your journey to permanent fat loss today
Thanks for reading!
Stay tuned for my next blog on "The essential ingredient needed for an effective detox" in the New Year
Resident health expert and owner, Dean Zweck.