Most of us resolve to kickstart the New Year determined to ditch the excess weight and take steps to improve our health. Unfortunately, our efforts fizzle out sometime before February. To help make your dream come true and finally score that mag body in the mirror in 2021… here are some fabulous little-known, scientifically proven tricks and tips to help you enjoy success.
Sugar’s Vicious Cycle
Let’s face it, the Standard American Diet, aptly named SAD, is the bane of our flab and health issues. You see, starchy and refined carbs and sugars can alter your brain chemistry, essentially “re-wiring” your brain. According to the American Heart Association, the average American consumes 77 grams of sugar per day, more than 3 times the recommended amount.1 Your body wasn’t designed to handle the flash flood of sugar found in foods today.
Eating sugar releases opioids and dopamine, triggering addictive behavior. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and part of the “reward circuit,” delivering a pleasurable “high.” Over time it hardwires the opiate receptors to crave more sugar.2 Like a drug addiction, the more sugar you eat, you develop a tolerance, making you want more and more.3 4 It’s a vicious cycle.
This change in brain chemistry also changes your ability to think straight. It affects your emotions, personality, creativity, and your ability to appreciate foods. It can lead to anxiety, sleep problems, and irritability.
Processed foods are stuffed with chemicals and preservatives that clog your metabolism and destroy your gut microflora, vital for digestion and nutrient uptake. Your body recognizes these as harmful toxins and must expend a lot of energy to flush and detox. This slows your metabolism to a crawl, resulting in a foggy brain, fatigue, and no energy for activity or exercise. And all the extra calories your body doesn’t use that day is stored as fat.
Breaking the Addictive Cycle
Firstly, there are NO quick fixes here; besides, dropping weight too fast can lead to serious health complications. The turtle beats the hare every time.
Tip #1 – Glucose –> Ketones Fuel Shift. Dr. Valter Longo, PhD, a Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences and Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, compares the body to a wood-burning train traveling down the tracks.5 It needs fuel. When it realizes it doesn’t have enough fuel to reach the station, it grabs some broken wooden seats and stokes the fire. The same thing happens when your body doesn’t have available “sugar-based” glucose fuel. It shifts into fat-burning mode, breaking down fat and utilizes ketones for fuel. And that’s how you burn fat, flab, and shrink inches.
So the key is to swap any sources of “sugar-based” foods for the suggestions you’ll see in the list below. If you have a sweet tooth, you can temporarily reach for a natural sweetener. Options include stevia, erythritol, xylitol, or yacon syrup to help you wean off your cravings. As you wean off of these, your brain chemistry will gradually revert to normal, and your tastebuds will re-sensitize and you’ll be able to appreciate the inherent flavors of foods again.
Tip #2 – Night Fast. Digestion happens in 2 phases, anabolic (to build) and catabolic (to break down), but can only do one at a time. When food is present, your body captures calories, releases them into the bloodstream, stores some as glycogen in the liver, and stores what you don’t use as fat. This is also the phase that “prematurely ages” you. The catabolic phase is when your body cleans house, detoxes waste, repairs DNA, heals, and breaks down fat. It’s during this phase, while you’re sleeping, that you lose the flab. It’s this phase, the “fasting” stage, that extends your lifespan and protects you from diseases.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD, is a family physician and president of the Nutritional Research Foundation and best-selling author. He specializes in helping people lose weight and reverse their health problems through nutrition at his Eat to Live Retreat. Dr. Fuhrman recommends finishing to eat dinner before 6 pm, without further snacking, so you have at least a 13-14 hour window before breakfast the next morning. The trick is to have no food coming in for 3-4 hours before lying down flat in bed and no food until the morning. This skyrockets your health and longevity. You’ll notice more energy, clearer thinking, improved mood, and accelerated weight loss.
Tip #3 – Big Breakfast, Light Dinner. The average American diet consists of smaller meals during the day with a big dinner. However, this is counter-intuitive to the way your body works. Remember, you need to complete your food’s anabolic digestion before your body can burn fat while you sleep. So your biggest meals should be at breakfast and lunch with a light dinner. This is common in the Middle East, parts of Europe, and Blue Zones, where lifespans are longer and the average health is much better.
Tip #4 – Avoid ALL Oils. Oils slam the brakes on weight loss. All oils produce the same results, whether it’s “harmful” corn oil or “healthy” olive oil. Oil does not occur naturally in nature – it’s processed – and is usually rancid before landing on your local grocery shelf. Cooking in oil turns it carcinogenic and skyrockets free radicals and the risk of disease – full-stop.
Your body is built to handle and absorb about 2 calories per minute. Oils are rapidly absorbed at about 40 calories per minute into the bloodstream. Like sugar, this surge of calories overwhelms your systems and is immediately converted into fat. As the saying goes, “From your lips to your hips in 3 minutes flat.”
This rapid incoming gush of calories from oils, sugars, or carbs also stimulates the appetite and addiction centers of your brain. The problem is that when your body is “storing fat,” that means it STOPS burning fat. And one tablespoon of any oil could halt weight loss for up to one week, derailing your momentum.
Studies show that the best way to gain the benefits of oils is from raw foods, such as seeds, nuts, avocadoes, etc. Technically, switching from butter to olive oil reduces heart attack risk by 10-15%. But when switching to nuts and seeds, the risk drops by a whopping 60%.6 Eating whole foods includes fiber, which reduces appetite, slows absorption, aids fat-burning, and excretes the remaining fat your body didn’t use. Whole foods are what your body truly craves.
Tip #5 – Add Antioxidants. Fat tissue is naturally oxygen-deprived, so it creates new blood vessels to grow more fat cells. It also produces inflammatory markers, triggering free radicals, and increases your risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and shortening your lifespan. Adding antioxidants to your diet daily to fight these free radicals is just plain smart. Berries (blueberries, strawberries, acai, goji, pomegranate), grapes, tomatoes, green tea, dark green veggies (kale, spinach, broccoli), red cabbage, beets, beans, non-GMO oatmeal nuts, and fish.7
|Diet/Health Killers||Fat-Burning Accelerators|
|White refined flour, white or brown rice||100% whole grains: Farro, quinoa, bulgur (cracked wheat), non-GMO oatmeal, teff, millet, sprouted spelt8|
|Starchy potatoes||Yams or sweet potatoes|
|Sugar, honey, agave, corn syrup, maple syrup||Dates, apricots, raisins, blueberries, strawberries, acai, pomegranate, goji, grapes, tomatoes, stevia, erythritol, xylitol, or yacon syrup|
|ALL oils||10 Nuts and ½ oz seeds/day|
|Processed foods||5-10 servings of fruit & veggies per day|
|Reduce red meat intake||Wild-caught fish, free-range chicken and eggs, beans, chickpeas, and lentils|
|Vegetable, rice bran, soybean, seed oils, sunflower, canola||Coconut oil (frying), sesame avocado, flaxseed, extra virgin olive oil|
|Salt||keep under 1000mg/day|
Once you become aware of why previous attempts to lose weight have been difficult or failed, keeping trim and healthy is much easier. Following these evidence-based tips, you’ll find you’re feeling so much better and energetic, you’ll want to start moving and exercise. This will accelerate weight loss and improve your health by leaps and bounds.
Ask yourself if your body recognizes the food you’re considering eating. Would it be something our caveman ancestors would recognize? If not, it’s better to avoid it. Cooking at home also ensures you know what’s ending up in your body, giving you better control. Pack your lunches. Don’t think of it as losing your favorite foods; think of it as gaining a world of delightful possibilities. You’ll quickly discover you prefer your new diet choices over your old one. And soon, you’ll be staring at your new slender dream-bod in the mirror with pride and confidence and an enormous smile plastered on your face.
- Brian Vaszily. “Little-Known Life-Changing Health Summit” The Art of Anti-Aging. Robyn Openshaw, MSW. p.140.
- Brian Vaszily. “Little-Known Life-Changing Health Summit” The Art of Anti-Aging. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD. pp.113-131.