Don’t Eat for Winter was in the top 50 best sellers list on Amazon Kindle US List for Weight Loss Diets (position 49th at time of writing) 17th September 2019, 11am
Irish Author, Cian Foley, from Waterford City, works as a software developer for a successful high tech company, NearForm, based out of Tramore. At 35 years of age he was obese weighing 256lbs. 8 years later, at 43, he weighs 166lbs (90lb loss) and has been competing in bodybuilding competitions for the past 2 years. Last year he won bronze in the Men’s Physique category of the NBFI national championships and this year was runner up in the masters bodybuilding category, which was held on 1st September at Firkin Crane theatre in Cork.
Cian published Don’t Eat for Winter in 2017 and has been tweeting about his concept regarding weight loss since then, but more than talking the talk he walks the walk.
“I’m a natural bodybuilder these days (never thought I’d say that). Being natural means I’m smaller than a lot of bodybuilders you’d see on Instagram, but this is the best I could achieve without taking any performance enhancing drugs or testosterone of any nature ever. Every little bit of muscle I have is from modest weight training sessions after work, and applying my anti-autumnal nutrition concept. I’m happy with what I’ve achieved given I have struggled with weight my entire life.”
The Don’t Eat for Winter concept is simple. The world today is an infinite autumn and so anyone that has the ability to gain weight piles on pounds and pounds over years and years preparing their bodies for a winter that never comes. Through eating anti-autumnally, a person can reverse this and spring back into their summer body.
The concept sounds simple but Cian believes that it is combinations of carbs and fats together that are the crux of the problem for many reasons.
“We love this combination, think pizza, chocolate, donuts, pastries, crisps, ice-cream and various natural combinations, sweet and savoury, like buttery potatoes (sorry Ireland), apple tart and trail mix. A recent study by Dana Small of Yale University showed we value this combination more than any other. I believe this is because it is an autumnal combination and it drives us hyperphagic the same as many other mammals that are seasonal. Just look at where these foods are placed in garages, supermarkets, cafes etc., our impulses are driven nuts (pardon the autumnal pun)”
Cian believes this is a specific formula we’ve hit on through market feedback and what sells best, and suggests that junk foods match the signature of autumn in an uncanny way.
“Given my software background I’m pretty good with data etc. I used the acorn, the signature of autumn, as a starting point: a food used to fatten bears, squirrels and iberian pigs. Celts and Native Americans used to store and eat them too. I searched for other foods matching this combination closely in the USDA food composition database. It turns that it matches a list as long as your arm of junk foods in an absolutely uncanny way.”
Can you tell the above 3 charts apart? The 3 axis represent calorie % from protein at the top, fat on the right, and carbs on the left. It depicts the macros of acorns, donuts and ice-cream respectively.
“If you think about it, we are designed to put on a little fat to survive the cold and as a back-up energy supply to survive food shortages of winter. It goes a lot deeper than that but this is the basics. In autumn carbs harvest heavily in the form of fruit and grain and we also see nuts appear, it’s not difficult to combine these to achieve what I term ‘the squirrel formula’. It makes us hyperphagic (insatiable) and put on weight, but we no longer need the insulation or the back up energy insurance policy because we never experience winter nowadays, with modern heating and endless food supply, and so never lose weight, unless of course we simulate it, through diet”
The diet is about keeping these combinations to a minimum, but it allows for eating fat, protein, carbohydrates and fibre within mainstream nutritional guidelines.
“I’m not an extremist when it comes to diet, there are many beliefs out there about what’s best, including low carb, low fat, carnivore, keto, plant based and so on. Diets that work best seem to weigh heavily towards one energy source, either carbs or fats e.g. the traditional recommendations were low fat, and atkins/keto/low carb is the opposite, the truth may be that both styles work because the lowest common denominator is that they implicitly avoid carb+fat together, that’s my observation.”
Cian suggests eating a healthy fat focussed breakfast which is low carb, and a carb focussed evening meal which is low fat, separated by a fibre focussed lunch is a good method. He states that all meals should contain a suitable protein source, and low GI fibrous veg can be eaten with all meals.
“I vary my diet a lot but an example day for me might be something like scrambled eggs and rashers for breakfast (without the toast), fish, poultry, or meat with lots of salad for lunch, and then a lean protein and carb dinner in the evening e.g. potatoes/rice, vegetables and lean fish/meat/poultry. It’s not difficult, it’s varied and I’m never hungry. Vegetarians and vegans can also apply it using suitable protein sources.”
Fat shaming has become a major topic recently with celebrities like James Corden hitting out recently at comments made by Bill Maher.
Cian has had experience of this during his life too.
“My nickname in school was Chubby, I’ve fought weight as long as I can remember, it’s not helpful to tell someone they are fat. That won’t make them thin, it will only make them sad and depressed. I know what it’s like and only escaped through knowledge. It was a long road back to for me but thankfully I did and have sustained the weight loss for many years.”
“All I can say to people suffering is that it’s not your fault, you’re not lazy. You are a victim of an obesogenic environment, that’s treacherous to navigate without knowledge. You cannot out-run this environment with exercise, believe me I tried. It all centres around smart nutrition and I had discover my own approach because nothing every worked for me.”
Cian competing in the NBFI Championships in Cork City, 2019 where he was runner up in the Masters Category (over 40s). Photo Credit: Kest
“In terms of exercise I believe resistance training is a must if you want to effect change. Cardio is important too but you don’t need to punish yourself. Getting out into nature is also very important. I train 5x a week weights for 1 hr sessions but that’s to compete, most people would get in really good shape with 3x resistance sessions and some cardio every other day like walking, jogging, cycling, hiking, spinning etc. To get results from it, the diet is the key to unlocking your ideal phenotype.”
Don’t Eat for Winter is available on Amazon Kindle and has made it to the top 100 in weight loss diet books on Amazon Us and has received some great reviews.
“I’m really chuffed to be honest, so many experts on Twitter and elsewhere have given me encouragement from my own doctor, Dr. Mark Rowe, who wrote the foreword in the book, to Dr. Ted Naiman, a US doctor with an incredible natural physique on Twitter, who said it’s ‘Very Smart’ and that ‘The hyperphagia of carbs and fats together is brilliantly described in this book. Well worth a read. A fantastic approach.’ in his Amazon review”
“More than this though are the reviews and message I’ve received regularly from readers, one lady told me she has her husband and the father of her children back after losing 5 and a half stone. I was emotional reading the message, and it has made the effort of putting it out there worthwhile for me.”
Latest posts by Cian (see all)
- The Carb+Fat Combo: Podcast with Ivor Cummins - October 21, 2019
- Modern Stone-Age Diet Series interview with Dr. Bill Schindler - October 14, 2019
- What Causes Overeating? Is Hyperphagia an Autumnal Human Instinct? - September 23, 2019