Losing fat can be very difficult in our modern food environment. If we’re honest about it there’s really only one elephant in the room:
There’s too much processed junk around within easy reach.
Why is it so hard to lose weight though, what is going on when we exercise with great enthusiasm and restrict our eating and then as soon as we have a slip up or go on holiday, or go to an event, all of the hard work is undone.
For me it’s very simple. We’re eating autumnally every single day in every single meal AND snack.
Think about it.
Toast or cereal with breakfast: derived from wheat or other crops, which only harvest after the summer.
Pasta, wraps, sandwiches with fatty fillings for lunch: a prime example of an autumnal combo.
Potatoes, rice, spaghetti, pasta, root veg for dinner: all full of starch which is turned into glucose by your body. Autumnal.
And these are derived from whole foods and may not even be processed. Now look at junk.
- Crisps/Chips: Potatoes and fat
- Chocolate: Sugar and fat
- Biscuits: Flour, sugar and fat.
- Pizza: Flour and fat.
- Doughnuts, Pastries and Cakes: flour, sugar and fat.
- Syrupy coffees: Fat and sugar.
See the pattern?
The only time in nature that combo appears is autumn time and it is impossible for a squirrel to lose weight during this time. It sets them of on a gorge frenzy. I become like the squirrel when I begin eating junk food, once I start it’s very difficult to stop. I believe this is because it sets off our autumnal instincts as many of us evolved in the same seasonal eco-systems.
Recently, a study has shown that humans value fat and carbs together more than either alone. E.g. you wouldn’t eat spoons of sugar or a stick of butter alone, but combine them and you’d eat plenty of toffee. Same with popcorn, bland on it’s own, but add butter and it’s fantastic at the movies. It’s very obvious, we know it to be true, the science verifies it. The fundamental WHY?
Autumnal combos make us eat more because our bodies think winter is coming!
The thing is, even if we exercise it’s very difficult to work off excess fat if eating these combos, even if we reduce them. In fact it is torturous and our body reacts to long term calorie restriction by slowing metabolism and as soon as we let our guard down, we gorge again putting the weight back on, and maybe a bit of interest too.
So here’s the key. Try eating anti-autumnally when attempting to lose weight. Don’t worry about controlling calories, worry more about controlling appetite by avoiding the foods that set us off.
Try eating a pattern like this instead:
- Healthy fats and protein breakfast like an egg omelette or avocado and walnuts, or some smoked salmon and rocket.
- Protein and low gi veg / salad for lunch (opt for leaner cut of meat of fish)
- Carbs in evening meal but low fat protein source and sauces (use carbs particularly around your exercise, which all of us should be doing daily).
I find when eating this way, I am rarely hungry, and if I feel like snacking, I snack on things like 0% fat greek yoghurt and berries and maybe have a protein smoothie with a banana to support my exercise. It means macros are controlled through separation too, and there’s plenty of nutrients in the fats, fibrous low gi veg, and protein sources too.
Simple really and all I’m doing is avoiding the carbs+fat formula that is so common in the western diet. It’s OK to enjoy that combo occasionally, but if fat loss is the goal, then this might help you like it helped me and many successful readers of Don’t Eat for Winter.