Here are a couple of steps Dr. Shanahan goes over to lose weight. Obviously, it’s a lot more than a calories in vs. calories out strategy. The strategy is to use nutrition, diet & lifestyle holistically to augment the fat cells found in the body. The biggest part of this equation being nutrition and not simply the amount of food we eat, but what we eat. Fat storage is a default setting in times of chaos for the body.
Learn where fat comes from
Fat grows from stem cells. When you eat a bunch of sugar, starch & vegetable oils without exercise, your body is signaled to build new fat cells. Simply reducing calories without changing any other habits, puts your body into starvation mode, meaning that it wants to store surplus energy as fat, because your body doesn’t know if it will come across food in the future.
We combat this with resistance exercises and building muscle. By increasing lean muscle mass and other connective tissue, we can convert the fat cells back into stem cells and reassign into muscle tissue.
Exercise doesn’t work because it burns calories, it works because it generates signals to build muscle, bone and other lean tissues. This is an often overlooked part of common exercise strategies, you can’t simply look at the caloric burn during the time of exercise. (This is more added evidence to support my theory that weight training & strength development is the best process for long term weight management.)
Benefits of exercise:
- Increased insulin sensitivity. Your body need less insulin to get sugar out of the blood stream
- Reduced cortisol. This stress hormone encourages fat storage, especially under the organs
- Build new blood vessel. Your body needs increase blood flow to all the new tissues being built, this is part of the reason you to burn more fat at a resting state
Why certain diets fail
Moderation diets – this choice allows eating of trans fats, sugars and modern processed foods. It isn’t great, since a moderate amount of Big Macs aren’t exactly optimal.
Starvation diets – significantly reducing calories won’t work either. Not only does the body enter starvation mode as mentioned above, there is a compound effect; your appetite increase too! Your undernourished body requires micro & macro nutrients, so when you do get to eat, you’re more likely to overeat and doubled with the decreased insulin sensitivity, your body will store the excess calories as fat.
Inflammation makes fat invasive
A pro-inflammatory diet increase stress in the body, signaling them to increase production of fat cells at the expense of other cells. Reduce this state by eating the right foods, getting enough sleep and exercising.
Factors that make you build fat
- Excessive consumption omega 6s fats: Along with poor lifestyle, increases fat storage signals
- Excessive levels of insulin: Converts sugar into triglyceride fats
- Sugars – sugar drives insulin production and decreases sensitivity
- Glucocorticoids: Our body creates these and levels rise during stress and sleep deprivation. Leading to increased storage of fat
- Mega Trans Fats: Promote free radical formation, cell membrane damage & inflammation.
Factors that eliminate fat
- Exercise: Reducing insulin and corticosteroid levels
- Conjugated linoelaic acis
- Retinoids – vit A from vegatables and organ meats, vit A precursors caretinoids from vegetables
- Leptin: Appetite reducing hormone
- Plant Cholesterols: plant sterols reduce appetite
Exercise, sleep & correct nutrition all work together. I’m impressed that Dr. Shanahan includes both aerobic & anaerobic, most modern day doctors wouldn’t mention that building muscle is required or would mention why it’s beneficial to the body. Be mindful of your exercise choice and be conscious of every movement of your body.
Combining a caloric restrictive diet combined with excessive exercise is counterproductive to long term health. Without adequate nutrition your body won’t be able to refuel and rebuild itself. Obviously, this will lead to weight loss if given enough time and effort, however is it truly healthy? Your body is overworked and undernourished.
Your lungs need to work hard and you need to break a sweat. Proper aerobic exercise shouldn’t be comfortable. Studies show that exercise can be just as effective at treating depression with medication. It can improve brain performance, studies show that in the elderly population, MRI scans of their brains showed increases in size and quality grey and white matter in the brain
Intensity matters. Building lean muscle tissue will generate a flood of body changing chemicals to affect composition of lean body mass. It’s important that the exercise is fueled properly by natural foods. Increased metabolism is the body increasing the structures inside that will support the new muscle tissue that will be used for the exercise.