Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Nutrition Debate #280: Putting Fat Loss on Autopilot

I would have “Putting Fat Loss on Autopilot” in quotes in this title if I could remember where I copped it from. I wrote it down some time ago thinking it would make a good subject to write about, and promptly lost the reference. Oh well. I don’t need a citation because I know how to put fat loss on autopilot. And when I follow “my prescription,” it works splendidly. Of course, the operative word is “when.” But that’s tangential to the main theme; I’ll come back to it later.

The key to losing body fat “on autopilot” is to learn to fly in a space without turbulence, that is, in a place without cross-winds wracking the air frame – where you can just sit back and let your body “fly the plane.” This requires that you get to a place where there is less resistance, few disturbances and “traffic.” Your attention will be required at take-off, but once you are up to speed and “on course,” and have reached a certain comfort level, you can safely put fat loss on autopilot.

The first thing you need to do is go to school. You need to become a good pilot before you can learn to use autopilot. This is actually more difficult than going to flight school, I think, because besides learning how to “fly right,” you first have to unlearn all the things we, and virtually all the doctors who are alive today, have been taught about nutrition. In principle, that shouldn’t be too difficult for us or them because they’ll be the first to tell you they didn’t learn diddly squat about nutrition in medical school.  However, like most professionals today, medical doctors are required to get “CEUs”” to maintain their licenses, so the best we can hope for is that they spent their convention time on the golf course.

For your own part, if a lifetime of empirical evidence – your own knowledge acquired from observation or experiments – leads you to the conclusion that eating a low-fat, high-carb diet is the way to lose your body fat and keep it off, without cravings and hunger, then you can take that turbulent journey – hands on the stick all the way – and have a bumpy ride.

On the other hand, a very-low-carb “eating pattern,” is like having a tail wind all the way. It’s a little rough getting up to speed and altitude – and here it requires your full attention, knowledge and skills – but once you’re on the right flight path, it is pretty much “smooth sailing.” You will experience very little turbulence. No hunger. No cravings. Just effortless, fuel-efficient flying at cruising altitude while you burn body fat for energy. Your body wants to cruise along. It seeks metabolic homeostasis. Eat low carb, and your body will fly the plane. You can sit back and relax; you will be on autopilot.

Take-offs are the hardest part, people tell me. It wasn’t for me, but everyone’s different. In my experience it takes only a few days – maybe 3 or 4 – for the stomach rumblings to go away, after which you won’t “feel hungry” any more, if you eat strictly Very Low Carb. I salted my meals to remain hydrated. Some people drink a cup of bouillon in late afternoon to avoid dehydration/headaches. And if you’re taking meds for diabetes, you’ll need to carefully monitor your blood sugars and stay in touch with your doctor as your BS will go dramatically lower (especially if you are taking a sulfonylurea like glyburide).

I stayed on Atkins Induction (20 grams of carb a day) for 9 months and Iost 60 pounds. I then moderated my carb intake a little, but didn’t gain any weight back for several years until I started cheating (late night bowls of ice cream).

At first I kept a log of everything I ate. I just estimated grams of carbs for everything I ate. I tracked nothing else. I just wanted to raise my awareness about carbs, and my knowledge of what foods contained carbs and how many. Later I used a web-based resource to track calories, fat and protein (as well as carbs), and I began to study macronutrient ratios and reduced gram counts for each macro (fat, carbs and protein). Eventually, after I felt well enough educated about that to make good food choices, I stopped keeping a daily log. Now, I take a fasting BG every day, weigh myself regularly, and see my doctor 3 times a year (at my insistence). He would see me just once a year, but I want the blood tests.

How can you “go to school” to acquire the knowledge and skills required to “fly right”? Well, there are now dozens of good books and hundreds of bloggers to help you. If you decide to try it, of course I hope you’ll hang out here. It’s not the lounge of a 747, but it’s almost as safe. And in writing 280 columns like this one over 4½ years I have covered just about everything of interest to me relating to “fat loss on autopilot.” Obviously, I think this is the right way to fly for weight loss, glucose metabolism, metabolic syndrome, lipid health and mediation of chronic systemic inflammation. I have also addressed the macro and microvascular complications of type 2 diabetes (all of which I have avoided), including CVD, various cancers, dementia (including Alzheimer’s), and peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy, and nephropathy (end-stage kidney disease).

And each week I discover bloggers who knock my socks off. The skies are full of helpful resources, and most of them are knowledgeable pilots flying above the clouds where the air is clear and the winds are favorable. Try it. Come fly with us.

What are your favorite low carb resources - bloggers, books, videos?

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