Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Healthy Weight Loss For Those In Recovery

Before we get into it, I actually feel a little uneasy about writing this because... well, it's a bit dodgy isn't it? Targeting people in recovery with a fitness and weight loss program? I've called a few scumbags out for the same sort of thing in the past myself and now here I am writing this entry.

Now... I happen to have a program that has helped quite a few people with their recovery, while also helping them actually see the physical results that eluded them while they were persisting with unhealthy approaches. Doesn't it make sense that the best way to help people to recover is to actually give them the body that they want, by removing the disordered beliefs that are actually holding them back?

The feedback I've been getting is that there really isn't very much good information for people in these situations, and what there is is hard to find. So... perhaps this will help.

The problem with most weight loss programs is that really, they're based on all the same ideas that people with eating disorders struggle against. The people are given a bunch of rules and told "that's what it takes to lose weight, if you want it bad enough you'll be prepared to suffer for it"... well let me make something very clear to you all right now; that's total fucking bullshit put out by complete morons who don't understand how the human body works OR how people work emotionally and psychologically.

So... all of those disordered ideas about what it takes to lose weight and have the body that you want, I want to suggest to you that those ideas are not intrinsic. That is, they don't come from within as a product of your personality. They're bad ideas that you've been exposed to, picked up from other people, and you've heard them enough times that they started to take hold. Understand here, not only are these ideas not even correct as far as nutrition, biology and exercise science goes... they're not even your ideas.

Right now we have two goals, which are actually the same goal. We want to further your recovery by actually making better, easier and more consistent progress towards your goal of (I assume) a lean and athletic physique. We will achieve your goal of maintaining a lean and athletic physique, by recovering from disordered ideas about eating and exercise.

Read that twice. I bet up until now, you thought you had to choose one or the other. Am I right?

A bunch of stuff you probably don't believe right now, but I assure you this is the truth.

Your body works the same way as anyone else's. Genetics only really separates people at the most advanced, elite levels. While we do have different body types, we can all make progress towards our goal body condition through appropriate training and appropriate fueling.

Appropriate Training

If our goal is a lean,healthy and athletic physique, we have to train towards that goal. This does not mean "exercise to burn calories". There is absolutely no point in attempting recovery by ceasing the restriction of intake and consuming a normal amount, but then depriving your body of that energy anyway by burning it off through activity that serves no other purpose.

Specialists would describe this as "exercise bulimia"... and if you think of the advertising and marketing of literally every exercise program or piece of equipment you can remember seeing, isn't it all about "burning more calories" than whatever other product they're competing again? It's bullshit.

So, reject this idea and instead train to actually build your goal body. What we are really doing is training our body to take up all of the resources that we are now giving it, and put them to good use in getting healthier and stronger.

Through more strategic strength training, we're training our bodies to prioritise the creation and maintenance of lean mass (that's muscle and bone tissue). Including some cardio training will make for a comprehensive program, but again, the purpose of cardiovascular training is to build a healthy heart and increase lung capacity. It is not simply to expend energy that your body might otherwise utilise whether to adapt and recover from training or just to function on.

Appropriate fueling.

This is crucial. Contrary to what we're constantly told, when we increase energy expenditure while restricting intake and depriving our bodies of the resources they need... this does not encourage the body to burn fat. Rather, your body has to prioritise the conservation and storage of energy within fat cells, because it realises it isn't getting enough and is likely to run out. To "run out" of course would literally mean death through starvation, and evolution has provided us with various mechanisms (hormonal responses for one) to try to prevent this from happening.

So in short... attempting to starve and burn the weight off just doesn't work. You've already learned this the hard way, I can only assume. Even if that was the way to do things, how much would it suck? The good news is that the best way to see the results that you want is also the least suckiest. Rather than trying to force, or trick, or shock your body into burning fat like they keep telling you in those stupid advertisements, simply allow it to thrive as nature intended. Train for health and strength, and provide adequate nutritional resources to enable this to happen.

Calorie Counting.

It may seem counter productive to utilise calorie counting in a recovery program, but think of it this way: restricting intake is something people with a disorder would do. Having calorie and macronutrient targets to ensure adequate resources are provided to get results from training is what athletes, coaches and sports nutritionists would do. The devil is in the detail. We're not going to be restricting like people "on a diet", we're going to be determining a minimum adequate requirement and making sure we meet or preferably exceed it.

I'll reiterate this crucial point. It is actually quite unlikely for an active person following a strategic training program to eat "too much". If you're already active and not seeing results... in my experience almost without exception the problem is with inadequate fueling. Or in simpler terms "you aint eating enough".

Food Choices:

Doesn't it seem obvious that you need to "eat clean" to be successful, and unhealthy, indulgent choices will spoil your progress?

Well thank god for this... it actually doesn't matter. Excess calories get stored as fat. Only excess calories, that your body can't find a use for. Regardless of the source, whether they're on a list of "good" foods or whether they're refined, processed, or whatever else. Excess calories.

However, we're working to targets for "adequate calories" and we're training very productively and very strategically to put all of those resources to good use. Carbohydrates get broken down to glucose and put to use as fuel and in the muscles and the liver. Proteins get broken down to amino acids and are used to repair muscle tissue. Dietary fats get put to use in various ways as well, not the least of which is brain function.

Forget absolutely anything you read about needing to "eat clean" or "paleo" or whatever other complete garbage total idiots are polluting the internet and bookstores with to make money selling some stupid diet plan. What they are actually promoting with these lies and fabrications is called "orthorexia nervosa", and since we're all about recovery... well, it's just one more bad and untrue idea we will reject.

Obviously we do want to include lots of healthy choices to provide vitamins, minerals and fiber... but everything we put in is going to be put to use. Including some choices for convenience or for enjoyment is not going to change that. Even going over your targets once in a while isn't going to make a difference.

If you are in the habit of fueling appropriately, and training strategically, you will make consistent progress and you will achieve your goal. This is indisputable.

Doesn't it almost sound too easy?

Well, you do have to make the effort to train, and you need to develop the habit of eating "about the right amount" as often as circumstances will allow. Practice it for a while and before too long you'll be able to do this intuitively.

I'll tell you something else.

This has nothing to do with what sort of a person you are. I get tired of seeing people made to feel like they're somehow "not deserving" if they need a day off, or choose a more indulgent meal when there is a less enjoyable one available... as if this was a moral issue and we prove our worth by abstaining from life's other pleasures. Isn't that such a bizarre idea that we're exposed to so frequently?

It is a simple matter of biology and physiology. Your body will respond to training and fueling, every other idea is a distraction, a hindrance and an obstacle to be avoided.

My program.

If you'd like a free look at what's in my Flexible Fueling program, minus the customised parts that I'll tailor specifically to each individual client... now is your chance. Just click that link.