If you have no idea what that term means, good. You can continue reading in morbid fascination or cut your losses now. This post was inspired by a similar one from a blog I follow.
Okay. It’s not similar. My solution is a bit different and doesn’t involve anything that can make anyone any money. What’s that? Fasting. A friend recently recommended The Obesity Code, and I finished reading it within 3 days. It’s written with the repetitive lilt of a science popularizer, but the content explains the strident mantra of the “Fat Acceptance” movement, that diets don’t work. While it’s true generally that your body adapts to any increase or decrease in caloric intake by increasing or decreasing energy expenditure, that just means that diets in the traditional sense of the word (i.e., caloric restriction) don’t work. But intermittent fasting does. The book cites only research done on humans, and on significant numbers of humans. Fasting has been shown in study after study to have a variety of health benefits, including lowering insulin resistance and yes, weight loss. Plus, it’s the simplest diet I’ve ever heard of. Having a chub rub problem? Don’t eat food until your thighs no longer touch. I’ll include a link at the end for those interested in trying intermittent fasting.
I find this interesting because I’ve subscribed to a variety of myths about metabolism and weight loss which have been busted by this book. Here’s a sample:
“You should always eat breakfast” — this is based on a survey of people who achieved long-term weight loss but is only a correlation (no proven causal link).
“You should eat many small meals and snacks throughout the day to boost metabolism” — there’s no evidence that this boosts metabolism more than having fewer larger meals, and there is clear evidence that this eating pattern contributes to insulin resistance (which causes fat gain).
“If you fast you’ll go into starvation mode and/or destroy your metabolism” — actually the opposite is true. Metabolism goes up during a fast. Note that this is different from caloric restriction: in that case metabolism does go down to adjust to for lowered intake. In the case of fasting, the body switches to burning fuel reserves (fat) instead.
This wasn’t meant to be a glib response. I’ve had the chub rub problem myself and used to buy in to the learned helplessness of fat acceptance. While I’m new to fasting, I have tried the Atkins approach (or generally low carb, high fat / ketogenic approach) with success, losing about 16% of my body weight last year. I don’t get chub rub anymore. Definitely a cheaper, simpler solution!