Eating fats has been scrutinized for years. For decades we’ve been convinced that a low-fat diet is the correct way to live, and the best method for losing weight, but why? The government mandated The Food Pyramid and MyPlate a long time ago in an effort to encourage people to consume more grains, more proteins, and less fats. Since fat contains more calories per gram than protein or carbs, you’d think that in order to lose fat, you need to consume less of it, right? Wrong.
If you think about the way the body works, it only makes sense that you need fat in order to burn fat. You see, the body only burns through the sugar and carbs it needs for its immediate energy requirements. The rest it dumps into fat storage. So, when you don’t have enough fat in your diet, your body doesn’t have enough energy to metabolically burn it.
The problem I have with the ChooseMyPlate and the Food Pyramid is that it engrains in your brain that carbs=energy. You need grains, they say! Fats are bad, they say! I struggle with this because people don’t know good grains from bad, they don’t know whole wheats from wheat flours and they don’t know what’s processed and what’s not. It’s also believed that all fats are bad, when in reality, they’re just not. (I’m also 100% aware I’ve argued that you need carbs for energy, and I’m admitting that I now think that’s wrong)
The way in which grain is produced nowadays is so far from healthy that grains are just as bad as eating the next best thing out of a box. The government has convinced us that we need grains to survive, but let me ask you this–Has anyone ever died from a wheat deficiency?
I used to rely on carbs for energy and when I shifted my thinking from carbs=fuel to fat=fuel my perspective on the body completely changed. I spent so much time using this model of eating that I spent more time gaining weight than losing it and despite running two marathons and 5+ half marathons, I failed to lose fat, gain muscle and feel better.
The Primal Blueprint
I tried Paleo and found that giving up dairy was just too tough. While I’ve successfully given up gluten, I wanted to find a method that was a mix of Paleo + Gluten Free. Enter: Primal Blueprint
What is it?
The goal is to focus on quality sources of protein (all forms of meat, fowl, fish), lots of colorful vegetables, some select fruits and healthy fats (nuts, avocados, coconuts, olive oil). Observe portion control (calorie distribution) week-to-week more than meal-to-meal. The majority of your calories should come from animal protein; however, the bulk of your plate should be made up of colorful fruits and veggies. Eliminate grains, sugars and trans and hydrogenated fats from your diet.
How it’s affected me
I was in the mindset of thinking a diet higher in carbs was the best for years – YEARS! I was always told I needed carbs for energy. But, I found myself hungry still, and despite incorporating breads and grains in each meal, I wasn’t satisfied, ever.
How exercise plays a role
I’m not going to sit here and say it’s okay to eat a diet high in fat without any type of exercise. It’s pertinent to get up and move, lift weights and stay active. Any good lifestyle regimen includes some form of exercise.
How I’ve eaten differently
I used to deprive myself of things like olive oil, avocado, bacon, butter, and full fat yogurts. Ever since I switched from getting Fage 0% to Fage Total, skim milk to whole milk, no butter to full-fat butter, my perspective has changed. Overall, I feel extremely satisfied, full, happy, and more energetic after incorporating these full fat foods back into my life. I don’t feel deprived, I can enjoy delicious meals and don’t have to feel like I’m “dieting.”
I also have a method for choosing meats and dairy. I try abiding by the following criteria: Grass fed, raised with no antibiotics or added hormones and free range.
I realize purchasing these kind of products come at a price. But what’s worth more to you? The well-being of your life? Or being able to pocket a few extra dollars?
The Primal Blueprint is fascinating, and you can read more about it HERE.
I truly believe eating this way works for everyone, but you have to commit to the whole regimen in order for it to work. There are several pieces of the puzzle and you need them all to be successful.