You and me are pretty much the same person. When I say that, I mean that we’re not different from the millions of other human beings who have struggled with weight and health and who have tried multiple — even dozens — of diet programs. So, even though I’ve reached my goals and discovered a sustainable approach to being lean and healthy I have a keen understanding of how you’re feeling and what you’re going through.
You’re probably relieved to hear me say that diets don’t work. Even though you’ve been blaming yourself this entire time, somewhere in the back of your mind you knew it was the diet that was failing you.
This article will lay out exactly why that’s the case: why diets — not people — fail. As you read and nod your head, it’s okay to feel angry. You’ve been duped; anger is a normal reaction. But avoid self-loathing or labeling yourself as stupid or ignorant, that’s not productive. And it’s not as if 99% of the entire population didn’t fall for the same lies. Take a deep breath. Find comfort in the fact that you’ve found a resource that is going to tell you the truth and lead you to the answers that will finally help you reach your goals.
Diets don’t address why you got fat in the first place — either correctly or at all.
Why am I fat? That’s probably the first question you should start with. It’s the first question I started with when I was researching a sustainable lifestyle to replace the series of fad diets I had been trying and it’s the first topic I started with when I launched this blog and told you that it’s not your fault.
So why are you fat? Conventional wisdom in the form of fad diets tells you that you’re fat because you’re eating too much or not exercising enough. They’d have you believe that if you could just reduce your caloric intake and pop into the gym more often you’d be all set. And that’s a recipe for — TA DA! — failure.
The truth is that calorie restriction doesn’t work long-term. What it leads to is the endless cycle of weight loss and weight gain; the see saw you’ve been on your whole life. The calories are often meaningless.
What about the exercise? You’re led to believe that exercise is the all-important factor, controlling somewhere around 80% of your body composition. That’s why the gym industry has completely exploded in popularity with people trying to sculpt the body they’ve always wanted.
The truth is that exercise isn’t all that important either. With regard for the big picture, exercise controls about 20% of your body composition.
It’s not because you’re not eating six small meals a day, it’s not because you’re too lazy to slave away at a boot camp five days a week, it’s not because you don’t own a treadmill, it’s not because you eat dinner after 6pm; it’s not because of any of that nonsense.
Why are you shocked right now? This shouldn’t be news to you — you’ve been following their advice and failing time and time again. The only difference is that now someone is telling you that it’s them, not you, that failed. And now I’m going to tell you why you’re fat so you can stop the madness.
You’re fat because you’re metabolically broken. You’re metabolically broken NOT because of how much you eat and how little you exercise, but simply because of what you eat. Your body is at war with what you’re feeding it. Your hormones are out of whack, causing you to store more fat and you’ve done so much damage that your fat cells have lost the ability to release the fat you’ve stored.
You can’t even access the nutrients or energy in the fat you have and can hardly access the nutrients in what you’re eating. Your body is only concerned with getting more sources of fast energy which causes you to eat more bad things which causes you to gain more weight. You’ve been in this cycle for a long time and it’s caused your body to switch from burning fat for fuel to burning sugar for fuel. And that’s put you on the road to heart disease and diabetes.
The good news is that this cycle can be stopped and the damage you’ve done can be reversed. When you reboot your body, you’re going to lose weight and gain the ability to effortlessly maintain your new physique. And it’s because you’re going to directly address and END the metabolic disaster inside you.
To be clear, when I say you’re metabolically broken or make any other statement that seems black and white, understand that I’m speaking in generalities. You’re metabolically broken to some degree. Everyone is different, everyone is at different stages of the game and everyone has different needs. That’s why I lead groups of people through my personal reboot program — so those individual needs can be properly addressed. In a blanket article to the masses, I have to be more general in the approach. I hope you understand.
Diets don’t address your addictions, dependencies, and unhealthy traditions.
Diet’s give you a protocol of what to eat, when to eat, how much to exercise and for how long you’ll need to deprive yourself and slave away. Every diet book ends with the implied message, good ****ing luck.
Which diet book has informed you that the bottom of the FDA food pyramid is all sugar? None? No wonder you failed.
Which diet book has informed you that sugar is more addictive than cocaine? None? No wonder you failed.
Which diet book told you that many “healthy fruits” are full of fructose (a type of sugar that turns immediately to fat)? None? No wonder you failed.
Is that to say that you can never eat fruit again? Am I saying that fruit is not good for you? Of course not. The point is that fruits are not healthy to metabolically broken people who are currently addicted to sugar, for instance.
Even if you don’t eat a lot of sugary foods, your body — if you are overweight — is likely dependent on sugar. It may not be getting that sugar from pancakes and ice cream, but it’s getting that sugar from grains, processed foods, and an abundance of carbohydrates. We all know that sugar is bad for us, but your diet books forgot to tell you that pastas, breads, fruits, and grains are considered sugar by your body.
It’s not just the sugar, it’s the chemicals and how it’s all put together. Naturally occurring foods rarely have sugar, fat and salt at hyperpalatable ratios all in one. But guess what does? Processed foods. They trick your body into thinking that it’s getting everything it needs with amazing taste to boot. What it’s really getting is nothing, but the quick energy that can be gained from eating these foods along with the hyperpalatable nature that triggers opiate receptors in your brain begs you for more. That drives addiction.
Diet books likely address family traditions and holidays but they address it in terms of what to avoid; what to deprive yourself from. That’s a recipe for disaster, especially for an addict. Hey coke-head, go to this party where they have a lot of cocaine and just stay away from it. You’ll do great.
It’s nonsensical. The first step to rebooting your body is to address your addiction, whether it’s a true psychological addiction to sugar and products that turn to sugar or a simple physical dependency on sugar or products that turn to sugar.
That reminds me: which diet book has informed you of the psychological phenomenon of extinction bursts? None? No wonder you failed.
Diets demonize the wrong things, often to the detriment of your health.
Which diet book has informed you that fat doesn’t make you fat? None? No wonder you failed.
Which diet book has informed you that saturated fat is not just good for you, but essential? None? No wonder you failed.
We don’t have to go through all this again, I think you get the point. They demonize the good stuff while leading you down the rabbit hole of failure.
Fat, including saturated fat, is essential in any healthy lifestyle. It’s the human body’s preferred source of fuel. It burns long-term, it’s easy to store and release (if you’re not metabolically broken), and it doesn’t create toxic byproducts when processed for energy.
Oh, and fat doesn’t make you fat.
But fat is the monster under our bed according to conventional wisdom.
Avoiding fat will make you fatter, sicker, and less happy. Think about it: if you can’t eat fat, what’s left to eat? Carbohydrates and protein. In order to eat enough calories to survive on that plan, you almost certainly have to over-consume that which turns to sugar and feeds that metabolic disaster cycle we talked about earlier.
And that’s not all they demonize that’s good for you. We’ll get to it all in due time, but for now we need to move on.
Diets don’t address gut health, systemic inflammation, poisonous foods and your constant immune disorder.
The bulk of your immune system is located in your gut. If your gut is over-run by harmful microorganisms it can lead to toxic leaks, systemic inflammation (a low level of inflammation all over your body that requires constant immune response), and a compromised immune system.
The bottom of the FDA food pyramid is grains. We categorized this earlier simply as sugar. But it’s not just the high glycemic load of these foods that causes problems inside your body. Much like you’re suffering from a metabolic war, your immune system is constantly at war with the toxins — the poisonous foods — that you’re eating and have been told to eat.
The truth is that bottom of the FDA food pyramid is not just sugar, it’s poison.
The question you should ask yourself is, do grains want to be eaten? Has any diet book ever addressed that? It might seem like an odd question, but think about the reproductive system of a strawberry, for instance. A strawberry reproduces by spreading its seeds to new areas. In order to spread its seeds, it makes itself tasty to animals who then consume the strawberry, go about their business and poop out the seeds somewhere along the line.
Grains, on the other hand, are completely the opposite. They’re not tasty until they’re highly processed. And beyond that, the grain itself is protected by some nasty toxins that dissuade animals from eating them. In fact, grains are full of harmful things like gluten, lectins, and phytates.
Gluten is a toxic combination of the proteins glutenin and gliadin, toxins that trigger immune response by the human gut. Some people tolerate these better than others and some people can’t tolerate them at all, leading to horrific side effects in celiacs. But even if you’re not celiac, chances are that gluten is negatively affecting you to some degree — a degree in which you may not even be currently conscious of.
Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that attack the gut in animals. They inhibit cellular repair. They lead to leptin resistance (the hormone responsible for your metabolism and triggering than you’re not hungry anymore). And viruses use lectins to attach themselves to the cells of the host organism during infection.
Phytates — classified as “anti-nutrients” — are acids that make minerals bio-unavailable. That means that the minerals you consume along with phytates are not useable by the body.
Sounds yummy right? That’s the base of the FDA food pyramid right there and I doubt any of the diets you’ve tried have told you that, which means your body is in a constant fight against invading forces, has a difficult time digesting “food”, is immunocompromised, and has a difficult time assimilating minerals.
Does that sound like a recipe for success?
Diets don’t care about nutrient density.
Why are you hungry all the time? It could be because you don’t eat enough fat. It could be because you’re metabolically broken. You could be hungry because you’re suffering from addiction. Or maybe you’re just not eating enough.
Those are simple reasons that don’t tell the whole story. You could address any one of those reasons completely and still be hungry. In the end, hunger is satisfied by nutrient assimilation. And diets rarely care about the nutrient density of food.
If you’re eating foods that are nutrient-poor or that disrupt the assimilation of nutrients in the body (like grains or beans) then it’s no wonder why you’re constantly hungry. Your maconutrient ratios (fat, carbs, protein) could be perfect and you could be eating the suggested number of calories for your body type, but if those calories are from nutrient-deficient sources your body is going to stay hungry. Sure, you might feel “full” for a while, but the true hunger just never subsides.
Diets that don’t address nutrient density will fail you. Maybe not in the short term, but absolutely in the long term. If there’s one key to a permanently sustainable “diet”, it’s nutrient density. You can’t spend the rest of your life feening.
Diets don’t address sleep, stress, play, and other lifestyle choices.
If you’re led to believe that exercise is 80% of body composition, chances are you’re going to focus less on your food choices and more on hitting the road or the gym. Unfortunately, exercise could be causing many of your problems.
When you exercise excessively — especially if you’re not eating the right foods — your cortisol gets out out of whack. Cortisol is a steroid hormone which can have some undesirable effects like increasing blood sugar, signaling fat storage, suppressing the immune system and decreasing bone formation. Constantly elevated cortisol levels will make you fat and reduce muscle mass along with increasing the chances of getting sick.
It’s not just exercise that leads to increased cortisol levels, it’s stress. Of course, we have to address things like work-life balance, the people you come into contact with on a daily basis (are they positive or negative), and so on. But what also leads to constant stress is a lack of sleep.
A lack of sleep or a lack of quality sleep doesn’t just impact brain function, it negatively impacts metabolic function and immune function as well. Poor or reduced sleep patterns lead to insulin resistance, which makes you fat. Consequently, poor or reduced sleep patterns can lead you to be up to 80% immune-compromised. And we’ve already mentioned cortisol and systemic inflammation.
Instead of working out, which diet book suggests that you go play outside with your kids or find a fun sport to play with your peers in order to reduce stress while being active? Which diet books suggests replacing a 60 minute gym session with a 60 minute walk? Didn’t think so…
Which diet book mandates that you get 8 hours of sleep per night? Or suggests certain amounts of sun exposure sans sunscreen? Exactly…
Losing weight and getting healthy is about addressing the underlying causes of why we’re broken, sick, and fat. Pretending that it’s about calorie deficits and exercise is a black hole of ignorance.
You don’t lose weight to get healthy, you get healthy to lose weight.
Rebooting your body addresses all these things and more, which is why it works and why it’s permanent. It shifts paradigms. It redefines “food” and “activity.” It sheds light on the truth while dispelling the myths. And rebooting makes maintenance effortless once you reach your goals.
If you’re interested in rebooting your body and mind, check out Total Body Reboot. And if this article has helped you in any way, pelase consider sharing it!
Founder of Rebooted Body and host of The Rebooted Body Podcast. Kevin helps men and women finally get a body and life they love with his unique blend of real food, functional movement, and psychology. To work with him personally, choose a program.