I’m going to use autophagy for a financial piece I have in the hopper, but I wanted to tell many of you what exactly it is, and why it is beneficial, and how to experience it.
First – this idea was a nobel prize winner for medicine/physiology in 2016. My PERSONAL opinion is that this is the key to cancer prevention. It means, literally, “self-eating”.
If you think about it, just about every major religion has some form of fasting protocols. If you think about cavemen, they could go days without eating perhaps. I’m sure they would eat berries here and there, but I don’t think humans 200,000 years ago were eating all day long.
When I was growing up, food science was all over the place. Gary Taubes, a famous low carb writer, tees off on how bad the food science actually is. I grew up at a time where we were all taught about the food pyramid. I also remember as a kid going to a doctor for being overweight and he had said “you eat too many starches”. As a kid, I had no idea what a starch was. Then we were told in the 1990s that eggs were bad and we need to have non-fat diets because fat makes us fat and is bad for us. Then, there was the bro science movement in the 1990s which told us to eat 6 small meals a day. Let’s not forget about Weight Watchers who would tell us we could eat unlimited fruits and vegetables.
So the science 90% of Americans know is garbage. This is why we are in such a bad place, collectively.
This table from here shows the estimated number of NEW cases of cancer this year is about 2 million. 610,000 of them will die, which is roughly 30%. Try to look up cancer rates in 1890. Good luck with that. Everything in your searches point you to cancer MORTALITY rates rather than rates of getting it. Some of the low carb people state that 100+ years ago, that perhaps 1 in 20 or 1 in 30 got cancer. Today, it is 1 in 3.
The numbers above with 2m bare out to about the odds of 1 in 165 today. But that is this year. If the average age of living is perhaps 75, that shows that perhaps 1 in 3 will get it. I don’t see that number as insane. Likewise, GETTING cancer back then was probably much more lethal due to the inability to detect and treat.
That all being said, you can make the argument that we GET cancer at perhaps 6-10 times the rate of over 130 years ago, what has changed? This takes you down a rabbit hole, but it is not insane to look at obesity rates to then suggest there is a link here of health-related issues.
Yours truly is NOT a doctor, but I have lost 175 pounds previously. My MISTAKE in my previous journey was the last 25 pounds or so I went completely catabolic in order to hit a number on the scale to qualify for the military. This sacrificed MASSIVE amounts of lean body mass. Not this time. Not on my watch. But as an MBA – I also have a lot of experience with business case studies, management science, and the like.
Below – I want to attribute what I have seen in my life with a philosophy of Henry Fayol – from what I remember, he thought the job of a manager was to PLAN –> Lead –> Organize –> Control
If we look at how the food policy has hit us the last 60 years, you would look at this from a 50,000 ft view.
It all started with the food science in the 1960s. This was atrocious – where they were cool with smoking cigarettes (doctor recommended brands) and people drank and smoked during pregnancy. These are the same people who then made a policy on the food pyramid.
These people then didn’t do any studies on whether or not this was effective policy and science. This would lead to people like myself seeing we need lots of breads, cereals, and potatoes, and gaining weight. When I went to my doctor, as a child, it was, “are you complying to this”. Remember the starch comment above? He basically said, “dial back the breads a little”.
The PROBLEM with this model is that it is….completely wrong, from the ground up. This leads to….
As a manager, you then have to do quality control of the products. Does it adhere to standard? These people who created this fake science and policy, actually have zero understanding of the down range results that these policies created 10, 20, 40 years later.
If you have seen V-Shred ads, like I have recently because I watched some health related videos, no doubt the guy is jacked. You have fitness guys like this walk around without a shirt on and abs all over the place to try and sell you a product. I don’t have a problem with the guy trying to hustle and make money. But in one of the promos he talks about liking carbs and eats a donut. I can’t kill him for that – because if you put him next to me, he LOOKS like the staple of good health, and I look like I have a dad bod in my late 40s. Now, in a year or so I’ll take the pepsi challenge with him, for now, what you have to look at is that he is promoting a means of using activity to get in shape. Not a bad idea. In fact, I’m also lifting weights. But the problem is guys like him that are probably 10-15 years younger than me have grown up with nothing but the worst food science possible.
Meaning, you have no idea if this guy has a high HBA1C and his internal components are having issues. While he looks great at 35, the problem is, guys like him now are getting cancer at 47, having a heart attack at 53, and struggle from their 40s on with pre-diabetes and diabetes due to the body not being able to process high doses of carbs anymore. Everyone wants to point weight gain at the PHYSICS of calories in and out, but that is PART of it. What most are missing is the HORMONAL effects on our body. For example, telling people to not have fat in the 1990s on “low fat diets”. Most have ZERO clue that you can go the rest of your life with zero carbs and be fine, but if you go without protein or fat, you will die. Period. They left this off of the brochure in the 1990s.
So with V-Shred – I think his name is Vince – he might be right. You might have a body like him at 80. But I can tell you this, his approach is calorie burning, not food science. When you truly have “fat loss”, it’s a combination of:
- Satisfying your hunger (this is hormonal, and why WHAT you eat is important)
- creating a calorie deficit to induce lipolysis to break down fats
- Don’t create TOO MUCH of a calorie deficit where muscle is broken down for glucose
- Being active to maintain lean body mass
Now, at some point I will get back to a 40-30-30 diet where I have a balance of carbs, fats, and proteins. However, I am right now overweight and I need to do a lot of the above. I used to do “fasting Fridays” at times. I also did a 3 day fast a few times. When doing it with low carb/keto, it’s VASTLY easier to get into an autophagy state than it is on a 40-30-30. Let me explain…
How to get into autophagy…why? Because the goal of a lot of this is LONGEVITY. If Vince can look good like that at 95, hats off to him. But guys like that can have a lot of problems under the hood and experience those issues in their 50s. This is what I want to avoid. Ideally, you want to look good as a SIDE EFFECT of longevity.
You see a LOT of varied results on this from leading medical websites….which seem to get some of it right, but are all over the place. It is something I have experienced many times, and can tell you from experience, my keto/low carb diet is the easiest way to get there. It doesn’t mean I’m going to do it my whole life, but this is what I’m talking about – this is Mark Sisson in his late 60s.
Mark Sisson promotes a “primal blueprint” diet which goes to about 125g of carbs per day, but may have a “keto reset” period of about 3 weeks a year. He used to be on the cover of Runners World and a triathlete, but now promotes periods of sprinting over steady state cardio.
What I would do on my low carb diets would be One Meal a Day – OMAD. I would fast all day, and on my way home, I’d feel a tingle/spaced out for a brief moment. Would happen every day around the same time – which is where the body was flipping from glucose to ketones. When you are in ketosis, this is a prime way your body can start to cleave a lot of old and malformed cells and repurpose them into something useful – or convert them into glucose.
When you are on a 40-30-30, it is kind of hard to go 5 hours without eating. You are constantly providing your body glucose in the form of carbs. Now – I want you to promote a diet with MOSTLY carbs and to eat 6 times a day. Good luck getting into ANY form of autophagy.
One thing I have noticed was working out, while fasted, has provided me some serious strength gains the last month or so. I’m not a BIG TIME weight lifter. God no. At heart, I love triathlon and distance training. However, I did too much of it, at too high of a weight, with too little muscle on me and with this, I suffered back issues for the better part of 18 months. This led to….no running, little biking – and I couldn’t really even lift without causing issues. However, this was also a period where my low carb was starting to tick up. Since I have started low carb again since early February (I have been 40/30/30 and even higher carbs the last year) I noticed ALL back pain went away. Inflammation. OHHHHH I forgot how my low carb diets were also extremely anti-inflammatory.
So I have really been going somewhat harder in the gym. My 175 pound weight loss, I SPECIFICALLY told my trainer I wanted LOWER WEIGHT. I didn’t want to be the biggest guy in every room I walked into. It was a form of body dysmorphia in retrospect. You go your whole life at 250-300 pounds and ignored by most people – I was damn near 400 pounds and wanted to not be “big”. So my trainer had me a lot on “muscle confusion”. My goal was not to look like Vince. My goal was to FUNCTION like Lionel Sanders.
My PROBLEM was – how do you get from a 372 pound guy to a 155 pound triathlete? I solved MOST of my problems. But – I think I missed the intermediary step.
Steady state cardio takes a lot of time. I can add stress to your body. I have personally proved, for me, that zone 2 training for me is a form of mental therapy and nirvana. It was also best achieved by training with low carb. This allowed my body to easily tap energy from the tanker around my waist my body had, rather than get glucose from gels or gatorade – or carbing up the night before.
But what I was missing, to me, was building the core and eating the fat with muscle building. THEN trim off some muscle with cardio. The light bulb ONLY went off when I followed Nick Bare’s journey from muscle dude to triathlete.
I KNOW the best way to lose fat is working out. But I didn’t want to look like Nick Bare in the first one. That being said, is that the point here is that you can lift heavy to maybe get to a STRONG 200, then spend 6 months to get to 172 or so and STILL have muscle and power for a triathlon. He did some low carb training with this, and the autophagy to use then is very appealing to me.
But – do you need to be anabolic to build strength? Well, no.
The last 8 weeks or so, I started weight training twice a week in my home gym. I had lifted once a week for perhaps 6 months with no progress, but a maintenance type of thing. Let’s use my bench and curls for easy ways to track progress.
Bench – 135 x 7, 145 x 4, 155 1 or 2 – if I did a third set
Curl – 25 x 10, 30 x 4-5
Bench 165 x 12, 175 x7, 185 x 4
Curl 35 x 12, 40 x 6, 45 x 1
After my INITIAL drop, I haven’t lost much WEIGHT since then, but this is where it starts to get fun. My clothing is looser on me. I have been hiking a lot more and walking the dog a lot more. I have upped my protein as part of my low carb diet. I am creating calorie deficits – but also not going to bed hungry AND increasing my strength, drastically.
At my “peak” of strength at 225, I could bench 225 3 times. And that was not really focusing a ton on bench, but all around fitness. At 197, I could not bench 95 pounds once. So I’m VERY conscious now of being able to create a significant calorie defict YET provide a lot of protein for muscle growth.
When I went keto from 305 to 197, I lost a lot of strength, initially, as the first few months of getting used to low carb had all of the glucose stored in your muscles (muscle glycogen) depleted. Now, I have probably up there with the most strength I’ve ever had. I can probably see myself within 2-3 months benching 225 3 times relatively easily at the path I’m going. To me, training over lunch fasted and then blasting me with 200g or so of protein that day has led to the most strength gains I’ve ever had.
Too little carbs?
My wife eats like a 15 year old girl abandoned by her parents at birth. That being said, she wants to take off some weight for the cruise we are going on in October. She won’t listen to a word I say, or sometimes tries for 8 seconds and then after that she fades.
In reality, you can go the rest of your life without having a carb and be fine. BUT – if your body is not trained in low carb, like mine is, your body can seem to down-regulate your metabolism and make you tired and cranky if you do not get enough carbs. This might then have my wife snack on some of those red candy goldfish, or as I like to call them, diabetes treats. She naps on the weekends like my 2 year old. How a grown ass adult can’t make it through the day is beyond me. No – this is not new because she’s a newer mom. This goes back to forever.
At issue is – is once I asked about her meal over lunch time and it was some plain chicken, some iceberg lettuce – and something else. Her meal was like literally 5 carbs. And she could not stay awake at 3PM. From a guy like me who is a low carb advocate, I told her she didn’t have enough carbs and she scoffed at me.
Here’s the deal, if you are not actively doing a low carb diet, and you dip too low on carbs for a meal, this is what happens to you. This is why you see these fitness buffs telling you to eat this crap. Because unless you are “carbing” up for things or eat 16 times a day, to THEM, you are not anabolic and can’t gain muscle.
I can tell you this, in my “low carb” days during the 107 pounds I lost with low carb, my strength training was more or less to challenge my muscles, but over that 107 pounds, I noticed power output reduction. I was losing more fat than muscle, but at the onset my leg presses were insane reps at 400+ pounds, and at weighing 200, I was now down to repping 225 on the leg press. I was ok with that, to an extent, because for the first time in my life I saw real definition in my calves with some vascularity.
I wanted to leave you here with some ideas and thoughts with meals and training.
I used to love running – still do – but loved the calorie burn as well. In a relatively EASY hiking trail for an hour, I go about 2.4 miles, and look at the calorie burn.
This gives me a little cardio, helps build some strength in my legs with moderate hills, but helps with the calorie deficit.
You can also see that with my macro breakdown, I have now bumped up my protein. My traditional “low carb” may have been 10% carbs, 65% fat, and 25% protein. Well, adding more protein than I had before has had tremendous results with my strength.
You can also see what protein I ate in a day to get there.
The “wrap” is 2 “folio” cheese wraps, at 13g of carbs each. I made “turkey wraps” with the wrap, provolone, turkey, lettuce, avocado mayo (low inflammation), lettuce, tomatoes, and bacon crumbles with some salt added.
Dessert – one of the things I’m a bit terrified of, based on my weight loss from 225 to 197, is TOO MUCH calorie deficit. So while you can do calorie math as easy as me, I do not want to exceed 1000 calorie deficit in any day. That’s a 2 pound fat loss per week. My minimum deficit I shoot for is about 500 or so. This will get me 1-2 pounds of FAT loss per week. However, as you start to get healthier, you will get some of your biggest muscle gains early on, and you will start to hold more water in glycogen stores that build back up after you have been low carb again for awhile. My “cheat” weekend last week now only put 3 pounds on me, and I had tons of breads. I peed it all out by mid week, but the point is that as you are building up glycogen stores again the initial 14 pound weight loss I had with all water is slowly being converted now to fat loss as water is being replaced. This is why in the first month of low carb, people lose weight, then seem to “hit a wall” for the next 1-2 months and give up. The issue is that first 14 pounds I lost was my body exhausting all stored glucose, which released a ton of water in the process.
With my strength increasing and the clothing feeling loose, my scale hasn’t moved much in the last 2-3 weeks, but this is where I’m now excited, because the machinery is now being constructed for a steady 2-2.5 pound weight loss each week. This could be at the end of the month 10 pounds of FAT lost, 2 pounds of muscle GAINED and 2 pounds of water GAINED. The scale may say 6 pounds lost, but I can FEEL it is higher fat percentage.
When I was going to a trainer, each month she had me step on a fancy scale with tracked all of this. It was like a $4,000 scale, so no, I don’t have the evidence today, but I remember how I felt.
So back to the dessert…I forgot to take pictures, but DEAR GOD.
This comes in at 369 calories, 20.6 net carbs, 18.1g of fat, and 29.4g of protein. Mind you, I did this immediately AFTER hiking to help a little with recovery.
In a food processor, I put in 1 cup of strawberries, 4 TBSP of frozen cool whip, 1 scoop of vanilla birthday cake flavored whey protein powder, 2 Tbsp of philadelphia cream cheese, and some half and half. Blend until smooth, and it is an airy-whipped strawberry shortcake type of flavor. To me, this could probably have been 2 servings, but I wanted the protein. I tried this the day before with blueberries, but the strawberry one got a ton better.
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