On my road to losing 175 pounds, a funny thing happened. About a year in and 72 pounds down, I stopped counting calories and lost another 102 pounds over the next two years. While calories matter (to a degree) – this post is all about understanding how your body actually works. Many of you have been taught the “physics-based approach” to “weight loss”. That is, “you need to create a calorie deficit” to lose weight. It’s hard to argue with that, until I present you a lot of evidence that is counter to that below. I have used a “hormonal-based” approach to weight loss, but am changing the script to “hormonal-based approach to lose FAT” (as opposed to weight – as weight also means muscle). Yes, there is a book in this down the road. After this N=1 experiment is over sometime late 2024, I am definitely writing a book about all of this. I want to get an Olympic Tri done prior to writing this, as part of it will cover my training evolving the closer I get to about 190 pounds.

If you read Gary Taubes – famous for a lot of anti-sugar books – you understand his passion. As a trained physicist from Harvard, he went back to school to get a journalism master’s to write about it. In the early 90s, he stumbled upon the “food science” industry, which, as he puts it, is a disaster (I’m paraphrasing using a kinder word). Essentially, the science sucks there. Like, really badly. Once they understood calories, they basically did a ton of science and made theories all about calories in/calories out. I’d implore any of you YouTube/Instagram people to comprehend what I’m writing below, because this is ultimately going to be what helps you get your overweight clients on the right track.

The right track? Yeah – someone like me had lost weight dozens of times, only to gain all of it back and then some in short times. All of the approaches you see are about “calorie deficits”. And what happens is, if you don’t understand the source of the problem, you cannot resolve the issue, long term. I made a mistake at the end of my “weight loss”, which cost me dearly later on.

So I need all of you to understand that “weight loss” means the scale goes down and “fat loss” means that primarily your body fat percentage will go down. I will outline the differences below, but this is paramount to understanding the human body for how your clients hit their end goals.

What is a physics-based versus a hormonal approach to lowering your weight?

Your bro science assholes out there want to teach you about calories and calorie counting. They have six pack abs, so they MUST know what they are talking about, right? Your doctor knows everything about the body, so he should be right as well, correct?

No. These people get some right, but a lot wrong. I can tell you that I followed guidelines, my whole life, to a tee. I first followed the food pyramid as a kid, with one exception. I was a picky eater. The only veggies I ate were potatoes, corn, peas, and lima beans. My doctor as a kid told my mom, “he has to limit the starches”. I had no idea what the hell that meant. I followed the food pyramid, to a tee. In the 1990s, I was following the “low fat” guidelines and for years would eat non-fat food to keep my calories down.

But guess what? Every time I lost weight, a few things would happen…

  1. I would exercise, a lot.
  2. I would be ridiculously hungry
  3. I would count calories and only eat the foods allowed
  4. I would lose “weight”
  5. I would go to bed starving most nights of my life
  6. I would get injured, somehow, or approach a level of exhaustion
  7. I would stop exercising and put massive weight back on, quickly, despite limiting my calories and being hungry
  8. I’d then “toss in the towel” on the diet and try again a month later
  9. All of the foods for months I avoided, I now indulged in, and my weight would explode
  10. I would be hungry, ALL THE TIME
  11. Doctors would tell me to “lose weight”

This is the cycle I went in, most of my life. People look at you like it is a character flaw. Like, “you can’t listen to directions”. Or, “you didn’t count calories good enough”. At jobs, your excess weight is then looked at as a flaw – you are undisciplined. Lazy. Stupid.

The problem is, the bullshit advice/medical advice I got my whole life was a crock of shit. That’s because all treatments I had up until 4 years ago, was all based on a physics-based approach to “weight loss”.

I’m going to present a situation here, and I want you to understand the narrative. Imagine you are a 300 pound man. You are told, “you need to create a calorie deficit”. “The more of a deficit you have, the more weight you lose”. For example, starve yourself for a month, and the scale goes down. Physics, right? Well, how many calories does this 300 pound man burn daily? Well, you actually need a fancy scale to determine the approximate fat, water, and muscle he has. A fancy computer will spit out maybe 2785 is the amount of calories this man will burn in a day.

If a 300 pound strong man was next to him, perhaps the strong man might need 5,000 calories a day. So there’s a big difference there with what kind of energy is needed based on your particular body type.

A pound is 3500 calories of heat. So, if you want to lose 1 pound in 7 days, you need to create a deficit of 500 calories in a day to get that 1 pound of “weight” off of you. You can create this deficit one of two ways. Eating less than you expend, or add additional exercise to burn more. Or, a combination of the two. Many then say, “I’d like to be like those people on The Biggest Loser and take off like 5-10 pounds a week!” Yeah. Danger.

At issue now is to create a 2 pound weight loss, you need to have 1,000 calorie deficit a day. I, like many of you, wanted to MAX OUT my weight loss. So I would exercise, a TON, EVERY DAY, and eat 1200-1500 calories a day. It’s math, right? I’d use the food pyramid, which was taught to all of us growing up in the 1980s as SCIENCE. In the 1990s, we were taught how fat is bad for us, so many of my diets for 20+ years would be perhaps 1200-1500 calories a day of mostly breads, pastas, fruits.

My 310-350 pound body would then run, walk, play sports, you name it. I was highly, highly, highly, highly active growing up and was ALWAYS overweight. “starches” should now be in the back of your mind, as the food pyramid and “low fat” diets should be. I’d run, bike – you name it. Perhaps exercise an hour or two most days. I didn’t do a ton of weight training after high school, as I found competitive sports and steady state cardio my thing. I’d drop 20-30 pounds in perhaps 2 months, then something would get injured. Hip, back, knee – and I’d go and take it easy, and collapse – of sorts. Days/weeks/months of being hungry 24×7. Exhausted. Wiped out. I’d put on all of that weight within 3 weeks, despite not really changing my diet. And all of you would see me as a loser failing. Despite the fact that probably 80% of my adult life had been spent rigorously dieting and hungry all the time.

The problem was not my effort. It was your understanding of the problem. It was the medical science fuck show that has no idea what they are talking about, because the “science” of the last 50 years has all been “physics-based”.

The hormonal approach to weight loss I messed up at the end, which I’ll discuss below, but the hormonal approach understands more about how the body ACTUALLY works. Here are some tenets of my “hormonal approach to FAT loss” works

  1. Understand more about how the biochemical processes of the body work, hormonally. Specifically, look at hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin, how they are produced, how they are blocked, and what effects hunger has on calorie consumption and feelings of “satiety”.
  2. Learn that your body may have 300,000 spare calories around your waist, so why the hell are you hungry? Why is that? See item 1 above. If you understand how to treat the hunger, your body can “self regulate” and take spare calories as needed.
  3. Understand activity and substrates used for that activity. This explains how and when to actually eat carbs.
  4. Understand what fructose is, and how the body processes it
  5. Understand how estrogen-rich foods can hold fat in certain places and cruciferous veggies can reduce this effect. “stubborn fat” in certain areas can be based on the composite of your foods.
  6. Understand blood glucose, and how lipolysis works. Note – I had read if insulin is flowing through the system, cell doors are “locked” shut to bring in glucose, not release it. Meaning, having less insulin pumping through your system allows for more lipolysis. What foods trigger insulin release?
  7. Understand how cortisol as a stress hormone holds weight on you. Stress can come in many shapes and sizes, and working out hard every day can do the same damn thing. Working out should be targeted and limited, and recovery needs to be part of every workout plan or else you can hold fat on you.
  8. Understand that if you create TOO MUCH of a caloric deficit, you will eat your lean body mass, as it is broken down for glucose with gluconeogenesis. Meaning, you should perhaps MAX OUT at 1.5 to 2 pounds a week. IF you try and lose more than this, your body may take from your muscle. I should know.
  9. Understand that if you exercise your face off and don’t take in enough food, your body will “down regulate” your metabolism. This is the near exhaustion type of thing I have experienced a few dozen times in my life after kicking ass for months, then get my ass handed to me with exhaustion.
  10. You MUST include significant protein and fats in your diet. I had used the “food pyramid” and “low fat” diets, and these tend to have low protein and fats. Of the three macros (fats/carbs/protein), you can go the rest of your life without a single carb and you need protein for muscle/cartilage and fats for all of your other life functions like hormone production.
  11. Eating a VERY LOW inflammation is NECESSARY for the above items. The American diet got screwy when they started replacing meats with corn/grain fed (high inflammation), tons of gluten (breads, grains, pastas), and vegetable/seed oil. IF you do NOT have a low inflammatory diet and eat tons of processed shit fats/proteins, you WILL give yourself a heart attack, and THIS is why “red meat” and “eggs” were seen as bad. SHITTY SCIENCE.

Omega 6:3

With item 11 here, let me explain how the “food science” went.

“Researchers over 10 years had a study with 500,000 people and they asked what foods they ate. Those who ate higher red meats and eggs would have a 37% higher chance of heart attacks and strokes and a 41% higher chance of cancer”. Seems simple, right? Stay away from red meat and eggs!! However, studies like this never take into account the source of the red meat. MOST (99.9%) of the red meat you are buying in the stores today are fed with grains/feed. This is NOT their natural diet. Meaning, you have this meat with a 20:1 Omega 6:3 ratio. IF you were to buy grass fed/finished beef, it would be 2:1 omega 6:3.

What are omega 6s? Big picture is that it can cause inflammation. Your body NEEDS some inflammation. Consider a cut or wound. Your body needs to start healing and blood clots up and areas are inflamed as the healing stars. Omega 3s reduce inflammation.

So, it is important to balance omega 6:3 in your diet. What happens inside when you have inflammation? Tiny tears in artery walls. The “chronic” inflammation most people have also cause the soreness and lack of mobility in obese people. I should know – when I cleaned up my Omega 6:3 ratio, my body was let out of an inflammatory prison.

Now, the picture above is from a Harvard.edu page. And even these smart bastards get the red meat wrong. Take a look at the red meat graphic above. MOST PEOPLE that are eating red meat are indeed eating the shitty Walmart cheap beef at 20-25:1 omega 6:3 ratios.

But refined carbs – bread and even pastas, are highly inflammatory (gluten sensitivity in many). Yet the food pyramid says…

The one interesting thing is they say “fats/oils sparingly”. That’s a caloric based approach. However, you need to understand the differences in oils.

Over the years, I have moved to olive oil for most things. Apparently soybean oil isn’t the worst thing for you, but I stay away from soy products.

What should you have? I have seen that years ago it may have been 4:1 or less omega 6:3. I have seen that the current American diet is 10:1, and some claim even 25 to 50:1. I think 50:1 is high, until you potentially think of a person eating Walmart red meat, hot dogs, and cooking with grapeseed/sesame/cottonseed oil.

Eggs also fall into this. Think about the “studies” on eggs. This is most likely the results many of these studies were based on. The middle one is the “store bought” and the one on the far left is the one with a low omega 6:3 ratio because the chicken is eating bugs

Basically, a LOT of inflammation in the bodies of people slow them down and imprison them in pain. Once you clean up a lot of this, we can then move forward. One side note here – when you are smoking and drinking alcohol and eating fried foods – you are crushing your body with inflammation.

One closing note on this section. I want you to ask yourself the difference between a cow that is grass fed/finished and it’s store generic counterpart? What about those big chickens you get at the store – why are they so much bigger than a free range chicken? These animals are not eating their natural diet – and fed corn and feed to fatten them up. Let that REALLY sink in. We fatten animals up using grains/starches. Then, we told the entire American public to eat….grains/starches. What the fuck did they think was going to happen?


Let’s first look at what cholesterol does

Now we look further at where it comes from and the types.

Here’s the thing many have no idea about. Your “high cholesterol” may be a function of the TYPES of foods you eat as well as the LEVELS OF INFLAMMATION you have. Rather than tell you to reduce your inflammation, people want to put you on statins.

Rather, you want to understand the ratios of the LDL/HDL. If you have good RATIOS, you are fine. The problem is, when you have all kinds of inflammation, your body will “fix” the problems and the empty payload that comes back is counted with the LDL, meaning high numbers of this is telling you that your inflammation is out of control.

Many of the vegan types blame meat. Well, if you are eating shitty Walmart beef and drinking alcohol, well, yeah, the vegans could have a point. However, again, shitty science. They aren’t talking about the beef with omega 2:1 ratios or the chickens running around a pasture. And these shitty studies are what point people to the risks of meat, and being deceptive in the ROOT CAUSE of the problem. Inflammation.

What changed in the 1970s was inflation. The cost of proteins went through the roof. Land became more scarce, margin compression happened, and the futures market is ALWAYS trying to be more efficient with bringing cheaper commodities to market. Year over year, tech improvements and processes help reduce costs of items – BUT when the cost reduction changes the chemical composite of the meat, this lower cost red meat today is NOT the same as perhaps 100 years ago. Meaning, your cost per gram of protein went down, but your omega 6:3 ratios went vertical. THIS is what is not accounted for today in our diet science.

These are the dots that very few people put together. Your shitty science on red me is thinking the cows from today that are being corn/grain fed are the same as cows 100 years ago that were on the pasture is a FLAWED SCIENCE.

Meaning, all of the shit your doctors learned in the books in the 1980s/1990s is based off of bad studies that did not take into account that inflammation from food sources in the ROOT CAUSE. Doctors are then treating the symptoms with pharm drugs pushed on them to sell.

How does this affect you for “fat loss”?

Remember up above how cholesterol helps produce vitamin D? Well, this also helps with sunlight. Your body produces this stuff naturally, and combined with the sunlight, you get your immune system. Instead, they feed you a highly inflammatory diet – and with this, I believe leads the body unable to process the sunlight properly which may be a cause of skin cancer. They want to blame the ozone layer, but look at skin cancer rates.

We now have sunblock. Question. IF you had a low inflammatory diet and your good ratio of HDL/LDL existed, would you need sunblock? Why isn’t anyone looking at the root causes? Could shittier processed foods and lower quality meats be causing this?

So if you want to reduce inflammation, you will start to want to move, a LOT more. Getting outdoors can suddenly be a joy.

Here are 10 health benefits of sunlight, and perhaps why so many of us never seemed to have any kind of COVID effects.

So you now cleaned up your inflammation. You now realize the QUALITY of your food matters. Let’s look at how you can then “target” fat loss.

But Nate, you cannot “target” fat loss!

Sure you can.

Targeting fat loss

Look, I sort of misled you above, but sort of did not. Ever see the “beer belly” in guys? They don’t have a lot of fat around their arms or legs but a big beer belly? What about the “skinny fat” guys that have thin arms and face but soft around the belly and chest? My favorite here is the “soy boys”. This is a BIG deal that many don’t understand.

The man above wants you to eat fake meat. Bill Gates has been buying TONS of farm land in the country. He also promotes Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. What is he doing with all of this farmland? If you read the article I just linked, he is also someone that thinks cow farts and meat for people is the end of life as we know it, and my BET here is he wants to hoard this land to prevent livestock from using it while planting soy and all other ingredients for these fake meats.

If you look at his physique closely, it resembles what I was talking about above. Soy boy.

With this, he is putting fat in particular areas. I’m sure he has someone counting calories for him. But fat is sticking in certain places, and I can guarantee you that some of the pudge has to do with insulin resistance from years of eating a higher-carb based diet.

If you eat foods that are estrogenic, and you are a man, you can add weight to these areas on your body. You are triggering hormones to store fats there. Cruciferous vegetables can reduce the effects of the estrogenic effect the “soy boy” diet has had. This site talks about higher estrogen levels in men that can lead to gynecomastia (see Gates, Bill – above), erectile dysfunction, and fertility issues.

I want you to take in the full context of the above article. Pharm companies are selling boner pills rather than telling you to put down the estrogenic foods. Think about all of the problems with fertility today? How many people you know got assistance with getting pregnant? Then, think of all of the young adults today with gender identity disorders and what potentially could be the source? Our food sources are all fucked up from 100 years ago, and we are pumping processed foods into kids. Our foods are calorie based, and filled with dog shit. We don’t eat real foods anymore. How many parents are not telling little timmy to eat beyond meat rather than a steak? Could there be a lot of unknown effects with messing with the food source for a population of 300+ million people for 50 years? If you want real food science, you need to look at new multiple regression models to take into account how the food sources have changed, and then look at the effects of this over 40-50 years.

Doctors today are pill pushers to treat symptoms. The root cause is the food source.

With men, you also want to look at preserving your ability to produce testosterone. As you get older, this also is reduced – and you may see this with the men in their 40s-50s getting “softer”. But how many of these men lift weights routinely? Where is your regression analysis with heavy weight training and body fat percentages?

When you first think of testosterone, what do you think of? For me, it’s adolescence, when a boy turns into a man – and this is done with what? High levels of testosterone flowing through his body. At this stage in his life, he will have the best muscle gains ever, grow taller, build a frame.

This article talks about 5 ways to increase your testosterone naturally

  1. Exercise and lift weights. While many of you hit the gym and/or run, lifting more heavy may trigger it more effectively. Steady state cardio doesn’t help with this.
  2. Eat protein, fats, and carbs – basically, saying the non-fat 90s were a medical fraud, as you need these fats to create hormones. Protein is necessary for muscle building. “soy boy” diets may not have complete proteins and focus more on vegetable-based carbs and less on proteins/fats.
  3. Minimize stress and cortisone levels – what I had written above. You need 8 hours of sleep and let your body recover after hard work outs. When I did tri training I learned a lot about how hard you can go how often. A lot of training is zone 2 with occasional bursts of going hard. Rather than working out hard every day, I do 1-2 days a week all around in the gym.
  4. Get some sun – see vitamin D (it’s a hormone)
  5. Taking supplements – I’m not going to go into this, but many things we would eat a lot of 100 years or more ago are not found in most shit diets, and that’s magnesium and potassium. Magnesium especially. I supplement magnesium and have for years, and it’s an electrolyte that is the “relaxing” one. Wonder why you reach for chocolate when stressed? Your body knows there’s magnesium in it. This is also why women might reach for chocolate at that time of the month.

So maybe you have 2100 calories, but the TYPES of foods you eat are more estrogenic, and perhaps you don’t lift heavy weights. Try adjusting WHAT you eat, and this hormonally will have an effect on your body.

Fatty liver and fruit

With the above – I wanted to also talk about how “non alcoholic fatty liver disease” is starting in kids as young as 8. Your body can process about a serving of fruit per day. So what happens when you have 5 servings of fruit? Perhaps you are VERY active. Maybe your body is able to quickly convert a lot of the fructose into glucose? I don’t know, but I can tell you if you are sedentary and rarely do much, you probably do not want to eat a lot of fruit. Why? Because that fructose you have that cannot being processed into glucose will then form fatty deposits around your liver. Yes, you can get cirrhosis of the liver with never touching a beer.

Food pyramid says 4 servings?

I watched a lecture by Dr. Lustig – this guy is a legend within the low carb community. In a lecture I had seen, he showed how the metabolic pathway of fructose and alcohol was identical, with the exception of the non-alcoholic reaction doesn’t get the buzz. He asks, “would you give your kid a beer?” Thinking is that it isn’t healthy to have a lot of fructose.

So my mom was a type 2 diabetic. This was after years of insulin resistance from too many damn carbs. When she was on a popular weight loss program, they told her, “you can eat all the fruit you want, there’s no points”. I lost my fucking mind.

I told her to stop drinking the orange juice and having 6 servings of fruit a day. A few years later, she got stage 4 pancreatic cancer (where insulin is produced) and died 15 months later. Doctors told her to eat all the fruit she wanted. Again, food science is a fucking joke and these guys are book smart and know what the guidelines are. Telling a person with a high HBA1C to “lose weight” and telling her to do it with carbs and fructose. The reason FOR the high HBA1C was insulin resistance. And you tell people to “lose weight” to bring down the HBA1C using the method that got them overweight and high HBA1C to begin with? Quacks. Yes, I get angry. These arrogant pricks are the smartest people in the world – but they cannot look at what is right in front of them because it does not comport with the book they read in 1996 citing epidemiology studies using shit data. Ancel Keys would be proud of you. Do better. You fatten livestock with grains, yet we are going to tell people who got a high HBA1C listening to our advice to eat more carbs, to then lose weight using the same guidelines that got them fat and a high HBA1C.

So. There’s no such thing as “healthy fruit sugar”. It’s sugar. Doctors should also know this. But, “fruit has benefits” so they tell people to eat it.

You then have sucrose, which is table sugar, which is 50% fructose and 50% glucose. You then have “high fructose corn syrup” which is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. You look at a soda as “bad” but yet don’t realize that fructose is fruit sugar.

“But fruit is healthy!” No, fool. It’s not, to me is a “cheat food”. A sweet. Something to be eaten EXTREMELY sparingly. Yes, there are vitamins and minerals in them. The low glycemic berries are what I stick with for my one serving a day – blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. A banana I would have if I was going to be doing hills with biking, running, or hiking.

The main issue is that fruit from 400 years ago is not the same as today – and this is shit doctors have zero clue about. All of our fruits were bred to be much sweeter and have less fiber. This is what a watermelon looked like 300 years ago from a painting.

What about bananas?

Meaning, the fruits of 300 years ago weren’t as sweet, had a lot more fiber, and with this, had a lot less impact on your glycemic load. So if our ancestors ate bananas, they weren’t the same as what you see today.

So what you might want to do is consume foods that might have more carbs with fats/proteins to dull the effects.

Weight lifters actually use insulin as a training tool. Consider you train fasted, and then afterwards, you ingest a banana and a protein shake. Idea is that the insulin levels will spike – and force your body to absorb the protein and use the carbs to boost the muscle building process – and add back to your glycogen stores.

All of the above is based on hormones, and not calories.

My mistakes

Some of you read about my mistakes before but I recap these for the new readers. From 372 pounds to 225 pounds, I was doing very, very well. One thing I was terrified of was “loose skin” but this is another reason I was trying to target 1.5 to 2 pounds per week. At 225, I was very happy with myself. Strong – as I could bench 225 3 times. Starting to see real definition in my calves and getting some vascularity. At 225, I was extremely happy with no loose skin. My tummy was a little problematic, but really nothing that bothered me in the least. Some of these pictures of people taking off 100 pounds in a year, they sucked everything out of them and left the skin behind. The number on the scale is better, but they are trapped with 40 pounds of skin hanging off of them. Which creates other problems. Luckily, the slow and steady plan I had worked well to avoid 95% of this issue.

Up until this moment, it was “weight loss”, where I mostly lost fat. There was a fancy scale at the gym and I was able to see each month my progress with the weight that I was in water, fat, muscle, etc. What I was TRYING to do was to preserve “lean body mass” while losing FAT. So far, the plan worked well with the trainer.

The problem mostly happened with me when I kept focusing on the number on the scale. I got obsessed around 225. Up until this point, the first 75 pounds was 40/30/30 with like 2200-2400 calories, and the last 75 was keto for 6 months then low carb (75-125g of carbs) with unknown calories. I literally didn’t track calories.

The last 25-28 pounds for me is where I made the massive, massive mistake. Everything I did up until here, I was on point with. But I was struggling to lose weight from 230 to 225, and was range bound for a few months. The physics-approach guys out there would tell you to cut calories more, and it’s sort of the approach I went – and should not have. At that time, I was working to get into the military, and for my height, I needed to be like 185 pounds or less, OR have a waist of like 36 inches. My true waist was around 38.5 inches. Note, that isn’t the waist size of pants. I also needed to run a 2 mile time below like 19 minutes or something. Time was running out on me. And, I went nuts. THIS was the fork in the path where the mistake was made.

I then abandoned my plan and started running and biking far more than I ever had before, by a lot. My routine runs were now 3 miles with distance runs of 6-8 miles, and my routine bikes of 16-18 miles became 26-30 with distance rides at 45 miles. I was now doing “fasting Fridays” every Friday rather than 2-3 times a month, and I had done a few 3 days fasts. My swimming was now an hour in duration. I could not stop moving. At work I never ate lunches, EVER, as part of OMAD. I was at 4 meals during the week (one meal a day M-Th), no food on Friday, and 2 meals on Saturday and Sunday each. My estimates had my calories roughly now at 1200-1300 per day and avg training of about 1-2 hours a day of cardio.

I got down to 197 in about 2-3 months of this. And the scale was showing the lean body mass I was stripping off.

But my bench from above went from 225 3 times (at 225 pounds) and then I could not bench 95 pounds once (at 197). I was ok with losing my strength, IF it meant I could be 165 pounds and run! However, problems happened. This is where the weight loss of 25 times before kicked in.

The major issue was physically – the last 28 pounds I lost I felt was a good deal of muscle. However good I felt at 225, I was feeling a bit off at 197. I lost ALL STRENGTH. It might be interesting to note I did the tri at 205 or so in August 2019, but when I was 250 pounds I had bike and run times better than the tri times. While I had “lost weight”, to help me go faster, I happened to LOSE POWER. Overall, I loved being in a size 34 jeans and large shirts.

A few weeks after I hit 197, my mom died and remember above how I talked about gaining weight back quickly – even though you don’t change what you eat? In the 6 months after my mom died, I had gained 48 pounds back and did not change ONE THING about my food intake. I remember those times of being tired, trying to run and having a pinched nerve in my back. Going to therapy twice a week for my shoulder. Flashbacks of getting injured time and time again when I cut the old fashioned way of half starving myself.

What happened?

  1. Lack of muscle caused injuries. I kept trying to train and my shoulders and back went. No long distance running, biking, swimming. no weight training.
  2. Down regulation of my body metabolism. With crushing 25 pounds of lean body mass, and injuries piling up, I hit the exhaustion levels. This led to my body then dialing me back and slowing me down. Tired all the time.
  3. With my mom dying, and taking care of her near the end, I dealt with a lot of cortisol issues and rapid weight gain. The stress hormones were off the charts. By her funeral, I had gained 21 pounds back in 1 month (weighed 218 the day of the funeral).
  4. With complications with my wife’s pregnancy, our son was in the NICU during early stages of COVID. More stress. 245 when he came home.
  5. I didn’t change, at all, materially for 2 years after this and I had been up 75 pounds.
  6. I lost a lot of muscle mass and this crushed my metabolism.

FAT LOSS as opposed to WEIGHT LOSS

The last 25 pounds or so I gained over the last year really wasn’t much of a concern to me mentally until I started going off the wagon around my birthday in November. I had gone through about the last 6 months of heavy weight training again at home and while I put weight on, I can tell you my strength is about the highest it’s ever been. Ever. My back issues subsided about 6 months ago. I got back on my low carb about 2.5 months ago and down 21 pounds. Still have all of my strength. About a year ago, I switched to 40/30/30 and that put on about 15-20 pounds relatively quickly, as those who go off of low carb have seen. Lots of water, but I went off due to inflation costs of everything and bought a lot of rice/grains/beans.

Where I am focusing this time is….

“Hormonal-based approach to FAT LOSS using a low inflammatory diet”. I will do SOME steady state cardio, but that will be mostly with biking. I will limit that to about 90 minutes for my duration rides, and 60 minutes for my normal rides. Walking the dog is key. Hiking I love. Focus on the large muscle groups with the legs to burn a lot of calories. Hit the gym 1-2 times a week for all around strength and muscles.

But SUBSTRATES now are where you go, for the win.

When you think of substrates here, think of what your body needs to fuel it. With “steady as she goes”, it can use body fat (think of burning a candle) and break down these fats into ketones. With “hard hill training and sprints” it needs carbs (think rocket fuel) in the form of glycogen in the muscles and your body’s ability to source quick sources of carbs. The “secret” here to fat loss is to understand the differences. You don’t need to “carb up” for a leisurely 2 mile run. I went through 2 years of running/biking with zone 2 just fine and you do not need a single carb to do it. However, if I’m doing my hard hill ride with the bike, I’d probably have a fruit smoothie with strawberries and a banana two hours prior to the ride.

Calories matter. They do. But if you feed your body the fats it needs and adequate protein, your body can break down fats into ketones very easily to get the energy you need. But using a hormonal approach, your body will tell you when you need some food and when it had enough. When you eat a lot of processed foods – they may be calorically dense and your body may not be able to signal leptin properly to stop eating. So I am “ballparking” I’m having 2000-2200 calories these days. I work out heavy twice a week. I walk my dog, hike – and now about to do 6 months of biking every weekend.

But if you focus your diet as calories as the PRIMARY thing, you will eat the wrong foods and thus be hungry all the time.

Every 3 weeks or so I have a cheat day/weekend, and some things I miss I have. However, I try to minimize caloric damage. This allows you to circle nights on your calendar where you can have a piece of cake at a wedding and not beat yourself up.

But with the focus with FAT LOSS, I want to use FAT as the substrate, and at times I do have higher levels of carbs, it might be focused around heavy weight training or times I’m doing hard hills with the bike.

When I get to 225 again, I need to realize that my body was taking time out from fat loss and adding muscle mass. There will be times when you plateau, but don’t try and break the plateau “at all costs”.

FAT LOSS needs to be the focus. If you do WEIGHT LOSS, you might end up with 40 pounds of “loose skin”, no muscle mass – and rebound back a lot of the weight you lost.

This entire series is FAT LOSS because I need to get people to realize that it is extremely important to allow your body to gradually reduce its size. The damage you did to it for 40 years cannot be reversed in a year. It took me 2.5 years to get down 150 pounds, and then I screwed it all up the last few months. I think if you are overweight, you need to look at 1-2 pounds of FAT LOSS a week as a good way forward. If it takes you 3 years to get there as opposed to 6 months, you may be MUCH happier with the results in 3 years than the results in 6 months. Remember, as you do go down on the scale, your body doesn’t need as much muscle to move it. It doesn’t need the giant bones you built to carry the fat. It doesn’t need all of that skin to cover you, and you actually shed your skin over time.

So, I get that you need to understand the role of calories in surpluses and deficits, but 99% of the people out there telling you to cut calories are clueless and just using a physics-based approach to “weight loss” as opposed to a hormonal-based approach to “Fat loss”.

Low carb

I wrote a ton here about low carb, and I believe it is the default for our bodies, and the “rare occasions” our ancestors came across a patch of berries, they would eat them. But ancient man did not have carbs readily available to him. Only in the last 10,000 years did we have agricultural ways of getting food, and only in the past 50 years have they messed with genetics, breeding, hormones, and natural diets of animals. They meant to feed populations with cheaper “calories”, but the absolutely disastrous result putting off a starving population was to have one 50 years later that has record obesity, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes rates.

With low carb, the BIG PICTURE is your body can self-regulate again and eat its natural diet. I have on most days roughly 60-80g of carbs. When I do kick my endurance training up next year I’ll probably be at 100-125g but also then be doing a LOT of hard training. For zone 2, hiking, weight training, walking, light biking, light running, I don’t need over 60-80g per day.

Gym bros

I believe there is a place for a lot of these folks, but not for me. This isn’t your really good trainer – I mean the guys who have no real schooling and just listen to what some meat head told them. I’m not trying to get to be 225 with a 6 pack and can bench 450. My model for a lot of this is the Nick Bares of the world.

I loosely followed him here and there until he started training for an Ironman triathlon. He was a bulky guy (left) who could run given his military background, but he cut off a lot of bulk with distance training – BUT KEPT muscle (right). Obviously, he runs a supplement company and he has to focus on some of that, but he walked you through his daily training.

Most gym bros aren’t science-based. They are anecdotal. For example…

  1. When is the best time to have protein after you work out? Before you work out?
  2. Do you work out fasted or have a meal beforehand?
  3. How much protein should you have in a day?
  4. What pre-workout do you use, and why do you even need one?
  5. Do you need BCAAs? Why?
  6. What is the best schedule to lift?
  7. Are steroids safe (I would not even consider the idea, but many do)

Every answer above will give you a different answer, based on who you talk to. Each one of the people that tell you something different may have a 6 pack. So, which one is right? All of them? None of them? What do all of them have in common? They work out, a lot. They all have six packs. There’s your evidence. How they got there is working out, not so many BCAAs at what times of the day.

I used to watch Thomas DeLauer a bit back in the day. Can’t watch it anymore. Haven’t in years. Dude would talk about a study, then talk about all kinds of things over everyone’s head that he read from a script, then apologize a few times for mentioning big words. You couldn’t really retain much. I give him credit for trying to bring science into bro science, but it’s hard to watch after you seen about 20 episodes.

I then watched Alan Roberts a lot. I like how he removed a lot of the bulk he had as being 260 pounds and muscular isn’t healthy either as it is a load for the heart. He does a good job of calling peoples’ bullshit out and motivating people. But there’s no understanding about hormones in this, it’s a calories game to him and many others. You literally cannot tell them anything different than what they learned in the gym because it ended up being successful for them. Alan has done a better job showing compassion these days, but I don’t think he know what it’s like to diet and feel hungry 24×7. That’s the catch here. Most of these guys sentence these people to months of feeling starved based on a physics-based approach. I got value from it to get off the couch, but many of these guys are “I pick things up and put them down”. And, it’s ok – because – mystery, all of these guys have muscles.

That is to say if you are going to the gym a lot and you are listening to all of these people, one thing they all do a lot of, for the most part, is eat broccoli/chicken/rice. And lots of it. For me, rice was a “good carb” to assist me in my early days, and it’s good for explosive activity like weight training. But if you watch their plates closely, none of them have estrogenic foods. They aren’t drinking beer. In fact, check out how much cruciferous veggies they eat. They don’t know it’s because its anti-estrogenic, it’s because their mentor told them and they mimicked what works for others.

But if you are perhaps 20-30 pounds from your goal WEIGHT – then focus on what you want to DO. Meaning, if you are a guy and at 6′ want to have a beach body, you might follow someone that trains a certain way to get your beach body at 180. If you want to be a competitive body builder, follow one of them. If you want to do triathlons, follow those guys. Having been bulky most of my life with muscles underneath my glacier of skin, I had been used to “taking up space”. The life I want to live for the last 40 years of my life is trim and fit. I like the endurance body, but need to use muscle building and time to get to a Bare situation and then get to an ironman type of physique. I used to watch Lionel Sanders a lot – so this type of physique is what you need to do an ironman. You need some lean body mass for power, but too much weighs you down.

I think you would be hard pressed to find men over 250 pounds over 80 years old. They do exist, but not a lot. I think gym bro stuff is ok for a fit 25 year old to experiment with the best way to get a six pack, but someone 35 who has struggled with weight most of their life needs to read shit like I’m writing here.

I can tell you that I dialed up my training for endurance WAYYYYY too soon. I should have just worked the same system until about 190-195 and then from there dial up my training gradually. Ideally, I wanted to be about 170-175 with some muscle to do half ironmans. I sacrificed muscle and injured myself in the name of WEIGHT LOSS. Never again!!

Apologize for the long read, but if you made it this far and are significantly overweight, you may have found some value in the content!