Thursday, 26 April 2012

Getting motivated

So what's the answer to the obesity vicious cycle?

Well what was unusual about last nights lecture is that the doctor presenting did not recommend exercise to his obese patients who had no desire to exercise!

What, no exercise? But surely that's the way to encourage weight loss.

His argument was that when someone is that leptin insensitive that they can't burn fats, then the only exercise they can do is fuelled by glucose stores in the muscles. After 15-20 minutes they will have used these up and find themselves exhausted and hungry.

Instead he recommended a dietary strategy to undo the insulin and leptin resistance and encourage the dopamine pathways, under the principal that once these were restored his patients would be naturally inclined to start exercising.

The diet has no refined carbohydrates or sugars and is generally low in all starchy carbs, instead focussing on 6 small, protein rich meals daily plus specific antioxidants and protein supplements that encourage dopamine production.

The absence of sugars and carbs massively reduces insulin production whilst the regular meals balance blood sugar. A high protein diet has also been shown to increase basal metabolic rate, so increase calories burnt at rest.

If you flip that diet on it's head then what this implies is that over time a diet high in sugar and white refined carbohydrates could actually reduce your natural inclination to exercise meaning you start to exhibit laziness and exercise avoidance.

So should we all be living on high-meat, low-carb diets?

This is an argument I myself struggle with - yes naturally we have evolved to live on a high meat diet supplemented with native fruits and vegetables, but at the same time our lives nowadays are so far removed from this that our dietary requirements can't be exactly the same as they were thousands of years ago. Also our food is so different - getting your hands on pesticide and antibiotic free and lean meat is actually pretty difficult.

In particular our fast paced lives put a constant stress on our adrenal glands which can impair their ability to burn fats for energy - by not consuming any carbs we could be putting them under more stress than they can cope with ultimately leading to fatigue, something I have definitely seen happen overtime in clients.

Whatever your diet ethos the fact is that refined sugars and refined carbohydrates are not good for us whatever our lifestyle and should be limited to occasional treats. So remember next time you eat a chocolate bar or slice of white bread it's going to make it you less inclined to go to the gym!

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