Friday, October 26, 2012

The "I can't believe it's a diet" Diet

Anyone who follows Paleo or Low Carb with any regularity knows Jimmy Moore, and knows that he is presently conducting what is proving to be an incredibly successful experiment on himself.

Jimmy initially lost a huge amount of weight eating Low Carb, became totally obsessed with spreading the word (in a good way) and is now an incredibly popular blogger and podcaster with a huge following.  Even though he interviewed the best experts around, he was unhappy personally because despite eating what he considered a good Low Carb and even Paleo style diet, his weight was slowly and surely creeping up again.

All this changed when he read The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Jeff Volek.  Jeff's earlier book, The Art and Science of Carbohydrate Living was also very popular in the Low Carb community, but it was this new book that really got Jimmy thinking.  He decided to experiment on himself using the new recommendations, and now, six months down the line he has lost a lot of weight and feels absolutely fabulous.

This is unfortunately an all too common story.  Man loses weight. Man gains back weight. Man tries new diet and loses weight  ..... AGAIN!

But in this case what makes it extremely interesting and very exciting is how Jimmy managed to lose his weight while eating a diet that can only be described as the "I can't believe it's a diet" Diet.

Imagine eating bacon and eggs for breakfast with all the butter you want .......

......... salads with rich dressings and loaded with cheese for lunch,

........ steak and vegetables smothered in more butter and dressing for dinner,

...... and topping this off with a snack of luscious dark chocolate.

Imagine being so satiated by your food that you start skipping meals voluntarily because you just aren't hungry. Imagine having more energy than you've ever had in your life and feeling better than you've ever felt.  And imagine while all this is happening, the pounds are also dropping at a significant rate.  This is what happened to Jimmy.

There is of course a catch, and that catch is that you have to be in Nutritional Ketosis.  Many people believe they are when they eat low carb, but unfortunately the latest science shows that isn't always true - and is probably why low carb seems to work for most but not for everybody.

It seems there is no one set of numbers that apply to everyone.  What is low carb for you might not be low carb for me .... and probably definitely isn't low carb for Jimmy.  He has found that he's had to keep his carbs at induction level, and - just as importantly - has had to limit his protein as well.

But he has been able to make up for these restrictions by eating more healthy fat. Consequently he has lost weight and feels great eating meals that most people on regular diets only dream off.  How hard is it to give up grains and fruit if you get to eat this kind of food?  I think most would agree it's not a bad trade.

Actually finding out what your particular "magic" number is, might require a bit of home testing with some special tools and strips that can be pricy.  Many people will consider this either too expensive or too much trouble, and the idea of having to draw blood - even if it's just a tiny amount - makes a lot of people very squeamish.

However, I think you can still gain a lot of the same benefits without these tests. If your present protein and carb levels are not allowing you to lose the weight you want to lose, you can probably get a good idea of what your specific needs are by cutting these numbers until the weight loss starts again.  It's not as scientific a method as the one Jimmy and Jeff Volek recommend, but it is after all the one that Dr. Atkins originally used successfully with many people.

Is this the answer for everyone?  It's really too soon to tell, but certainly many people are following his journey closely and I would be willing to bet that quite a few are trying their own version of his plan. He has been pretty closed mouthed about it up until now and that is understandable.  After all, he wanted to see results first.  But now that he has been so successful he has written several columns about it.

In his first column, Jimmy explains the difference between a ketogenic diet and a regular low carb diet. Then in the next column he gives the 5 main mistakes that he believes he made with his regular low carb diet.  In his final column (so far) he has listed 12 foods that he recommends for this way of eating.  He has also given regular progress updates on his blog, and in his latest post gives a link to his last podcast where he talks about his diet in more detail.

This gives anyone who wants to try to match his results a lot of information to get started, and of course for more specific info. and the science that backs it all up, you - like Jimmy - can also read the books.

Like many others I have watched his progress with great interest, and seeing how successful he has been, I am going to start incorporating some of his recommendations into my own diet.  They are after all very similar to what most Paleo Low Carbers are eating already.  The biggest difference is changing the ratio of protein, carbs and fats.

One of the biggest scientific findings made public since the original Atkins diet was published is the fact that you do not need to eat carbohydrates to be healthy.  Your body produces all the carbs you need. This fact allows you to look at the generally accepted eating recommendations in a very different light.

Fruits and Vegetables are considered by just about everyone as some of the healthiest foods you can eat, but possibly while you are trying to bring your system back to normal levels, keeping these to a minimum isn't all that bad an idea.

I would never suggest that you should cut out all vegetables and fruit.  This would be going to the other extreme, and I don't think that kind of diet would be any easier to sustain than a low fat one.  However you can live quite healthily even if you cut out all fruit other than berries, olives, tomatoes and avocadoes. And limiting your vegetables to those with the lowest carb counts means you will be eating mainly leafy greens - which are the best for you anyway.

So should you try Jimmy's diet recommendations?  Only you can decide this for yourself, but since they are based on those made by a respected doctor with science to back them up, and especially now that such a high profile blogger and podcaster has broadcasted his great results, my feeling is it's probably worth giving this a shot.

Yes, you might have to force down that dark chocolate every day ...... but I think you can grin and bear it.

UPDATE :  Dana Carpentar has written a book now called the Fat Fast that has tons of terrific recipes that are absolutely perfect for this diet.  Check out the link below.

P.S.  Jimmy's favourite dark chocolate is available here :
Stone Ground Organic Chocolate 80% Dark

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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