Friday, December 9, 2011

There Are No Hacks

For a while now I've been searching for a hack that might help me lose weight faster. I've occasionally found something that seemed to speed it up slightly like the Leptin Reset but that tapered off. I should digress for a moment and point out that I realize the Leptin Reset is about more than just fast weight loss, it's about addressing a myriad of metabolic and hormonal issues that might impact someone in many ways one of which is weight gain. It's also about gaining Leptin Sensitivity which should help with longer term weight loss. Low carb/Primal didn't really speed things up substantially (although I do like it as a WOE and I think it's an easier diet in many ways due to increased satiety) neither did Intermittent Fasting or a Ketogenic diet although I think IF is a useful tool and is something I will consider using at the right time. Ketogenic diets don't seem to offer a metabolic advantage and beyond treating some symptoms of various diseases is probably not that relevant to me. So I'm struck by the sad realization that it's just a long slow haul and it really all comes down to will power. I knew this already, it's not like I thought we could throw the laws of thermodynamics out the window, but I did hope for an approach that would help with satiety and perhaps result in some greater utilization of fat stores. Hey, losing 100 lb is hard, was hoping for a little bit of help.

On the flip side is exercise where I also explored what are the best options to help me lose weight through exercise in the most efficient manner. It's not like I wasn't expecting to do plenty of hard work, I have no problem with working up a sweat, but surely there are some approaches that result in optimal body re-composition. I've looked at fasted HIIT but it seems like it's most effective for those with > 35% BF or < 15% BF, go figure. Of course, sprinting is a good choice, so is HIIT but doing it fasted doesn't seem to offer much benefit unless you're really fat or really thin. It IS good to lift weights, helps retain lean body mass (you can even build a little while in calorie deficit if you are really fat or a beginner - I might be past that stage now) and has lots of other great side-effects, sadly weight loss isn't one of them. It's good to do cardiovascular exercise as well, sprinting or HIIT as I mentioned but we're back to burn some calories, hit the gym, spent 45 minutes on the elliptical, go for a run, play some racquetball and so on. Not exactly exciting and motivational, I've been doing that shit my whole life.

I've been considering some less exotic options to help me progress such as a juice fast, trying IF again perhaps a couple of days a week or increase my calorie burn substantially to thousands of exercise calories a week, maybe all of the above. I like this post on breaking a plateau:

I've made the same observations that a big change is often needed to break a plateau. Whether this has a physiological affect or just a psychological one I have no idea. My point is, I'm willing to try just about anything to shift the weight and reach my goals. I recognize that it's very hard to keep up a sustained high level of will power and motivation especially in the face of very slow results. Using different approaches helps maintain that momentum at least for me. Many people, especially dieticians and doctors would hear that and say "you need to eat a balanced, sustainable diet that will work in the long run", I don't agree. The reality is, every health marker is generally improved by losing weight, in fact, I suspect you're be better of losing weight on the twinkie diet if it meant losing more weight than you would by following a standard "healthy" weight loss plan, provided of course you transition to a healthier long term diet. There of course is the critical point but in my case, I've experimented so much with my diet, I track everything I eat and do and so I could easily transition from a slightly more extreme diet to a "normal" diet. I'm not saying I'm starting a juice fast tomorrow but I do have a different perspective on how to lose the rest of this weight and that is, just lose it anyway I can, I can maintain the lower weight, it's getting there that's a bitch.

The exploration is not over it's not like science has uncovered all nutritional mysteries or that my interpretation couldn't be flawed just that what I've discovered so far is that when it comes to weight loss there is no free lunch. There are no hacks (well, no good ones) and it all comes down to how badly you want it. I don't regret what I've experimented with and learned thus far, it's helped me lose 55 lb and drop to 25% body fat, that's not a bad effort. It's just that now I am having to get my head around the fact that I'm faced with a long haul of dieting and exercise. As I said, I never expected it to be easy but I suppose I was hoping for at least a change of scenery.

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