Why we get fat, still ?
Montréal, March 15th 2011
Why we get fat? That’s the title of Gary Taubes’s recent book, as well as Good Calories Bad Calories. The title is provocative, it has to be catchy because publishing is a business, but it confuses the issue, which in the end is not helpfull to anyone. It actually goes against his argument because with such a title you might just feel that it’s your fault, again…
Why do some of us get fat? now that’s much better and scientifically exact. With such a title he wouldn’t have had such a hard time with Dr.Oz. Because that’s the point, a one size fits all argument will always be easily disqualified. Same thing with his catch phrase: ‘We don’t get fat because we eat too much, we eat to much because we are getting fat’ is not technically wrong, but it actually just obscures the issue that he wants to clear up. I mean Coke is the real thing, yes… but the real what??????
That’s the point we most forget to mention, everyone’s body will react differently to the nutrients absorbed. Some of us are tall, others not, some strong boned, others svelte… In any gym, on the same food, some will devellop large muscles, and others not, and it’s not a question of willpower or endurance, of doing more, bigger or longer, it just is. When you see Mister Muscle selling his method, it’s the same as if he’d say ‘I’m 6 feet 2 inches, do this workout and you’ll be as tall as I am’. Those who understand this do not try to sell you their method, they will promote a healthy lifetsyle with a healthy body.
So why do we get fat then?
We don’t get fat, we must forget this whole concept. The question is more ‘Why does my body prefer to store nutrients instead of putting them to work? Our body can store enormous amounts of fat, some proteins (the extras are converted into fat) and even less carbs/sugar (again the extras are transformed into fat). This is just basic biochemistry and nothing is new here.
When we grow up we need nutrients to build our body, when we get pregnant we need nutrients to feed and build a baby. The foods we eat are used right away. Also I don’t grow my body, I don’t grow my baby, I don’t grow my hair or my nails, it’s an autonomous process mediated by hormones. No willpower, guilt or responsability involved here (but if you drink alcool or do drugs you are interfering with the process). Your hormones are the ones responsible for when ( puberty / menaupose… ) and where ( love handles / honeybuns… ) and how much of what gets used or stored.
Calories don’t count!
There’s another catch phrase, sells well and is easy to repeat, and the rebutal you get is always the same…Haha! You can’t violate the laws of thermodynamics you fool!!!! You see, catch phrases like that just obscure the issue, you never get anywhere and are just disqualified.
Every iota, every electron and neutron counts and is accounted for, but these are just the building blocks. The question is are you going to use them to build your home or to heat your home? How much of your hard earned salary are you going to use to pay your mortgage and how much do you spend on groceries? Calories don’t decide by themselves, calories don’t ‘count‘ in the decision process. If your roof has a major leak, you will take some money and put it into repair work. If it’s mid-winter and extremely cold you will put your money into heating your home. Your body does the exact same thing, it decides with the help of hormones what goes where, which I will call nutrient budgeting (as opposed to fuel partitioning, just because of the word ‘fuel’)
We live on a tight, precise budget
Nutrients in, nutrients budgeted is less catchy but gets us much closer to our present storage problem. Every nutrient you eat is accounted for, but how will it be budgeted? That is the real question. Is your body more of an Ebenezer Scrooge or a Playboy High Roller? What will you do if you win the lottery? Invest or splurge? Are your nutrients going to be stored for later use or distributed evenly so that they can be put to work right now? Who do you think decides? I’m sorry to say but it’s not you, it’s your body.
Yes, it’s that simple, you are not in charge of the budgeting, you are not in charge of the balance sheet. Are you relieved or annoyed by this? And here’s is the killer, no amount of dieting, fasting, calorie restriction, exercising will change your balance sheet in the long run!
Of course for a while you can count calories or jog, and yes you can repair the roof with a plank of wood, but it won’t last because the hole is still there underneath, or you can burn your furniture to heat your home (biggest loser style), but again in the long run you’ll need to buy new furniture, and the old balance sheet will prevail above else. Only a lifestyle change will reassess and create a new budget sheet, and this is what we are aiming for.
The Balance Sheet
‘We don’t get fat because we eat too much, we eat to much because we are getting fat’. No no no. We get ‘fat’ because our hormones stores too much of the incoming nutrients, which leaves us always hungry for fuel for our body. The more we eat, the more we store; the more we store, the less fuel is available so the more we need to eat. It is a vicious circle.
The only other way to balance our bottom line on this nutrient budgeting is to bring down our energy levels. So we don’t get fat because we move less, we have to move less because a major part of our fuel is unavailble. It is stored away. We only have a limited amount of energy budgeted to just keep us going, with no excess, so we have to slow down to conserve energy.
The bottom line
#1 – You have no control over your body type
#2 – You have no control over your growth
#3 – You have no control over the budgeting of your nutrients
So can we do something about it?
YES ! Can I be more sure and positive about it than this simple answer YES! You have no control over your body type, your growth nor your balance sheet, but you do have control about which nutrients you will feed your body, and therein lies the answer.
Again a temporary change will only give a temporary different result, and a permanent change will give long lasting permanent results. So before I give you the easy solution and food selection wich will reset your balance sheet to budget your nutrients according to your needs, you need to understand this: You don’t get fat because you eat too much, and you don’t get fat because you are lazy, these are hurtfull lies. You are overweight, hungry and tired because of the way your body (not you) budgets the incoming nutrients.
Repeat it like a Mantra until you really feel it!:
You are overweight, hungry and tired because of the way your body (not you) budgets the incoming nutrients.
You have control over your nutrients, not to what happens to them once they are in your digestive system, your balance sheet takes care of that aspect of the equation. So how do you reset your balance sheet? Well that’s quite easy, and will be the subject of another posting…