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If I remember correctly, the FTC views the use of animal research in supplement advertising to be one of the most heinous advertising infractions, right up there with Photoshopped before and after photos.

Why?

Because they believed that due to the lack of transferability of animal research to humans, doing so would be intentionally misleading the customer as to the potential benefits of said supplement.

Even the most ‘fly-by-night’ ethically-devoid supplement companies do not use animal trials in their marketing for this reason.

Keep this in mind when you see journalists and bloggers reporting on the latest mouse research, using it to create clickbait style articles about human diet, nutrition and weight loss.

Alright, now that I’ve said that, lets get to that article that appeared on Yahoo suggesting that skipping a meals will actually make you fatter.

It was an animal study, using mice.

We know that mice are extremely sensitive to fluctuations in both body weight and meal patterns. They are very small animals, and without getting too technical I’ll just say it’s well known in the scientific community that many parts of metabolism scale with size.

For 5 days the mice in the diet group were given half the amount of food as the control mice, and all of the food was provided in one meal per day (that’s why it’s being referred to as a ‘fasting study’).

After 5 days of dieting the mice were allowed to gorge for 13 days, they were given an amount of food that was the same or more as the control mice, and were still only eating it all in one meal.

So what happened?

The control mice continue to grow normally, and their weight increased throughout the study, but the fasting diet-restricted mice lost almost 20% of their body weight in the first 5 days of the study. (This should be your first hint that mice are different than humans. If you and I eat 50% of our daily intake for 5 days we’re not going to lose 20% of our body weight – heck, we could do this for a month and we’re probably not losing 20% of our body weight.)

Then, the fasted mice were fed 98-122% of the amount of food as the growing control mice, so the fasted mice started to grow… and they grew quickly. If you think about it, they were getting fed the same amount of food (or more) as the mice that were 30% heavier then them… so rapid weight gain (and fat gain) make sense.

So end result? Mice who rapidly lost 20% of their body weight and then regained most of that weight by overeating ended up with larger fat cells then the control mice. I’m not sure why this is surprising.

They also had worse measurements of a bunch of health markers… again not surprising.

I’m not sure how much the eating cycle mattered here. Again, as I stated earlier, mice are really sensitive to eating patterns so it probably did play some sort of role, but rapid weight loss then overfeeding causing increased fat stores and messed up glucose control isn’t surprising.

What’s surprising is the reporting.

Overeating and causing rapid weight gain is generally not a good idea. Losing excess body fat generally is.

So what does this have to do with humans and Intermittent Fasting?

Simple. Fasting is popular, so it makes for great headline fodder.

We were baited in with the headline, then they attempted to blind us with the science.

Here’s the truth – There are lots of ways to lose excess body fat – Fasting is just one of dozens.

They all work, and some will obviously work better for you then others, based on your personal likes and dislikes and styles of eating.

The bottom line is please don’t worry about the mouse study, and feel free to voice your anger when people use mice to try and tell you how to eat.

Mice aren’t people, people aren’t mice. Yes, there is value in animal research and animal research can lead to proof of concept for human studies, but jumping right from animal trials to setting dietary recommendations for humans is reckless.

BP

Another weird diet trick

by Brad Pilon

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Here’s another easy trick for successful long term weight loss.

…save room for dessert.

It’s a simple strategy, but it works.

I don’t really count carbs or fats. I count protein and calories, and even then, most of it is a guess.

But that’s just me, really it doesn’t matter what it you count, this trick is the same – save some of your calories / carbs / fats for dessert.

Whatever you count, save some of it for dessert.

My choice is usually mint chocolate chip ice-cream. I don’t go crazy with it – A cup of ice-cream in the evening is all I need to not feel like I’m depriving myself.

Give me a pint of Guinness at dinner and a bowl of ice-cream before bed and I can be 100% on track with the rest of my eating for months and months.

Deprivation kills consistency, and consistency is where your results come from.

If a diet isn’t sustainable, it’s not going to work.

BP

Post image for One weird trick for weight loss

I know, I know it sounds like one of those weird weight loss ads, but this is actually a weird trick for you to try.

I call it the The calendar method (Truthfully, I think I got this from one of the girls over at VenusFactor)

This is a great way to simplify the recording of your diet plan. Simply get a calendar – maybe one of those cute kitten calendars, or my favorite -  a calendar full of pics of million dollar private island escapes… Then at the end of each day put a BIG check mark on the days your eating was ‘on point’ at a level you are happy with and that that was in-line with your weight loss and nutrition goals.

Put a BIG slash through the box if it was an average day where you were not as good as you would like, but it wasn’t a loss… basically a day that you think was about neutral.

Put a BIG X through the days where you know that you for sure went ‘over’ or ‘out’ of your diet.

(If you want to be really dramatic you can make the check marks green and the X’s red)

By the end of the month you will be able to look over your record and find trends. You will also be able to line up your actual weight loss with your guesstimate based on what you thought were good, even or bad days. Trust me, this can be a very revealing experiment.

This is a great tool for learning what too little, too much and just right feels like and is also a nice dose of reality to look back and see how you think you did on your diet versus the results.

Like I said, it’s a weird trick, but one that can be really effective, especially if you’ve slowed down with your weight loss, or hit a plateau with your eating.

BP

My Weekly Routine

by Brad Pilon

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In any given week I do something called carb-cycling.

Throughout the week I will cycle from days where I eat a normal amount of carbs to times  where I eat zero carbs, and in between I have times where I eat low carb.

I also Front Load and Back Load my Calories

Twice a week I eat most of my calories in the beginning of the day, and twice a week I eat most of my calories at the end of the day. On the other days my calories are pretty evenly spread out throughout the day.

I eat breakfast 5 times per week, but twice a week I skip breakfast.

At least 5 times a day I eat a normal breakfast at a normal breakfast time (sometime around 7AM for me). Breakfast is normally some combination of Greek Yogurt and some fruit. But at least once a week, sometimes twice I don’t eat any breakfast at all.

I also protein cycle, going from periods of high protein intake to periods of no protein intake.

During the week I’ll eat anywhere from 70 grams of protein all the way up to more than 120 grams, depending on the day, and my workout routine.

And, now that I think about it I’m also basically vegan (eating no meat or animal products at all) for 2 days a week and I guess I also do cleanses.

Of course I do all of this without thinking about it and while still having chocolate and ice-cream almost every day.

How?

By fasting for roughly 24 hours once or twice a week.

This is the great variability of a flexible intermittent fasting routine. It has all the complexities of most diets built right into it, but without making you think about it all day, or stress about it, or even acknowledge it’s existence.

A short fast, once or twice a week accomplishes all of this and so much more.

Any diet can be made to SOUND complicated, but it’s the execution that matters.

Find something you can do, that you can tailor to you own needs and schedules and then stick with it as long as it gives you the results you desire.

That’s my best diet advice.
BP

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This past weekend was my Thanksgiving (I live in Canada). And, Thanksgiving in Canada is a lot like Thanksgiving in the US… it involves a LOT of eating.

So for fun, I decided to track my weight over this joyous occasion eating festivities.

It started Friday morning at 174 pounds.

I spent the day doing dinner prep (it was our turn to host Thanksgiving dinner). I did manage to get some rock climbing in during the morning, and was also able to sneak away for a quick shoulders work out around 2 PM.

I opened the wine at 3:30, guests arrived at 4, we started eating at 5.  I ate, but I tried to keep it somewhat under control. I also drank, but kept that under control too icon wink Weekend Weight Experiment

I was able to say “enough”…. twice. Once after my first piece of strawberry rhubarb pie and then once again after my much larger piece of apple crumble with coconut whipped cream icon wink Weekend Weight Experiment

Guests were gone by 9 ish, we were done cleaning by 10:30 and I stepped on the scale at around 11 PM:

177 pounds.

The next morning I woke up at around 8 AM (the kids slept in!) and I stepped on the scale:

172.5 pounds.

(A pound and a half lower than yesterday morning.)

Was it my metabolism? My leptin or thyroid hormones going out of control from all the extra food? No, it was probably a change in water weight.

For the rest of Saturday I ate leftovers, made soup, ate pie, played with the kids, ate pie, watched Monster High movies with my daughter and went to the local farm (Dyments in Dundas) for their annual Thanksgiving festivities. No workouts, no real movement to speak of…

I stepped on the scale that evening at:

179 pounds.

Yikes.. I do NOT like being that close to 180!  Oh well, at least my weight may drop over the night.

The next morning I weighed in at:

177 pounds.

Too high for my liking – goes to show that the weight loss the morning after a big day of eating is only temporary…  Nature will always catch up to you icon wink Weekend Weight Experiment

At around 1 pm on Sunday I started fasting, that evening before bed I weighed

178 pounds.

The next morning I was 19 hours into my fast when I stepped on the scale

175 pounds.

I finished my fast around 12:30 with a family lunch, but I ‘kept it light’ that evening I did a legs workout, while still keeping the eating on the lighter side. We used up the leftovers, and cleared the kitchen of any suspect food….

That evening I weighed in at

176 pounds

The next morning I weighted

173.8

Right back to normal for me.

If you look at all the weight fluctuations you see wild changes in weight, however if you remove the evening weights the story becomes a bit more clear:

174 —> 172.5 —> 177 —> 175 —> 174

If you remember that these are snapshots of my weight change – one three-second period of time over a 24 hour period.

Really, My weight never moved from a baseline of 174 by more than 3 pounds at any given time. And 3 pounds is a fairly normal weight fluctuation for a 5’10” male.

The same goes if you only track the evening weights

177 —> 179 —> 178 —> 176

In fact, the only reason the weight swings seems so extreme is that we are comparing morning ‘empty’ weights to varying degrees of evening ‘full weights’.  The truth is your weight changes by the minute – food has weight, water has weight, different foods affect how your body handles water, alcohol does too, as do the circadian rhythms of your hormones.

Weight is a transient moment in time snap-shot of nothing more than the weight of your body. In other words without other metrics weight is a very, very poor indicator of what is going on inside of your body, and it is certainly NOT an indication of the inner workings of your metabolism.

In fact, if you consider my morning waist measurements through this process

32.5 —> 32.75 —> 33 —> 33 —> right in-between 32.5 and 32.75

You see even less fluctuation (at least in my eyes) I generally don’t worry unless my waist gets above 33.5 – and even then ‘worry’ just means I go back to fasting for 24 hours twice per week.

The moral is your weight changes. Fluctuations are OK. Upwards trends are something you need to control, but fluctuations happen.

And women – your weight will also fluctuate with your menstrual cycle – so you have daily fluctuations AND monthly fluctuations to contend with.

So treat weight for what it is… just one of many measurements you make on your body – one that is a quick snapshot, that doesn’t define how your body looks, how your metabolism is working, your hormone levels, or your self worth.

It’s an number worth tracking, but the trends are far more important than the actual number.

BP

Creating Weakness

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It’s been a while since I really felt ‘right’ about my lifting. For the longest time, I thought that I simply didn’t care as much as I used to, but now I’m sure that I still care. In fact, the … Read More

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Weight Gain Loops

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Part of the large part of the Etiology of weight gain is an incredibly strong feedback loop – And I’m not talking about insulin or leptin or some other hormone.

No, I’m talking about something MUCH stronger.

But before we … Read More

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Why Carbs Make Us Fat

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I can explain all the science you need to know about why carbs make you fat… And I will do it three words.

Ready? Here we go…

CARBS. ARE. AWESOME.

Seriously, this is the MAIN problem with carbohydrates. It’s why … Read More

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Meal Skipping

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I’ve never really understood the concept of ‘meal skipping’.

To me, It’s a very funny way to describe ‘not eating’, since you’re not really skipping a meal if you weren’t planning on eating a meal in the first place. In … Read More

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Why can I eat carbs?

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Yesterday I read another article that took the position of excess calories not CAUSING weight gain. Instead, the authors argued that somehow sick/diseased/altered body fat caused us to overeat, thus causing body fat. Their theory put the blame on insulin … Read More

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