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As the Internet Big Bang keeps expanding, we’re learning that there are hundreds of ways to lose fat and get lean. Many of those ways may seem like they’re on the fringe (the Cookie Diet), but many also work very well.
For me — and for most of you — the fat-loss method that works best is the one you can keep the fat off for a long time, maybe for the rest of your life.
It is also a method that should not make you unreasonably hungry, suppress your metabolism, and make you obsessive about food. You should not always have to think about what (or, more specifically, what not) to eat.
In theory, fat loss metabolism is a complicated matter; but in application, it should be a simple process. To me, this is the most important element in a fat loss method. Simplicity is what makes a method sustainable.
There are complex hormonal interactions involved in fat loss and, once the fat is lost, in staying there long-term. But to keep this application simple, we need to think about only the two essentials:
- Eat fewer calories
- Eat mostly whole, real foods
The scientific literature has shown that the first essential — eat fewer calories — does not work long-term by itself (nor with exercise).
However, anecdotal evidence (as well as my experience and those of others I’ve worked with) show that the first essential can in fact work long-term if it is accompanied by the second essential — eat mostly whole, real foods.
People who switched from eating a lot of processed foods to eating whole, real food found that they involuntarily eat fewer calories, even after a long period — longer than a year. For me it has been more than 3 years.
Perhaps whole, real foods provide increased nutrients that help nourish the cells of the body more efficiently; as a result, the body requires fewer calories. There could be several other (though related) complex factors contributing to the decreased need for calorie intake.
Decreased calorie intake, therefore, is a fundamental qualification to losing excess fat. But eating whole, real food seems to be fundamental in sufficiently nourishing the tissues of the body, so that fewer calories are required. It is this exact combination that I’ve found works the best for long-term success in losing body fat.