I have a set of “fat and after” photos that I look at frequently. To me, they reflect more than a radical physical transformation. They reflect a life change and serve as a reminder of when I lived life on life’s terms.
I ate what life served — usually meatball subs and Oatmeal Cream Pies. I drank what life poured — usually liquid blubber masquerading as diet soda. And I exercised when life allowed — usually a few reps of bench press twice a week.
As life’s malignancy’s caught up to me, I decided to live life on my terms. And my “after” photo shows how my body responded: It shed the fat that was holding me back from living young.
We all know fat kills. Some people even risk it all to get their own “fat and after” photos. Nothing reflects this better than the hit show, “The Biggest Loser.” Unfortunately, very few Biggest Losers remain winners.
Ryan Benson lost 122 lbs to win the first season but regained 32 lbs within five days simply by drinking water.
Contestant Kai Hibbard spent the night before her final weigh-in crawling in and out of a sauna for six hours, consuming only sugar-free Jell-O for a week and sucking down natural diuretics.
As the biggest Biggest Loser, Eric Chopin lost more than 200 lbs. Under all that junk was a shining, handsome man, with decades of living young added to his life. But it didn’t last either. He quickly rebounded and gained back more than 100 lbs. He also has Type 2 diabetes, which eliminates an estimated 11 to 20 years of life.
Here are the two main reasons the Biggest Losers can’t stay winners:
No. 1 They Don’t Count the 'Right' Calories
“The Biggest Loser” personal trainers like to moonlight as nutritionists. They are often heard regurgitating “calories in, calories out” and insist that all candidates need to simply count calories. It’s wrong.
Not all calories are created equal. Some get stored as fat regardless of physical activity and caloric intake. These include the low-fat foods pushed on the show’s contestants like fat free Jell-O and even fruit.
The more of these low-calorie foods they eat, the more their brain screams more, more, more and yells eat, eat, eat. Count these calories, and your weight plummets, but comes back with a vengeance once you can no longer hold back the physiological voices.
Other calories get used very efficiently to fuel bodily functions and are easily shed via your metabolism. People need to count and eat this type of calorie if they are to lose weight for life. And, believe it or not, these are the “high-calorie” foods from grass-fed beef, whole eggs, butter, avocados, seeds, nuts, and coconut oil. In general, you don’t want to eat anything if it is served out of a window or comes from a box. And if it tastes sweet, spit it out.
The higher calorie content ultimately makes us feel satisfied for longer periods, and is used by the body more efficiently. If any calories are left over, they don’t get pushed in as junk-in-the-trunk. Instead, they are more readily dissipated by a metabolism put into overdrive.
Count these calories and you can count on being satisfied at meal time, but more importantly, you can count on remaining a Biggest Loser winner for life.
No. 2 They are slaves to the exercise Gods
Face it, the popularity of “The Biggest Loser” rests in watching obese people exercise themselves a few inches near death. It’s like a UFC cage fight, someone could die at any moment. It’s a lot of fun to watch, but you’d never want to do it yourself.
Exercise is only one part of a fat-loss plan. If you treat it as the God of fat loss, you lose. That’s because it’s most efficient at building muscle, not burning fat.
To shed the weight with exercise, you need to commit to resistance training that will bring muscles back to life. That means cardio is out and weight training is in, but not the type that gives you that bulky, bodybuilder look.
I’m talking about high-intensity, high-repetition resistance training that gets your heart rate up. Simply stress the body with strength exercises for each of your major muscle groups. Work one muscle group for about two-to-four minutes, then rest and repeat four times before moving on to your next major muscle group. Do it every other day.
Muscle is the master dictator of metabolism. Focus on priming it and it will prime your physique, but only when you combine it with eating the right calories. And when you do, the muscles from exercise become a fat burning furnace and the junk-in-the-trunk dissipates — so does the worry of losing 11 to 20 years of your life from diabetes.