A few people have asked me to write about losing weight.
There really should be no mystery to either process. Sometimes, you can learn the most about something by “looking at both sides of the coin”. This is important, because if you are trying to lose, you don’t want to accidentally do the things needed to gain, and if you are trying to gain, you don’t want to accidentally do the things needed to lose.
If you eat less, you will lose weight.
If you eat more, you will gain weight.
Wow. That was easy. I could stop there, and the article would be complete, and true. That’s why I have not written on this very popular topic before; it’s just so simple I almost insult myself and my audience. I don’t mean to. But the truth is so very obvious.
I don’t know why people don’t believe what is so simple and obvious, so the rest of the article proves that up, destroys myths, and includes common reasons that set people back, and details to aid success.
It cannot work any other way than the basics. I’ll say it multiple times, in other ways, for proof.
To lose weight, try to be “always a bit hungry” and eat fewer and smaller meals and nearly never never eat big meals all the way until you become very full. Then, you will be “eating less”. That’s what “eating less” looks and feels like. (Fewer meals, such as only 1 or 2 a day is also called “intermittant fasting”.) It’s the opposite of the following:
To gain weight, try to be “nearly always full”; and eat more frequently, eat bigger meals, and almost never let yourself get hungry for too long. Then, you will be “eating more”. That’s what “eating more” looks and feels like. It’s the opposite of “eating less”.
You don’t need to eat “more or less” than other people, just more or less than YOU WERE EATING.
Anorexia, where people eat less than 100 to 500 calories a day, always leads to people being skinny.
Bodybuilders and Weightlifters and Powerlifters and Sumo wrestlers need to eat 5000, to 10,000 calories a day, or more.
It’s that simple. It’s no mystery. Eat little, get skinny. Eat a ton, get big.
That this is in dispute, or a mystery, has always been mind boggling to me. It’s not rocket science.
I’ll say it another way. When famines hit in various parts of the world, people don’t die fat. They die skinny. It’s universal. No exceptions.
Then there is the wildly popular TV show called “The Biggest Loser”. This should have clued in everybody in America. Vastly increasing your exercise, and dramatically lowering your food intake, always leads to a loss of about 7-13 pounds a week. It always works. Every week. No exceptions. Well, occasionally contestants may stagnate a bit, as they build muscle, or as the muscles fill with carbs (sugar) and water… But as they keep at it, and avoid injury so they can continue to exercise, the weight always comes off. I personally think they are straining way too hard, and I think they should steer clear of the pain area, but competition brings out desperation and excess. I think if they avoided hurting themselves, they would be able to work out longer and more comfortably and then they would have better success–but even the teams that take that approach still end up hurting themselves.
Here’s the weird thing:
Skinny people with anorexia tend to think they are fat.
Huge muscle builders tend to think they are too skinny.
But the constant thing is that in each case, the person is being driven by their own mind. The anorexic is actually trying to get skinnier, because they think skinny is good and sexy and will lead to other desirable things such as love. The muscle builder is trying to bulk up even more, because they think big is good, big is sexy, and they may wish to win competitions, fame and or even that love thing again.
There’s another psychological aspect.
People will try to lose weight, and then fail.
People will try to gain weight, and then fail.
Why? Why do people think they could possibly “fail” at something so ridiculously simple as eating more or less?
In my experience with people, people nearly always want results far too quickly, and expect results far too quickly. And thus they give up far too soon. And maybe it’s because they got quick results a few times.
It is possible to lose 10 pounds in one day. Boxers do it. But this is not sustainable. I’ve done it. I was attacked one time, and afterwards, I lost 10 pounds in a day. Perhaps it was the energy spent, and the adrenaline surge. But you can’t lose ten pounds every day for a week straight. That would be 70 pounds, and that just does not happen.
I have also gained 8 pounds in about 2 days. But constipation, carb loading, and salt loading can’t just continue to happen for a few weeks at a time. Something’s going to give.
These “quick results” are usually “water gain” or “water loss”.
And then, of course, there is also the “full stomach / full intestines vs. empty stomach, empty intestines, and that can add or subtract another 5-10 pounds or more, but I won’t get into that, it’s too obvious.
The muscles, after about a week of exercise, begin to fill up with sugar and get pumped, and with sugar they will hold water. Also, when primed with salt, the body will hold a lot of water. Water is heavy. And it can be gained and lost rapidly, but only so much at once, about that 10 pound range. A dehydrated body can’t lose more water weight, so things stop. Besides, dehydration is bad for you. Dehydration mimics low cortisol, and salt is the solution for both. Copper also helps low adrenals.
Exercise first depletes muscle sugar and water. Sweat depletes salt. During a few days of recovery, the body overcompensates, and after food and rest, the muscles hold more sugar and water for the next exercise session. This is the best kind of weight gain that there is, because then you can exercise more, which increases metabolism, increases breathing, and burns more fat. But the “weight gain” on the scale feels counterproductive, but it’s not; it’s a key part of getting in shape as the muscles begin to feel far more full, bigger, and have a lot more endurance. This is the feeling you get after a week or two of initial exercise that you will notice, usually as a “bigger bicep”, since the bicep is the muscle that pops up the most when you flex it.
So, many people foolishly beat themselves up mentally, after that first week, for no reason, because after the first week or two of success, scale weight loss change stops, and the scale stops moving, or bounces back in “the wrong direction” for a bit. This is a huge mistake, based on unrealistic expectations and lack of understanding.
Then, after “failing”, people give up at the 1-2 week mark, and only develop the resolve to try again, months later, and say “it never works”. No. It’s not working, because that’s not how it works. 1-2 weeks of hard effort every few months is not a process that works. Try the easiest bit of slightest tiniest effort consistently, non stop, for months and months at a time, until it becomes a habbit and a new way of life, and it will be nearly effortless.
Can a sailboat resist the wind? Neither can your body resist constant tiny effort long term.
In my opinion, when it comes to both weight loss and weight gain, slow and steady wins the race.
To lose, learn to embrace a little bit of constant hunger for 3-6 months or longer. You can eat whenever you want, just don’t eat too much. And try to spend more time being hungry more often than not.
A tip about “hunger”. Hunger is not always hunger. If it’s stomach pain, it could be an ulcer. It could be bacteria in the gut. It could be parasites. One thing that kills all three is Hydrogen Peroxide, H2O2. The protocol is just a few drops of “food grade” h2o2 in a glass of water. It can be 3%, 12%, does not matter. Fewer drops of 12% of course. Start with 1 drop, and slowly work your way up. Only need to do this for about 3 weeks. Some do it all the time. Drink it on an empty stomach, no food for an hour before or afterwards. Up to 3 glasses a day. When I did this, after about 3-4 days, I no longer had pains in my stomach that I used to think were “hunger”. Very interesting. What bacteria did I kill? Interesting tip.
To gain weight, learn to embrace feeling full for the majority of the time for 3-6 months or longer.
There is a huge psychological component, too. Change is always difficult. Even for me.
Feeling hunger can lead to racing thoughts and anxiety. You have to get used to your thoughts and that anxiety, and learn ways to relax, other than food. To relax, try hot showers, self-massage (which is free), meditation, or lavender essential oils, classical music, meditation music, naps, or walks. Other Tips: B vitamins. Magnesium. Iodine. Copper. Zinc at night.
On the other hand, feeling full can lead to lethargy, uncomfortable bloat, and feelings of deep relaxation. You have to get used to being “tired”, instead of “wired”. Digestion actually consumes a lot of energy. You may have less mental energy for things like reading and writing. Don’t let that bother you. Learn to enjoy feeling relaxed after a meal, and doing less. Tips: Nap. B vitamins. Magnesium. Iodine. Copper. Zinc at night.
Wait, the same vitamins and minerals? That’s right. B vitamins help both lower stress, and give energy. Magnesium both helps lower stress, and gives energy. And so does iodine, copper, and zinc.
Imagine how much more stressed out you are, when your energy is at the lowest, and something crazy in life hits you. It’s the worst. Imagine how much more confident and capable you are, when you have the energy to deal with a new stress. See?
And there should NEVER be thoughts of failure or beating yourself up. It’s counterproductive to your own mental energy, and it actually not a setback at all, but part of the process. If you fail, it’s because you were pushing too hard, and you actually needed more calories, and thus, the solution is to go less extreme. Furthermore, eating less, or more, than you wanted to, is also actually productive to your long term goals, either way, as follows.
Feasting occasionally, while in that 3-6 months of weight loss, can actually result in “keeping the metabolism high”, which aids fat burning, and which allows you to “fuel” the muscles, which allows for more exercise.
Fasting occasionally, while in that 3-6 months of weight gain, can actually result in “cleansing” so that your digestive system is refreshed and more able to process more food better.
Thus, there is utterly no need to beat yourself up over both kinds of failure; whether it’s the needle on the scale not moving (because you lost salt water weight through sweating and gain water weight back in the muscles with sugar) or whether you ate more or less as a “failure”, that, in the long run, actually helps you, either way.
If you find yourself eating too much, or too little, in the opposite direction of what you want, too frequently, then you are probably pushing it too hard. For example, if you are always eating too much to gain too fast, and if you find yourself skipping meals just so you can breathe, you are eating too much, and you will end up gaining too much fat anyway. On the other hand, if denying yourself too much food for too long causes you to panic and causes you to binge, too frequently, you are actually engaging in “weight gain” behavior, because you were in starvation mode. Slow down the attempt at losing quickly. Remember, losing 10 pounds a day is not sustainable and is water weight anyway, the kind of water you need for good health. In that case, increase the food to 2 or 3 smallish, or smaller meals a day, so you are not starving so much. Then you won’t have to binge.
Thus, the process is way easier than, say, quitting alcohol. With alcoholics, sometimes one failure can actually be a major setback. Not so with food and gaining and losing weight. A single failure with eating more or less food for a single meal or two can often actually help each process. Eat more by mistake? Metabolism boost, yeah! Eat less by mistake? Digestive cleanse, whoop whoop!
Weight loss is aided by a low salt diet. But sea salt is detoxing, and generally good for you. Don’t worry too much, weight gain from salt is temporary, and is easily fixed with greens, and sweating, and more distilled water. Signs of low salt include rapid weight loss, low energy, loss of muscle pump, dehydration, feeling thirsty, and muscle cramping. You can fix muscle cramping with a bit of salt, magnesium, and potassium. Find the balance.
Weight gain is aided by increasing salt. Salt helps the body retain water. You need the water to help store the carbs in the muscles. One tip is to salt load, and carb load before lifting. You will really feel large and pumped up.
Weight loss is aided by reducing carbs. However, to really lose weight, spike your insulin repeatedly with a tiny tiny bit of candy all day long, like 2 jelly beans every hour. That’s how the anorexics do it, whether it’s unconscious or not, who knows.
Weight gain is aided by increasing carbs, especially white rice. And feast on it. That’s how the sumo wrestlers do it.
Neither way is healthy, but in both cases, sugar can cause weight loss or weight gain, depending on the type and frequency. This is important to remember.
High fructose corn syrup? Weight gain food, but also toxic with mercury.
Diet soda? Weight gain food, because it’s toxic.
Tap water? Weight gain toxic with fluoride and chlorine and up to 40 other toxins.
Distilled water? Weight loss and weight gain, because it’s healthy.
Weight loss is aided by a vegan diet. But vegan diets are generally only healthy for the first few months. It generally takes from 1-3 months both to create and to fix various nutritional deficiencies, mineral deficiencies and protein deficiencies. Vegans end up low in B vitamins, B12, salt, and zinc, all of which are needed to aid digestion, especially needed for digestion of meat. Vegans often say they can no longer eat meat. Of course. They end up so out of balance and so deficient, they can barely make hydrochloric acid to digest meat.
Weight gain is aided by meat for the muscles. Gaining more muscle helps increase the metabolism, and can help burn more fat.
A lot of people say they can’t exercise. This is false. If you are living on the earth, under the influence of gravity, you are exercising all the time, more than astronauts in space, where, no matter how much they “exercise”, just can’t keep up with you. Just learn to do a bit more, because you can.
Consider that any additional exercise is infinitely more than, and infinitely better than, none. You don’t have to do a lot more, especially not at first. If you can’t even walk, start stretching. If you can walk, then start walking more. If you can run, start. If you can move, try moving your arms, while holding 1 pound weights, too. And move up from there. If you can’t do a full squat, and most people can’t so don’t worry about it, do a half squat, or 1/3 partial squat, just until right above where the knees or back hurt. Don’t move into the pain zone. Very soon, within weeks, you will notice the pain zone retreated, and you will have greater range of motion, and you never even hurt yourself!
There are hundreds and thousands of benefits of exercise. Exercise alone can change the gene expression of about two thirds of your genes! That’s huge. Exercise is not optional. The question is, how much and how hard, and what kinds?
Exercise is a great way to both gain and lose weight. It is not required to gain or lose, but most people want to be healthier, and for this, exercise is mandatory. Usually, when people try to start exercising, they jump in way too fast, myself included. When coming back to the weights after not lifting for a while, I have learned the value of taking it easy. Try to take it super easy the first month, and partly easy in month 2-3. There is utterly no need to make yourself sore. Do less than half of what you think you should do. Keep it light, easy and fun, with high reps, like 20, but pick a weight you think you can lift for 40 reps! Lift weights as if you are just flirting with them. As soon as you begin to “feel the heat” in the muscle, stop immediately, even if it’s only after 10 reps. This chould be about 5-10 repetitions before failure. Do 5-10 sets. Cover the basics. 1. legs. 2. back. 3. chest. 4. Shoulders. 5. Biceps/Triceps. Never lift to failure at the beginning. There is no need. Why beat yourself up? Why get so sore you don’t want to do it again? Why deplete your energy to the point you can’t get stronger? Why tear a muscle or tendon? Let your mantra be “light, easy and fun” when starting out.
After a month, your body will ache for more. Let it tell you when to push it. It knows. Listen to your body.
In the first month of lifting, you will be teaching the muscles to hold onto sugar, so that they can exercise more. In the first week or two of lifting, the blood sugar in your muscles is so low, there is no need for anything more than one set per muscle group. So, one set of squats with no weight, one set of bench with just the bar (or light dumbells), one set of very light lat pulldowns with 30-60 pounds, one set of shoulder presses with 10-15 pound dumbells, one set of arm curls and one set of triceps extensions for a total of 6 sets, no more than 15 minutes every other day, is way more than enough. Change will come, and it will come fast.
I know you did far more when you were a teenager, an athlete, in gym class. But we are older, wiser. Trust me. This works.
Men, read through the advice below for women. You might learn what you are doing wrong.
For women, who typically want to lose weight. All body weight is not the same. Muscle is more dense than fat. Many women can actually gain about 10-30 pounds of muscle, lose 10-30 pounds of fat, be only 10 pounds lighter, the same, or heavier, but look mind bogglingly way younger and sexier. Forget the scale. The scale is useless and counter productive for women. Gain muscle. Muscle is lost through dieting down, and you really want to preserve as much muscle as possible, and probably gain some, too. Women have a natural tendency to prefer endurance exercise like distance walking, cardio, or aerobics. This is good, this works, embrace it. But it destroys muscle. The antidote is weights. But women tend to avoid lifting heavy weights, and that is a mistake. Instead, women should embrace their superior capacity for endurance, and aim to lift weights with a full body exercise routine with 10-30 sets of 20 reps. No need to lift for longer than an hour, but try to slowly work up to lifting weights for at least an hour, every other day. 30 one minute sets with 1 minute rest breaks is an hour. Never strain yourself. The method should be “light and easy”. As if the entire session is never harder than stretching, and almost like interval cardio. Continue the cardio also, but add the light weights.
Women are naturally scared of the gym, especially older women. Don’t be. It’s fun! Easy! Safe. Women are also scared that weights will make them “bulk up”. That’s impossible without massive food, and steroids. Look up “fit bikini model”; they lift weights like beasts, far more than most mortals, including myself. And some of them do take steroids, especially if they have very ripped and well defined abs! (I like to lift the minimum necessary, and I never take steroids.) The fit bikini models are not bulky. Note most of them also have breast implants, too, so they don’t have a very realistic look to them, just as male professional bodybuilders are “fake” with their synthol injection pumps of oil and alcohol, steroids, and other drugs, too.
I know that “Barbie” is not realistic. Neither is “the Hulk”, “Wolverine”, “Thor” or “Supeman”. Both genders have to live with the fact that there are cartoons in the world, both real and fake, and I have no sympathy for liberal complaints over the existence of cartoons. It’s your life, just improve on you, treat yourself right, follow your own goals, and you will feel better and be far happier.
Most women do not exercise nearly enough. Many don’t exercise at all.
Exercise increases the appetite. It’s ok to eat more, but try to keep yourself in a state of hunger more often than not, and you will succeed in losing weight.
Defective Metabolism? Yes, it’s true. You can actually lose weight by eating more and exercising a lot more. I’ve done it. And conversely, you can gain weight, even by eating less, if and when you stop working out or if and from yo yo dieting, or an injury. It’s actually easier to exercise a little more, and not eat much more. But the point is that it’s probably not the metabolism, it’s probably just the lack of exercise. Slow metabolism is most often fixed through more exercise. Then there is the problem of metabolism slowed down by toxins, and I’ll get to that. Women, keep reading the advice for men, don’t skip it.
For men, who typically want to gain weight. Try not to overdo the weights. Men have a tendency to overtrain. This is not going to build muscle. Weight training only tears you down. Weights do not automatically cause growth. As I just explained, you can use weight training to slim down! So, is your training accidentally slimming you down? Then that explains the lack of weight gain! Growth happens with food, and with sleep. I’m 50. Listen up young men. I’ve generally been on the side of trying to gain weight my whole life. My easiest times gaining weight and building muscle were when I concentrated on increasing food, increasing sleep, and getting all my vitamins and minerals, and then cutting the weights back to the bare minimum, as if the weights were a mere “after thought”.
Men, try out a routine of 20 light and easy reps for no more than 10-20 sets, every other weight training session. The other session consists of no more than 1 set per body part, in the 10 rep range, no more than 5 to 10 sets. Weight train no more than every other day, even as little as 1 in 4 days. I know you want to train 6 days a week, instead of 3 or 1.5 times a week, for “faster restults”, but that is a mistake. You gain with food and rest. And stop the cardio. The 20 rep, multi set days will be like your version of cardio. For women, that’s their version of weight training. But lift no longer than about an hour. The 5 set days will be a 15 minute weight training session that actually works! 20 set days should take 40 minutes. Any more, and not only do gains stop, but you end up with no energy, increased stress, increased fat, and certainly no energy left to digest food or the energy needed to build muscle.
Men, never strain your muscles/tendons into the pain zones. That pain is from toxins or overtraining or nutritional deficiencies. Detox more, and all the aches will eventually go away, and you can push it as hard as you like, pain free. Toxins are generally the cause of tendon tears. Or steroids, because your muscles can get stronger faster than tendons that take 2 months to heal. The biggest thing that will set you back is tearing a tendon, and then not being able to lift for 2 to 6 months. And trust me. You do NOT want to have the permanant damage of a torn tendon that always clicks and always hurts for the next 10 years. Instead, work up over 3-6 months, building a base of new muscle, before taking the body for a test spin and going to failure. What if you increase your squat from 100 pounds to 200 pounds in 2 months? You are doing that on tendons that take 2 months to heal and were not even used to lifting anything at all! Let them heal. Actively heal them! And so, be prepared to take 1 week breaks from lifting every few months, too, especially after going to failure. It’s also perfectly ok to lift weights only every 4-5 days, too. People have made good gains lifting only once a week. That’s how I did it when I was ski racing. Legs. Hard. Once a week. Little else. I finally got massive gains. I was “leg man”.
The kind of running for weight loss is long distance cardio. Think marathons. Marathon runners are skinny.
The kind of running for weight gain is sprinting. Sprinters have muscles. And sprinting burns fat better than anything.
The best way to keep your joints in shape, and oh my God I wish I knew this when I was younger, is to drink green smoothies, immediately followed by isometric stretching for about an hour, once a week, until you no longer have any joint pain. Then once a month might be more than enough. The tendons are like bones, 2 months to heal; they are not like muscles that heal in 1-3 days after lifting. There is no need to stretch daily, especially once you learn the secret of greens, and detoxing before you stretch, which releases toxins that need to be cleansed out. The second best thing for your joints is iodine and boron and copper and all the minerals, also silica and sulfur; those five minerals all detox fluoride, and fluoride is the worst for the joints, and we are all exposed to fluoride. Greens tend to clean out your salts and minerals, and toxins, so replace the lost minerals.
Greens are also very decongesting, and are anti-inflammatory.
What about getting “sick”? One of the things that was a constant setback for me when I did not know nearly as much about health as I do now is that I would start lifting. Then, about 3 weeks into it, I would get sick for about 3 weeks. I never knew what to do. If I lift, will it exhaust me, and will I continue to stay sick? And the writers online have no good answers, and their answers are mixed.
This is actually a very common problem: getting sick when starting out exercising. The reason why is that fat traps toxins. As you first begin to lose fat, toxins are then released. You want to detox the toxins that new exercise and fat loss will release. The best detoxers are vitamin C, all the minerals, green smoothies, and lots of water.
I went to the Mr. Olympia contest in 2012. With a lifter buddy. We both had this recurring problem. We decided to ask one of the big guys. His answer to this problem struck me as absurdly obvious it hardly needed to be said. He said with such a “matter of fact” tone of voice as if it was totally obvious, “It sounds to me like you just need more Vitamin C!” Of course. How could we argue with that? Of course we were not doing that. But how could we miss it? Sometimes the obvious is so obvious. Like why didn’t I really think of that before when I was so busy investing, opening up coin shops, being a new dad, etc. Of course, when you are overwhelmed, or frusterated, it’s harder to see the obvious. Of course we had to try it out. And of course it worked!
I’ll say the key words again. To lose weight eat less. To gain, eat more. It’s so obvious it hardly needs to be said, but I know people need to hear it.
Forget all you know about “sick”. Another word for it is “detoxing”. It’s normal. It’s good. Part of the process of getting healthier. What if there is no such thing as “sick”? It’s just a word. You are either expelling gunk slowly, or rapidly, or have very little left to expel, that’s it. Your body will expel mucus more rapidly through the nose or lungs, at times, and that’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength, because your body is “expelling more”. It’s only a good thing. Help mop up toxins with more greens and more vitamin C and iodine and water, so that toxins can come out in ways other than your nose. All are very decongesting, and will speed up the process of cleansing. A clean body does not get sick. Keep lifting. You can go lighter. Lift fewer sets. Quit the set long before failure. Just think of the day as “warming up”. But keep it up. The lifting is probably helping to cleanse you, and clean out gunk stuck deep in muscles that have not been used.
If you have zero energy, and if you do not feel like working out, not even for a tiny bit, then don’t. Take that nap instead. That’s fine. It’s not a failure, it’s wisdom, and you are listening to your body and adjusting to and embracing change. That’s perfect, actually. Growth and recharging your energy happens during sleep anyway!
There are always many more things you can do. Two big areas I’ve written about are:
Getting all your minerals.
Boosting your testosterone.
Another big “weight loss, weight gain” theme I have seen among those who are successful in achieving their own body goals is eliminating oppressive people from your life. Oppressive people cause untold amounts of unreasonable stress, and create huge setbacks at semi regular random times, vastly increase your cortisol, their actions cause your body to hold on to fat, deplete your blood sugar, and prevents you from having the energy needed to go that extra mile in life to work out. Oppressive people are often petty, jealous, miserable people who put you down, and attack you in overt and subtle ways. They seem to be black holes of emotional misery. Eliminate them from your life, or greatly limit their access to your life. And you will be amazed at how much better you will start feeling.
Seek out positive people who lift you up, encourage you, relax you, share in your goals, appreciate you, help you. If you have not encountered such people in the world, trust me that they exist. And the best way to find them is to become one.