Restrained Eating vs Calorie Restriction

When you decide to go ‘on a diet’ you must be clear with what you’re doing and where to place your efforts.

This may sound rather simplistic but the concept of ‘dieting’ means something different to each person depending on what their current belief about food and dieting is.

Is this what dieting feels like to you?

This doesn’t mean there are multiple causes for weight loss…there is in fact only one thing that actually causes weight loss, and that is a caloric deficit regardless of the foods you choose to eat…this has been proven across multiple studies and even in pop culture films.

Missing this point could lead to focusing on the wrong ideas such as good vs bad foods, or eating at specific times of day, or specific styles of eating. All of these other techniques have something in common – they are forms of restrained eating.

Restrained Eating vs Calorie Restriction

A distinction needs to be made between Restrained Eating vs Calorie Restriction

Restrained eating is the act of abstaining or avoid certain foods, entire food categories, specific ingredients (like sugar) or eating in specific patterns that eliminate social flexibility.

BUT restrained eating does not address the point of caloric control. In other words, you could be a highly restrained eater with very few food choices you deem as acceptable or healthy but still overeat those foods such that you’re consuming more calories than you need.

Restrained eating also sets you up for major binge and crash episodes when you eat even just one bite of foods that you have arbitrarily labeled as ‘forbidden’. Retrained eating will rarely lead to long term sustainable weight loss success because of the crash and binge scenario is presents when you crack and finally have a bite of forbidden food…and we all eventually crack.

Calorie Restriction

Calorie restriction is simply eating less total calories than you burn in order to create a deficit that must be made up by your bodyfat. This is the only scientifically validated way to actually lose bodyfat. You can choose to eat whatever foods you wish within your calorie ‘limit’ for the day and still lose weight. This is a much different mindset from restrained eating because you are free to eat a variety of foods including ones that other restrained eaters might deem as forbidden.

Recent research has shown that restrained eaters will crack and binge after eating just a few bites of forbidden food, whereas this same event does not happen to unrestrained eaters.

 The Good Food vs Bad Food Trap

This research also indicates that the more foods you designate as bad or forbidden the more likely you are to crack, crash and binge.

Setting up an extensive list of forbidden foods is not a solution to weight loss, weight maintenance and a satisfying relationship with food. It’s a recipe for obsessive compulsive disorder and never being truly in control of your eating.

Instead you should be striving to eliminate your forbidden food list all together and change it to a list of foods you eat more often, less often, and very infrequent.

This way all foods have their place, none are ‘bad’, and you can enjoy them without guilt.

In todays uncensored podcast we’ll discuss this research and show how restrained eating leads to a vicious cycle of shame, disappointment and guilt, which leads to more compensatory eating.


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Life isn’t fair…deal with it!

The concept of fairness and equality of human rights seems to get blurred when we think of diet and fitness.

All humans deserve the same treatment, the same freedom, and the same opportunity in life…however not all human actually experience equality in human rights. It’s unfortunate but it’s true, we live in an unfair world.

As human beings I believe that we have an equal right to our lives and freedom.

Life Isn't Fair...Deal with it!


As biological organisms we’re just not built the same and thus our opportunities and physical challenges will be different based on our biology.

For example, someone who is 7 feet tall has a much better chance of playing professional basketball than someone who is 5’5. This doesn’t mean they’re not equally human, it just means they’re packaged in different bodies.

You may think it is ‘unfair’ that the taller person has a chance to earn millions of dollars playing a sport that the other person has virtually zero chance at…and you would be right…it is unfair…and so is the rest of life…deal with it.

We’re all different from one another and we should never expect our specific path to body transformation to be exactly the same as someone else.

Your specific genetic make up, lifestyle factors, social constraints, geographical location, and even financial situation will shape the path you take to changing and maintaining your body.

You shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone else and assume you will have exactly the same experience as them.

In some situations you will have an advantage over others, and in some situations you will be at a disadvantage.

It may not be fair, but it’s reality…once again…deal with it.

You and I can always look to someone else who seems to have it better than we do. If we focus on our specific shortcomings and on the apparent advantages that others may have we can always find an excuse why it won’t work for us and find a reason to give up.

This is why you should train yourself to focus only on you and forget about everyone else.

When it comes time to change your body it’s ok to be a total narcissist…in fact it’s the only way to make it work and to make it stick. It MUST be about you and nobody else, otherwise you will drown yourself in doubt and excuses.

Your specific set of circumstances set up your unique challenges to achieving and maintaining a body you will be satisfied with over the long term.

It might be harder for some people than you, and it might be easier for some people than you…so what.

It doesn’t matter if it seems like ‘everyone else’ can do it easier than you, or has less distance to travel, or has less issues to overcome than you…when it comes to your body transformation, ‘they’ don’t matter…only ‘you’ matters. This doesn’t mean we’re not all equal as people…it just means we’re different physically and that is perfectly normal to be different but equal.


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Responsibility vs Blame: Do you know the difference?

You and I can choose to change our bodies, or we can choose to stay as we are. Regardless of your circumstances it’s still a choice. And you will always be responsible for that choice and your body.

Not the path to successful change...but great despair incs posters.

There are very few people who simply have no choice when it comes to making a real change in their bodies. For the vast majority of us and that likely includes you, there is simply the choice to make a change and then following through with that choice. There is noobody to ‘blame’ and nobody who will take responsibility for your body besides you.

There will be real effort involved, there will be considerations and attention to detail that will be required on the diet and there will be time and dedication required in the gym. Make no mistake about it, you can change as much as you want once you commit to it.

There is however another type of change that you may not realize has to happen in order for you to get where you want to go. And that is a mental change.

Many of us has self defeating mental mindsets and programs that we are almost completely unaware of.  We can easily fall into a self destructive pattern for one of many reasons. We may me too critical of ourselves, or want perfection when it simply does not exist. Holding yourself to an unrealistic and unattainable standard is a sure fire way to sabootage your success just when you start to make real progress.

In order to make a lasting change in your body you need to also make the associated mentall changes that will make the process possible without defeating yourself. The reason most people eventually give up on a diet or gain the weight back that they have lost is not because they weren’t tough enough, it’s because they never worked on the mental side of the change along with the physical side.

You must make the process a mind AND body transformation.

The process won’t be perfect, there will be ups, and there will be downs. You will doubt yourself along the way…you will stumble, you will fall, you will feel like giving up. This is normal, we all have moments like these. The key is to get back up after you stumble and after you fall forgive yourself for being human, accept that you’re not perfect (nor is anyone else), dust yourself off and get back to work.


In today’s podcast, I speak with Dr. Nicola Bird about the process of change and how we learn to blame external factors for stumbling and falling. We discuss how our inner mental voice can be very critical and what the real difference is between blame and responsibility. It’s a bit of a lesson in tough love but it’s the words that many of us need to hear to stay on track and finally make a body transformation that will stick for good.


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Learning Your Capacity for Change

Few things in life are as stressful as making a big change. This could be changing a job, relationship, where you live, or in our case, changing your body.

Will you be ready to change when the time comes?

Regardless of what is changing you will find that you have a limited capacity to handle these changes. You can only handle so much change at once until it overwhelms your mind/body/spirit and leads you to a crash. This crash can manifest as a mental, emotional, or physical breakdown, or even all three.

Changing Your Body

The way your body looks right now is a direct result of

A) Your current dietary habits

B) Your current exercise/activity workout routine

In order to change your body you must make a significant change in both of these areas, but you still have to be aware of your capacity to change, this however requires patience that many of us do not have or do not want to exercise. The tendency for most people will be a desire to make their body change faster that it’s capable of. Instead of accepting the natural limits of your capacity for change the desire is to force the change and make it happen as fast as possible without recognizing the necessity for gradual incremental changes that foster long term adaptation. This is “all or nothing” thinking and it’s certainly not a long term solution. In fact, this type of extreme thinking leads to yo-yo dieting and a lack of control over your body.

You have to be intelligent with the way you divide your energy between diet and exercise in order to get the maximum benefit without leading yourself to a crash, a rebound and ultimately undoing all the work you’ve just done.

Specifically when you have a significant amount of body weight to lose the bigger change will be from your diet and the smaller change will be from your workout. If you imagine that 100% of your capacity for change is being allocated to your body, then you could say at the beginning you will be putting 80% of that effort into diet and 20% into your workout.

As you lose bodyfat and start to get closer to your ideal bodyfat levels you can start shifting your focus from diet to exercise. This is part of the reverse taper protocol we’ve recently discussed and how this method will lead you towards lasting changes in your body.

Towards the end of your body transformation more of your mental and physical energy and capacity for change should be allocated to exercise and less to diet…the proverbial 20%/80% raito should be reversed in favor of exercise.

This is how you should be viewing your capacity for change and where you should be allocating your energy when you’re changing your body for the long term.

In today’s podcast, we’ll discuss the ‘capacity for change’ and how to manage a body transformation with this concept in mind. We’ll discuss the reverse taper protocol and how this should ensure you do not crash and rebound at the end of your transformaiton.


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BCAA’s, Fasting and Autophagy

Intermittent fasting has become a popular method for reducing bodyfat. Brad Pilon’s popular book Eat Stop Eat is the go to resource for all things intermittent fasting.

Fasting itself is quite simple, just stop eating for a predetermined length of time. But it seems that people cannot leave well enough alone and always want to add something to make their fasts better, or tweak it in hopes to improve the outcome.

You could say Oscar is in charge of Autophagy on Sesame Street...ok not exactly, but I like the picture of Oscar.

This has lead to a recommendation for taking BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) during a fast. There is a belief that by taking BCAA’s during a fast, you can promote a greater degree of muscle growth than if you fasted without taking them.

This assumption comes from the role BCAA’s play in affecting something called the mTOR pathway in your muscle cells and a mechanism known as ‘Autophagy’.

Autophagy is defined as “the consumption of ones own body”

In typical fitness/bodybuilding media bro-science, this process is mistaken for the loss of muscle mass. Words like ‘catabolism’, ‘muscle break down’, “protein loss’ etc are used to explain this cellular process. These phrases sound like it would be detrimental effect to the process of building/maintaining muscle, however that is not the case.

Autophagy may be more accurately described as ‘cellular cleansing’ (or even just taking out the garbage) which is a normal process that happens constantly in all of your cells. It may even be that if this process is impaired it can lead to accelerated cellular aging and other metabolic problems.

In other words, it’s not correct to view autophagy as a negative event that must be stopped by taking BCAA’s, but rather it is a necessary step in the proper functioning of a healthy cell.

In today’s podcast, we’ll explain what autophagy is and how it relates to muscle growth, aging and the overall health of a given cell.

You’ll get a different perspective on what anabolism and catabolism mean, and another way of viewing fast with or without BCAA’s.


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So You Want to be a Snowflake…Careful What You Wish For

We are living in the era of evidenced based fitness, and evidenced based medicine…you could even say it’s an era of evidenced based health advice. So what does this really mean?

Health care practitioners use a combination of the best evidence that science has produced so far combined with their clinical experience and expertise to provide you with their best estimation and advice for your  health and well being concerns.

Being unique might not be an advantage

We can’t predict the result of your actions with 100% accuracy but rather we can only give you a probability of what is ‘likely’ to happen to ‘most’ people who are similar to you. Your specific results may vary from this average, and this is where the personal aspect of health and fitness comes into play.

With most human physiological systems we can easily put everyone into predictable categories and pools based on age, height, gender, exercise experience, geographic location, socioeconomic status etc. With an understanding of these variables and a brief medical history it’s not hard for a trained health professional to make some general assumptions and recommendations about your best course of action if you want to ‘get in shape’ and improve your  ‘health’.

After that it’s up to you to follow through on these recommendations and see how they worked. Even if these recommendations have been studied and shown to have a ‘average’ effect of 10lbs of weight loss over 10 weeks and a lowering of blood pressure and an increase in muscle mass and strength we can never know for sure how it will affect you specifically.

Enter the Snowflake Paradox

During any weight loss study, or muscle building study or any research in any health related field the results are usually presented as an average. You will hear claims like “subjects lost an average of 15lbs in 4 months”…or “subjects gained an average of 5lbs of lean mass in 12 weeks”…or “on average cholesterol lowering medication will cause a 10-15% reduction in circulating cholesterol after 3 months” etc.

The key word to notice is AVERAGE. Data collected from a group of people will be presented as an average, but this doesn’t mean that even one single person actually had that exact result. There will be outliers on both the high end and the low end.

If a weight loss study showed an average of 15lbs weight loss in 4 months, there could easily be some people who only lost 2lbs and others who lost 25lbs. And here is the Paradox of wanting to be the snowflake…anyone with a significant amount of weight to lose will want to be the outlier or ‘snowflake’ who displays atypical results that benefit them…in other words, you will only want to be the snowflake if it means you get to lose 25lbs and not the poor sucker who only lost 2lbs in this study.

The kick in the butt is that you don’t get to choose which snowflake you are. Your genetic predisposition and a myriad of other and likely unknown factors will determine if you are average, or above average or below average. The only way for you to know where you will be is to go through the program and find out for yourself.

In today’s podcast, I talk to Bryan Chung about evidenced based medicine and fitness and how to understand what fitness claims really mean.


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