How to detox and fat adapt? Weight loss, increased focus, energy and a huge boost to reach your goals.
This article is the sorta kinda maybe follow up to 'What makes us fat?'. It will go in to what you need to do to start to unpick the interrelated problems that were introduced there.
Insulin makes you store glucose as fat. Cortisol makes you release glucose from muscles in order to fuel 'fight or flight' when stressed, which then needs replacing. Leptin tells your body how much extra fat you have to burn but only when insulin doesn't 'interfere' with it. Estrogen makes you soft and round, testosterone and/or progesterone makes you lean and muscular.
To briefly recap, too much carbohydrate increases insulin. Too much insulin destroys insulin sensitivity causing you to overproduce and end up with too low blood sugar which in turn makes you eat more carbohydrate. This blood sugar roller coaster produces too much cortisol which causes to to crave more carbohydrate. Elevated cortisol destroys your sleep pattern. Sleep deprivation further ruins insulin sensitivity, makes you crave more carbohydrate and raises insulin even further. Constantly raised insulin drowns out leptons message causing it to rise and rise so you become less and less sensitive to its message.
To cap off this train wreck the elevated cortisol with destroy your testosterone/progesterone level leaving you estrogen dominant. And this is still before all the estrogen rich comfort foods you begin to shovel down.
So what's to be done? Check back next week for that article... No wait I did that already. Fine. Here are some actual solutions.
Most of my nutritional plans starts with a two week detox and then gradually reintroduces foods you may be missing. This is for a very simple and important reason. In order to be as healthy as possible you must have something called metabolic flexibility.
This means you can happily burn either glucose from carbohydrate or fat as a main fuel. And be able to switch between one and the other quickly. Too much reliance on carbohydrate and you will lose insulin sensitivity, gain weight and may suffer from a range of fairly miserable symptoms such as diabetes, arthritis and weight gain. Did I mention weight gain? Too much reliance on fat is far less troubling but for optimum health you have to find a balance. If you go without using your glucose metabolism for awhile you will crash your leptin levels too low and you will wind up with a decidedly average body fat percentage and no energy to do anything.
The detox is needed as the liver has two extremely important jobs to do. It detoxifies the body and removes excess estrogen and other nasties and also processes fat into a form that can be used for fuelling the body and brain. If the liver is busy with detoxification it cannot be expected to process fat properly. If you cannot process fat properly you cannot break your reliance on carbohydrate. If this sounds like a knotty problem then do not worry.
Week one will be one of the low fat high carbohydrate diets I usually attack and criticise. It is a necessary evil in order to clear the liver of all of modern life's impurities. By eating low carbohydrate foods that either don't burden the liver in the slightest or actively help it during the day and then eat a large meal of high fibre carbohydrate that won't upset your blood sugar too much in the evening we can start to set things right. Week two will smash cut you into a higher fat lower carbohydrate diet while remaining just as clean and natural. This is to give you a chance to begin processing fat without needing to work at removing any additional toxins. The removal of carbohydrate will allow all the different hormones to balance out and the hopefully now well processed fat will cause an increase in testosterone and/or progesterone.
After two weeks clean you should reintroduce all the things you are missing slowly and carefully.
In order to begin to set everything to rights we have to ignore fat for a week. Your liver is going to be occupied with detoxification and can't be producing energy from fat right now.
- wake up and have a large glass of water, bonus points for lime or lemon. Take a potassium supplement if you want to be razor sharp with this. It will help balance out any water retention you may suffer from and speed things up. May also aid in preventing cramps.
- breakfast is kept as light as possible, fresh grapefruit is a winner. Other citrus okay to. If you are genuinely starving a couple of small poached eggs might be okay or a little fat free plain yogurt. The grapefruit doesn't have sugar on it and don't even ask me if the eggs get toast. A little coffee is okay, unless you know sleep and stress are a big problem then dont worry.
- throughout the day drink plenty of water, again lime/lemon for the win or any cleansing type herbal tea. Chamomile or fennel. You will pee. Probably a lot. This isn't a bad thing, the potassium will keep you from dehydrating so you are just going to lose stagnant water and get things moving.
- 'lunch' might be better getting split into a few smaller sittings to keep from overburdening your digestive system. You have a few choices here. Make a big old salad using thinly sliced red onion, diced cucumber, peppers and whatever leaf type things you like. Make sure everything was washed nicely to remove pesticide or go organic. Add a couple of poached eggs, a bit of lightly cooked fish (tinned tuna is a dreadful but acceptable substitute), more yogurt or a little scoop of zero carb good quality whey powder for protein. The best calls for a dressing would be a good homemade pesto with plenty of garlic or make a yogurt based dressing. Another call would be lots of sticks of nice crunchy peppers, cucumbers and carrots with a, yet again, garlicky hummus dip. In both cases keep the fat down and the superfoods high (article link if you missed it).
- Now your insulin receptors should be supr sensitive from the day without carbohydrate and your liver will be pretty busy packaging up toxins to be got rid of. You may depending on your previous diet or lifestyle feel a bit crap with all of these package toxins in your blood. To dump them it's time to get back to the kitchen.
- Make something involving a lot of beans, some type of heavy grain and a lot of vegetables. Especially cauliflower and broccoli. For arguments sake let's say an oil free stir 'fry' with brown rice, beansprouts, the long tender stem broccoli in a miso broth. Lots of ginger and garlic. Or a Mexican style vegetarian chilli with grated cauliflower rice. As before don't worry about including a little bit of light fish or a few eggs in here. Nothing too heavy like meat this week. It's just a week, it's just a week, it's just a week.
- Once your 'meal time' starts at about 6pm try to put away lots and lots of food. Start with another little salad if you can face it. Make sure you eat pleanty of beans and a grain like brown rice, barley, oats or spelt. These contain lectins and will remove the toxins from your blood. Also make sure that garlic, onion and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and co) happen. These are anti estrogenic (you DID read my article right).
- Eat lots and lots in this window. About four hours. Two meals or one long sitting. Whatever works but please eat a lot. The foods are all low calorie density and you will almost certainly be at a calorie deficit. This isn't okay at the best of times so don't make it worse by eating like a bird. Feel free to stop and have more later, just keep to a 4 to 5 hour window.
This week isn't much of an improvement I'm afriad. You are now very nearly clean and detoxed but still burning carbs. As you are now used to the all day undereating and have abstained from sugar and high GI food you will have good insulin sensitivity and should have stabilised your blood sugar. That means it shouldn't be too painful to adapt to burning fat as a main fuel. You still might feel a little weird at the half way point. Thirsty, cotton mouthed and a little odd. This passes and it is just your body producing ketones but not knowing what to do with them yet.
- Carry on eating and drinking throughout the morning and day as you did the previous week but this time adding some protein every few hours is not optional but required. Fish, eggs, yogurt, a palm of almonds or a little whey protein are nice and light. Every three or four hours to begin repairing any deficit from last week.
- In the evening very similar rules to last week but the beans and grains are banned and nuts and fat are now king. Any nut (peanut isn't a nut), especially almonds in great quantities as well a olive oil and grass fed butter is the 'fuel'. Lots of vegetables and light protein along with your nuts and fats. Seriously consider the potassium supplements and add sea salt to everything this week. You will probably need to pee even more as your body lets go of the water weight it held as a result of the carbohydrates you ate previously in life.
- keep it within your 4 to 5 hour window and as before don't be afraid to eat. While the calories might skyrocket this week you may still notice fat loss as your good hormones climb up and up as you process the fat.
- Eat in a similar way during the day but losten up a little on protein choices and quantity. I still don't recommend dense carbs during the day. Now or ever really. Fat isn't so bad so maybe a little cheese if it agrees with you.
- Alternate the week one style days and week two style days. Avoid mixing grains and beans with nuts and fat on any one day.
- In the evening reintroduce meat, chicken and other protein choices. Remember it's a window not a meal so chicken at 3 and a steak at 8 is fine.
- On the carb days reintroduce things like pasta and bread and see how you feel.
- On the fat days reintroduce heavier dairy and cheese and see how you feel.
And there you have it. Metabolicly flexible and clean. If you ever feel bad reintroducing a food then ban it immediately. If you keep eating it you will get used to the effects and not realise that it hates you. Stick to this plan alternating days as you like. If you crave something then eat it. Cheese? It's a fat day then. Pasta? Guess it's a carb day.
Once you are going good and feeling great experiment with the odd 'Mixed day'. Fat and carbs all together. Either the healthy ones or as a cheat day. Up to you and not too often.
Keep up the eating window and water intake habits and if you start to feel a little bit crappy in the future just throw in a few back to back clean carb days followed by a few back to back nuts and fat days.
Let me know how you do in the comments or on Facebook. Please subscribe to my page for future updates and a free step by step excercise and diet program by clicking here.