Q. Why do you not recommend working out first thing in the morning?
Ans. Working out first thing in the AM is just fine. One reason I do my training in the evening is that suits my schedule better. The other reason is that if I’m doing strength training (any kind of heavy lifting – which is relative mind you) I am better off in the evening because the day has warmed me up and I have some food inside me which gives me more energy. Any kind of conditioning first thing in the morning is just great from a fat loss perspective.
Q. If I ate all the cheese/oil you recommend, I feel like I’ll be the size of a house.
Ans. You will be the size of a house or even bigger if you eat all the cheese/oil I recommend IN ADDITION to your grains and starches and sugars. Whatever be your diet (high fat low carb or low carb high fat) the most important thing to consider is the energy balance equation – caloires in Vs calories out. If you are comsuming more calories than you burn you WILL put on weight/fat. Period. So while you include these fats (which are super good for you) you are dropping your carbs down. As long as these add up to a number below your maintenance calories you will lose fat.
Q. My body doesn’t seem to function well without carbs (whole grain bread/whole wheat roti/brown rice etc.), do I really HAVE to get rid of fairly “healthy” carbs?
Ans. As much as I recommend the high fat low carb diet I will be the first one to admit that a low carb approach is not for everyone. Some people are more insulin sensitive than the others and feel better with more carbs in them. If you feel light headed/groggy/less energy when you drop carbs then just increase carb intake by 40-50 gms and see how you feel. Iterate till you find your sweet spot. As long as these carbs are the good ones like vegetables, yams, potatoes, fruits you are good to go. The one thing about carbs that I will hang my hat on is that the normal person gets WAY more carbs than required (especially in India where 80% of one’s diet is grains/cereals/starches).
As for ‘fairly healthy’ carbs… grains don’t belong to that group. Fruit perhaps belong to the fairly healthy carb group.
Q. What is the logic behind your recommendation of a low carb approach?
Ans. All my recommendations for fat loss are with two things in mind…
1. Create a calorie deficit without compromising health and nutrition. Though you will be eating lesser calories than is required to maintain your current body weight I want to ensure that your body gets all the goodies (vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids/protein, fiber etc.). Bascially ‘healthy dieting’ as opposed to ‘crash dieting’ where you do whatever it takes to lose weight as fast as possible even at the cost of compromising health and longevity.
2. Induce fat loss without the complications of calorie counting and obsessing about how much to eat when. This is achieved by allowing certain foods and restricting certain foods. Why ban carbs? Most people tend to overdo carbohydrates easily. Think about every junk food you know – donuts, pizza, french fries, cake, dessert. What do all these things have in common? They all have simple carbs (sugars) and/or processed carbs with/without fat. By removing the common ingredient from your diet (sugar and grains) and basing your diet around vegetables, meat, nuts, some fruit and some unprocessed dairy we are addressing the fat loss problem in a healthy way. FYI – The greater issue with the sugar in junk foods is that the more you eat them the more you crave them (genius!). So including these as a part of your daily diet is a sure fire way to obesity.
Common knowledge would say that the best way to satisfy BOTH these points is by including the healthiest of foods in the ‘allowed foods’ list and the foods with sugars, anti-nutrients & empty calories in the ‘restricted foods’ list.
Q. What fall under the ‘healthiest foods’ group?
Ans. Vegetables, fruits, the good fats, unprocessed dairy, grass-fed organic meats/seafood.
Q. What are the foods that add empty calories?
Ans. Sugars and grains which show up in a million different forms (think bread, rice, junk, candy etc.). The ones with gluten (wheat) are not just empty calories but they are also harmful to your digestive tract resulting in auto immune diseases like leaky gut.
Q. Why is whole wheat bread not healthy?
Ans. Like I said… the gluten.
Q. Why is white/brown/wild rice not healthy?
Ans. Though rice doesn’t contain gluten and is not particularly harmful to you… it provides empty calories. Compare any rice (or any grain for that matter) and vegetables calorie for calorie. You will see that vegetables kick rice’s ass big big time with respect to micro nutrients, fiber, protein, satiety and digestion. So when you’re creating a calorie deficit in order to lose weight you want to ensure that your body is well fed and the only way of doing this is by using up all your carbs for vegetables (and little fruit).
Q. What about Quinoa?
Ans. Better than wheat. Contains a complete protein. But still a grain which means 90% of calories from it are empty with no nutritional value.
Q. Does the term ‘healthy carbs’ exist? If yes, what are they?
Of course it does! All kinds of vegetables and berries will fall under ‘healthy carbs’. Other high glycemic index fruits will fall under ‘fairly healthy carbs’.