Do you count calories? If you’re a fan of dieting, you were probably told that in order to lose weight you must reduce the intake of calories. But what if I told you that this is a myth with no scientific basis.
The recommended calorie intake for men is 2,500 Kcal whereas as for women its 2,000 Kcal. The problem with reducing calories, is that they serve as fuel for the body. So by reducing calories, your body is just going to work more slowly. Kind of like when you’re low on petrol; you will take fewer journeys and use the car less until you refill.
It’s not about calories
When we compare calories to weight gain, we take away the nutritional component of each food type. For example you could eat 2,000 calories worth of broccoli and not put on weight, but if you were to eat 1,000 calories worth of sweets, you will most likely gain some weight. This is what’s so destructive about the calorie argument; the advice is saying that eating 1,000 calories of sugar is the same as eating 1,000 calories worth of broccoli.
The issue is not calories, its insulin. Insulin is a hormone that converts carbohydrates from the food you eat, into sugar (glucose) or stores it for future use. Let’s say you drank 1,000 calories worth of Frappuccino your insulin levels would go through the roof. But if you were to eat a spinach salad with nuts and olives chances are your insulin levels will remain relatively low. This is why it’s dangerous to say that counting calories aids weight loss.
Obesity is not a caloric imbalance, it is a hormonal one. When we put on weight it’s because we’re eating too much and thus our insulin is just storing sugar into fat. The Western diet implements a 3 course meal plus snacking in between. What happens is, the body never gets the chance to dip into its fat reserves.
How to maintain a healthy weight
Our diet needs to consist of a low carbohydrate, high fat and unprocessed diet with lots of intermittent fasting; because fasting is proven to lower insulin levels. All foods generally raise your insulin levels like protein (especially from meat), but they don’t raise your blood sugar levels.
The thing about fasting is, when you’re not putting food in your mouth, your body starts digging into those fat reserves that have not been used for a while. It’s kind of a survival technique and part of our DNA.
Let’s draw the analogy of fat reserves being the same as your refrigerator. Every week, you go to the store and stock up on food for the fridge and freezer. When your fridge starts becoming low on food, you go back to the store and restock. But you haven’t looked at the freezer yet. It’s just there. So every time the fridge is low in food, you go back to the store and fill it up again.
But what happens when you can’t go to the store; you have no choice but to look into the freezer. And that’s your fat reserves. When we eat, our body stores some of the energy into fat. So when you fast, your body starts looking into those fat reserves and begins breaking it down into glucose and energy. Which is a GOOD thing. That’s the key to losing weight; not counting calories, but by using your fat reserves.
The general rule is, that we’re most likely to be eating for 16 hours of the day and fasting for 8 hours during sleep. But the problem is when we wake up, we rush to eat. The whole point of breakfast is to “break the fast”. So what if we only ate for 12 hours of the day and fasted for the other 12? What if we delayed breakfast until noon? What would happen to our bodies? Our bodies would naturally start breaking down stored fat and use it for energy. That’s why fasting is a great detoxification process, because toxic waste is stored in our fat cells. By fasting, our body breaks these cells down thus releasing toxins. So the more times you fast, the more your body will become less toxic.
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JazakAllah khayrun (May Allah bless you) for reading.