Ditch confusing calorie math and discover how to eat and exercise right for lifelong weightloss...without the points system!
Ever met someone who can eat whatever she wants and does no exercise yet still manages to stay slim? Of course you have, and how many times have you wished that you could do the exact same?
Well according to leading researcher and former personal trainer, Jonathan Bailor, you can. His best-selling book, The Calorie Myth (HarperCollins; £8.99), has sparked a revolution across the Atlantic with its smarter science of slim, which is informed by over a decade of medical research. Unlike other popular regimes, it focuses on the quality of food and exercise, rather than the quantity.
As Bailor says, “By eating plenty of higher-quality food and doing less (but higher-quality) exercise, we can unconsciously avoid over-eating and provide our body with a unique combination of nutrition and hormones that reprogram the body, causing it to behave more like one of a naturally thin person.”
In other words, it’s possible to eat more, exercise less and still lose weight. If it sounds too good to be true, then keep reading. Because according to The Calorie Myth, everything you think you know about weight loss could be wrong!
Bailor says that the common weight-loss model of counting calories that go in and out, is basically, rubbish. According to Bailor, depriving our bodies of calories actually tends to slow down our metabolism. Over time, this calorie counting causes us to gain more unwanted weight.
A healthy lifestyle should be easy and enjoyable, says Bailor, and he’s got the science-backed strategies to show you how.
So we’ve rounded up the key principles of Bailor’s myth-debunking regime, including how and what to eat and the best exercises to offset your new menu. See if it works for you…
Buy a copy of The Calorie Myth (HarperCollins; £8.99).
The reason why that ubiquitous someone can keep eating and still look slim is because she has a low set point. Set point is like metabolism, because it determines how slim or stocky we are long term - regardless of how many calories we consume or burn off.
Our set point is determined by a series of hormonal signals released from our gut, pancreas and fat cells. They tell our brain how much we should be eating, how many calories to burn and how much body fat to store.
Short term dieting works against our set point, encouraging it to lower temporarily to avoid too much fat loss before shooting back up again when we resume normal eating. This kind of yo yo-dieting disrupts our hormonal patterns, causing our set point to rise higher than before for nearly a whole year after we finish dieting!
This is the calorie myth that we must bust, says Bailor. "Instead of fighting against our set point by counting calories, we should increase the quality of our eating and exercise, heal our hormones, lower our set point, and get our body to burn fat instead of store fat."
So what are high-quality calories - and which foods should we be eating to make sure we get enough of them?
Using the SANEity spectrum, Bailor says we can work out which foods have the highest quality. High-quality calories keep us full, provide lots of nutrients and few of them can be converted in to body fat.
Satiety is how quickly calories fill us up
Aggression is how likely calories are to be stored as fat
Nutrition is how many vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, etc., calories provide
Efficiency is how easily calories are converted into body fat
"High-quality calories are on the healthy end of the spectrum," Bailor says. "They are satisfying, unAggressive, Nutritious and inEfficient."
The unhealthiest type of calorie, and the ones that Bailor recommends we avoid at all costs, is refined starch. This includes foodstuffs like grains, potatoes, rice, breads, pasta, beans and many diary products too.
These foods provide few nutrients, are easily converted in to fat and we often have to overeat them to satisfy our hunger cravings.
But that's not to say all carbohydrates are bad. As Bailor explains, "Nearly all types of vegetables contain carbohydrates. The difference is these foods also deliver a high nutrient value in other areas as well. They give us the most of what we need, and the least of what we don't."
Refined carbohydrate is non-essential, and the number one culprit for disrupting our body's hormones and causing our set point to rise. So don't ban carbohydrates from your diet, but focus on eating the right types that carry the most essential nutrients possible
So what's the best source of calories, and the ones we should eat the most?
The answer, of course, is non starch vegetables. Bailor says we should be eating at least 10 servings per day, where one serving equals 6 asparagus spears. But if you can't make that, at least try to cover 50% of your plate with them at each meal.
Nonstarch are typically the type of vegetables you would find in a salad that can be eaten raw. They include:
- Leafy greens, such as kale or spinach
- Green vegetables, from broccoli and asparagus to leeks and avocado
- Lemon grass
- Onions and shallot
We know what we definitely should eat, and what we shouldn't - but what about the rest of the food groups?
Nutrient-dense protein plays a big part of Bailor's regime, accounting for a third of each plateful or a minimum serving of 30g per meal. Without it, our bodies could miss out on a whole host of benefits; specifically, the production of leucine, an amino acid, which allows our body to refresh and renew lean tissue.
Without activating this benefit, studies have shown that the body could risk losing 5% muscle tissue per decade!
So stock up on the right sources. Seafood, egg whites and white meat are the best. Although low fat Greek yoghurt and lean red meat are also beneficial.
Fruits are also important, but try to avoid varieties that contain more sugar than protein such as apples, bananas and grapes. Stick to berries and citrus fruits instead.
Traditional exercise only works one type of muscle group at a time, which means you have to work longer and harder to get results. But by working all of our muscle groups at the same time, we can balance our hormones and lower our set point in less than 20 minutes per week!
The secret is to focus on using lots of resistance, to work more muscles to get more results. This way we can exercise less frequently. Plus you shouldn't worry about bulking up, as Bailor explains, "The levels of testosterone needed to develop bulky muscles are only found in a small percentage of men. Most women have about the same level of testosterone as a ten-year-old boy."
Healthy eating also accounts for 90% of lasting weightloss success. As Jonathan Bailor says, "Smarter exercise is a wonderful and required compliment to a SANE lifestyle, but much like exercise cannot undo the damage done to our respiratory system by smoking, the same is true for the damage done to our metabolic system by unhealthy foods."
- Exercise more muscle to get more results
It seems obvious, but research has shown there are certain muscle fibres that have a direct link to hormonal control in our bodies. By exercising harder, with more resistance, for shorter bursts we are more likely to engage these muscles.
- Focus on hormones instead of calories
We burn calories all the time, not just in the gym. So focus instead on how the kind of exercise we do will affect our hormonal response.
- Increase resistance to increase results
The harder we work per exercise session, the longer we can leave until the next one. This isn't a gimmick, its scientifically proven. The harder you work, the longer the after-burn.
- Lower weights to lower your weight
Lowering weights is actually more important than lifting them because it uses up to 40 percent more resistance. That means more muscle fibres are worked, and more clog-clearing hormones are triggered.
- Reduce time exercising to reduce body fat
The point of smarter exercise is that its much more intense than traditional exercise, so you physically can't do 'more' of it. Accept this, and enjoy the spare time.
- Heal - don't hurt - yourself
As Bailor says, "The safest and most sustainable way to increase intensity is to increase resistance while decreasing speed."
Order your copy of The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor (HarperCollins; £13.23)
Theory is one thing, but putting it in to practice is a little more difficult. To help, we've selected a smarter science-approved menu to help you see exactly what you should be eating as part of Bailor's regime.
This gorgeous strawberry-avocado green smoothie is the perfect, protein-boosting way to start your day - and it doesn't require a long list of ingredients!
Find the recipe here
Keep yourself in perfect balance with this delicious chicken, avocado and walnut salad. Its easy to make at home and pack up for lunch on the go. You could even serve it in a smaller portion as a side at a dinner party.
Find the recipe here
Making the impossible possible, this revolutionary pasta-free lasagne is just as delicious as the original without the hormone-clogging nasties of refined carbohydrate. Whip it up on a Sunday afternoon for the week ahead, or treat dinner guests to an unexpected surprise.
Find the recipe here