Going Overboard – Why Eating Too “Healthy” Kills Fat Loss

Going Overboard – Why Eating Too “Healthy” Kills Fat Loss

Friday Morning, 8am.

Before you head off to work, it’s time to weigh yourself and track your progress for the week.

You step on the scale feeling confident. This week was a clinic in dedication and mental fortitude, as you staved off temptation and stuck to eating healthy – 100% healthy. Not a single workout was missed. Every Oreo cookie remained on the grocery store shelf. Smiling, you start guessing – did I lose half a pound? One pound? Maybe even two?

The excitation builds. You step on the scale and…

Nothing. Not even a single ounce down.

That can’t be right. You look at yourself in the mirror and, with dismay, notice you look exactly the same as you did last week. Despite your 120-hour tour de force of salads, grilled chicken, avoiding starch as if it contained Zika, and busting ass at the gym, nothing changed.

We’ve all been there. But what happened?

One of the biggest mistakes we make – whether we are trying to lose weight, add muscle mass, or lose fat – is being too strict with our food.

What? How can I be too strict? How can eating healthy be bad for me?

It turns out that eating “healthy” food 100% of the time can negatively impact results and hamper progress. Let’s explore how:

Why Do We Eat Too Healthy?

OK, this one is pretty easy – because we want results! Not only do we want results, but we want them sooner rather than later. If eating “healthy” is good for us, then – logically – we conclude we should only eat “healthy” foods – all the time.

Now that the easy part is out of the way, let’s explore some negative consequences of eating too healthy.

Mental Effects of Eating Too Healthy

Let’s be honest with each other – food is NOT just fuel. For centuries, food has gathered families around tables, brought world leaders together, and served as a bridge across borders, both geographic and cultural. Eating food is a requirement to staying alive, but it’s also fun.

Nobody likes restraints, and adhering to a diet requires mental focus and willpower – which is a finite resource. Each time you choose a burrito bowl versus the whole enchilada, or pass up the bagels Suzy brought into the office, you make a decision that depletes your willpower.

It’s estimated that humans make up to 200 – two hundred! – food-related decisions each day. Making each and every decision a “healthy” one is tough, and can leave us feeling exhausted.

I once deprived myself to the point that I was eating Tums for “dessert”. My craving for a taste different than grilled chicken was so great, I ate an entire bottle of Alka-Seltzer Fruit Chews over the course of a week. This is insanity, and also very unhealthy. Don’t repeat my mistakes. Don’t take “eating healthy” too far.

Shown – not actually candy.

3. Social Effects of Eating Too Healthy

As more and more people begin paying attention to their nutrition, restaurants are adapting, and finding healthier options on menus is getting easier and easier.

However, there’s a big difference between seeing salad on a menu, and actually ordering it.

When we go out to eat with other people, the food is often not the focus – it’s an excuse to get together and catch up, to start off a fun night on the town. We have a strong urge not to be “that guy” or “that girl” that orders off the 400-calorie or less menu while everyone else is splitting pizza and beer. Our desire to fit in is biologically ingrained from the days of our great-great-great-great-great-great ancestors, when being an outcast meant certain death.

Rather than go out and order the salad, or – GASP – saying “screw it” and letting loose, we simply ignore the invitation.

Your nutrition should enable you to live a fun and full life doing the things you love to do. It should NOT be an obstacle. It should NOT make you miserable or anti-social.

If you’re constantly skipping on dinner invites or drinks with friends, you’re likely doing more harm than good.

4. Physiological Effects of Eating Too Healthy

Alright, so eating too healthy can have bad effects on our mental status and social lives. But surely it must be good for our body…right?

Not exactly.

Restricting calories too drastically, for too long, can send our body into survival mode. Essentially, your body thinks it is starving – another holdover from the old days – and slows down your metabolism in an effort to conserve fuel. This puts a halt on fat loss, and can actually increase body fat – despite a caloric deficit.

Having the occasional “cheat” meal puts those worries to rest – your body will realize food is not scarce, and fat can be burned off instead of stored.

Wrapping Up

It’s awesome to pay attention to your diet and eat good foods – but a limit does exist. Too much of a good thing can be harmful, and there is such a thing as eating too healthy.

A good rule of thumb that has worked wonders for myself and my clients is following the 80/20 principle. I try and keep 80% of my meals “healthy” (I hate that terminology, but work with me here), leaving 20% for me to eat as I please. Assuming you eat 3 meals per day, 7 days per week, that gives you 4 “cheat” meals to enjoy out with your friends. This is the essence of eating well.

This will fluctuate depending on your circumstances. The important thing is to maintain balance in your life. Remember, eating well encompasses all aspects of food – not just the nutrient profile of your meal.

Eat smart. Have fun. Do cool shit with your friends. Let your health create a better life – not hold you back.

Have you ever gone through a phase of eating too healthy? How did it affect your progress? Your social life? Let us know in the comments below!

Let’s Eat Well.

Let’s Eat Well.

We hate the word “diet”.

“Diet” invokes a negative reaction. “Diet” immediately conjures up images of starvation, deprivation, bland food, and boring meals.

The word “diet” does not inspire us to lose weight and live better. It’s not motivating. It takes the focus away from what will be added to our life (improved self-confidence, a better self-image, more mental focus) when we eat good foods, and places the focus on what we perceive is being taken away.

OK, so we’ll avoid the word “diet”. We’ll describe our eating as “healthy”. Problem solved, right?

Nope.

Research from the University of Texas at Austin shows that when people perceive their food to be “healthy”, they describe it as “less filling”, and, as a result, end up eating more.

“The consumption studies provide evidence that people order greater quantities of food, consume more of it, and are less full after consuming a food portrayed as more versus less healthy.”

Even though participants in both groups ate the same cookie, those who ate the “healthy” cookie rated it as less filling and less satisfying than those who ate the “normal” cookie. So, the word “healthy” is out.

OK, “diet” and “healthy” don’t work. Should we eat “clean”?

You may have heard this one before. A friend says she’s “cleaning up” her diet. Your roommate can’t go out because he’s “eating clean” now. I’ve used the word “clean” to describe my eating habits.

Using “clean” to describe food conjures mental images of food being cleansed with Windex and soap until “pure” – not an appetizing picture.

There are other problems with “eating clean”. Who decides what food is “clean”? Are “clean” foods always “clean” – or are there shades of grey? Are your “clean” foods also “clean” for me? What does “eating clean” even mean?

Enough bullshit. But what do we do?

We want many things from our food.

We want food to provide us with energy. Energy to build businesses, to do our jobs, to train hard, to play with our kids. We want our food to deliver a constant, steady supply of energy, because time doesn’t wait for us when we get tired.

We want our food to provide us happiness. Our tastebuds connect to nerves in the brain that provide positive emotions when we eat good-tasting food.

We want our food to connect us. We come together with family and friends over food. Holidays, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries – all of these special events are celebrated with the people we love. What’s the constant component that brings us together on these occasions? Food.

We fear words like “diet” and “healthy” because we fear that they’ll disconnect us from the pleasurable aspects of food. We envision a spartan existence void of happiness.

“Food is fuel”.

You’ve likely heard this analogy – “you wouldn’t put shitty fuel in your car; don’t put shitty food in your body.”

But food is much more than fuel. Food is not gasoline. We don’t invite dates over to go buy gas together. We don’t celebrate birthdays and holidays by buying gas.

The “food is fuel” analogy may be appropriate for describing food’s role in providing energy for the human body. But it fails to capture everything else that goes into food.

Let’s avoid the words “diet”, or “healthy”, as much as we can. Let’s avoid referring to food as fuel.

Stop dieting. Eat well.

Let’s eat well.

Eating well is a mindset that captures every component of food – not just the nutritional aspect.

When we eat well, we avoid food dystopia. We maintain the pleasurable aspects of food – the taste, the smell, the social connection – while consuming foods that nourish our bodies, allowing us to excel, aesthetically and mentally.

Eating well is simple. It avoids oversimplification. It allows wiggle room for personal interpretation and experimentation.

Eating well means consuming nutrient-rich food that helps us function at high capacity. It means avoiding nutrient-sparse foods that drain our energy and make us fat.

Eating well means finding foods that work for us, instead of espousing “one size fits all” approaches.

Eating well means eating delicious food, because life is too short to ignore our finely-tuned sense of taste.

Eating well means realizing food is a social experience, that the “healthiness” of a meal goes beyond its nutritional and macronutrient profile, that enjoying meals with family and friends makes us happy, and that the social aspect of food should not be ignored.

When we eat well, we live well.

What does “eat well” mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Three Course Thursday – Brain-Boosting Nicotine, The End of Sleep? Mindfulness Apps

Three Course Thursday – Brain-Boosting Nicotine, The End of Sleep? Mindfulness Apps

This post is part of a weekly series called “Three Course Thursday”. Each week, I post links to articles I’ve been digging which focus on improving yourself – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Think of it as a weekly three-course meal for self-improvement.

On to this week’s Three Course Thursday!

Physical: The End of Sleep? (via aeon.co) – Are we culturally ready for the end of sleep?

Mental: Nicotine, The Wonder Drug? (via discovermagazine.com) – Nicotine – long demonized due to its association with tobacco smoke – may actually be the key to controlling or even preventing diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Spiritual: Headspace App Generates Buzz as Meditation Turns Ultra -Trendy (via latimes.com) – Looks like this mindfulness thing is really catching on. Headspace and Calm are two very popular apps – what do you use to meditate and stay mindful? Let us know in the comments!

Three Course Thursday – Shadow Work and Busyness

Three Course Thursday – Shadow Work and Busyness

This post is part of a weekly series called “Three Course Thursday”. Each week, I post links to articles I’ve been digging which focus on improving yourself – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Think of it as a weekly three-course meal for self-improvement.

This week is a bit different. I’m only posting one article, as it hits on a very important topic which deserves undivided attention.

Shadow Work and the Rise of Middle-Class Serfdom” (via artofmanliness.com) addresses the rise of “shadow work”. What is shadow work? “The unpaid tasks we do on behalf of businesses and organizations”, according to Dr. Craig Lambert, who has written a book on the subject: “Shadow Work: The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day“.

Both Brett’s article and Dr. Lambert’s book discuss why we modern-day humans often feel so busy, overworked, and tired, despite the fact that we’re actually working less hours “on the clock” than our equivalents did a century ago.

I hope this article helps us question the activities that fill our day-to-day lives. Is our attention and focus going toward truly meaningful work, or are we draining our limited cognitive resources on being “busy”?

Three Course Thursday – Cholesterol, Self-Control, and Work Attitudes

Three Course Thursday – Cholesterol, Self-Control, and Work Attitudes

This post is part of a weekly series called “Three Course Thursday”. Each week, I post links to articles I’ve been digging which focus on improving yourself – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Think of it as a weekly three-course meal for self-improvement.

On to this week’s Three Course Thursday!

Physical: “Everything You Know About Cholesterol Is Wrong” (via artofmanliness.com) – Luckily, this is becoming common knowledge. Let’s speed up the pace – there’s still WAY too many people who think “cholesterol = bad” without knowing the details.

Mental: “This Is the Top Predictor of Success in Life” (via time.com) – Hint: “This” in the title refers to self control. Self control predicts success – even more so than IQ.

Spiritual: “Attitude to Work” (via speakingtree.in) –  “Since any institution or organisation has a bigger impact than the individual,we need to incorporate right practices in the way we work together.” Check out this article to learn more about incorporating spirituality into the workplace.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Three Course Thursday – Weight Judgment, Stress Episodes, and Active Meditation Techniques

Three Course Thursday – Weight Judgment, Stress Episodes, and Active Meditation Techniques

This post is part of a weekly series called “Three Course Thursday”. Each week, I post links to articles I’ve been digging which focus on improving yourself – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Think of it as a weekly three-course meal for self-improvement.

On to this week’s Three Course Thursday!

Physical: “Science says people determine your competence, intelligence, and salary based on your weight” (via businessinsider.com) – Whether it’s fair or not can be debated, but there’s no doubting that people make assumptions about others based on physical appearance. The lesson? Control what you can control.

Mental: “A Simple Yet Powerful Way to Handle A Stress Episode” (via hbr.org) – Stress episodes tend to strike at the most inopportune moment. Don’t let acute stress ruin your next job interview – let Monique Valcour guide you through the RAIN technique, a simple tool for handling stress episodes.

Spiritual: “3 Modern Meditation Techniques That End Stress in 15 Minutes A Day” (via pickthebrain.com) – What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the word “meditation”? If you answered “sitting still, in a quiet field, with my legs crossed, chanting ‘Ohmmmm’ “, then let this article disprove some common assumptions. Although some people are able to sit still while meditating, many others find it frustrating, or cannot find the time to do so. This article highlights 3 ways to start the practice that don’t involve closing your eyes and sitting still.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Three Course Thursday – Injury Recovery, Mental Illness, and Peace of Mind

Three Course Thursday – Injury Recovery, Mental Illness, and Peace of Mind

This post is part of a weekly series called “Three Course Thursday”. Each week, I post links to articles I’ve been digging which focus on improving yourself – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Think of it as a weekly three-course meal for self-improvement.

On to this week’s Three Course Thursday!

Physical: “Nutrition for injury recovery“(infographic via precisionnutrition.com) – John Berardi drops knowledge on how to eat better to speed up your recovery.

Mental: “7 Mental Illness Myths People Still Believe” (via huffingtonpost.com) – I know, click-bait title. But, we still have a LONG way to go when it comes to treating mental illness. Awareness is the first step. #4 is incredibly important.

Spiritual: “Loving-Kindness as a Path to Inner Peace” (via inspiremetoday.com) – Are you looking for peace of mind and happiness externally, or internally?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Three Course Thursday – Life-saving Strength, Masculinity Studies, and Yoga

Three Course Thursday – Life-saving Strength, Masculinity Studies, and Yoga

This post is part of a weekly series called “Three Course Thursday”. Each week, I post links to articles I’ve been digging which focus on improving yourself – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Think of it as a weekly three-course meal for self-improvement.

On to this week’s Three Course Thursday!

Physical: “Are You Strong Enough to Save Your Own Life?” (via artofmanliness.com) – well…are you?

Mental: “A Master’s Degree in … Masculinity?” (via nytimes.com) – SUNY is launching the first master’s degree program in “masculinities studies”. The program is led by Dr. Michael Kimmel, who has written numerous books on the subject of manhood.

Spiritual: “Yoga – Benefits, Risks, & Different Types (via livescience.com) – interested in starting a yoga habit? LiveScience has a quick introduction to get you started.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Three Course Thursday – Better Deadlift, Mental Health Apps, and Self-Actualization

Three Course Thursday – Better Deadlift, Mental Health Apps, and Self-Actualization

This is the first of hopefully many posts to come in a weekly series of posts which I’ve dubbed “Three Course Thursday”. Each week, I’ll post links to articles I’ve been digging which focus on improving yourself – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Think of it as a weekly three-course meal for self-improvement.

On to this week’s Three Course Thursday!

Physical: “Deadlift Hot Fixes” (via Leangains.com) – Martin Burkhan of LeanGains fame with tips on improving the King lift for building a bigger, stronger back – the deadlift.

Mental: “Can an App Really Help Manage Your Mental Health?” (via Vice.com) – Fitness tracking tools like MyFitnessPal have been around since the inception of smart phone apps. Now, the market for apps focused on managing Mental Health is rapidly expanding. Sarah Graham explores pros and cons of using apps for managing everything from sleep to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Spiritual: “Lack of Self Actualization Linked with Addiction” (via Healthunits.com) – Researchers at Florida Atlantic University recently published a study which found that lacking an “ultimate aim in life” is linked with mental health issues (such as anxiety and depression), as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Review – Mizzen+Main Dress Shirts

Review – Mizzen+Main Dress Shirts

I read about Mizzen+Main a few months back, but it wasn’t until Tim Ferriss gave his backing that I took the plunge and purchased The Blackman 2.0 and the McCoy.

2015-08-14 16.05.48

Spoiler alert – is the best dress shirt I’ve ever owned and it’s not even close.

Features

  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Tailored for athletic builds
  • Four-way stretch material
  • Made in America

Mizzen+Main is a clothing company that produces innovative menswear. They advertise their shirts as “designed by athletes, for athletes”.

Strengths

Freedom of Movement

Within seconds of trying this shirt on, I noticed something gamechanging – “I CAN MOVE MY ARMS WITHOUT MESSING UP THE TUCK!”

mizzen+main_blackman_side

ARM MOVEMENT FREEDOM YASSSSS
ARM MOVEMENT FREEDOM YASSSSS

Guys, you know how annoying this issue can be – wearing a dress shirt but hesitating to lift your arms above 90 degrees for fear of your shirt coming untucked. Mizzen+Main has solved this problem – their stretchable shirts allow you to move your arms through full range of motion with ZERO affect on the tuck of your shirt.

This is huge if your profession involves constant physical movement in professional attire – I’m talking to you, physicians/pharmacists/healthcare professionals.

Fit

The Blackman 2.0 fits like a dream. Utilizing Clothes Horse/Fits.Me technology, their website will match you with your perfect fit. All it requires is entering a few basic details, such as your height, weight, and body type.

Those with a more athletic build will really appreciate the way the shirts fit. No more boxy dress shirts built for the fatcats of yesteryear or too-slim shirts that choke you and slowly cut off your ability to breathe. Mizzen+Main shirts are designed with today’s health-conscious young professional in mind.

The tailored fit also eliminates the baggy, ridiculous looking “fluff” that often bunches in the back when tucking a normal dress shirt.

Material

The Blackmon 2.0 is made of _% Nylon, _% Polyester, and 8% Lycra. Yes, the same lycra used in yoga pants has a fantastic use in menswear.

The lightweight, moisture-wicking material means we can FINALLY stop worrying about pit stains. If you don’t sweat much, consider yourself very lucky. Those of us who perspire at the slightest hint of heat or humidity can breathe a sigh of relief – the battle appears to have been won.

I’ve dealt with confidence issues related to sweating since I was 12. EVERY shirt I have owned has, at some point, acquired staining and discoloration in the armpits due to sweating. I’ve tried dozens of deodorants, different undershirts, avoiding hot drinks – name a strategy and I’ve tried it. Nothing works, and it SUCKS walking around well-aware that you look silly because your armpits decided to unleash all those bottled-up smelly yellow feelings at the worst possible time. Mizzen+Main have truly improved the quality of my life in a way no other clothing company has ever come close to.

The unique material also means no drying is required – just wash and hang to dry. These are great shirts for travel because they require zero ironing – toss in your bag and you’re good to go. This is also great for those who hit the gym before work but cannot go back home to shower and get dressed.

Con – Let’s talk price

Yes, Mizzen+Main products are expensive. $125 for a dress shirt is rather steep.

The price tag becomes much easier to absorb when you consider a few factors:

All products are 100% made in America.

Nuff said.

Proceeds benefit Mizzen+Main’s “Shirt for a Start” program.

I’ll quote from their website:

…we believe that we have found a way to bridge the gap between service and the start-up scene. For selected servicemen and women making the transition, we will pay them while they develop entrepreneurial experience, industry connections, and a better understanding. As we grow as a company, we will offer them more than a start. We will offer an opportunity to join us in design, logistics, communications, engineering, and other key departments – on a full-time basis. We will also connect them into our networks for continued career development and networking opportunities

Helping veterans integrate back into civilian life is an AWESOME cause and I’m more than happy to pay a slightly higher price to benefit a company that does not outsource its product and helps veterans find private sector work.

2015-08-14 16.02.03
American Made.


Who would I NOT prescribe Mizzen+Main to?

If you are REALLY cost-conscious and simply not in a position to drop $100+ on a dress shirt, then obviously there are other options elsewhere. But I highly encourage you to consider saving enough funds to splurge here – the manufacturing quality is so high on these, it could be the last dress shirt purchase you ever need to make.

 

Who would I prescribe Mizzen+Main to?

  • Athletically-built guys looking for a tailored-fit shirt that is actually…ya know, tailored-fit.
  • Anyone tired of pit stains ruining their shirts and their apperance.
  • Any guy looking for quality clothing.
Man tested, dog approved.
Man tested, dog approved.

What do you think? Have you tried a Mizzen+Main product? Talk about your experience in the comments!