This article is the first in a series to encourage people to start shifting focus from pure weight loss to longevity, the art and science of life extension.
22-Oct 2016, by Lee Sandwith
From flat to flat
It’s been a long time since I published an ingfit article; so long, in fact, that for a while now I’ve been contemplating whether to even bother continuing with the website at all. To explain why my focus is now moving from weight loss to longevity, some context is required…
Anyone following my articles will know that I used to be on the rather large side – to be honest, most people reading this are friends and family anyway so you have first hand experience of the fat guy. If not, there are a few choice photos here to prove it 🙂
I wasn’t exactly dangerously fat but, at times, I was utterly miserable and every time I get my ‘fat photos’ out to show new acquaintances I always meet with disbelief.
Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle to stay in shape as my metabolism is inherently crap, but not only did I lose a shed load of weight, I’ve managed to stay in decent shape for over ten years.
My approach was, and still is, pretty simple: eat less, exercise more. Yes, the old calories in, calories out method. It works, 100%. True story.
Shortly after my transformation, it wasn’t long until I had a lot of people asking me to reveal my secrets, and when I say a lot of people, I mean A LOT of people!!
I’ve always been happy to share my ‘secrets’, in fact, helping people and discussing weight loss and nutrition is something that I really enjoy.
What was the most staggering then is still the most staggering now in that the vast majority of people have absolutely no idea on the basics. Most typically people overestimate the role of exercise and completely underestimate the role of diet.
It got to the point where soooooo many people were asking for help I put it all in an eBook. It’s a very short book, if you can even call it a book. Its contents are modest. It’s not rocket science but it lays out in very simple language the nutrition basics and some simple tips on how to implement a weight loss plan in real life.
A few years on, as I’ve started to learn more, it’s started to dawn on me that I know nothing. I have never put myself out there as an expert but after following some of the nutrition leaders out there I’ve accepted that I know jack shit.
As a result of this, there’s a bunch of stuff that I put in that eBook which I’m starting to change my opinion on, especially carbs, dietary fat, breakfast and fasting.
To boot, these are things which I was so cock sure about a couple of years back that it’s kind of embarrassing to admit. But, alas, in the face of new information, it’s a fool who doesn’t change an opinion.
So, the result of all of this is that, for a long time now I’ve been thinking about taking the website down completely and leaving the nutrition stuff to the real experts.
But then I had a bit of a revelation……
Even the top experts still stand by the calories in, calories out thing for weight loss. Yes there are complexities which make it an imperfect model, but at the most basic level we’re talking about the laws of thermodynamics so calories in / out still stands. As such, 80% of what’s on the website – and found with the pages of my eBook – is still valid.
The main issue with the calories in/out model, though, is that it’s not very helpful. That is, if someone’s overweight then they are definitely consuming more calories than they burn but that doesn’t really help. The question is why are they consuming more than they burn?
Psychology aside, there could be a lot going on at the macronutrient level than I previously thought, and then there’s the circadian clock and the gut microbiome, both of which are completely new concepts to me.
And then there’s genetics!!
From weight loss to longevity
Much of the new stuff I’ve been learning is ‘next level’, and essentially moving away from weight loss and into the more complex world of longevity – essentially, a topic which concentrates on giving us humans the best chance of spending more quality years on this big spinning ball of rock and water.
In the field of longevity, there’s lots of emerging research coming to the fore every day, most of it super technical and complicated. The thing is, probably due to my science background, I love to get into the details so I’ve decided to keep the website going (for a while at least) with a view to breaking some of this stuff down.
The plan is for me to wade through all of the complexity and try to publish content which is more manageable, understandable and actionable.
I’m not intending on passing myself off as an expert, I’m just planning on sharing some really interesting info which may help a few people on their journey towards a longer, healthier life.
There’s a bunch of topics that I want to write about but to get things moving again but I thought it best to start by addressing the things that changed everything for me: carbs and the ketogenic diet.
Update: since I posted this article, I ended up spending a lot of time researching cholesterol as I seem to be what’s known as a cholesterol hyper-responder. You can check out the article here, and the sequence of related articles is as follows: