The book The Obesity Code by Dr Jason Fung is an eye opener. I really liked the book. Here is my review and short synopsis.
There are many explanations of obesity. The one which made the most sense to me was that your hormonal response is out of whack. Insulin and Cortisol are the ones that explain the most. Insulin is secreted in response to carbs and protein in food and helps your cells to take in the nutrients from the bloodstream to inside the cell. When there are high levels of insulin in the blood, your body is designed to store energy as fat and prevent fat burning. Cortisol is typically associated with stress. When you are very highly stressed (either physical or emotional), your body increases cortisol. Cortisol causes your body to become insulin resistant. When your body is insulin resistant, it needs more than the normal amount of insulin to do its job and as we saw above, high insulin prevents body from using fat ans stores fat. You typically want to do things that help your body become insulin sensitive and reduce cortisol
Steps that Will Definitely Help According to the Book
1/ Stop snacking and just eat 3 meals a day. More often you eat, more often the insulin rises and this inhibits fat burning.
2/ Lay off the processed foods (anything which comes in packaging and has a huge list of ingredients) as much as possible, like cereals, snack bars, etc. Run far away from “low fat” because it usually has added sugar. Remove any foods that have added sugar (or its close cousins – palm sugar, brown sugar, agava, maple syrup, jaggery, maltodextrin, dextrose, lactose, high fructose corn syrup and god knows what other names they have). Most of these foods are designed to make you want more. Look up “bliss point”. That’s the point where your body starts cravng more. Not to mention, these foods have lots of calories, but not necessarily enough nutrition to provide what your body really needs.
3/ Eliminate grains, starchy vegetables (potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes) and then fruits (except avacados maybe). Again, these are higher in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates have the highest insulin response. You want to keep insulin low by limiting carbohydrates.
4/ Sleep well. Try meditation. These are well known ways to reduce stress. It may not work immediately, but stick to a sleep routine and 5-10 min meditation and over time it will make a difference. This is to help reduce cortisol.
5/ Stay hydrated. Thirst is sometimes mistaken for hunger. Make sure you are having plenty of water. If you do keto, you will probably need more salt too.
6/ Strength training. Your muscles play a hugely important role in taking up glucose from the blood and keeping you insulin sensitive. Start with some basic body weight exercises (pushup, pullup, squat, planks). Try to build a routine and make it into a habit. Exercise helps many people de-stress. It also makes you more insulin sensitive. It might not help you lose weight much, but as you stick to the diet and reduce weight, the exercise will make your body look much better.
Small Habits Turn Into Large Progress
In the book The Obesity Code Dr. Fung talks about doing the small changes everyday and sticking to the process. This is what I loved about the book. It didn’t seem like anything you couldn’t do. If you stick to the little things every day you will lose weight. You will look better. You will feel a lot better.
To Summarize the Book’s Top Recommendations:
Try to eliminate carbohydrates, processed foods, snacking. Eat real nutrient dense meals, sleep well, stay hydrated, keep on top of your electrolytes, exercise, meditate.
The Obesity Code Diet
Dr. Fung doesn’t give a set meal plan. Instead he gives guidelines. In his opinion, the most ideal route is to have timeframes where you are not eating. In a word—fasting. This can be for 16 hours, 20 hours, 24 hours, or much more. Giving your body a time of low insulin softens the protection and results up weight reduction.
Understanding the central, hidden reason for fasting brings about basic, effective procedures for weight reduction. There are two essential inquiries in weight loss. What to eat and when to eat?
The world agrees that processed food is bad for you. You really should limit white flour and sugars. Eat loads of vegetables.
Many disregard the second inquiry: When to eat? We don’t need to eat more frequently to lose weight, we need to eat less frequently. Eliminating snacks is a simple way to reduce the frequency of eating. Our grandparents already knew the truth.