Trevor is my mate and he’s struggling with excess body fat in the thoracic cavity. There is a medical name for this condition:
He’s tried eating less and moving more – what his doctor said – but to no avail.
Both strategies have resulted in an end-game of hunger.
Understandably he wants his ‘puppies’ gone along with the high blood pressure, high triglycerides and ever so rising blood glucose levels.
This week he pops round to my place for a chat and another cacao smoothie. While thumbing through an old fitness mag on my coffee table he sees this:
Me: Yes Trev
Trev: Have you seen this dog food ad?
Trev: Well, it’s an ad saying this brand of dog food doesn’t have grain or corn in it
Trev: I’m thinkin’ because it’s not good for the dog..
Me: Or humans
Trev: But humans eat grain and corn by the truckloads
Trev: Come to think of it, so do cattle
Me: Only when the farmer wants to fatten them…
Trevor looks up at me pulling a face like he’s won the lottery but can’t find the ticket.
You see Trevor comes from the school of ‘eat fat, get fat’ and has lived on a diet of low fat everything for the past 10 years. Little does he know that low fat food is code for high sugar junk and as he now realizes, he’s been eating it by the truckload too.
The thought of carbohydrate, or more accurately, lots of it, could make you fat was simply not in Trevor’s cross-hairs. After-all, our nation’s dietary guidelines tell us to eat up to six servings of it a day.
That’s fine if you’re a winger for the Brisbane Broncos or work in a salt mine but for a bloke sitting eight hours a day scratching his bum in an office job – it’s an unmitigated heath disaster.
So, what is it about carbs which makes us gain weight?
Basically it’s a storage issue.
When you eat carbs the body converts it to sugar (glucose) and then shunts it to two places – your muscles (so you can move) and your brain (so you can think).
If you eat what’s recommended for ‘good health’ – six servings a day or about 200-250g of carbs – glucose begins to ‘overflow’ into the liver.
From the liver it’s fast-tracked to your adipose cells (fat cells) and this is where things really get interesting.
Physiologically, a fat cell has one door in and one door out. We gain weight when the ‘out’ door shuts and the ‘in’ door is wide open.
When we eat excessive carbs, the hormone insulin signals cells to store fat otherwise known as triglycerides. This makes sense as the body is really just warehousing energy for a rainy day. Conversely, during times of lack insulin signals cells to release fat in a process known as Lipolysis.
If Trevor has any hope of losing weight he must reduce his carbohydrate consumption to his lowest comfortable level – preferably under 100 grams per day.
If you make a ladle with the palm of your hand – scoop of rice, a handful of pasta, a medium apple – you’ll fit about 30g of carbs. More than three scoops throughout the day and you’ve just broken the bank.
So over the next few weeks Trevor began to remove all of his liquid sugar (soft drinks, orange juice, sports drinks); milky sugar (flavoured milks); grainy sugar (bread, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta), sugary sugar (chocolates, any packet food with added sugar), fruity sugar (grapes, bananas, apples) and ‘beery’ sugar (all alcohol).
He swapped it for red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, vegetables, some fruit, nuts, seeds and water.
Trevor lost 24kgs in 6 months.
His blood glucose level returned to normal as did his blood pressure and triglycerides and most importantly his man-boobs disappeared.
No more storm in a D-cup.
Let me help: if you want your man-boobs gone ask about my 10-week health coaching course here…