Time to jump off the conventional diet bandwagon. Then burn the wagon!

I talk to a lot of people about food and working out. It comes up all the time, no matter where you are.

And I’m not afraid to give people crap for feeding themselves poison.

I’m also not afraid to tell people what I think about conventional dieting or traditional “womens workouts” versus “mens workouts”. I don’t bullshit.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE food. I love eating (see? link, link). I love the food I cook. It’s delicious. It makes me feel really good. And I don’t have to eat all the time to enjoy myself. So I save money too!

Now to the meat of the issue (mmmm. meat!)

Conventional dieting doesn’t produce the right results. It doesn’t optimize health quite like a nutrient dense Paleo diet does. Conventional dieting also, for the most part especially where women are concerned (and I think they are the biggest victims of this) doesn’t advocate heavy weight lifting or the importance of lean muscle mass for long term health. Just. Look. Around.

To demonstrate what I mean I need pictures. So here’s some before/afters.

Well, they lost weight. That’s all well and good if your aim is to be nothing but skinny

For comparison, here’s a couple of examples of the proper way to do things. 

Ah, much better. Not only do these gals have great body composition and shape through attaining more muscle, but they set themselves up to maintan the good looks and optimal health for the long haul, as I’ve written about before, [here] and [here].

Note: I’m not advocating that a six pack for women is necessary. On the contrary, once women go below a certain BF% it can have deleterious health consequences, like no period or thyroid problems. 

It’s the overall picture we’re looking at, including the ability to lift heavy shit over your head! That’s phat! (and functional). Not just for the mechanical advantage it provides, but for the massive health advantage it provides.

In the first photo of the conventional calorie-cutters you’ll notice a few things right off the bat. There’s no definition. No real “figure”. Just kind of “stick figure”. Their skin kind of hangs there with no supporting background. No sense of that person being a strong, capable human being for a long long time. They have successfully attained a lower level of obesity.

If losing weight per se is your goal, you performed perfectly in this scenario. It’s a shame that this is the mainstream goal for women stuck following the conventional weight loss guidelines.

Why do women get treated so much differently in this regard? It puts them at such a disadvantage right from the get-go. The magazine bodies they oh-so hope to attain are unattainable via the conventional methods!

You see, we need to get away from the weight loss convention, and change the way we think. We need to think in terms of muscle first, in order to get rid of the excess fat, and keep it off.

Let’s do a Google image search for Weight Watchers results. Go ahead, click on it. Yes, there are a lot of good looking folks who made a lot of difference. But they just aren’t completely there yet. And chances are, since cutting calories per se, and starving yourself isn’t sustainable, ever, most of these folks will bounce back after they stop dieting. A compounding factor to that bounce-back is their lack of lean muscle, which, as I’ve written about before, [here] and [here] is vitally important to maintaining healthy weight, and providing the foundation for long term health and human ability.

How did the gals in the bottom photo do it?

A combination of eating only nutrient dense real food (i.e. Paleo diet) and lifting heavy weights (Crossfit for example). A quick Google image search reveals many many good looking people who crossfit. Everyone improves composition from the intense heavy lifting, but you see a combination effect as soon as Paleo diet is followed concurrently.

And a site I like to frequent, Mark’s Daily Apple. Here’s a plethora of success stories of Paleo dieters who lift heavy things. Even those people who chose not to lift heavy things have a better body composition than those conventional calorie-cutters above. Know why? 80% of body composition is determined by diet! Want more icing on the cake? Look how many of them are over the age of 50! Then look how many of them also cured their chronic health problems! I don’t know about you, but I fail to see an equivalent track record from Weight Watchers or anything similar.

A few seconds of looking at those photos, and you quickly realize that almost everyone else has been doing it all wrong.

For the love of Paleo! we gotta stop treating men’s and women’s health as different entities. We should all train equally hard and eat real nutrient dense food! It’s the only way.

If you care about your long term health, and want to optimize your life, don’t sell yourself short by looking for a quick-fix. Paleo is for life, because it’s sustainable for life. Same goes for lifting heavy weights. Muscle mass does not decline as a function of aging, it declines as a function of dis-use! THINK ABOUT IT!

~ Dan

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