8 February 2019
BE LEAN, OR BE MACHINE?
We live in an obesonegic environment. Food is everywhere, and machines rule. A consequence of technology has been the availability of food dramatically increasing, and the rise in machines to take over ordinary, every day tasks. What this means for your waist line is that you eat more, and move less. So how do we…
We live in an obesonegic environment.
Food is everywhere, and machines rule.
A consequence of technology has been the availability of food dramatically increasing, and the rise in machines to take over ordinary, every day tasks.
What this means for your waist line is that you eat more, and move less.
So how do we fight our fattening environment?
Studies have shown that on average since the early 70’s and 80’s, we eat 500 calories more per day, and we burn around 150 calories less.
This equates to an astounding 600 calorie surplus when compared to half a century ago.
Think about it, 50 years ago, if you wanted food, you had to walk 5km to the local grocer.
That in itself would make you question how badly you wanted and needed the food!
It should come as no surprise that we are getting fatter by the day.
Biologically, we were made to move more to get our food, and consequently as food was less available, we were designed to eat a hell of a lot less than we currently do.
Evolution however, has created the opposite environment.
And let’s be clear, there is no single cause for obesity.
It is multifaceted, however carbohydrates, sugar, insulin, thyroid, processed foods or pesticides are NOT the big players causing us to get fat.
It is the increase in reliance on machines that reduces our daily energy expenditure, and the increase in food availability that has led to us consuming more food over time.
A PRIMER ON FAT LOSS
First some background…
When discussing fat loss, we are concerned with energy intake and energy expenditure, aiming to achieve a calorie deficit (less calories IN and more calories OUT).
There are three ways to achieve a calorie deficit:
a) Exercise; OR
b) Diet; OR
c) A combination of both.
So it is imperative that we then control our energy intake and our energy expenditure to maximise our fat loss efforts.
There is only one way that energy (calories/kilojoules) enter the body – food and water.
Thus we need to devise strategies that help us control this variable.
Here is where it gets a little more interesting.
When it comes to the energy expenditure side of the equation, there are three main components we need to look at:
1. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), which equates to around 60- 75% depending on activity levels. It is important to note however, that we have little control over how much energy our organs require to operate.
Therefore, it is futile trying to increase RMR…
2. Thermic effect of feeding (TEF), which contributes around ~8% to our energy expenditure. Not a whole lot. Aside from eating more protein due to its higher thermic effect, we have little control over our TEF.
So it isn’t much point worrying about this either.
3. Physical Activity & NEAT is the third factor in energy expenditure, and arguably the most important. It contributes between 15-50% to our energy OUT, which is a large discrepancy, right?
Here is a nice little graph to represent the above:
So why such a difference?
NEAT, otherwise known as Non Exercises Activity Thermogenesis, all calories burned outside of formal exercise. It’s really neat, especially for fat loss, pardon the pun.
Neat is your activity throughout the day, and genetically and biologically some people are calorie burning machines, and will be naturally lean. You see, it’s not their ‘metabolisms’ that are fast, it’s just that their NEAT is extremely high, they don’t stop moving.
The harsh reality is that your 1 hour workout burns bugger all calories. Unless you’re a tri-athlete or marathon runner who is clocking up the km’s, your the calories you burn through training workout training won’t contribute a great deal to your daily calorie burn. Now this is not to say you shouldn’t workout, but don’t bank on getting lean by training a few times a week.
What will contribute significantly to your energy expenditure is how many calories you burn for the other 23 hours of the day, especially when it isn’t mentally and physically exhausting!
Sedentary people will burn significantly less calories than highly active people, which can vary between 135-600 less calories burned per day…
This is why being more human, and relying less on machines is important, as it can help increase the energy out side of the equation massively!
YOUR TWO WEAPONS AGAINST FAT GAIN…
Without further ado, here are 2 practical habits that you can implement TODAY to help you combat the fattening environment we live in…
1. Be More Human…
Sounds weird and confusing, but seriously, do more human sh** and rely on machines less. You’ll burn a hell of a lot more calories, and over time this can pay massive dividends.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park further from work, and walk.
- Hang the washing out to dry instead of using a dryer.
- Take a walk if you’re bored for goodness sake.
Let’s look at the energy expenditure for resting, sitting while fidgeting and walking at 3 miles per hour…
- Resting – 77 calories per hour.
- Sitting While Fidgeting – 118 calories per hour.
- Walking at ~5kph – 304 calories per hour.
Quite a significant difference, eh?
Let’s say that you parked your car a 2 kilometres from work, and walk briskly.
That’s four km’s per day you’re walking, and let’s say that’s at a pace of 5kph , that’s 600 calories a day you’ll burn in addition to taking the stairs…
See what I did there?
The point is, there are a multitude of things that you can do to increase your daily energy expenditure, and we need to get off of our derrière and do more human things to without formally exercising.
2. Make Food Hard To Access.
This weapon is twofold:
1. Fill your pantry with food that is energy sparse and nutrient dense.
2. Make the calorie dense food hard to access.
If there is food around, you’re going to eat it, eventually…
So instead having your pantry and fridge full of food that is easily accessible and high in calories, swap it for unrefined, low calorie alternatives.
Not only are these foods harder to access as you’ll have to prepare and cook them to have them ready to eat, but they are far lower in calories and rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
It’s a win win.
We are very much a product of our environment, and if you are constantly faced with energy dense, nutrient devoid foods, you will consume them, its just a matter of time and will power. And typically, our will power sucks…
Set yourself up for success by stocking the fridge and pantry with more foods that are conducive to a leaner physique.
Think about what a pantry and fridge of a ‘lean’, active person would look like.
Have you ever thought, god I’m tired, I’m going to smash this chicken breast, broccoli and sweet potato?
I didn’t think so…
What about those chocolates in the fridge?
Well they are easy to access aren’t they, so I can bet my bottom dollar that you choose them over the chicken…
The point is, if you put your foods in the fridge, or freezer, and have to defrost or cook them, it can make it a lot less inviting to eat. You’ll then make sure that the only time you cook is when you are truly hungry!
If you’re forced to cook as that is the only food you have available to you, it will force you to think twice about whether or not you’re truly hungry, and will ultimately reduce the likelihood of you over indulging.
It’s no surprise that we are one of the largest countries in the world.
When we rely more on machines and have food available to us 24 hours of the day within arms reach, it makes getting lean much harder to accomplish!
Try implementing these 2 habits, and watch yourself turn into a lean