Episode 36. EPOC, Dieting for a Wedding, and Diet Sustainability

Episode 36. EPOC, Dieting for a Wedding, and Diet Sustainability

★★★★★
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Show Notes

Getting back on topic, we started with EPOC and exercise, but moved into a kind of “case study” of how to read biofeedback when you’re dieting for a wedding or some other specific date. Using an average female dieter (average age, height, weight, athletic background, etc.) as a kind of “case study” we talked about how much lethargy and hunger and so on is “safe” and how do you read that kind of thing safely?

This is an interesting question, because the Coaches can talk about “sustainable dieting” all they want, but if someone has a super important date coming up that they’re preparing for — and if it’s a wedding, then it’s one of the most important dates of many people’s lives — in the real-world people just are going to risk some metabolic compensation to look good. That’s totally reasonable, assuming you’re intelligent and you don’t go all out with an extreme very low calorie diet for your wedding, and instead you rationally balance your desire to lose weight and look good with an acknowledgment that your body needs to be treated well, and there will be more or less metabolic compensation down the road, depending on how you diet.

 

Measuring Fat Loss & Weight Loss Progress

How will I know I’m making progress in getting lighter if I don’t have an objective measurement?

  • Scott actually pasted this in to our list of questions at the last minute from an email — he wanted to emphasize again that many people need to forget the scale. As an indicator it’s often not as reliable as many people think.
  • Other things that matter more: having a reasonable amount of hunger but good energy, how do your clothes fit, how the mirror looks, etc.
  • Also, the danger of the scale is that it turns into a tool of self-judgment. It’s no longer being used rationally to lose fat.

EPOC, or Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption

“Is EPOC [excess post oxygen consumption] really a significant factor of an exercise program?”

  • How much does EPOC really matter? Not that much.
  • Kevin: If you really want a yes/no answer, the short answer is basically, “No, EPOC is ‘not’ a significant factor.”
  • The longer answer has to do with “well, what’s the program? What are the trainee’s goals?” and is much more focused on long-term metabolic optimization than it is on counting the number of calories burned during some arbitrary number of hours after the workout.
  • A huge factor is the trainee: a young high-performance athlete with all their hormones revving is going to experience a different “bump” than someone who’s training to lost a bit of excess fat, by going to the gym for 40 minutes three times a week. This isn’t just “well the high performance athlete trained more intensely so they got a bigger bump.” No. It’s a total look at their athletic background, age, their hormone levels, their entire lifestyle and approach to diet. These things matter. Reducing your calorie burning to a single number, once you think of it this way, is absurd.
  • “EPOC” is often a longer-term thing.

Situational Hyper-Metabolism

  • There is such a thing as situational hyper metabolic environment, but often people discount the fact that, yeah, you’ll get this, but you’ll also see an increase in hunger.
  • As a coach you can’t let hunger run rampant, either, because that will lead to a rebound of some sort. (Coax the body and it responds… etc.)
  • A sign of this would be the client starting also to dream about food, or losing sleep over their hunger, or losing energy and having issues with hormones (i.e. lack of sex drive).
  • A good sign of hunger being too high is that there is no sense of satisfaction even immediately after eating.
  • Mike’s question, though, is what if someone is staying in that hyper-metabolic state? A lot of the negative symptoms listed by the coaches were signs of a depressed metabolism (cold fingers, lethargy, etc.) rather than an optimized one. If the metabolism is showing signs of staying optimized, can a hyper-metabolic state be maintained?
  • The answer to this is to be very careful and listen to the body, and pay attention to the client and their psychology (e.g., are they experienced with dieting? Is ongoing high hunger, if everything else is “okay,” going to be okay for them psychologically?)
  • Beyond that, there are small tests a coach can do if things slide (e.g., give a refeed then monitor).

Dieting for a Wedding

  • Mike started pushing for specifics, but as always, both Scott and Kevin emphasized the context. So, we created an arbitrary one: an “typical” dieter who wants to get ready for their wedding — in this case a woman, average height, average build, of about the average age that Google says women get married in North America (age 27).
  • Obviously, there is no “best diet for a wedding” or something like that. What there is is the client in front of you: their background, their goals, how far away the wedding is, what their athletic background is like, how much weight they want to lose.
  • Starvation diets? No. Stop. Don’t do it.
  • A lot of Scott’s clients come to him because they did go too far, or a coach took them too far, and now they’re fighting their own metabolism trying to deal with it. So yes, he’s going to keep warning people of the dangers.
  • A big factor is lifestyle. If you’re dieting for a wedding, then (1) the wedding planning is going to be super stressful, and (2) the client is often working full-time. Adding more stress on top of that is something you need to be very careful about. The client will lose more weight (or, at the very least, experience far less rebound) if they don’t just keep pushing and pushing the body past where it is too darn tired to go.
  • Danger signs? Low energy, fatigue, stress, irritability with your significant other, low sex drive, brittle hair. All of these are signs that you need to take the foot off the gas of diet and training.
  • Many people notice the “life problems” before they notice actual fatigue in the gym. Those are the signs you need to pay attention to.

Links & Resources

Scott’s Cycle Diet Book and Course

Scott’s book, Metabolic Damage

	
	
	

Episode 35. A Political Argument

Episode 35. A Political Argument

★★★★★
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Show Notes

This one went straight off topic. It started out as a rant but quickly became a debate about things as far ranging as the minimum wage, personal responsibility, and what Scott calls a culture of entitlement.

Minimum Wage

  • Scott’s position was that raising the minimum wage when people currently aren’t doing their job wasn’t going to solve anything.
  • Mike’s position was that the role of a minimum wage isn’t to support people who don’t need it; it’s to ensure that those who do need it (because they need to support themselves, and potentially a child, and potentially they need to do so in an area with a high cost of living) aren’t left out.
  • Mike acknowledged that small businesses do find it hard to pay workers above a certain threshold, but to him that’s about there being a lack of infrastructure and a lack of help for smaller businesses who are just getting started, while larger corporations benefit insanely from economies of scale, yet tend to pay disproportionately fewer taxes.
  • Kevin agrees that the minimum wage should be raised.

Mike’s Liberal Mindset

  • Scott wanted to “challenge Mike on his liberal mindset.”
  • Mike acknowledged he is totally a bleeding heart liberal.
  • Mike doesn’t think all corporations are by definition evil, but the problem is that, currently, society is such that they’re allowed to be evil.
  • Scott thinks we have an entitlement culture, based on his experiences with service industries. Mike’s response was, sure, plenty of people are terrible at their jobs… but that happens at all levels of society, and it is not an argument against dealing with the insane amounts of wealth inequality in North America.

Episode 34. Diet Psychology and Culture

Episode 34. Diet Psychology and Culture

★★★★★
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thanksgiving-survey

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Show Notes

This was going to be an episode about exercise questions, but it went in a totally different direction. We talked about diet psychology, culture, and the social influences on our food choices and how we think about food. Why do people feel “guilt” about Thanksgiving, while others embrace it? Where do these influences come from, and how is it relevant to dieting?

Review:

“Such a fantastic show. The amount of knowledge & insight these 3 men have provided in such a relaxed, realistic, respectful manner makes a really entertaining, yet such an informative podcast. I really look forward to opening the email each week, regardless of the topic. I have learnt so much & have become much more relaxed about my approach to my training & realistic about diet. It’s such an eye opener to the insanity that can come into this industry. Keep the shows coming.”

Nutrition and Diet Psychology

  • Scott began by ranting about nutrition courses that don’t delve into the psychology of food and diet at all.
  • “Diet Psychology” is not “willpower” or something like that. It’s about the entire context of influences that dictate how and what we think about food, why people can think about food in terms of “good” foods and “bad” foods, why some people feel differently about meat products, why one generation thinks about food differently than another.
  • Mike brought up a book he’s reading (and really likes): Acquired Tastes, which actually interviews Canadian families about precisely these things. From the description: “Magazine articles and self-improvement books tell us that our food choices serve as bold statements about who we are as individuals. Acquired Tastes reveals that they say more about where we come from and who we would like to be. Interviews with Canadian families in both rural and urban settings reveal that age, gender, social class, ethnicity, health concerns, food availability, and political and moral concerns shape the meanings that families attach to food.”
  • We all know these things, but the trick is digging into our own beliefs, and how they were formed.
  • Scott really likes Anthony Bourdain’s television show, Parts Unknown, because Bourdain travels the world and really gets into the culture and explores how food relates to that culture. Scott notes that Bourdain fully embraces food, but he’s not overweight, and has no weight problems.
  • Mike mentioned a well-known joke: Two fish are swimming along, when another fish passes by, saying, “Hey fellas, how’s the water?” The fish smile and pass on by. A moment later, one fish says to the other, “Wait… what the heck is ‘water’?” For everyone in the world, there is a huge part of our life that’s just… water. Stuff we don’t notice or see, stuff that is so ingrained into our day to day life we don’t notice.
  • Kevin discussed actually growing up on a farm. This involved taking care of livestock, and preparing it for meals, and yeah, that meant being involved in the slaughtering of animals like chickens. This wasn’t about “eat local.” It was just… life. It was his water.
  • By contrast to Kevin, Mike notes there are those who “eat local” in a surprisingly self-indulgent way, where it’s no longer about doing good, but about patting yourself on the back for doing so. (To be fair, this is probably true of just about everything.)
  • As an exercise, Scott recommends as a journalling exercise asking yourself what your upbringing taught you about food and how to think about food? (How did your parents talk about food? How did your friends? What was served at school?)

Also: as an experiment, we’re having a Thanksgiving Survey (see below!) to try and get stories and insights about how people feel about food over the holidays. It’s totally anonymous (if you want to leave your name, though, you can), and we think VERY relevant before the holidays!

Fill it out here:

thanksgiving-survey

Click here to participate in the Thanksgiving Survey that was mentioned!

Links & Resources

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (TV Show)

Kitchen Confidential (this is the Anthony Bourdain Book Mike read way back when)

Acquired Tastes: Why Families Eat the Way They Do (book)

Beyond Metabolism (Book)

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