3 Types of Body Fat. Your Body Shape and Fat Patterning

BODY FAT

There are 3 types of body fat, there are 2 female body shapes.  I have rolls. If you want to find my fat you just have to pinch me. These lovely rolls sit around my waist and on my back. My fat is ‘subcutaneous’ meaning that it lies under the skin for all to pinch! I do not have the typical female fat patterning. Most women have smaller waists and hold fat on their butt, hips, and thighs, often giving a nice curvy look. No, this is not me. My legs are slim and hips narrow; you may see me in shorts but never in a belly shirt.

Body fat is stored in different ways and zoned differently between men and women. The rolls I have are subcutaneous fat. Other people, especially women, have ‘intramuscular triglycerides’ (IMTG) and their fat is stored in the muscle. Imagine a slab of meat. Some meat has the fat layer on the top (that would be me) and is the type of fat you may ask the butcher to trim off, whereas other meat has a marbled effect, with fat running throughout.  That is IMTG (intramuscular triglycerides)

IMTGs, in my opinion, are more attractive. It is those curvy ladies, the girls with solid butts and thighs but not a roll to be seen, the girls you see in music videos with the tiny waists, curvy behinds, and shapely legs. Their fat is within the muscle which means you cannot pinch it. It is the same fat that some women confuse with muscle.  They mistakenly think they have heavily muscled thighs, in most cases, it is muscle full of fat.

I have known ladies that don’t want to train legs because they think their legs are muscular enough already. In most cases, the reality is that they are holding fat in their legs which makes them look big. It would be a real mistake NOT to train that area because that lower body fat is not going anywhere unless it is burnt up as fuel. The fear of their legs getting even bigger is unfounded because if the exercise uses some of that fat for fuel, their trained legs will most certainly get smaller.

IMTGs show up in women as heavier triceps, solid hips and butt and thighs that dominate. Overall I might have less fat than these women, but these ladies have a much sexier way of carrying any excess.

The ultimate test is the flex test.  If you flex your thigh muscles and you don’t see any separation, then what you are looking at is fat. The muscle may appear to be rock hard, but if there are no lines to show the different muscles of the thigh, then you looking at fat.  If on the other hand you flex your legs and you can see all sorts of detail going on, then you are looking at some beautiful, lean muscular legs.

It is the people with the IMTGs that I have difficulty measuring their body fat using manual calipers. The calipers measure the thickness of the skin, and if your fat is underneath the skin like mine, then it’s a simple measurement to take. When a person’s fat is in the muscle, I cannot pinch it using calipers, and the reading is often inaccurate. For this reason, I also use an ultrasound device that can measure body fat held in muscle.

Visceral fat. This is the dangerous fat that has a strong link to heart disease. Visceral fat wraps itself around the organs and makes for a protruding mid section. Its the guy with the 42-inch waist that proudly lifts up his shirt to show how solid his “abs” are, proudly he slaps them declaring “It’s all muscle, baby.”
I can see how the confusion arises as the midsection is indeed solid and you would expect fat to be soft and squishy, but a 42-inch waistline with 18-inch thighs is neither healthy nor attractive. If your waist measurement is greater than your hip measurement, it is a reason to be concerned, rolls or no rolls.

This visceral abdominal fat is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, type II diabetes and premature death.

So we have subcutaneous fat (SQ fat), easy to see, easy to measure and hard to ignore. We have intramuscular triglycerides (IMTG), the fat stored within the muscle, can look sexy, is hard to pinch and often mistaken for lean mass. Thirdly visceral fat that wraps around the organs making for a turtle belly often joked about but far from being a laughing matter due to its known relationship with heart disease.

One more place we find fat is in our blood. The liver makes fat and releases it into the blood as Triglycerides (TG). You may have seen it in the results from a blood test. It is important to know how much fat is in your blood as this may indicate a necessary nutritional adjustment. High triglycerides can show that you are eating too many carbs because an excess of carbohydrates will be turned into fat by the liver.

Triglycerides are the storage form of fat.  As the name suggests, TRI-GLYcerides are comprised of 3 fatty acids and 1 unit of glycerol.

Section 2.   BODY SHAPE & BODY TYPES

BODY SHAPE

Our body shape is dependant on our bone structure and on where our fat decides to take up residence. Fat patterning is firstly a matter of gender. Men hold more upper body fat, especially on their torso, back, waistline and chest. Women seem to have a wider range when it comes to body shape, from the very estrogenic body to the very androgenic body.

Estrogenic women, at one end of the spectrum, are usually shorter, bustier, have small waists and larger hips and thighs. On the other end of the spectrum is the more androgenic shape. These women are taller, have smaller busts and blockier waistlines with comparatively slim hips and thighs. The estrogenic women usually have rounder faces, whereas the androgenic women have squarer jaws. These are two opposite ends of the spectrum, and there lies everything in between. I have a much more androgenic, straight up and down physique (with rolls).

I can eat well and train hard, but I will never create the curves of Shakira or the Kardashian clan. Likewise, they could spend their fortunes and never have my boyish lines – although I doubt that would be a good business move for any of them.

Identify with your body shape and how you hold fat, own it and get over any hangups you might have.  Be the best version of yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. If you need someone to aspire to please pick someone who has the same body type and fat patterning as you.  You will be continually frustrated is you idolize a body type that is not your own.

BODY TYPES

There are three classic body types that apply to both men and women.

1.     ECTOMORPH
This is the person who seemingly can eat what they want and never gain weight.  They have a lighter frame and very few curves. A true ectomorph will have slightly pointy facial features, long fingers, and fine hair. Ironically they are often very active or hyper active people. Infuriatingly, with no noticeable weight issue, they tend to love exercise. It’s the skinny chick that runs 8 miles a day or that annoying guy in the office that is still full of life well after 5 pm.
Ectomorphs get very little sympathy when they complain about their weight, but in their defense when they do hold weight it is in their midsection.  Lift up their shirts, and they have a little pouch of fat that drives them mad.  When they try to lose weight they get even skinner, and that pouch stays put.
“Ectos” are hard gainers – it’s a real challenge for them to build muscle even though pound for pound they can be extremely strong.

2.    MESOMORPH
A “Meso” can build muscle quite quickly. but they can also gain fat. This is your American football player or almost any strength athlete. A true meso will get great results if their nutrition and training is on point. They have the advantage of being able to build muscle, which increases their metabolic rate and makes fat loss easier.
Meso’s can eat pizza and drink beer and get away with it for a little while, it will, however, catch up with them eventually.
If I had to identify myself with a body type, I would consider myself a Mesomorph.
Female Mesomorphs have an athletic build, fewer curves, with more of a boyish figure.

3.    ENDOMORPH
Endomorphs can build muscle but they can also carry a lot of body fat. A true “Endo” will have a rounder face, shorter pudgier fingers, and toes and they have beautiful skin that is less prone to wrinkles. Endo’s have a much tougher time losing weight, however it is not impossible. When they do lose the weight, they may appear to be closer to a Mesomorph but they have a lot less wiggle room and have to be diligent if they want to keep the weight off.

Although we have three body types, most people will fall somewhere between two of them. You may identify yourself as an “Ecto-Meso” or  “Meso-Endo.”  These classifications are useful when determining the most effective way to exercise and diet. By identifying with a body type, you can put your focus in the right place. If you are working with a personal trainer or nutritionist, it should be one of the first things they take into account.

The classifications should not be seen as limitations. We all know the Ectomorph/hard gainer that built a killer gym physique and we all know the Endomorph who dropped the weight revealing a whole new body shape and went on the inspire millions

Examples

A True Female Ectomorph in her 30s:
This lady needs to lift big weights.  She is never going to get “too big” and the muscle she does build will add shape to her small frame.  This lady does not need to follow a restrictive diet; her main concern will be the protein necessary to build muscle.
This lady will be conscious of her belly pouch, and a good nutritionist will show her how to time her higher carbohydrate meals around her workouts to allow her to maximise fat burning without sacrificing her muscle gains.

A True Male Endomorph in his 30s:
This guy is concerned about his weight. It would be a mistake to focus his workout time on lifting heavy weights because although he is carrying a fair amount of fat, he probably has a lot of muscle as well.
A good trainer will incorporate more circuit training, with resistance work at a much faster pace. Both moderate intensity and high-intensity training will be beneficial when combined with a restriction on carbohydrates. If carbohydrates are allowed, they will be eaten immediately after a workout (see the previous chapter regarding carbohydrate storage)

A True Mesomorph in their 40s, male or female:
These people have enjoyed a carefree time during their 20s and 30s. They worked out, got great results and if they gained a few pounds they could sharpen their diet and be back on track in no time.
These blessed individuals can get a wake-up call in their 40’s.
The athlete that is no longer competing gains weight and now its a challenge to get it off.  This is a person who has never had to work too hard on their body composition; just that identity shift can be a real obstacle for the former athlete.

Some Mesos in their 40s and 50s will find their inner athlete again and soar, while others don’t change their eating habits and with less activity, they slide into more of an Endomorph physique.

Former Mesomorphs cling to their identity of years gone by, posting photos 20 years old.  Its now that the tortoise beats the hare.  The ectomorphs and endomorphs that have been struggling all the while at long last sail past the failing meso proving hard work does pay off.

If you have spent your whole adult life working hard to gain or lose weight you are more equipped to stay in shape than the Mesomorph approaching middle age who suddenly finds they cant button their pants

A good personal trainer or nutritionist will recognize a (former) Mesomorph and will guide them accordingly. A more balanced nutrition plan with high-Intensity cardio and resistance training will usually be enough for them to shed the excess pounds.  The biggest obstacle here is a Mesomorph and the identity shift they have to come to terms with.

Consider the following:
How do you store your body fat? (subcutaneous, intramuscular and/or visceral)
Ladies, are you curvy or are you more straight up and down?
Ladies and Gentlemen, which body type do you identify with?

Section 3    OUR CHANGING BODY SHAPE

As you go through life, your body shape may change. Sex hormones decline, waistlines thicken and ladies as you get past menopause you might find that those thighs you hated actually slim down. We spoke earlier about the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and how it helps cells to store fat. When women go through menopause, LPL activity is reduced in the lower body and increased in the upper body, legs slim down while waistlines grow. We know this as “middle-age spread”. The same goes for men; as they age testosterone decreases and this hormonal shift increases LPL activity in the upper body and fat goes to the chest and waistline.

The hormonal changes during pregnancy promote fat distribution. LPL activity is increased in the lower body, and weight is gained in the butt, hips, and thighs.  Once the baby is born, LPL activity decreases in the lower body and increases in the breast tissue.

Another interesting observation is with yo-yo dieting; people who diet to lose weight only to regain it and repeat the cycle over and over.  This fluctuation in weight leads to an increase in upper body fat. I have seen this a great deal in the fitness industry.  Cute young girls with teeny waists do one competition diet after another and that waist starts to grow.  Within just a few years of competing, they are not wearing those bra tops in the offseason anymore.

Ladies with heavy triceps nearly always hold fat in their upper hamstring area.  Heavy arms usually mean heavy legs but there might be a tiny waist in between.

Hormones determine weight gain, weight loss, and body shape.

A young girl suffered burns to her lower arm and hand, doctors took skin grafts from her thighs to repair the damage. Thirty years later she had to have liposuction to remove fat from her forearm.  This is how powerful hormones are in governing fat distribution.

Fat is itself an organ and where hormones are stored and created. We have found at least 19 different hormones in fat! Too much body fat can create a diseased state and a great many health risks can be reduced by shedding excess weight. One example of this is estrogen.  There are 3 types of estrogen. One type of estrogen is found in fat and the more fat you have the more of this estrogen you have also. One form of breast cancer is linked to this estrogen.  When we have excess fat we may be increasing our risk of this cancer because of the increased estrogen.

Section 4    WHY FAT IS A GOOD THING?

Fat is future energy; excess nutrients stored in adipose tissue aka fat. We should grateful that we store our energy as fat because it doesn’t hold onto too much water.
Carbohydrates are also fuel, and they can be stored in our muscle as glycogen.  For every unit of glycogen, we hold onto 2 units of water. When we cut carbohydrates, we use up the glycogen.  When the glycogen unit is gone there is nothing to hold the water units.  Initially, on a low carb diet, this is the weight loss you see.

If we stored all of our energy as carbohydrates we would also hold a huge amount of water. A 165 lb person with 20% body fat would weigh over 240 lbs if that energy were stored as carbohydrates and not as fat.
Thankfully there is a limit to how many carbohydrates can be stored in muscle.

Coming us next Fat Formation, how we gain fat and YES Fat Breakdown  – the one way we can breakdown and stored bodyfat and change our body shape!

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11 Ways Sleep will Make you Slim and Gain Muscle

11 REASONS SLEEP WILL MAKE YOU SLIM AND GAIN MUSCLE

The Shrink Shop started as a weight loss consulting business.  The supplement line that followed was originally for my nutrition clients.  I would be suggesting the supplements they really needed but I wasn’t actually providing them with the products.  Buying supplements can be pretty daunting and by providing my clients with a basic line of high-quality supplements I could save them that anguish11

Wehn I started researching and formulating the line the very first product I started with was our Sleep Formula.  It maybe seemed like a strange choice for a weight loss business but it is the biggest obstacle I have seen when it comes to health and especially to weight loss.  I am now seeing article after article of sleep and why it is so important and I am going to pull on some of these articles for this blog post.

One of the greatest problems I see with sleep deprivation is the bravado that people attach to it.  They almost pride themselves on getting too little sleep.  Prideful of how busy they are or how in demand they are or the amount of self-sacrifice or importance they have that just doesnt allow for quality sleep hours.  I have been very guilty of that in the past, trying to take on every client that came my way.  From the 5am client to the Sunday 9pm client.  I worked 7 days a week for years and put everybody’s health before my own  (a total martyr because it was always a choice that made me feel more important and successful – what a load of $%@&!)

Sleep-Lose-Weight
Sleep to lose weight and build muscle

Clients would roll their eyes when I went into the importance of sleep, that was until they actually practiced it and pounds would drop off in a matter of days.  This did not apply to everyone because for every martyr, like myself, there was the person who really wanted to sleep but just couldn’t get to sleep or couldn’t stay asleep.  This plagues almost 70% of women and over 50% of men and it is an issue that gets worse as we age, partly because of hormonal shifts.

Simply taking some $6 melatonin works for some people but melatonin is not really a sleeping aid, it is a darkness simulator and this is not always the reason people cant sleep.  Glowing gadgets before going to bed absolutely affect our ability to sleep and melatonin will help in that regard but what about body aches, tension, a chattering mind that won’t shut up.  Not being able to sleep more than a few hours, robbing you of that powerful REM sleep.  What about stress, an over stimulated nervous system or hot flashes and declining hormones that keep your body awake?  Melatonin will not address these issues and that’s why I developed the Sleep Formula.

Too many people resort to prescription meds or downing NyQuil in their quest to sleep but now we are looking at dominance and building a tolerance to hardcore medication and we are dealing with that awful hangover which feels almost as bad as no sleep. It is a shame that we tend to trust prescription meds over herbs and naturally occurring substances that have proved successful for thousand of years.  I think maybe it is that white coat syndrome, where our faith lies in anyone that wears a white coat.

During WW2 the Nazis did some pretty gruesome experiments on people and one of the tests involved telling people to do something they knew was wrong.  In one case they had to turn a dial that would electrocute a person and cause them a lot of pain.  Individuals were instructed to turn a dial and watch as a  person in another room felt the pain of their decision.  There was huge resistance and people refused to act, that was until the person instructing the task put on a white coat.  The compliance skyrocketed when the person instructing the experiment wore a white coat.   A white coat to this day symbolizes authority, a person that knows more than us, a person we can trust.

I am not bashing our medical community here.  We want to trust someone with our decisions and we are more inclined to trust a doctor or a pharmaceutical company than we are to trust a herb we can’t pronounce, even if it has been used for hundreds of years with great results.

LACK OF SLEEP IS NOTHING TO BRAG ABOUT

Chronic sleep debt is associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and many other health complications.  If you are the person that is doing everything right but you still have that stubborn belly fa, this might be your answer.

Insufficient sleep downregulates leptin levels and upregulates ghrelin. A perfect storm for always being hungry, never feeling full and increasing your appetite.  If you dont get enough sleep or if you cant stay asleep then you may become less insulin sensitive (not a good thing) and may affect your ability to tolerate carbohydrates

(we often hear about insulin sensitivity, but it is rarely explained.  If your blood sugar becomes elevated – usually because of too many carbohydrates – then it triggers the over the release of insulin.  If your cells are sensitive to insulin you can clear the excess sugar from the blood and get back to normal asap.  If you are insulin resistance then cells don’t respond well to insulin and the sugar does not leave the blood as efficiently causing the pancreas to churn out more and more insulin aka pre-diabetes  You really really want to be insulin sensitive for many reasons)

Being tired will have you seeking “energy” foods (not usually a chicken breast or a handful of nuts) and being tired isnt the best motivator for that run or gym workout.  If you do make your workout you might be chugging that pre workout or energy shot and hey ho few hours later and you crash and be hungry and … tired OY

If you are trying to build muscle (especially at an age where it gets more difficult to add quality muscle) then you really need your sleep.  We only grow when we sleep!  Its why babies need so much sleep and why teenagers can sleep past noon.  If you’re not sleeping you will not build muscle – that simple.

Best-Sleep-Aid

SLEEP FORMULA

I am not against medication to make you sleep, I just strongly believe that the vast majority of people just don’t need it and here’s why …

Calcium – a natural relaxant that promotes a feeling of calm

B6 – normalizes our sleep/wake patterns and is required to make serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that controls mood, appetite, sensitivity to pain and … sleep.

Magnesium – relaxes physical tension and tight muscles.

Melatonin – a hormone released by the pineal gland in the brain.  The Pineal gland is inactive during daytime but is triggered into action by the darkness of night.  Once released melatonin enters the blood and you start to feel less alert and more ready for sleep.  Melatonin is found naturally in small doses in meats, grains, and vegetables.

The brain associates light with day and dark with night and melatonin rather than being a sleep supplement it is rather a darkness simulator.  For those who travel in different time zones melatonin can really help with their circadian cycle (light/dark pattern) although you don’t need to travel to have this problem.  Our smartphones, computers, televisions, even our alarm clocks are confusing our natural cycle and causing sleep problems, we are seeing this especially with the young.  In 2012 Time/Qualcomm polled 4700 people in 7 different countries (including the US) and found that young people were more likely to say that they “don’t sleep well because I am connected to technology all the time”

What’s the last thing you look at before sleep?

GABA (an amino acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that dampens nerve activity in the Central Nervous System leading to a feeling of calm and relaxation.

Valerian Root a popular herb for sleep actually increases GABA

Hops Flower is similar to Valerian in being a sedative and hypnotic herb.  Made from the female flower of the hops plant Hops Flower is a popular herb often used in combination with Valerian Root. Both are well tolerated and have been used for centuries.

Skullcap is a muscle relaxant and used for headaches, especially tension headaches.

Chamomile is used for nervous energy and mental anxiety

Passionflower a fabulous addition as it’s the herb that helps keep you asleep! Often used on its own for this one reason.

L Taurine also increases GABA and vegetarians are at risk for being deficient as it is found naturally in

Inositol a sugar found in citrus fruits (negligible calories) that activates pathways to stop your mind from racing.  Inositol quietens that mental chatter that seemingly gets louder when we try to sleep.  Inositol activates serotonin and promotes the calmness needed for sleep

You will recognize many of names here and like melatonin you can they all individually with good success.  I used to use passion flower nightly and loved it.  GABA back in the 90’s was  big in the bodybuilding community (it works so well, that all got a little out of hand for some) and Inositol in today’s fast-paced world is one of the most overlooked supplements to get your head to just shut up and sleep.

So please don’t compare our SLEEP FORMULA with a simple melatonin product.  The reason most people cant sleep goes way beyond our light/dark rhythms.

To answer the biggest question of all.  Because The Sleep Formula works with your own regulators to allow for quality sleep it will not leave you with the dreadful hangover of a prescription pill.

Sleep Formula is available on Amazon where it is doing really well!  What surprised me was how many guys are buying it.  Ladies as our hormones change our sleep gets hit first (I’m doing another blog post on exactly why)  70% of women over 40 report problems with sleep but I hadn’t appreciated how popular it would be with men.

http://www.theshrinkshopsleep.com

I would for you to purchase it on Amazon and if you love it PLEASE leave a review.  If you’re still not sure but you know you need some zzzzzz then just contact me through this blog with your name, email address and mailing address and I will be happy to send you a sample

Hope you enjoyed this blog post.  Until next time x

 

 

2017 Fascinating new study on belly fat later in life

2017 brings us a fascinating new study on belly fat in our later years.

Middle Aged Spread is one of our biggest frustrations. As we get older we gain weight around our mid section and it seems both exercise and diet resistant.

Yale University in Tennesse studied the communication between the nervous system and the immune system. They found a new cell that resides in fat cells and this cell gets inflamed with age. This inflammation is thought to damage the neurotransmitters and so affect communication with the fat cell.

The study also looked blocked the MAOA enzyme. This enzyme becomes more active with age and when blocked the researchers were able to normalize fat behavior in adult mice.

Looking to the future there may be a pharmaceutical answer to help with adult belly fat by manipulating this enzyme but I feel the bigger conversation is whether we can take control of inflammation and maybe reduce the damage done to the cells in fat so that they can respond normally and release fuel when fuel is needed.

This study may help with the frustration of middle-aged spread and give us som proactive ideas on what we can do today to help ourselves.

Definitely, top 3 in the biggest complaints I hear. In no particular order. Increasing waistlines, lack of energy & poor sleep. I will address energy and sleep in posts in the very near future.

The next blog post will continue to look at belly fat and how our declining hormones have an incredible impact on our waistlines

Look for The Shrink Shop on FB, IG YouTube and on Amazon. If you like this blog please share x

#1 Landmark study on the effects of dieting

This #1 landmark study on the effects of dieting dates back to 1944/45, a post-war period when much of the world had a limited food supply and many countries still had food rationing

In reading this, I think you might recognize yourself or the behaviors of others.  I must stress this was just ONE diet, imagine the effects of the chronic dieter or the figure/bikini/fitness/physique competitor.

THE MINNESOTA SEMI STARVATION STUDY

A brutal experiment was conducted, from 19 November 1944 to 20 December 1945, in which 36 men were “starved” for months and observed carefully throughout. The results of this experiment – which can never be repeated – speak volumes about our human behavior, our bodies and our relationship with food.

The men were all conscientious objectors who volunteered for the experiment which was carried out in Minnesota. (Even at the time, what became known as the Minnesota semi-starvation study was thought by many to be unethical.) The full results were only made public in 1950, it a two-volume tome consisting of 1,385 pages.

However, hard facts were well-known by 1946 when the US was already helping millions around the world recover from starvation. In essence, the results contradict all the baloney about diets that has been forced on an unsuspecting public during the decades since that global upheaval.

Although the Minnesota semi-starvation study was intended for a grand and meaningful purpose, it is instructive in today’s world, at least to anyone who has struggled not just with involuntary starvation but with the pressure to attain a certain physical look.

The Minnesota study was not about showing that starvation is bad for you – everyone, from the cavemen on, knew that – but about precisely how we relate to food, both mentally and physically. For anyone who has ever been on a diet or been around somebody on a diet I believe much of the following will hit home.

We all know that we cannot fully rely on studies, especially studies over 70 years old, yet this is that rarity; research which stands the test of time.

In the Minnesota study, run by Prof. Ancel Keyes, the 36 men of healthy mind and body spent the first three months eating normally, while their behavior, personality and eating patterns were noted in great detail. This was followed by six months during which the men were restricted to approximately half of their daily intake, which was about 1500 calories (a pretty conservative intake by today’s standards). During the six months, the men lost about 25% of their body weight.

This was followed by three months of revocation, during which various rehabilitative diets were tried to re-nourish the volunteers. A number of the volunteers continued to be studied for almost nine months following the six months of restrictions.

The men experienced dramatic changes which, in many cases, lasted well into the rehabilitation phase. (When contemplating this, it might be instructive to consider your own behavior and the behavior of others while on a diet, bearing in mind that these were healthy men without a history of restriction. We can shudder while thinking of the cumulative effects on those who do one diet after another)

There was a dramatic increase in the men’s interest in food. They thought about food continually and dreamt about food. They talked non-stop about food. They read about food. They collected cookbooks and stared at photographs of food. This increased interest correlated with a decline in the interest in all other activities and aspects of life.

The men toyed with the food they smuggled out of the dining room to eat alone when, in long, drawn-out rituals, they would make meals last two hours; these were meals that should have taken minutes. They studied food production processes, and they researched menus. They grew interested in nutrition and even in agriculture. They gained pleasure from watching other people eat, and some of the men began collecting food paraphernalia like kitchen utensils and plates. They started by hoarding these items, and then they just began hoarding in general; this included purchases that were completely meaningless.  Following the study, this behavior totally puzzled the men involved/

When asked about what they would do after the experiment 40% of the men said that cooking was one of their future plans. Interestingly, after the study, a few of the men did indeed become chefs or went on to work in agriculture.

They started to drink a lot of coffee and tea, which got out of hand and had to be limited to nine cups a day. Chewing gum also got out of hand, with one man chewing through 40 packs of gum a day.

Not surprisingly, all of the men experienced hunger. Some did okay with this, and yet some experienced a total loss of control. Many of the men binged.  One man working in a grocery store completely lost it and binged on cookies and popcorn, and developed severe self-loathing. Another man had to leave the study as he would eat an enormous amount of food, become sick, go back to eating an enormous amount of food, become sick and just go through the cycle endlessly.

Most of the men could not control their appetite. During the three months of rehabilitation, many basically ate continuously. Even after the three months of refeeding some men still felt hungry after a meal. The refeeding phase was not paltry; it was not uncommon for the men to be eating 8 to 10,000 calories a day.

What is clear from all this is the regulatory systems – which have since been more fully discovered and defined – that govern hunger and fullness, were obviously thrown into disarray by the six months of restriction. Steady eating habits keep the body and mind happy. Punishing diets are just maddening, albeit less maddening if they are less punishing; but the regulatory systems are still going doolally to some extent.

Men would eat until they were bursting. Some had to separate themselves from food altogether as they felt they had no control whatsoever. Those who had happily eaten three meals a day now ate six. And some ate until they could no longer swallow.

It took more than eight months after the refeeding phase of the study for most of the men to return to normal eating patterns. Remember: the 36 men were selected because they were both physically and psychologically healthy.

Most experienced great emotional distress during the study. At least 20% of the men suffered such emotional distress that they were not able to function properly. Many suffered extreme depression, some experienced extreme mood swings with extreme highs and extreme lows. Symptoms include irritability, anger, negativity, argumentativeness, nail-biting, smoking and neglect when it came to personal hygiene.

After two weeks of refeeding, this is one man’s report: “I have been more depressed than ever in my life…. I thought that there was only one thing that would pull me out of the doldrums, that is re¬lease from C.P.S. [the experiment] I decided to get rid of some fingers. Ten days ago, I jacked up my car and let the car fall on these fingers…. It was premeditated.”

This man did indeed cut off three of his fingers. Another man suffered such extreme personality disturbances that he had to leave the study in week ten. And he had only lost ten pounds of his original body weight.

The men became withdrawn and isolated. They lost their sense of humor. They lost the sense of friendship with each other and felt increasingly inadequate. They became less interested in women and those with relationships found them very strained. One man reported it was just too much trouble to see his girlfriend. And if they went to see a show the most interesting part for him was always when there were scenes of people eating.

The men’s interest in sex plummeted, with one man stating he had ”no more sexual feeling than a sick oyster”. You might think that this interest would be the first to return after the experiment, yet even after three months, the men judged themselves to be far from normal in this area.

The men reported difficulty in concentrating, in alertness and comprehension. They experienced intestinal discomfort, less need for sleep, headaches, and sensitivity to noise and light. They reported the loss of physical strength as well as bloating and water retention, hair loss, vision problems and intolerance to cold temperatures.

BMR stands for basal metabolic rate, and this is the amount of energy calories the body needs at rest. We want our BMR to be high as this means we are using a lot of energy. In the Minnesota semi-starvation study, the men’s BMR’s dropped by about 40%, showing their bodies had adapted to the restricted calories. Interestingly during the refeeding phase, those men who gradually increased their calorific intake had no BMR increase for three weeks, whereas those men who ate large amounts of food asap increased their metabolic rate.

I am sure that some readers can relate very personally to (hopefully much less extreme!) versions of what these men experienced. Having spent 13 years of my life competing, and dieting for maybe half of that time, I can certainly relate to it. As I scroll through social media how many times do I see a photograph of somebody’s meal? As a trainer, how many clients have brought me food that they would never eat themselves? As we restrict our food, our fascination with it increases and becomes obsessional.

I watch fitness competitors isolate themselves before an upcoming show, unable to deal with anything other than meal prep and the next workout. I see many of them desperately unhappy; I see how they became intolerant to certain foods and used the word “bloat” many times in every conversation.

Post diet, many suffer a huge rebound in weight which does not help with their depressed state. The real sadness is that this is expected and accepted, and before the body has even had the chance to recover they embark on the next diet.

The Minnesota semi-starvation study was 36 healthy men without a history of food restriction. It is a study that is very unlikely ever to be repeated. We can only surmise about what occurs with years or decades of repeated diets.

The body and the mind have an incredible capacity to adapt to energy deprivation, and when we lose weight the body doesn’t automatically stay at this low weight. Regulatory systems have a bias for weight gain and, as the study shows, the mind and body work against rapid weight loss.

To conclude the men’s journey: following the experiment, the men regained the weight they had lost plus, on average, another 10%. Over the following six months they slowly returned to their original body weight.

Watch this video where I discuss this #1 landmark study on the effect of dieting.

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Bacteria is your best friend (so put down the Purel)

We share our bodies with over 100 trillion organisms, in their entirety, they are referred to as our “Microbiome”    These organisms are different types of bacteria that help us perform different functions in the body, functions that we could not live without.

Most people are aware that we as humans are made up of cells and keeping our cells healthy is important so that we age well as stay free of disease.  However, only 10% of our cells are actually human cells (ones we are born with)  90% of our cells are these organisms/bacteria and we were not born with them.

Our first exposure to these organisms is in the birth canal when the baby, right before birth is exposed to the bacteria that digests breast milk.  Babies born of C Section often suffer skin issues and allergies and it is now thought that it is because they were not exposed to the bacteria in the birth canal.  Family, dietary, and environmental exposure cultivate our microbiome which will play a fundamental role in determining our health during our lifetime.

In fact, every time you kiss someone, every time you pet an animal, each time you eat a meal or apply a cosmetic, you are affecting the composition of your microbiome.  Basically, we collect bacteria as we go through life and that bacteria comprises of 90% of our cells.  Our acts and interactions in life directly affect the balance of the bacteria in our bodies.

These clusters of bacteria live all over our body (not just the gut) They live in the skin, mouth, eyes, genitals and of course the gut/intestines.

Some of these bacteria are simply along for a free ride, while others are beneficial and do great things.  Always lurking are the pathogens, the disease-causing bacteria.  Much smaller in number they are thought of as the bad bacteria but they so have a good side and what is important is keeping the correct balance.

H Pyloric was thought of as a bad bacteria and antibiotics tend to kill it cold.  However, this bacteria that was linked to ulcers also governs metabolism, hunger, and appetite.  Many people exposed to antibiotics go on to suffer weight gain and out of control eating behaviors.

We are truly dependent on the Microbiome, the non-human cells that exist within us.  We have entered a new era of health awareness as it has only been in the last decade that the microbiome has been more aggressively studied.

SO WHY SHOULD I CARE?

The bacteria inside you govern your immune system, your energy, metabolism, and mood.  The bacteria is responsible for how many nutrients you absorb from your food, how hungry you are, how big your appetite is and how much fat you store (did that get your attention?!)

If you do not have the bacteria to digest your food, nutrients are not absorbed and you are exhausted, cells are not fed so you are hungry and nutrients not used are stored as fat.

95% of serotonin is in the gut so if your gut bacteria is out of whack you may suffer from anxiety, moodiness or even severe depression

OUR BEST INTENTIONS

Antibiotics and our obsession with sterilizing everything have led to a rise in gut-related illnesses.  Antibiotics given to children can cause problems later in their lives.  People given intense courses of antibiotics because of sickness can end up with a different host of problems that they are left to deal with alone.  Depression, weight gain, and rapid aging may seem somewhat expected after a severe illness, only now are we realizing that the destroyed environment of the gut and the imbalance caused to the intestinal bacteria is more likely the cause.

Research has uncovered an intricate web connecting our gut flora to virtually every process in our body. As such, imbalances in our microbial communities have been implicated in countless health issues, including immune health, psychological well-being, and some of the deepest chronic health issues of our times.

In fact, research surrounding one such connection, coined the gut-brain axis, has the potential to revolutionize the way psychologists worldwide support the mental and emotional well-being.  Trading gut bacteria may become the new technique to treat infection and even obesity.

What you eat, where you are, what you touch and what you are exposed to (think environmental hazards) are dictating your health, mood, and longevity.  We spend endless hours worrying about the genes we were born with and the demise of our relatives.  Now is the time to consider the other 90% of who we are and thankfully that part we have control over.  On a positive note, the life of a microbe is only 20 minutes, this short lifespan gives us the ability to heal ourselves within weeks it also highlights how quickly the balance can be shifted from good to bad.

Symptoms of imbalance within your microbiome

  • abdominal pain
  • aging too rapidly
  • anal itching
  • allergies
  • anxiety
  • arthritis
  • bloating and gas
  • brain fog
  • constipation
  • depressed mood
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty focusing
  • fatigue
  • feeling too full, like food is not leaving your stomach
  • hair loss or lifeless hair
  • headaches
  • Infections
  • joint pain
  • lightheadedness
  • low energy
  • memory problems
  • muscle pain and tingling of hands and feet
  • nausea
  • poor skin color

To purchase our extremely effective probiotic, simply click on the photograph above