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Everything You Know About Weight Loss is Wrong

Everything You Know About Weight Loss is Wrong

    Over the weekend, I watched “Fathead”, a documentary produced in reaction to Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me”. This documentary completely challenged everything I knew about weight loss and heart disease, and was also incredibly informative and entertaining.

    Tom Naughton, a stand-up comedian and computer programmer, set out to prove Morgan Spurlock wrong. Fast food can be part of a healthy diet. Tom decided that he’d eat fast food three times a day for a month, just like Spurlock…but he’d LOSE weight, not gain it.

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    According to the “Fathead” official site, the creators describe the film as a “delicious parody of Super Size Me…Naughton serves up plenty of no-bologna facts that will stun most viewers, such as: The obesity “epidemic” has been wildly exaggerated by the CDC. People the government classifies as “overweight” have longer lifespans than people classified as “normal weight.” Having low cholesterol is unhealthy. Lowfat diets can lead to depression and type II diabetes. Saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease — but sugars, starches and processed vegetable oils do.”

    Naughton’s plan was simple: maintain a caloric intake of 2000 calories per day while eating only fast food (and a couple of “Carb Options” snack bars.) But you can’t just cut calories to lose weight. You need to be eating the correct types of food, and in the correct ratio. And you also need to take into account your hormones, particularly insulin. When insulin levels are up, you are more likely to store calories from food as fat, rather than burning them. And what increases insulin levels? The consumption of sugars and carbohydrates. So Naughton decided that he’d limit both calories and carbs, ingesting 100 grams of carbohydrates per day.

    While Morgan Spurlock gained 25 pounds in his 30 day fast food diet, Tom Naughton lost 12 pounds in just 28 days. His BMI dropped from 31.2 to 28.2, and cholesterol also improved. And that number is even more impressive when you hear what percentage of his calories came from saturated fats: a whopping 54%.

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    But saturated fats aren’t as bad as we’ve been conditioned to believe. Mother nature isn’t stupid. We prefer fatty foods because our bodies crave these foods, because we evolved to eat animal fats over millions of years. The diets of our ancestors were mostly meat-based, with a few fruits and veggies, and very few carbs…and they didn’t have a lot of heart disease. It wasn’t until the advent of agriculture that wheat and grains became a big part of our diet, and it wasn’t until several decades ago (when we started eating processed vegetable oils) that heart disease rates increased.

    According to the lipid hypothesis, “Saturated fat raises cholesterol, and cholesterol causes heart disease.” But this hypothesis was based on skewed, outdated research. According to the doctors interviewed for “Fathead”, the lipid hypothesis is “bogus”. No medical studies have proved that a high-fat diet causes heart disease. In fact, several major medical studies have proved that high-fat diets have no link to heart attack rates.

    Eating a diet rich in saturated fats has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in your blood. And it isn’t cholesterol that causes clogs in your heart valves. Inflammation does. Cholesterol can build up on these inflamed parts of the heart as part of the healing process, but the root of heart disease is inflammation. And if you want to increase your HDL (good cholesterol), you need to eat more saturated fats. Bad cholesterol (small LDL) levels are increased by eating sugars and carbs.

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    Stress, elevated insulin levels, and smoking all cause heart disease. They also cause elevated levels of cholesterol, which is why people thought for so long that cholesterol caused heart disease, when really it is just a SYMPTOM of heart disease.

    Processed vegetable oils and transfats are rich in Omega-6 fatty acids. And while your body needs a little of these fatty acids, too many cause stiffening of cell membranes and inflammation. You’re better off eating fries cooked in beef tallow or duck fat than fries cooked in vegetable oils.

    So, in summation, here are Tom’s tips for losing weight and making your heart healthier:

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    1. Limit your calories to what is appropriate for your size and activity level.
    2. Only eat natural fats, not transfats or processed vegetable oils (cook food in butter or coconut oil)
    3. Limit your carb intake to 100 grams per day (not the 300 grams per day suggested by the FDA)
    4. Get about 50% of your calories from saturated fats
    5. Avoid foods with a high glycemic index (note that most unsweetened cereals still have a glycemic index rating that is higher than granulated sugar)

    Follow these tips, and you’ll likely see the same success as Tom did.

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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

    Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

    One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

    When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

    So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

    Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

    This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

    Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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    When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

    Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

    One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

    Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

    An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

    When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

    Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

    Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

    We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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    By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

    Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

    While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

    I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

    You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

    Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

    When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

    Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

    Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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    Con #2: Less Human Interaction

    One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

    Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

    Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

    This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

    While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

    Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

    Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

    This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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    For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

    Con #4: Unique Distractions

    Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

    For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

    To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

    Final Thoughts

    Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

    We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

    More About Working From Home

    Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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