The Art of Manliness – Layne Norton, PhD on How to Lose Weight, and Keep It Off Forever

Check out The Art of Manliness Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • It’s actually really easy to lose weight, but the problem most people have, is keeping it off 
    • Only ~5% of people are able to keep the weight they lost, off
  • This is because…
    • The body treats dieting like controlled starvation
    • When you lose weight, your metabolic rate drops, you’re hungrier, and your leptin levels (the satiety hormone) plummet
      • In a sense, this is how the body drives you back towards energy balance (so calories in = calories out) to protect you (your body doesn’t want to deviate too far from it’s set point weight)
    • On a evolutionary level – if you starve, you won’t be able to reproduce, so the body fights back
    • For this reason – “The best diet is the one you can stick to and see yourself doing for life”
  • On a related note – “Whatever behaviors you had to incorporate in order to lose the weight, you will need to incorporate those same behaviors to keep the weight off”
  • “Any diet can work, as long as it creates a calorie deficit”
  • One of the most common behaviors of people who lose weight and keep it off – they exercise
    • Why does exercise help? 
      • It sensitizes you to satiety signals
      • It increases fat oxidation in fat cells (aka fat metbaolism turnover) – this helps limit fat regain
  • Layne recommends taking periodic breaks from weight loss/dieting, and just eating at maintenance
    • This maintenance phase helps you maintain your metabolic rate just a tad better

Intro

What makes a good scientist?

  • The hunger to learn
  • The ability to be inherently skeptical
    • “You don’t just accept things at face value”
    • “You question even the things that we hold to be true”

Be Very Careful About Drawing Opinions From Internet Articles

  • Very often, health writers just need to get clicks
  • Layne and Brett recall an article that mentioned a study, which concluded how coffee was found to be “bad” for you
    • But what probably happened – A component in coffee, when fed to rats at a SUPER high dose, was found to cause carcinogenic effects
  • Layne recalls quite a few articles which stated – Smelling Your Partner’s Farts Can Help reduce the Risk of Disease
    • Well…this article was based on a study which gave rats a high dose of isolated short chain volatile fatty acids (this is a small part of what you’d smell from a fart) – they then saw an effect on cancer rates
      • BUT – this is far from the same thing as smelling your partner’s farts

Fat Loss Forever

  • This is one of Layne’s ebooks
  • It’s actually really easy to lose weight, but the problem most people have, is keeping it off – Why?
    • Everyone has a set point weight, where their body fluctuates around
    • When you lose weight:
      • You get hungrier
      • Your metabolic rate slows down
      • Your leptin (the satiety hormone) levels drop (meaning you’re more likely to overeat) 
        • As background – When you get full, leptin levels rise to tell you to stop eating
      • You actually move less – mainly less little “fidgets” – but this adds up to several hundreds of calories less per day that you’re expending
    • All the above starts working to drive you back towards energy balance (so calories in = calories out) to protect you (your body doesn’t want to deviate too far from its set point weight)
    • Think about it evolutionarily:
      • The goal of your existence, in terms of evolution, is to survive long enough so you can reproduce/pass on your genes
      • But if you starve, you won’t be able to survive/reproduce
        • It hasn’t been all that long on a evolutionary scale since people were starving to death
      • And if you get too heavy, in theory, you wouldn’t be able to escape a predator very well
        • But over the last several thousand years, the risk of predation has obviously dropped to pretty much 0
      • Because of all this…
        • Your body has much more tightly regulated controls on you losing weight than it does on you gaining weight
    • To add to the above – we live in a very obesogenic environment
      • We have free access to extremely hyper-palatable high calorie foods, and we don’t move as much we used to
    • “The body treats dieting like controlled starvation”
      • As mentioned – your metabolic rate drops, your hunger goes up etc.

Another Big Problem with Dieting

  • “Another problem is that people look at dieting and weight loss as something with a set start and end date”
    • Many people lose their goal weight, and then go right back to doing the same stuff they were doing before they lost the 20 or so pounds
      • “What do you think is going to happen when you do this?”
    • “Whatever behaviors you had to incorporate in order to lose the weight, you will need to incorporate those same behaviors to keep the weight off”

The Type of Diet Doesn’t Matter

  • “Any diet will work” – Low carb, intermittent fasting, the ketogenic diet, whatever
    • “Anything that allows you to create a calorie deficit will work”
      • Even a super high carb, super low fat, low protein diet will do- AS LONG AS YOU ARE EATING AT A CALORIE DEFICIT 
  • “95-99% of the health benefits of dieting are strictly due to weight loss, and have nothing to do with the type of diet you’re on”
    • So it’s not so much the food you’re eating that causes the health benefits associated with weight loss….the health benefits (improved blood markers etc.) are more so a side effect of the weight loss itself
  • “The best diet is the one you can stick to and see yourself doing for life”
  • Layne brings up a mind blowing stat – ONLY 5% OF PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO KEEP THE WEIGHT THEY LOST, OFF

Let’s Sum Up

  • It’s hard to keep off body fat that you’ve lost, because your body is essentially saying, “We’re now in starvation mode, and I don’t want you to lose any more body fat. In fact, we should probably gain some of it back, because we’ll need that to keep us alive, in case an episode of starvation happens again.”
    • Think of your fat stores, as your energy reserve

Body Fat Over Shooting

  • This is the term for gaining the weight that you’ve lost back, and then some on top
  • This happens a lot in people who “yo-yo diet” or “weight cycle”
  • Layne recalls a study on rats which showed that:
    • Rats who lost a certain amount of weight, regained that weight in half the time it took for them to lose it (when allowed to eat freely)
    • When dieting down again to the lowest weight they previously achieved, they lost weight twice as slow
    • And when allowed to eat freely again…they then regained it 3x as fast as the first time (the first bullet)
    • “Every time they went through one of these cycles, their metabolism got slower, and they got more efficient at putting on body fat”

The Body’s Self-Defense System

  • Every time you diet, you activate your body’s self-defense system
    • This self-defense system exists, to keep you from starving yourself
  • Layne calls it a “3 prong attack”
    • When you start dieting, your metabolic rate slows (aka metabolic adaptation)
    • While you’re dieting, your body is already ramping up systems, that will increase your ability to store body fat
      • Think from an evolutionary perspective – if you had gone through a long famine, and finally found food, you’d want to gorge/binge, and be able to store as much as possible food energy as possible
    • There’s evidence that in people who diet, if they didn’t regain the weight, they’re able to manufacture new fat cells 
      • Normally when you lose or gain weight, your fat cells just shrink (when you lose weight), or expand (when you gain weight)
      • But you can eat passed this – there’s a maximum size of most fat cells (aka adipocytes), which is about 100 micrometers in diameter
        • Once adipocytes get bigger than this, pre-adipocytes start to form off the adipocytes, which can differentiate into fully formed fat cells if your body needs them
      • But…
        • Even if you don’t approach that maximum fat cell size, if you’ve been dieting, and then start over eating, it’s been found in rats that fat cell count can increase by 50%
        • Why does this matter? – Now that you have newer fat cells, the size of each individual fat cell is on average, smaller, so in theory, your body would still be “sensing” a calorie deficit, even if you’ve gotten back to your original body weight/fat %

Why do most diets, no matter what type, work?

  • They just allow you to eat fewer calories…so you lose weight
    • There’s been people who lose weight eating only Chipotle
    • “Any diet can work, as long as it creates a calorie deficit”
    • Again – what matters is you find a diet you can stick to

What are the common behaviors of people who lose weight and keep it off?

  • They exercise
    • Why does it help? 
      • It sensitizes you to satiety signals
        • When you don’t exercise, you have much lower sensitivity to the satiety signals in your brain – This makes it easy for you to over eat
      • It increases fat oxidation in fat cells (aka fat metbaolism turnover) 
        • This helps limit fat regain
  • They stick to a diet
  • They don’t snack
  • They weigh themselves daily
  • They track what they eat, and are likely to have some form of eating restraint (not eating carbs, staying in ketoisis, time-restricted eating, etc.)
    • “You’re going to have to do some sort of restriction if you want to lose weight and keep it off”

Stalls Are Inevitable During Weight Loss

  • Eventually, you’ll have to reduce your calorie count even further in order to keep losing weight
    • Why? – Your body has returned to an energy balance – your previous calorie deficit, is no longer a deficit 

A Cool Weight Loss Trick

  • Layne recommends taking periodic breaks from weight loss/dieting
  • An example:
    • If you have 100 lbs. to lose, first lose 20, and then give yourself a month just eating at maintenance
  • Why do this?
    • It’s a good mental break
    • The maintenance phase helps you maintain your metabolic rate just a tad better (it prevents your metabolic rate from slowing too much – this hinders weight loss)
  • Layne sometimes has his clients diet for 2-3 weeks, and then take a 1 week break

These notes were edited by RoRoPa Editing Services

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