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Renowned fitness expert and New York Times bestselling author Yuri Elkaim provides the key to continuous fat burning with his unique 5-Day Food-Cycling Formula, which resets your metabolism to lose up to 5 pounds a week.
Elkaim reveals rarely discussed “fat triggers” and an easy, innovative way to double your weight loss in 3 weeks. Based on a powerhouse blend of nutritional expertise, fitness experience, and cutting-edge research, his 4-part approach features the strategic cycling of calories and carbohydrates; a “clean and lean” food plan that reduces fat triggers in your body; a unique way to exercise smarter, not harder; and the method to improve your body’s ability to repair and avoid burnout. The book also includes encouraging testimonials and remarkable photos of people who have successfully accelerated their metabolisms for life. This proven program will reset your body to your desired factory settings and supercharge your metabolism to burn fat on autopilot—no matter what your age, fitness level, or health status.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
IS YOUR BODY STOPPING YOU FROM LOSING WEIGHT?
I'd like you to do something for me: Dust off an old photo album that contains those treasured photos of your parents when they were young. Flip through those pages, paying particular attention to any photos of large family gatherings. Notice anything? (Aside from the retro fashions, that is.) If you can't get your hands on an old family album, just do a Google search for group photos from the 1960s or even earlier. Anything jump out at you?
If you look around today, whether while walking down the street or watching one of the many reality shows on TV, I guarantee that you'll see a much different picture. If you take public transit or live in a big city, you have plenty of opportunities to spot what I'm talking about: Most people nowadays are so much heavier than people were 50 years ago! They are easily 20 to 30 £ds heavier, on average. It's not an exaggeration, no matter how much I wish it was. The proof is literally frozen in time for everyone to see.
Faded photographs aside, figures back up this observation. In the 1960s, the average American man between the ages of 40 and 45 weighed 169 £ds. By the year 2000, that average weight was 196 £ds!1 According to 2012 stats from the Journal of the American Medical Association, 16.9 percent of 2- to 19-year-olds and 34.9 percent of the 78.6 million American adults who were 20 years or older were obese.2 What's scary is that those numbers didn't even include another 35 percent or so of adults who didn't qualify as obese but were still overweight and also at risk of weight-related problems like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. And this isn't just happening in North America, either.
On a recent trip to Barbados, I decided to take a tour of the island. (It took a whopping 2 hours, as it's less than half the size of New York City.) During the excursion, the tour guide mentioned that even though this tiny Caribbean island was sheltered from the weight-gain epidemic for most of its existence, everything changed about 20 years ago. He revealed weight- gain numbers almost identical to the ones I mentioned above. What's going on? What changed? What's happening in our modern world that's making people around the globe--even on distant islands--so much heavier?
YOU'VE BEEN LIED TO
For years, you've been told that losing weight is simply a matter of moving more and eating less. It's a simple formula that everyone can recite, with the net difference between calories consumed and calories burned being the name of the game. As such, if you've had trouble losing weight--as so many of us have--the thinking is that you simply need to work harder and be more disciplined. If despite your best efforts you still weren't able to lose weight, the judgment is typically that you lack willpower--you're lazy! Sadly, amid the stares of disapproval and humiliating, unasked-for opinions about your weight, you're probably judging yourself more than anyone else is. It's all your fault.
I'm here to tell you that's nonsense.
On a very basic level, calories do matter, but they pale in comparison to what your body is dealing with every second of every day without you even realizing it. As you go about your daily life, little do you know that underlying, invisible forces are likely stopping you from losing weight, holding you back, and making you miserable. Invisible forces? What are these invisible forces?
These nefarious, unseen forces are anything that puts your body out of balance, a precious state of optimal function known as homeostasis. These culprits are things we regularly contend with without giving them much thought: toxins, chronic stress, sugar (specifically, fructose) overload, and insufficient and/or poor-quality sleep.
Combine these culprits with misinformation about how and what we should eat- -given to us by medical authorities who really should know better--and it becomes all too confusing. These factors create a lethal cocktail that affects every cell, organ, gland, and major system in your body. With their unrelenting presence wearing you down day after weary day, they eventually lead to increased inflammation, disrupted hormone levels, and a toxic overload in your cells and organs. All of this causes you to store fat. This dangerous tango with homeostasis is not to be taken lightly. Your body perceives any chronic influence that affects this ideal state as nothing less than a threat to your survival. When that happens, your body gradually shifts from thriving mode to surviving mode.
Unfortunately, these health disruptors are part and parcel of a modern life that our bodies were not designed to deal with. No matter how fast the world around us speeds up, we're still tackling it with the same factory- installed settings we inherited from our ancient ancestors. For example, life might be a lot more manageable if we could go for weeks without sleeping, but we haven't evolved that capability. Epigenetics, the science of how our environment and genes interact, is starting to reveal that the world we've built has been taking a toll on us at a genetic level that makes our weight and health problems even worse. Under the pressure and strain of modern living, we experience two key, undesirable side effects.
FAT STORAGE INCREASES. Since your body is under constant threat, your adrenal glands pump out cortisol, which flicks the switch to store more fat. Our biology is such that fat storage is an energy preservation mechanism in times of prolonged stress.
SEX DRIVE PLUMMETS. Since survival is the highest priority, reproduction takes a seat on the bench. If your body is constantly stressed, its main objective is to ensure your immediate survival, not that of your future offspring. And since increasing cortisol literally shuts off testosterone, it becomes more difficult to burn fat and maintain lean muscle.
In the terrific book The Adrenal Reset Diet by my close friend--and possibly the smartest man on the planet--Alan Christianson, NMD, there's a clear outline of the link between chronic stressors and fat storage. Note that "stress" is much more than just worrying about stuff. It's toxic overload, low blood sugar levels, excessive exercise, poor sleep, and pretty much anything else that offsets your body's desired state of balance (homeostasis), thus triggering its survival mode.
Dr. Christianson explains that our adrenal hormones control a switch that sends calories to our belly fat or to our muscles. When this switch is set to "fat storage," calories are sent to your fat cells. When the switch is set to "energy creation," these calories are sent to your muscles to be used as fuel. What makes this switch flip either way? When we perceive danger or any kind of threat to our well-being, even if it's simply a stern lecture from a boss or a lover, our "fight-or-flight" response kicks in immediately to help us fight or run away. Thus, our muscles require large amounts of quick energy to perform either task.
But during this acute bout of stress or danger, our muscles cannot burn and store energy at the same time, so calories are diverted to our visceral fat (the fat around our vital organs--belly fat) to be stored. Normally, animals--including us--can control their body weights quite effectively within a certain range. In response to stress, the adrenal glands release cortisol into the bloodstream, and how that cortisol acts depends on whether we're in surviving or thriving mode. When we're chronically stressed (survival mode), the cortisol causes us to slow down and store fat. When we are thriving, we eat in response to hunger, can use this food for energy, and maintain a healthy weight.
Short-term stress does not create weight gain until there is a disruption in this adrenal rhythm. Recall that since the beginning of the human species, our bodies have learned that bad things don't happen during times of plenty, only during famine or imminent danger. To survive and propagate the species, we simply stored fat. If we couldn't, we would have perished.
WHAT'S HALTING YOUR FAT LOSS
Don't be surprised if this discussion is already setting off some alarm bells for you. Chronic stress, which puts your body into survival mode, is probably a big reason why you're dealing with unexplained weight problems. When was the last time you were without a care in the world?
Now, let's dig a little deeper and uncover some of the fat triggers that make matters worse. In the next chapter, we'll look at the six primary hormones and bodily functions that these fat triggers disrupt, making weight gain and fat storage almost unavoidable. But the good news is that when we address each of the fat triggers I'm about to discuss, the six big problems begin to resolve. To have better fruit, you must start at the root. That's what we're doing here.
Please note that I haven't included stress in this list because, in reality, chronic stress is the result of these issues. As you neutralize them by following the 5-Day Food-Cycling Formula outlined in this book, your body will switch from its stressed-out, fat-storing survival mode to thriving mode and you will become a healthier, leaner, fat-burning machine. Sound good?
FAT TRIGGER #1:
Allergenic Foods That Cause Inflammation
Have you ever been told to avoid eating gluten or dairy products? That's certainly a recommendation I've made for years to my clients and online audience. The reason is that these foods trigger inflammatory responses in your body that make losing weight and enjoying good health almost impossible. Not everyone is sensitive to them and not everyone will respond in exactly the same fashion, but I have yet to work with a human being on this planet whose health and waistline have not improved as a result of avoiding (or at least minimizing) these allergenic foods.
Let's look at each one more closely to see how it causes your body to hold on to fat.
You've certainly heard a great deal of terrible things about gluten in recent years. It's become the villain of the day with the alternative health crowd, and the witch hunt for the stuff has even made it into the mainstream. There seems to be a gluten-free option for everything these days. So, two questions you might naturally have are, What is it exactly, and is it really that bad for you?
To answer the first question, gluten is a protein composite (gliadin and glutenin) found in wheat, barley, and rye. It gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape, and often gives the final baked product a chewy texture. It's kind of like glue, hence the name. As for the second question, the answer is simple: Yes, it's really that bad for you.
There's a good reason why gluten-free products have become perhaps the hottest trend in food right now: Wheat products are some of the greatest contributors to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression, and so many other health problems. Who knew all of these problems could be caused by something as simple as a diet consisting of bread, cereal, and pasta? Having had those foods as the staple of my diet for nearly 20 years, I can attest to the sneaky health-robbing powers they possess. My personal beef with gluten is based on years' worth of research as well as my own personal suffering; since wheat consumption has been shown to cause celiac-like inflammation of the skin and hair follicles,3 it's no surprise that it was one of the major factors in my developing alopecia.
I know it's hard to believe that wheat could wreak so much havoc on your health, especially when it's touted as such an important staple of a healthy diet. However, you have to bear in mind that this is not the same wheat that your grandparents were eating. What you eat today is drastically modified "Frankenwheat."
For this, you can "thank" Norman Borlaug--often referred to as "the Man Who Saved a Billion Lives."4 Borlaug was perhaps the most noted agronomist of the 20th century, and his effort in the 1960s to increase the global yield of wheat through hybridization techniques was born of noble intentions: His goal was to feed the drastically increasing numbers of starving people in the developing world. The resulting semidwarf, high-yield, disease- resistant wheat strain fulfilled his mission and won him a Nobel Prize, but his invention has inadvertently made millions of people sick and fat. Modifications have continued over the past 50 years, using techniques that include hybridization and chemical, gamma-ray, and x-ray mutagenesis. The latter has been used to develop a new "superstrain" of wheat, called Clearfield, that is herbicide resistant. These modern, mutant strains of wheat are a far cry from the wheat spoken of in any holy book.
You would think that the litany of studies showing the health issues related to these modern wheat strains would spur a return to older varieties, but this hasn't been the case. A big part of the problem is that massive money and power support big grain lobby groups like the Grain Foods Foundation and the Whole Grains Council. For decades, these groups have brainwashed us into believing that whole grains should be an essential part of our diets and that the fiber in their breads and cereals is good for lowering our cholesterol and improving other health markers.
There's a theme here that comes up time and time again when digging into the dirty laundry of the modern diet: When we start playing around with Mother Nature, we end up with far less predictable and less controllable outcomes. It's kind of like Jurassic Park.
As of 2014, the average American consumed about 179 £ds of wheat every year.5 That's the weight of an entire person! Let's now look at how this engineered wheat affects our bodies.
• It contains amylopectin A--the most quickly digested and fattening form of starch.
• It contains a form of gluten that is superinflammatory.
• It is highly addictive, which makes you crave and eat more of it.
Amylopectin A is a superstarch found in modern wheat that makes our bread nice and fluffy. However, it's also a big part of the reason why a single slice of whole wheat bread (yes, even more so than white bread) now raises your blood sugar more than if you had consumed 1 tablespoon of table sugar!6 As you'll discover throughout this book, the higher the blood sugar response after consumption of food, the greater the release of your fat- storing hormone--insulin--and the more fat that can potentially be stored in your body. By contrast, beans and legumes contain amylopectin C--the least digestible form of the starch--which actually ends up feeding the good bacteria in your gut, making its sugar less available for absorption. As a result, it doesn't cause a spike in your blood sugar.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book came out at the perfect time. I put almost 10 pounds on in the last five months of the year and knew I needed a change. This book was well-organized and easy to read. I love how Yuri did not just focus on weight loss but overall health. Since reading his book and going through the 21 day program, I've lost almost all the weight I put on and I just feel better. The recipes are fantastic. I have not had one complaint from my family. If you feel like you need a change but don't know where to start, buy this book.