Why You May Be Accidentally Starving Yourself
A few weeks ago, I told you that women ought to be eating between 2100-2500 calories a day. Have you thought about that number any more? Do you dare to believe me?
The cycle that many women are caught in looks like this:
believe diet lie,
restrict calories/ carbs/ fruit/ veggies/ fat/ meat,
feel ashamed and disappointed,
believe diet lie.
Diets are silly, girls. We all fall into the trap that promises us that less calories and more exercise makes us happier. I mean, thinner. Heck, it has even worked for us. Maybe more than once. And then it stops working.
Because we have slowed down our metabolisms and our bodies are trying to get our attention.
Over-dieting (which 45 million of us are doing every year) means that our bodies are genuinely concerned about staying alive. Where is the next meal coming from? Where are the B vitamins for energy? The meat for zinc? The Vitamin D for immunity?
It’s in all of that yummy, delicious, fatty for that you are not eating.
It’s really only recently that dieting came into vogue as a pastime.
As Julia Ross points out,
“In the innovative atmosphere of the ‘70s, though, game for anything new, more women of ll ages and weights launched into what we assumed was a harmless competition to see who could lose the most weight. We thought that recreational dieting sounded like fun. We assumed that weight loss was just another “new look”, like corseting our waists, binding our breasts, or perming our hair; a harmless fad, easily reversible when the style wore out.
“Unfortunately, our commitment to this new “style” led us into what would turn out to be a fatal fascination with calorie restriction. The skinny ideal never did wear off and low-cal dieting got a stranglehold on us that never let up. Instead of the radiant and voluptuous Marilyn, the sinewy Jane Fonda became our new role model. Jane has since publicly admitted that her obsession with the lean look turned her into a serious bulimic who badly neglected many important aspects of her life, including her children. Since then it has been commonplace for dieters to develop eating disorders. In fact, low calorie dieting has helped propel us into what has become a national epidemic of eating (and weight) disorders.”
The study I reference shows that fasting (just a new form of dieting!) increases the risk of binge eating and bulimia. All of you women who insist that fasting is good for you, please think of the long term implications on your own emotional and physical health. If you listen to someone who tells you that fasting is good for you, and you want to believe that, and fasting is not doing the things for you that you thought it would, and you still believe it, you are engaging in a fallacious mental argument called confirmation bias. And here, your long term health is at stake. Would you be willing to listen to someone who is telling you that fasting may not be all it is cracked up to be for hormonally-sensitive women? And think of what you are teaching your daughters. If you only eat two meals a day, your daughter will want to eat one. If you only eat one, your daughter may be in diet trouble.
Whatever, you say.
I am in control of my diet. I feel good. I look good. Well, pretty good. I’m trying hard, anyway. Why doesn’t my husband have to try this hard? Hey, why don’t men have to deal with all of this crap?
Well, my dear, let me tell you.
Let’s discuss the fabled Minnesota Starvation Experiment.
Everyone knows that womens gots issues with dieting. Because they practice dieting. Do men practice dieting? Some do, but not in the droves that women are.
So when men are put into the same situation that most women today have been put into, do you think they act similarly?
They certainly do!
The Minnesota Starvation Experiment was run by researcher Ancel Keys in 1944, as World War II was drawing to a close. Thirty-six healthy and able bodied men elected to participate in the experiment as a way to help researchers better understand how to begin “refeeding” the legions of world citizens that had been subject to starvation during the war.
Essentially, the researchers found that starvation dramatically altered not only nutritional status but also personality.
For a period of two months, the men were able to eat plenty of calories on a daily basis (over 3200). They were able to participate in college classes and community options. They felt well fed and had plenty of energy at this point.
The men were then subject to a 6-month semi starvation period where they were allocated 1800 calories a day. The diet consisted mostly of starch like potatotes, bread, and macaroni.
Each man had to walk 22 miles every week, which amounted to about three miles a day. This meant they would be burning an average of 3000 calories each day (taking into account their basal metabolic rate).
With the calorie restriction and the increase in daily activity, each man was supposed to lose about two and a half pounds per week.
Is this starting to sound familiar?
“As semistarvation progressed, the enthusiasm of the participants waned; the men became increasingly irritable and inpatient with one another and began to suffer the powerful physical effect of limited food. Carlyle Frederick remembered “. . . noticing what’s wrong with everybody else, even your best friend. Their idiosyncrasies became great big deals… little things that wouldn’t bother me before or after would really make me upset.” Marshall Sutton noted, “. . . we were impatient waiting in line if we had to . . . and we’d get disturbed with each other’s eating habits at times…I remember going to a friend at night and apologizing and saying, ‘Oh, I was terrible today, and you know, let’s go to sleep with other thoughts in our minds.’ We became, in a sense, more introverted, and we had less energy.”
The men began to suffer from dizziness, extreme tiredness, muscle soreness, hair loss, reduced coordination, and ringing in their ears.
Is this starting to sound familiar?
“Food became an obsession for the participants. Robert Willoughby remembered the often complex processes the men developed for eating the little food that was provided: “. . . eating became a ritual… Some people diluted their food with water to make it seem like more. Others would put each little bite and hold it in their mouth a long time to savor it. So eating took a long time.” Carlyle Frederick was one of several men who collected cookbooks and recipes; he reported owning nearly 100 by the time the experiment was over. Harold Blickenstaff recalled the frustration of constantly thinking about food.”
Several of the men, like Max Kampelman, agreed that nearly immediately after semistarvation began, all interest in women and dating was lost: “I can tell you, the sex drive disappeared. There was none.”
Is this starting to sound familiar?
One participant was walking past a bakery, enjoying the sweet smell of warm, sugary dough- and could not help himself. He bought a dozen pastries and gave them out to children. Then he sat down and just watched them eat.
After the starvation portion of the experiment was over, the subjects entered the “refeeding” portion of their program. At this point, many of them made themselves sick, trying to eat enough food to fill their empty bellies. They would go through periods of bingeing, trying to “fill the hole in their stomachs”.
Is this starting to sound familiar?
Two of the men were excused from the experiment after it was found that they had been stealing and hoarding food. Other men were allowed the privilege of chewing gum, but the gum privileges were taken away after it was discovered that some men were chewing up to 40 packages a day.
I see women suffering from these same afflictions on a daily basis. I have participated in these behaviors myself. From a biblical standpoint, I realize that I am responsible for my own sin and vanity. But from a biochemical perspective, I also realize that diet culture has so broken down the collective mental health of women (and men!) that we are almost not in control of our own bodies.
We cut calories because we are told to.
A “healthy diet” for diabetics article shows you how to eat for diabetes. At 1800 calories per day. Ok class, how many calories were the participants of the MSE allowed per day?
That’s right. 1800.
Here is an article from a Registered Dietician who holds a Master’s degree. She shares with you how you can lose weight eating 1500 calories a day.
It’s not her fault. Diet culture mandates that she provide a 1500 calorie per day plan because that is what women demand. That is what they think they need.
Yup, if you eat 1500 calories a day, you will lose weight. Just like the men who were starved.
But then you will gain it back, just like they did. And, as one man pointed out,
“Boy did I add weight. Well, that was flab. You don’t have muscle yet. And get[ting] the muscle back again, boy that’s no fun.”
Ring a bell, girls?
The first diet is easy. You lose weight. You increase cortisol and adrenaline and you feel great as your stress hormones kick in.
The second diet is harder.
The fourteenth is almost impossible. And it no longer is effective.
So if you started dieting to lose a few pounds, or because some asshole told you that your body was not good enough, you unwittingly entered into a deadly game.
There is no end to this game.
No one wins.
First, the weight.
Then, the hair.
And the libido.
And the extroverted tendencies.
And the ability to handle stress.
And the zeal for life.
And the fertility.
And the supple skin.
It is because you are part of a muti-decade, silent, government-approved starvation experiment.
Are you ready to opt out of this experiment? You can.
Just start eating more.
There are those who advocate fighting the system by eating all of the things. Candy, ice cream, brownies, pizza, fried chicken.
You certainly can do that.
But I don’t think it is the best way.
Our bodies were not designed to handle all of those foods, all of the time. And so you can be eating a surplus of crappy calories, but you can still be starving for nutrients.
You can eat 4000 calories a day because your body is begging you for Vitamin D and magnesium, but if all you eat are things that drain the precious minerals and nutrients your body has left, you will continue to binge and restrict. Load and be guilty. Frustrated.
Alternatively, you certainly can eat plenty of foods that are actually foods. Like, real foods. Like, foods that have a single ingredient- itself.
Chimichurri sauce (well, you have to put all of them single ingredients together for this one!)
You see, the body not only recognizes these things as real food and real fuel, but they also provide a ridiculous amount of nutrients for the brain, the sex organs, the muscular structure, the bones, the hair, and the skin.
Cheetos do not do this.
Bakery cookies do not do this.
Coffee does not do this.
Starving yourself does not do this.
Eat a steak with butter for breakfast. You will swoon. And maybe want to have sex with your husband afterwards. Eat an acorn squash stuffed with turkey and sage and apples and nuts for lunch. And watch yourself enjoy your kids a little bit more that afternoon. Eat a homemade hamburger with homemade mayonnaise and bacon and a fried egg for dinner and watch yourself sleep like a baby. And wake up refreshed.
It’s time to stop the crazy, girls. Eat the damn food. Opt out of this grand and ineffective cultural experiment. You may gain three or four pounds, but then again- your body probably needs that. Is it worth regaining your hair and libido and strength? I think so.
Then again, you may be like most of my clients who end up losing weight while eating this way. And gaining freedom from food. When you are starving, you obsess about food. When you are nourished, you stop obsessing about food.
As a client who recently sat in my office told me, “this is the first time in 40 years that I have not thought about food all day long. I feel good. I feel happy. I can do this for the rest of my life.”
Her eyes shone. Her confidence had grown over the past six months as she lost weight and gained expertise in the kitchen. She was not a victim but a victor. And I was so damn proud of her.
You can do that, too. Grab a few rib eyes and prep for breakfast tomorrow. It’s a new day, baby.
To your long term mental and physical health,
Our next 28 Day Reset starts in January. This Reset teaches you how to eat. And to rest. And to exercise intelligently. There are no calorie counting mandates. In fact, I give you high fives when you eat plenty of calories at every meal. We eat three giant meals a day. Like bacon, and steak, and melon, and butter, and sweet potatoes, and salt, and even chocolate. No one goes hungry. And everyone loses weight and gains energy and starts to sleep better and have better periods. This is what happens when you nourish yourself. Most of my girls tell me that they have never eaten this much food before. And they like it.
I can help you. This will be the fourth time I have run this program, and it is the program that gets the most consistent and positive results.
The program is $167 for 28 days of one-on-one daily check-ins with me and the rest of the group. I teach a live masterclass every week. You will get all of your questions answered. You will get personalized supplement recommendations. You will get a free phone call with me to check up on your progress and tweak the program for your individualized needs and success.
I usually discount this class toward the end of the enrollment period, but I don’t think I am going to do that this time. However, if you sign up with a friend, you will get $10 off of your enrollment fee and a 10% discount on supplements.
Contact me here if you have any questions before you sign up. Go here to purchase the program and start preparing for our January drop date. You won’t regret it. When you have signed up, you will have immediate access to our private Facebook group, where you can start asking me questions right away. A two hour session with me is $250, so this is a pretty good deal.
If you sign up with a friend, you can both use the code “IMWITHHER”.
New for the January 2019 Reset:
A focus on using amino acids for craving controls. No more shame from diving into the ice cream at 3 pm.
Workout meetups. We will be moving our bodies, and once a week, you will have the option of doing it together with me.
Masterclass teachings on the biology of cravings, food addiction, and mood disorders. And how to combat these things.
I’m excited to have you!