Doubts, Criticisms, Reasons not to

The program I’ve started is fifteen days long. That’s fifteen days of supervised gym and diet time. It’s supposed to be a transformation of sorts, with visible, measurable, durable results.

The response to this, when I explain it to people, is fairly predictable:

  • It won’t last, weight lost that fast doesn’t stay off.
  • It’s bad for you. Like Atkins.
  • It doesn’t work, stuff like this never does.

People don’t like putting themselves in a position where they could be proven wrong in the near term, so the third statement is rare.

I’m no authority, but I can read with the best of them, so here is what I have gathered so far from my various efforts at understanding the theory behind the diet and sports program, that may help answer these potential criticisms.

It won’t last

In fact, I’m not trying to lose much weight, I’m trying to swap fat for muscle. It’s important to note here that you can’t convert fat into muscle. One does not turn mysteriously into the other, that would fall into the category of “alchemy”. You have to lose the fat and gain the muscle at the same time. You can’t do both fast, and this program focuses initially on fat loss, with modest muscle gains but significant improvements in muscle tone.

Once I’ve reached the end of this 15-day program, I’ll switch to a different diet that promotes muscle growth while losing fat at a more moderate pace. The idea is to reach a body fat percentage that I’m happy with eventually.

Being arbitrarily skinny is no more attractive and makes you feel no better in your body than being somewhat overweight. What I want is to have an improved fat-to-muscle ratio. It doesn’t take much improvement there for significant benefits in well-being and body shape.

The reason people bounce back from diets or exercise regimes to their old body weight and shape is because they adopt exactly the same habits they had before they started. If those habits made you the shape you were the first time, there’s no reason to believe the result will be any different the second time. Especially given the fact that improving your fitness level and shifting fat stores gets harder as you age.

It’s bad for you

No, it’s not.

Fifteen days on a high fat diet is not going to kill anyone who doesn’t have a preexisting condition that makes them susceptible to high levels of fat.

This is a 15-day initial diet to get things going in the right direction and book some early wins (motivation is the most important ingredient in any health or habit transformation). Eating this much fat and protein on a permanent basis would be ill-advised. It increases the acidity of the body and demands extra effort from the kidneys (or so I’ve read), but the truth is that carbohydrates are the one nutrient that we can live completely without. We have no need of bread, potatoes, rice, sugar or starch of any kind in our diet because our body can create the necessary chemicals for survival from fat and protein. So a healthier mix of fats and proteins with few carbohydrates would be absolutely fine in the longer term.

Cut out fat and/or protein altogether and you will, eventually, become very unwell.

Sugar is, quite frankly, evil. It’s bad for you, addictive and has very few positive effects on the body other than providing it with lots of energy rapidly, which is great if you run marathons professionally, but just gets stored as fat if you drive a desk for a living.

It won’t work

We’ll see.

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