Although it might sound semantic, it’s a critical difference. Your weight problem is not the result of overeating, it’s a problem with your storage mechanism. Healthy animals store exactly what then need, no more, no less. When we start storing more than we need there’s something wrong, and it starts with your hormones.
I’ve been a nutritionist for ten years. For most of that time I’ve been getting fatter and fatter while following a textbook healthy diet. I used to dread clients coming to me for weight loss advice because I didn’t have any answers.
(Along with most of the other nutritionists I spoke to.) Helping people who were a few pounds overweight was easy enough. Providing answers for the significantly overweight – the people with the most worrying problem – was beyond my ken. And that was plain for everyone to see: I couldn’t even keep my own weight under control!
In 2012 I was on the weight loss trail once again. To be honest, I was ashamed of myself and my body. After a successful period of weight loss in 2010, every pound had gone back on again and I was so confused. My diet was supposedly healthy, I’d cut out all the ‘naughty’ things years ago, and I was still putting on weight!
I was so fat that my GP suggested a gastric band. My pride stopped me from taking the easy way out (and the knowledge that gastric band surgery is risky and doesn’t always work). But it wasn’t only my pride – another part of me ‘knew’ that something else was going on: something all my experience and education couldn’t explain; something my GP didn’t understand; something I was determined to uncover.
I shared my confusion and frustration during a long heart to heart with a friend. She knew how hard I had tried to lose weight. She thought perhaps I should try a bit more exercise, but neither of us could account for the scale of the problem. As we parted, Alison gave me a hug and said that I must be a scientific anomaly!
Walking home, I realised that if I was a scientific anomaly so was half the UK population. We’re all getting fatter and fatter while the medics and media are struggling for answers and worrying about the implications. As a nutritionist, I knew I wasn’t the only one eating a healthy diet and still getting fat: overall calorie intake has dropped during the past 50 years; fat consumption too. And I was sceptical that the huge difference could be explained by a decrease in exercise.
There and then, I realised that what I had been taught about weight loss must be wrong. The calories in/calories out argument wasn’t working for an increasing chunk of the population. So there must be something else going on.
So I went back to first principles, reading, researching and testing ideas on myself. I dug deeper into the literature about human metabolism and the use and storage of nutrients. I came across work by Gary Taubes, discovered some very interesting experiments performed on obese rats and started to practice some different eating ideas. I was working on a completely new assumption: my body wasn’t fat because I was overeating, I was fat because my body was over storing. During my adult life my fat cells had become more and more sensitive to the hormonal messages of insulin, and my fatty tissues had got their wires crossed and started storing much more than I needed for survival. This hormonal mix up was not responsive to simply ‘cutting down’ and running around a bit more. The membranes on my fat cells needed a total reboot. And I started eating in a way that allowed it to happen.
Within 6 months I had lost 2 stone, and a research project with a group of 10 overweight clients reported similar success: on average my Dissident Dieters lost 21 lbs in 12 weeks and enjoyed (almost) every minute of it.
The Dissident Diet was born. I recorded my experience, my new knowledge and the resulting food plan in a book which is available on Kindle, and I started to offer weight loss coaching to clients with excited confidence.
No longer do I dread clients coming to me for weight loss advice, I positively encourage it. I now know, without doubt, what it is that makes us a nation of fifty per cent fatties. And I happily show clients how to overcome their weight problem
The beauty of The Dissident Diet is that in restoring a healthy insulin response you reduce your risk for many of the other diseases that are proving difficult for modern medicine to control. Obesity, diabetes, Syndrome X and cancer are all fundamentally linked to the action of insulin. In some ways, those of us who store too much are lucky: we have a visible warning that something’s wrong, which gives us a chance to do something about it. Insulin resistance is a stealthy killer, so despite my years of battling with obesity, I’m grateful for the chance to restore a healthy biochemical balance to my body before it’s too late.
It’s now over a year since I started The Dissident Diet and I’ve lost two and a half stone and two dress sizes and kept it all off. I’m still losing, slowly but surely, and enjoying my food. As well as a completely new wardrobe, I have a whole new understanding of what healthy eating for healthy weight means, and I’m longing to share it with you.
There are three ways you can lose weight on The Dissident Diet. The one you choose will depend on your learning style and how much of a hurry you are in to start seeing results. You can:
2. Read the blog and use the search field to find out what you want to know.
3. Book an appointment and get started straight away.
I’m looking forward to working with you.