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Stop Struggling to Achieve Your Target Bodyweight

www.ironmanmagazine.comQ: I’m struggling trying to achieve my target bodyweight—I started off well, but I can’t lose that final 10 pounds. Should I try reducing my fat intake?

A: First, it’s difficult to make any recommendations with so little information to go on. But I will say that I’ve found that often the problem is not too much fat but too many of the wrong types of carbs.

Many fitness gurus and medical organizations have blamed the excess consumption of high-fat foods as the major dietary problem and cause of obesity. Not true. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, between 1971 and 1997 the consumption of saturated fat decreased from an average of 53 grams  a day to 50—with and protein consumption remaining unchanged. Fat is not the problem.

What has happened is an increase in calories. Between 1982 and 1993 the average daily calorie intake increased by 500 and remained that way through 1997. The kicker is that about 90 percent of those additional calories came from carbohydrates, and most of them were processed.

One characteristic of processed carbs is that they adversely affect blood sugar. If you start your day with a breakfast of pancakes smothered in processed syrup and washed down with processed orange juice, you’ll experience a rapid rise in blood sugar. That will soon be followed by a release of the hormone insulin, which will create a sudden and prolonged drop in blood sugar that will in turn cause you to crave even more carbs to raise your blood sugar.

One way to limit consumption of processed carbs is to follow the diet of the Paleolithic people—lean meats, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables—over the types of diets that became dominant after the Agricultural Revolution. One of my favorite mottoes that describes the Paleo diet is, “If it doesn’t fly, swim or walk or isn’t green, don’t eat it!”

Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic medalists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit   IM

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