Ok, I decided to do something crazy recently… For the last six weeks, I used myself as a guinea pig and completed an overeating experiment.
The purpose of the experiment was to see how much weight I would gain if I purposely tried to over-eat on a daily basis for six weeks straight.
What do you think the results were? Did I get fat (after all, I gained 9 lbs on a 7-day cruise last year when my normal diet at home was replace with my cruise diet…although I subsequently lost that 9 lbs in only a week and a half after that cruise). Or maybe during this overeating experiment I stayed the same weight or even got leaner?
My theory was that if you eat the right types of highly nutrient-dense foods and do not stray from those foods at all, that your body will automatically re-balance itself (your hormones, appetite levels, etc, etc)… and even though you are attempting to over-eat, as long as the nutrient-density of all of your meals is maximized, total calorie balance will inevitably end up at a level where I would not gain weight.
This goes along with my theory that calorie counting is basically pointless as long as your nutrient density of your foods is so high that the body obtains all of the nutrition it needs and re-balances your appetite and hormones to account for this.
Think of it this way… if you eat 1000 calories worth of soda, donuts, and cookies, your body needs to readjust hormone levels, increase your appetite and try to force you ingest more food to attempt to get more nutrients, since those 1000 calories were almost devoid of the nutrition your body needs.
However, if you eat 1000 calories worth of healthy foods with high nutrient density such as avocados, whole eggs, nuts, vegetables, fruits, grass fed meats, and other healthy options, your body obtains most of the nutrition it needs and accounts for this by leveling your appetite and hormones in the time period following that meal (the remainder of the day perhaps). In this scenerio, your body is not forcing you to eat more food (via cravings) to obtain the nutrition it needs since it already received a boatload of nutrition.
So, here were the details I had to adhere to in my little experiment:
1. I could NOT just eat any and all types of foods… I could overeat on as much food as I wanted, but ONLY the foods that are "approved" according to my rules… this means all foods had to be un-processed natural foods. No pasta, white rice, refined flour breads, or refined grain cereals were allowed. No trans fats, deep fried foods, or any other processed foods such as candies, cookies, cakes, etc were allowed in the overeating experiment… I was only allowed to overeat on healthy food.
Some staples during my overeating phase were tons of whole eggs (yep, including the extremely healthy full-fat egg yolks), full-fat grass-fed raw cheese and yogurt, avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, lots of virgin coconut oil and olive oil, grass-fed butter, berries, lots of fruit and veggies, sprouted grain bread, raw almond butter, sweet potatoes, and lots of venison and grass-fed beef.
2. I was still training very intensely 3-4 days/week at the gym but nothing extremely different from my normal workouts (this means that my caloric expenditure from exercise was not drastically different than normal).
So what was the end result after six weeks of trying to stuff my face with as much healthy food as possible?
>> My body weight stayed EXACTLY the same! I didn't gain a single pound.
I know the first reaction of many people is that I just must have a "fast metabolism" or something along those lines and that is why I did not gain weight.
But that is false!
The truth is that I have no problem at all gaining weight when I overeat on junk foods, or eat large amounts of processed foods in general. I can guarantee you that if I was overeating on pasta, white rice, cookies, white bread, donuts, and other processed foods during these last 6 weeks, I would have gained a massive amount of weight.
In fact, as I have mentioned before, in the past I have easily gained as much as 10 pounds in only 1 week when I have been on some sort of vacation and simply eat the normal types of processed food that everyone else is eating.
This proves that I am just as prone to gaining weight as anybody else.
However, notice the stark contrast in my experiment with attempting to overeat on all healthy unprocessed foods… I simply could not gain weight because my body would be constantly re-adjusting the hormone levels and appetite levels to account for the super-high nutrient density of food I was eating.
In the end, this meant that my body automatically maintained calorie balance without the need for calorie counting.
This is the type of eating lifestyle that pretty much totally eliminates your cravings… Remember that I have said before that I do not think I have had any real cravings in at least five years (that is the time since I have been more strict on the type of foods I eat).
I also think it is actually fun and more enjoyable to eat in such a healthy manner (for the skeptics that think this involves some sort of deprivation).