About a year ago I talked about how I adopted the Carb Nite diet. The results were bittersweet. The good news is that by using Carb Nite, I was able to drop down to the lowest weight I’ve ever been in my adult life outside of high school. I still have not hit my weight goal, but I can happily report the Carb Nite diet was very effective in helping me lose body fat without making me too hungry.

The bad news is, as is often the case with me, I fell off the wagon more than once, including recently, and I gained back some of the weight that I lost. My net loss is still decent, but I’m still quite a ways away from where I would like to be.

I have officially been fighting my body fat for five years now, since I was 39 years old (I’m now 44). I’ve decided that I’m tired of doing this and need a radical readjustment. Losing body fat and keeping it off has been the single most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. Getting from zero to six figures in less than 3.5 years was easier. Going from divorced, inexperienced beta male to extremely good with women in less than two years was easier. Never losing money in an investment in my entire life has been easier. Developing an Alpha Male 2.0 lifestyle, which is not easy, was easier than losing body fat and keeping it off. At least for me, and that’s the key point.

In my book, I talk about how every man has one area of his life out of the Seven Life Areas (financial, women, physical, social, family, spiritual, and recreational) that he’s going to be bad at and that will be a struggle for him. My weak area is clearly physical. All the other areas have come pretty easy for me, and I’m a successful man outside of my weight.

For some reason, and I think I know why, losing a large amount of body fat and keeping it off has been extremely difficult for me while literally everything else in my life has been quite achievable. My usual success formula of:

1. Researching the least bad, most effective way to accomplish a particular goal, while being very careful to avoid false Societal Programming.

2. Make a battle plan and do it, working very hard and staying very focused and consistent.

3. Carefully track my progress and make corrections as I go.

4. Achieve big success after 1-3 years.

…has worked fantastically for every area of my life, but has not worked for my weight problem. This means something unusual is going on.

When it comes to losing body fat, I have done everything right and nothing has stuck, including:

  • Weight lifting
  • 5×5 weight lifting
  • hi rep weight lifting
  • supersets
  • minimal rest time between reps
  • HIIT weight lifting
  • TRT
  • HIIT cardio
  • Interval cardio (sprinting)
  • Long duration cardio
  • Working with personal trainer(s)
  • Vegan diet
  • Paleo diet
  • Keto diet
  • Zero sugar diet(s)
  • Weekly cheat meals
  • Zero cheat meals
  • Fasting
  • Intermittent fasting
  • High protein diet
  • Cleansing fasts
  • Juice fasts
  • Carb Nite
  • Carefully tracking calories via kitchen scales and apps like Lose It!
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Various supplements
  • Blood tests and adjusting all of my numbers to optimal levels (including thyroid, vitamin D, DHEA, testosterone, estrogen, etc)
  • Daily tracking (of everything, activity, calories, sleep, you name it)
  • About 20 other things I don’t have time to list.

You name it, I’ve tried it. Seriously, if you say, “Hey Caleb, have you tried…?” the answer is yes, I’ve tried it, and likely stuck with it for 6-12 months or more.

To be fair everything has worked…somewhat. I’ve lost a lot of weight and look great compared to several years ago.  The problem is I’m still overweight because nothing has stuck. Eventually I fall off the wagon, eat more calories than I should, and gain at least some of the weight back.

Never have I experienced an area of my life where I have failed repeatedly over such a long period of time. During the last five years, I’ve personally known people who have lost 70 pounds or more, quite easily, with just a few months of work, and have kept it off, doing the exact same things I was doing. I was shocked at how easily these people would pull off something in just six months that I’ve been busting my ass for years and years to accomplish with spotty results.

Again, this means something deeper is going on here.

Thus, with all of this data, I’ve come to the conclusion that my problem is not physical at all, but mental. My problem has nothing to do with exercise, weight lifting, cardio, diet, calories, macros, portion sizes, testosterone, toxicity, or any of that stuff. If it was, I would have lost all the weight I wanted several years ago.

Instead, the problem is in my brain. Either I have some kind of mental block about proper weight, or I have some kind of food addiction. Or maybe both.

A few days ago I did something I have never done before. I have suspended all of my other goals in life (of which I have many) to focus 100% on this one goal: to get my body fat down to 17% or less, and keep it there for the rest of my life.

Because my problem is mental and not based on any fitness technique, I have begun a 100% all-out attack on my conscious and subconscious minds to get them reprogrammed for health and fitness instead of eating large quantities whatever high-carb, high-fat, high-calorie, or high-salt foods I currently want to eat from time to time. I’m treating this not as a fitness problem, but more as a mental or overcoming addiction problem.

I’ll be documenting the things I’m doing and the results I get here at this blog. It’s going to be painful and I’m not looking forward to it, but it must be done. My body fat is literally the last problem I have in my near perfect life. It needs to be eliminated once and for all.

More on this soon.

34 Comments on “Food Addiction?

  1. I know a women who was obese since the age of twelve she recently lost the weight. Her uncle molested her as a child. Maybe something in your childhood is triggering your desire for food? I would recommend Hypnoanalysis therapy it basically shows you what caused whatever problem you have whether it’s nail biting or in your case over eating and then let’s you fix it at a deep subconscious level. It’s been very effective in treating things like PTSD in soldiers or rape victims. Even people with less serious problems have been helped by it.
    Btw you know you have a food problem when you look at cheeseburger then at the woman and think Nah I’d rather have the food.?

  2. I know a women who was obese since the age of twelve she recently lost the weight. Her uncle molested her as a child. Maybe something in your childhood is triggering your desire for food? I would recommend Hypnoanalysis therapy it basically shows you what caused whatever problem you have whether it’s nail biting or in your case over eating and then let’s you fix it at a deep subconscious level. It’s been very effective in treating things like PTSD in soldiers or rape victims. Even people with less serious problems have been helped by it.

    I’ve never been molested or anything and I had a decently normal childhood (nothing traumatic), but yes, I plan on doing something like this, just to rule it out. Good idea.

    Btw you know you have a food problem when you look at cheeseburger then at the woman and think Nah I’d rather have the food.?

    Haha. I’ve never had that problem. My sex drive is far beyond my need for food. I want the woman first, then after sex is over with, then have the cheeseburger. Or even better, Taco Bell, which is the ultimate “after sex” food. 🙂

  3. Food can be and often IS addictive as FUCK. More so than drugs in some ways. Because we need food to live, so we’re constantly in temptation-land…

    Caleb, this is one area where I achieved success once I began to look at my pattern of wagon-falling as what it truly was- a pattern of occasional relapses backwards to what my mind craved, and during those moments it gave zero fucks no matter what my goals were. Food can be addictive, and carbs/sugar are the biggest offenders.

    I am a recovering alcoholic, (sober 3 years), and so I know what I’m talking about. Interestingly, when I got sober my sugar cravings went through the roof. (not surprising when you think of how beer is metabolized- to carbs — then to sugar). Once I no longer had it via beer, my brain WANTED IT. BAD. No matter where it came from.

    Just like going ‘cold turkey’, the sugar cravings can be beat. It takes a couple weeks and they SUCK.

    Our brains are largely fueled by sugar, so we need SOME. (the sugars found in nature, though even these should be moderated).

    My point is that yes, food can be/is addictive. However, you’re far from alone. Most Americans can’t stick to healthy eating long term bc they don’t treat it for what science says it is- ie, the brain chemistry component.

    If you read up on blogs/books/documentaries were the focus is on food as addiction, you’ll be on the right path. I did it successfully, but again only after taking it from this tactic. (i’ve lost 40 lbs and am in the 180s).

    Once you get this part handled, weights/exercise becomes a joy.

    Another recommendation is Greg O’Gallagher and his kinobody stuff /road to ripped podcast.

    Anyway man, it can be done with the right knowledge!!! Good luck and hit me up if you want to! skullbabyland@gmail.com (i’m in your SMIC too)

  4. @CJ: do you mean your diets/training plans work but end up being ruined by going back to excessive eating, or do they just not work well enough and *then* you go back to junk food/surplus calories ? In the first case the problem is clear, but not so for the second.
    I know you said you’d tried everything, but just one question: what if you’ve been overestimating how hard you workout (especially with weights) ? Most newbies aren’t aware of how an effective barbell workout feels like and (for ex.) stop at 6 reps with a weight they’d lift 15 times if they were more aggressive about it. You mentioned at some point that you still do your pullups assisted, and no man under 225lbs who’s been doing those for a while should need assistance to pull that weight; therefore you might be underestimating how hard you should push to get progress. A fat loss workout should feel at least one tad worse than a “chore”, and trigger at least some vague dread in anticipation. But maybe I’m wrong: I imagine an organized man like you would already be working out with spreadsheets and pushing for weekly rep/weight/time progress, and would have already heard comments like these.

  5. Also, definitely be aware of the emotional component. Just like with substance abuse, often times we’re looking to SELF-SOOTHE. Whether it’s something intense such as sexual or other assault as your previous commenter mentioned, or something more mundane like everyday stresses or insecurities- the point is, stress eating offten feels good in the moment. Good to be aware of both the science and the emotional component to recognize what’s going on in the moment. Kind of a mind/body version of mindfulness.

  6. Just like going ‘cold turkey’, the sugar cravings can be beat. It takes a couple weeks and they SUCK.

    Yeah, going cold turkey from sugar / shitty carbs for like 30 days or longer might be what I need to do. If I do, man, it’s going to hurt.

    I’ve done zero sugar diets (including Carb Nite) but those still include a cheat meal where you can have sugar once a week. That’s not cold turkey, and perhaps cold turkey is what I need.

    If you read up on blogs/books/documentaries were the focus is on food as addiction, you’ll be on the right path.

    I agree. I’m actually reading into what drug addicts have to do as well. Interesting stuff.

    do you mean your diets/training plans work but end up being ruined by going back to excessive eating, or do they just not work well enough and *then* you go back to junk food/surplus calories ?

    The first one.

    what if you’ve been overestimating how hard you workout (especially with weights) ?

    Tweaks with how I lift weights is not my problem.

    I imagine an organized man like you would already be working out with spreadsheets and pushing for weekly rep/weight/time progress, and would have already heard comments like these.

    Correct. As I said, weight lifting technique is not my problem. If it was, it would have been solved a long time ago.

    definitely be aware of the emotional component.

    Yep, that’s what I’m doing. The problem is I’m not stressed and I’m really happy. As a matter of fact, when I fall off the wagon is usually when something really happy occurs in my life.

    Most this addiction stuff comes from stress/unhappiness, so I’m an exception to this rule. So I’m going to have to look deeper into my psyche.

  7. The stress/unhappiness is only one half of the coin, and The other half is happy/celebratory eating. I actually ate worse (or drank booze) more often when I was in celebration happy land as opposed to self medicating bad feelings. It can be either, both are very common.

    As to sugar once a week, yeah the reason it doesn’t work for some is because you’ve just spent 6 days doing the hard part and the brain is starting to normalize, then you reintroduce the addictive substance and it wakes back up the AH FUCK YES MORE OF THAT PLEASE!

    Giving it 30 days or more, like 60 or 90, will go a long way to making it easier to moderate later.

  8. I’m at the same point you are Caleb, but with acne/skin breakouts. Tried all the normal stuff – creams, pills, supplements, eliminating foods, probiotics, etc. and here I am 10 years later still breaking out.

    I read a forum post from someone who said that their acne didn’t truly clear up until they resolved all the emotional issues that were causing their acne. So that’s where I’m at right now – several months into going “deep under the hood” so to speak with my emotions. I’ve mainly been using the Emotion Code/Body Code system as well as Faster EFT.

    So far I’d say my acne is about 80% clear, but I know there’s still work to be done. I’m discovering all kinds of subconscious programing that’s been holding me back from clear skin. I’d imagine you’re probably at the same place with your weight loss considering all the effort and time you’ve put into resolving your problem.

    Regardless of what you end up doing/discovering, best of luck to you Caleb on your weight loss journey. Love your blogs!

  9. I feel ya man. I was fat all my life, and had to work really fucking hard to lose 120 lbs. I’m not sure if you’ve tried this, as I didn’t see it in your list, but what really helped me was portion planning. I planned and portioned all my meals a week in advance, and nothing, I mean NOTHING went into my mouth that wasn’t accounted for ahead of time.

  10. Dammit, dude… I feel you. I’ll be following these new posts because my goal is to lose more weight too.
    I have been told that FASTING works wonders because you gain control over your mind/body and neurology.

    Anyways, I’m with you on this journey.

  11. I actually ate worse (or drank booze) more often when I was in celebration happy land as opposed to self medicating bad feelings.

    Yep! That’s me!

    I’m not sure if you’ve tried this, as I didn’t see it in your list, but what really helped me was portion planning. I planned and portioned all my meals a week in advance, and nothing, I mean NOTHING went into my mouth that wasn’t accounted for ahead of time.

    Did it. Still do it. Once a week meal prep, measured to the calorie, usually on Sundays, and just ate that all week until cheat day (which was really just a cheat meal in the evening). Good for time management too. But it didn’t stick.

    I have been told that FASTING works wonders because you gain control over your mind/body and neurology.

    Did it. All kinds. Intermittent fasting, fasting for 36 hours every Monday, cleanse fasts, juice fasts…

    As I said, my problem has nothing to do with diet technique.

  12. Happiness is a ridding process! You don’t have to diet. Just give up empty
    caliories.
    Give up soda pop, pastries, candy, high sugar fruits, and wheat.
    Eat berries. (Blue berries, black berries, strawberries)
    Prunes, nuts, grass fed meat.
    Drink kiefer.
    Omit 90% of the SAD (Standard American Diet)
    The reason you’re fat is because you can get by being fat. If you were barred entrence
    between a woman’s legs by being fat, you’d see how fast you lost the weight.

  13. Definitely agree with a lot of people here that addiction to sugar is probably the biggest problem with a lot of people’s diet. It’s not talked about all that much but sugar is probably just as bad as caffeine in terms of addictiveness – I know it was for me.

    Travis is right in that eating sugar once a week ends up harder than just giving it up entirely – it drives you crazy and you’re just waiting for that week to go by. When you’re just starting out it’s best to eat some plain-tasting but sugary food like rich tea biscuits to tackle your craving for sweet food first, then cut that out and just go cold turkey.

    I used to be bad with sugar and this sort of process worked for me. More detail here if you want it. http://zonedinblog.com/2016/07/beat-sugar-addiction/

  14. I’m not the best person to give advice to people about life problems and I don’t know you personally so I can only talk about what I read from your blogs and books.

    To me it seems that unlike dating and money you come at this one from a place of lack. For example when talking about money you talk like wealth is all around you and all you need to do is take it. You tackle the problem of money form a place of plenty. Same with your woman life. Many people when talking about money feel like money is limited and that they are somehow incapable of becoming wealthy.

    When you talk about losing weight you say stuff like: “I have always had a weight problem and always will.” or “I will never have a 6 pack.” or “loosing weight is very difficult for me.” or “I might be a food addict” (these are not direct quotes and please correct me if I’m wrong) just to name a few I can think of from the top of my head.

    Perhaps you might want to try changing your perspective on food and weight loss to a more positive side. Similar to how you view money and women. It might help you to stick with weight loss systems without using a ton of willpower which is as you know limited.

    Anyway I’m not an expert but it’s just something I noticed that might help. Good luck.

  15. More detail here if you want it.

    I’ve read that article. I don’t really like it because it recommends eating a lot of fruit. I need to go cold turkey not only with sugar, but with carbs as well. Not zero carbs but very low carbs. In other words, an extreme version of Carb Nite.

    To me it seems that unlike dating and money you come at this one from a place of lack. For example when talking about money you talk like wealth is all around you and all you need to do is take it. You tackle the problem of money form a place of plenty. Same with your woman life. Many people when talking about money feel like money is limited and that they are somehow incapable of becoming wealthy.

    When you talk about losing weight you say stuff like: “I have always had a weight problem and always will.” or “I will never have a 6 pack.” or “loosing weight is very difficult for me.” or “I might be a food addict” (these are not direct quotes and please correct me if I’m wrong) just to name a few I can think of from the top of my head.

    Perhaps you might want to try changing your perspective on food and weight loss to a more positive side. Similar to how you view money and women. It might help you to stick with weight loss systems without using a ton of willpower which is as you know limited.

    Absolutely correct. I need to radically alter my perception of food.

    My overall greatest value in life is freedom, and getting good with money and women is conducive to this “I can do whatever I want!” viewpoint. Getting good with food is not conducive to this at all. Since I feel like “I should be able to eat whatever I want!” eating Taco Bell feels like a victory and eating broccoli feels like a punishment.

    You’re absolutely right; I need to change my entire attitude about this, as well as chemically alter my body to crave different foods.

    It’s going to be difficult.

  16. Try using your strengths to cover your weaknesses. You seem to REALLY hate losing money. That’s a good emotional strength. You also hate gaining weight but can’t properly control your eating. That is your emotional weakness.

    Here’s a thought. Raise the stakes. Place a bet on your weight loss progress, Ideally with a friend. Make it a largely one-sided bet (Low loss/high reward for them). You don’t have to do it like I told you but you get the idea. Make defeat even more sour.

    You will also benefit from avoiding negative influences and surrounding yourself with positive ones. Avoid getting too close or thinking too much about your temptations. Listen to fitness podcasts or success stories and put up male model posters on your wall (similar to what you did to achieve your financial goals). If that sounds gay… so what? In the words of Shia Labeouf “Just do it!”.

    You have cheat days. Incorporate some punishment days too, assuming you veer off the track. Maybe skip a cheat day. You’re putting other things on hold so joining a dance class shouldn’t put much of dent in your schedule.

    To be fair though, I’ve have never been even slightly overweight in my entire life and never had to deal with this. I have an ectomorphic body and despite gaining some muscle, I still have a skinny-person mindset. I kid you not, If not for my wristwatch I will forget to feed myself. On top of that, I’m very strict about consuming anything that even resembles fast food. I’m sure my belly would love to leave my tyrannical rule and have you as its new master. Lol

    By the way, I commend you for prioritizing your weight to finally get rid of it. If I had a near perfect life like yours, I couldn’t bear the thought of having a bump like that in it. Seeing you put more effort into it grants me relief.

  17. I’m glad you wrote about this, Caleb. I’ve been thinking about the same issue for a while, and have experienced similar results in my own life.

    I spoke to a friend of mine, she’s a nutritionist, and recommended a book called “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole. Although the book is marketed for women, she claims it could help folks like you and me. It focuses on rejecting diet mentality and overcoming food addiction.

    I haven’t read the book yet, but my friend, the nutritionist, said that after reading this book she changed her approach to diets and nutrition and did a complete 180 on how she treats patients. Is that powerful.

    Good luck in your journey… definitely keep us posted.

    ~Rod

  18. The topic of dieting tends to have the same problems as the topic of politics. It’s easier for the mind to grasp extremes instead of more differentiated positions so people tend to advocate extreme standpoints.

    LowCarb-HighFat is like Republicans, and HighCarb-LowFat is like Democrats. Both positions contain a bit of truth but also tons of BS.

    Everywhere you see the demonisation of an entire macronutrient. In the past fat was the villain, now it’s carbs. And in most cases the macronutrient is also incorrectly defined.

    For example the lowcarb disciples will say that “all carbs are bad” and they don’t differentiate between the groups of carbs. Dr. Robert Lustig said that sugar makes you fat. The Lowcarbers twisted his word into “carbs make you fat”. He never said that.

    So before we talk about a topic we need to get the definitions right. All sugars ar carbs, but not all carbs are sugar. Here are some examples of carbs:

    MONOSACCARIDES (simple sugars):

    Glucose: the sugar in our blood stream; when you eat pure glucose it gets rapidly absorbed through the mucosal skin in your mouth and enters the blood stream —> fast rise in blood sugar

    Fructose: is actually toxic and first needs to be directed to the liver where it gets converted into glucose —> slow rise in blood sugar. But this slow rise doesn’t mean it’s better than glucose, quite the opposite. The liver can only handle a certain amount of fructose a day and everything above that will turn into fat in the liver and destroy it (fatty liver disease). Fructose sold as a healthy sweetener for diabetics because of the lower blood sugar levels but in the long run it destroys their bodies even more.

    DISACCHARIDES (dual sugars):

    Sucrose: this is table sugar and what we usually refer to when we use the word “sugar”. It’s composed of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. It gives you a fast rise of blood sugar levels (because of the glucose) plus destroys your liver and therefore your entire metabolism (due to the fructose). Here in Europe everything is sweetened with sucrose. In the US things are even worse because everything is sweetened with high-fructose-corn-syrup which is 20% glucose and 80% fructose.

    OLIGOSACCHARIDES (chains of 3-10 simple sugars): e.g. maltodextrin

    POLYSACCHARIDES (long chain of simple sugars):

    Starch: now THIS is the perfect carb for human consumption! It consists of long chains of glucose that need to be digested and broken down (slow rise in blood sugar) and doesn’t stress the liver because there is no fructose in it.
    If this chain of simple sugars is extremely long it becomes indigestible and then it’s a fiber, which is also very important because it further slows down the rise in blood sugar and gives you a constant supply of energy, plus it modulates your gut flora).

    So if someone says carbs make you fat they are not differentiating and therefore talking BS. SUGAR makes you fat, STARCH usually does not make you fat. Starch can also make you fat if you don’t combine it in the right way.

    The same goes for fats.
    These days we are in the “fat era”, especially the saturated fatty acids. Your plan to try very low carb again is typical for the current zeitgeist. People like Dave Asprey tell us that we should consume huge amounts of Bulletproof Coffee & Co. But butter contains lots of palmitic acid which does the following things:

    – Raises LDL cholesterol and causes atheriosclerosis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8978483
    – Raises inflammation – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25242580
    – Palmitic acid is a bad energy substrate because it’s not oxidized very well – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11010930
    – Destroys beta cells in the pancreas – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11147797
    And even more bad stuff.

    Our ancesters didn’t eat tons of saturated fatty acids. The preferred fats were bone marrow, brain fat, and certain nuts. And it turns out that these fats were mostly composed of omega 9 fatty acids. So we should rather have olive oil as our main fat supply because it’s rich in omega 9. Macadamia nuts are even better. They are the best fat we can eat. Don’t get me wrong. Saturated fatty acids have their place in a balanced diet. Note I said balanced. Not extreme.

    You don’t want to cut out an entire macro nutrient. You do want to eat both carbs and fat in the right forms (starch instead of sugar, olive oil instead of butter, butter is healthy in small amounts). You also want to make sure to eat them in the right combination.

    Always add protein to every meal and never eat carbs or fats alone. Or worse, carbs PLUS fats alone (ice cream, chocolate, fries, chips etc.)

    Our body best handles carbs and fats when they are separated from each other. They compete for absorption (Randle Cycle).
    You can eat a high carb meal, but you should keep the fat low, e.g. sushi (protein and carbs). Or you can eat high fat with protein but then you have to keep your carbs low (have your bacon from time to time and combine it with eggs, avocado, non-starchy veggies and leave out the beans).

    If you combine carbs and fats, you have both of them in your blood stream and this will make you become insulin resistant, especially with sugary carbs and saturated fatty acids. If you carry excess body fat with you then you are already insulin resistant to a degree.

    Your low carb approach didn’t work because:
    – A high sugar cheat meal will destroy your progress
    – Eating low carb for too long will make your pancreas go sluggish because it doesn’t have to produce insulin anymore
    – Eating low carb for too long will lead to a physiological insulin resistance in the muscles so your muscles don’t steal the little remaining blood sugar but leave it for the brain (brain is more important than muscle)

    People always assume that the only way to keep your insulin levels low is by keeping your carb consumption low. But you can eat high carb and still have relatively low insulin levels. All you need is good insulin sensitivity in your cells. When the cells are sensitive they don’t need high amounts of insulin to react and take up the sugar. How do you restore insulin sensitivity?

    – Separate carbs from fats
    – Eat carbs in the form of starch instead of sugar
    – When you eat fat focus on omega 9 as your main fat
    – Tarragon extract restores insulin sensitivity – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27119600
    – Olive leaf extract also restores insulin sensitivity – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23516412

    Olive leaf extract also:
    – Reduces atherosclerosis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18654736
    – Fights obesity – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24624222
    And much more.

    The following substances also help against obesity and insulin resistance:

    Vitamin A as retinoic acid (beta-carotine is useless): in ancient times humans ate lots of organ meats. It’s mandatory, not optional. If you don’t eat liver regularly you should supplement with vitmain A:
    http://mcb.asm.org/content/29/12/3286.full
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18239600

    L-carnitine (extremely important for mitochondrial health and one of the many reasons why vegan diets destroy your body, because carnitine is mostly found in animal products):
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3784205/
    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/1/71.full
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17201631
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17641743
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17239403
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20467011

    Calcium supplementation also fights obesity:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11999543
    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/79/5/907S.full
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17406924

    Glycine&taurine: our ancestors ate the bones, too. If you don’t eat bone broth regularly you should supplement these, not optional.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24658997
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15221507

    Omega3 DHA/EPA: of course mandatory and not optional. For best results combine fish oil with krill oil.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18362042
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12562865
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8352438
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17502874
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8387971

    It is extremly important that your hormones (in this case insulin) work properly. This is more than just checking hormone levels. Lab tests can only show you the hormone levels. They can’t show you if the hormone receptors are working properly.
    When your hormones work great, you will look and feel great. If not you will look and feel bad no matter what healthy diet you’re following.
    The other important thing is mitochondiral health. Hormones and mitochondria.

    Do a combination of all of that:

    – Caloric restriction
    – Intermittent fasting
    – High protein (200g/day) – add protein to every meal you eat
    – If you carry lots of body fat you should focus on eating more high carb low fat (high STARCH not high sugar). Your body will provide you with fat until you’re lean.
    – Then you want to add more fat to your diet but only separated from carbs. One exception is MCT (medium chain triglycerides) from coconut. Coconut can be combined with carbs.
    – Optimize Omega9/palmitic acid ratio by using lots of olive oil and only small amounts of butter&animal fats (don’t cut them out, they are important too)
    – Optimize Omega6/3 ratio by entirely cutting out seed oils (sunflower, safflower, canola) and simultaeously increasing omega3 with fish oil AND krill oil – http://www.lifeextension.com/vitamins-supplements/item01988/super-omega-3-plus-epa-dha-with-sesame-lignans-olive-extract-krill-astaxanthin
    – Tarragon extract
    – Olive leaf extract
    – L-carnitine
    – Calcium,
    – Glycine, taurine
    – Omega3
    – Vitamin and mineral optimization (this is a big one): vitamin A
    – HIT training

    You’re already doing many things right but remember the saying: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL.

    I’m also sure there could also be a leptin resistance on the hypothalamus level. So yes, your problem is in your brain. The hypothalamus regulates the body weight. But if it is miscalibrated you also won’t lose weight. It is like a bubble level with the mark not in the middle but at the side. So the hypothalamus keeps the bubble between the mark and “thinks” your body weight is optimal, when in reality it is too high.

    There is a lot more I could write about. Hormone optimization, mitochondria optimization, gut flora optimization. This is just an overview. Contact me if you want to know more.

    Don’t eliminate the carbs, Caleb. Only the sugar. With cutting your carbs too low you would make your insulin resistance worse. Your thyroid would suffer too.

    P.S. Writing in all capital letters makes me appear like I’m screaming. At the BD blog you have the function to write in italic or bold. That would be a cool thing to add here, too.

  19. I’ve been in a similar situation.
    What worked for me:
    1. No sugar/white carbs, period. For at least three months.
    This was a revelation. I spent almost my entire adult life before 40 essentially addicted to simple carbs. I always thought it was normal to have uncontrollable cravings, to feel tired and sleepy in the middle of the day after lunch, to not have any control over myself when I was hungry. Once I went through this washout period none of those things happened any more. I had constant energy throughout the day. I could still think sanely and rationally even if I hadn’t eaten all day. This allowed me to control my eating and slowly re-introduce a balanced level of carbohydrates.
    But I still avoid sugars in any form as much as possible. It’s easy now though because I don’t crave them.

    2. Strength training.
    Mainly I think because the goal-oriented nature of it brought more meaning and clarity to how I managed my body. To optimize my workouts and recovery to hit the goals I had with barbell training I had to plan out my macronutrient and nutrition intake. After my meals were planned out for the day, with so much meat, so much green veggies, so much fat etc., there just wasn’t any room for the junk, either in my schedule or in my stomach.
    I use the Starting Strength training program and lifting methodology.

    3. I know you’re not going to go for this one, but
    Use of kratom as a supplement. Yeah, I know you have this paranoid thing about ‘drugs’, but for some situations they are the right solution. Kratom has worked wonders for my old-guy chronic pain issues to help me through my training sessions and as an added benefit it reduces my interest in food (and to a greater extent, alcohol). Not for everyone but it was definitely a big factor for me.

    I’m now 46 years old. I weigh 205 pounds with about 15% body fat. When I consciously diet to slim down I can easily drop to 10-12%, have visible abs, and look sexy as hell on the beach.
    When I was 40 I was about 185, about 23%bf and weak, low energy, and junk food addicted.

  20. Also, consume Seravitol (HGH). It is taken on an empty stomach two hours
    before or after eating. It only costs $100.00 per month.

  21. One of my best friends struggles with this as well, and I definitely think “food addiction” is real.

    When I’m stressed out, I stop eating. I’ll literally skip lunch and/or dinner because I’d rather be working, and I don’t want to take the time to eat. Behavior like this adds up over time. I have multiple days each week where I know I’m at a calorie deficit because I’m hungry throughout the day, but I ignore it.

    Add in exercising 5+ days a week, and I’ve always been thin and athletic.

    My buddy is the opposite. When he’s stressed, he’ll eat. And he eats the worst possible things. Any diet he’s on goes out the window. Food is his comfort, and you can see his eyes light up when food enters his mouth.

    I was a swimmer growing up, and I grew to dislike eating because I had to do so much of it. Just to maintain my body weight was a pain in the ass because I was burning so many calories every day. So maybe that’s where my attitude towards food came from.

    But it’s definitely all in my mental relationship to food.

  22. Why did the caveman have no problems with obesity?
    He didn’t eat processed foods that’s why.
    Cease and desist from eating junk and you won’t have any problems either.

  23. You value freedom most of all, and so do I.

    I have family experience with cardiovascular disease. The best case scenario is a big bang cardiac event and sudden death. The worst case is a series of strokes, then lingering in a care facility gradually wasting away. This has been the fate for too many of my older relatives. They were all either overweight or had poor lifestyle.

    So this has become a powerful motivator for me personally. It’s the main reason I’m careful with my diet and do regular cardio. Every time I’m about to eat something unhealthy, I try to have a mental image of life after a stroke. Wheelchairs, oxygen masks, adult diapers. The opposite of freedom.

    You need to FULLY internalize that there’s a direct link between what you eat today and the quality of life and happiness you’ll have in just fifteen or twenty years time.

    This is probably aversion therapy, but it works for me most of the time..

  24. I’ve read all of your comments, and agree with most of your points. Mike’s comment stood out the most to me:

    When I’m stressed out, I stop eating. I’ll literally skip lunch and/or dinner because I’d rather be working, and I don’t want to take the time to eat. Behavior like this adds up over time. I have multiple days each week where I know I’m at a calorie deficit because I’m hungry throughout the day, but I ignore it.

    Add in exercising 5+ days a week, and I’ve always been thin and athletic.

    My buddy is the opposite. When he’s stressed, he’ll eat. And he eats the worst possible things. Any diet he’s on goes out the window. Food is his comfort, and you can see his eyes light up when food enters his mouth.

    I was a swimmer growing up, and I grew to dislike eating because I had to do so much of it. Just to maintain my body weight was a pain in the ass because I was burning so many calories every day.

    That right there. Mike has been skinny and/or athletic his entire life, doesn’t need to eat very much, and even forgets to eat. Whereas I’m like his friend he describes. Eating is an extremely pleasurable and exciting experience for me, and always has been.

    So much fitness advice on the internet is guys like Mike (ectomorphic or at least mildly endomorphic, faster metabolism, don’t really care about eating food) giving advice to guys like me (heavily endomorphic, slow metabolism, huge love of eating food). This causes a lot of confusion, and why many people can say “Just eat less, what’s the big deal?” and be very confused why that’s hard for other people who have personalities and/or bodies that love food.

    Anyway, I’ve got several more blog posts planned about this. Coming soon.

  25. Shared traits between you and the other “relationship guru” I subscribe to – both of you are fat men in long term,stable, non-monogamous relationships with younger women.

    Something about high caloric intake and the need for sexual variety? hummmmm

  26. both of you are fat men

    I am not fat. I doubt I could get as much sex as I do if I was.

    Something about high caloric intake and the need for sexual variety? hummmmm

    No. All men have a strong need for sexual variety, regardless of food desires. Note all the horny male politicians and celebrities, etc, who are quite skinny and/or fit. Monogamy is a societal aberration, not a demonstration of what human beings actually want.

  27. Hi Caleb, this the story of my 44 Kg (97 lbs) body fat loss. Back in late 90’s I weighed 107 Kg (235 lbs). I’m tall 182 cm (I think 5 ft and 11 inches, sorry I’m from Italy) so I was a big boy, had the shape of a Bud Spencer, an Italian actor of spaghetti western if you know him. In 2000 I decided to quit eating animals, becoming a vegetarian. Not a vegan, I continued to eat cheeses, mozzarella, Parmesan (yum) and eggs. It wasn’t on purpose of losing weight, however I started to drop it. Keep in mind that to compensate the lack of meat, fish and seafood I ate a lot of durum wheat pasta, parmesan cheese, chickpeas in all forms, eggs, tofu, bread and vegetables. I reached 72 kg (about 159lbs) in 2002. By 2004 I was 64kg (141lbs). To be fair at the end of 2003 I developed probably a form of gluten intolerance so I came back eating at least fish and turned to gluten free cereals (rice, corn etc.) for a year, then all the medical tests showed that I wasn’t celiac. Honestly I was a bit too skinny, my relatives and friends were afraid for me. From 2005 I returned to my usual weight of 70kg, 154lbs. It was slow and permanent. Now 12 years later I’ve gained some weight I’ve to lose : I’m 77kg, 170lbs. I have to say I have no idea how it worked. All my youth I struggled to lose weight and I never succeded. Then I turned 29yrs old in 2000 and made it without any intention. I suggest only one thing. All the time I ate carbs, plenty of carbs, mostly pasta and bread. I don’t like sweeties so much, so even then not many sugars in my diet. But a lot of starch carbs, yes. Now here in Italy there’s the fashion of the low or no carb diets, ketogenic diets etc, and when I tell my story everybody look at me like a mad or a liar. That’s for the criminalizing carbs medical myth. I believe that there is one crucial thing: not let metabolism fall in “famine mode” with excessive calories restriction. My uncle is a doctor, cardiologist, he once told me that the body compensate a slight surplus of calories. But once you fall into famine mode the body saves calories and everything becomes hard and painful. Even worse one gets more and more hungry and all the senses and the brain craves for food. Recently I started to lift weight like in my adolescent days, when the results were covered by fat but made me bigger than most of my friends. I also scheduled to start the sprint 8 exercise. For the diet I think I’ll turn on whole cereals carbs and durum wheat only, which have a lower GI, drop the amount but not below 150g. And I won’t pay too much attention at the rest since in all the process even my hunger has lowered and I don’t crave nor sugar nor fats.

  28. ! oz of bread has twice the carbs as 1 oz of rice. I think it’s the flour products that over-carb us, but I don’t think having zero carb is the answer either. Also losing weight can be harmful if you lose lean body mass and increase your stress hormones. Check out the Schwarzbein Principle books. I like tracking HRV to see my stress level, and tracking my sleep just to see how it’s doing. I like Hacker’s Diet site (free) to get a trendline of my daily weight. Again though that doesn’t indicate how much muscle is being lost.

  29. Hey Caleb, reading this reminded me of my own personal struggle that took years for me to beat.

    Back when I was 22 years old, I was diagnosed with a condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis. In layman’s terms it is when your immune system attacks your spine. When this happens, there is a sharp pain that is felt for on the lower back. Usually, I felt this whenever I woke up and every time it would take a few hours of walking around for the pain to subside from a 8 or 9 to a 3 (out of a 10 point scale, 10 being the worst pain imaginable), getting out of bed was such a chore because moving around aggravated my pain but made it feel better over the course of the few hours. So, the pain is always there and on the odd day, I don’t feel pain at all. If I did nothing, eventually my spine can “calcify” to the point where I couldn’t even bend over to pick something up. Imagine a young adult in his early 20’s with the posture of an old man. At that point I would need serious surgery to make myself mobile again.

    Over the years, I kept consulting my doctor and he kept saying I was getting this pain because I was stressed (fucking doctors think they know everything), but when we found out about my condition through numerous x-rays and MRI scans (because we kept pushing him for a real answer), he prescribed me these drugs called NSAIDs (Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) that kept the pain at bay but wreaked havoc on my digestive system and GI tract. With these drugs, I was merely trading one health problem for another, and this is something I needed to take everyday. Unacceptable. So since my family doctor, and numerous other specialists didn’t have a clue, I was on a quest of my own.I tried everything imaginable:

    – Special exercises
    – A better bed to sleep on
    – Changes to my posture (The pain really screwed with my posture, so we thought if I improved it, that it would go away)
    -Chiropractor
    – Acupuncture
    – Acupressure
    – Tui na massage
    – Physiotherapy
    – Psychologist (I was seeing a psych at the time for an unrelated issue, but I brought it up to him)
    – Even found a course online claiming to get rid of back problems with EFT, reiki, and other pseudoscience-y stuff. Hey when you’re as desperate as me, you’ll believe anything. There was even some mineral water that was claiming to get rid of the pain, although I didn’t buy it…

    Of course, each and every one of these people had an answer but the solution was only temporary relief and nothing stuck. At this point I was even thinking of getting a back brace On the pain scale I would wake up with a 6-7, a noticeable improvement compared to before but still minor, it wasn’t at least a 1 or 2.

    After about 3 years when I hit the age of 25, I did my own research, read books, blogs, and became a member of a forum dedicated to dealing with this disease (it’s actually somewhat common). From that forum and a few research sources that I looked up, I found out I could get rid of this pain for good. The diet was called NSD or no starch diet. It is the most enduring and painful diet you will ever undertake, basically it’s like this:

    – No starch of any kind (potatoes, bread, rice, any other starchy vegetables, gluten, beans, corn starch). You can test anything for starch by using iodine to see if it reacts.

    But then, that didn’t work so I consulted other people on the forum to see what worked for them, I found out that I needed to omit even more stuff:

    – No lactose (cheese and greek yoghurt is ok)
    – No coffee
    – No refined sugars (soda, dessert, anything that doesn’t naturally have sugar and has refined sugars added so fruits are ok)
    – No night shade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant)
    – No guar gum, inulin
    – No spices (peppercorn being an exception)

    So basically, I can’t ever eat at a restaurant ever again. I need to cook every single one of my meals and it’s going to be bloody expensive because I can’t use any starchy fillers to fill me up. Also, I love spicy foods and sweets… At this point of my life, not only was I not that great of a cook, but I was (and still am) a full time student.

    I kept a food diary naming all the ingredients that I ate and what pain I felt the next morning, this way I could keep track of what was effecting me and what wasn’t. I did this for a whole year on and off, and at the time my list of things of not being able to eat was still growing (specific ingredients).

    So basically I just ate salad with steak or chicken nearly every meal. It was really hard to keep up, I was depressed, I wanted to kill myself some days because every time I fucked up just a little bit, there would be hell to pay the next morning (if I’m lucky).

    Case in point: one time I accidentally ate a little of my girlfriend’s cheesecake. The next morning I was so paralyzed in pain, it HURT just to BREATHE, couldn’t open my eyes and it took me 2-3 hours to roll out of bed and make it to the nearest hospital.

    Giving up foods that I originally loved was tough, but it was worth it considering my health. Eventually, I found ways to simplify recipes and batch cook so I can spend less time in the kitchen. By this time I was perfecting my system and it was hard but worth it, eventually my new family doctor informed me of a new medication that I can take that would ease the pain to a 2-3 so I took it. This combined with my healthy eating habits have made my pain go to zero. I couldn’t believe it!

    Also, in addition to being pain-free I found out that:
    – I had almost no more allergies
    – I notice I heal quicker than most people. When I got my wisdoms taken out, the dentist told me not to eat solid food for 3-4 days. I could eat solid food the next day. This is just one example.
    – I lost 20-30 lbs of fat and my body became more defined even though I was never fat to begin with.
    – I have more energy.
    – I age slower (I’m 30 and I am constantly mistaken to be between 18-20 years old, younger than my classmates at school who are 21 years-ish old)
    – I can withstand extreme cold better

    I’m actually surprised at the stuff I’m recalling that I went through during that time. Never had to try to recall the whole experience in a while…

    Anyway, I felt like my story is somewhat similar to yours so I thought I’d share. Now, my next challenge is to have abundance with women in my life, hence my interest in your other blog. I hope you enjoyed my story and took something from it.

  30. I need to lose weight and I think the industry makes us sugar addicts. Every product we consume has sugar. Amazing indeed.

    Caleb, I have two suggestions to improve this blog. First, there is no home page button. You can give a link to homepage from the logo. Second, on the homepage it is very difficult scroll down. You can cut the articles half and add “Read More” links.

    Thanks for writing.

  31. My overall greatest value in life is freedom, and getting good with money and women is conducive to this “I can do whatever I want!” viewpoint. Getting good with food is not conducive to this at all. Since I feel like “I should be able to eat whatever I want!” eating Taco Bell feels like a victory and eating broccoli feels like a punishment.

    Check the premise of freedom above.

    Freedom is being able to do something – if and only if you are also able to NOT do it. Two side of the same coin. Remove one side, and you remove the choice – and by extension, you remove all freedom.

    Choosing NOT to eat Taco Bell is the dietary equivalent of choosing NOT to get married without a prenup. Sure you could indulge yourself and feel good for a fleeting moment… but instead you freely choose long term happiness, on your own terms, regardless of powerful OBW.

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