If you want to loose your health, follow the Auschwitz diet, exercise more and eat less. Chances are, if your having PT, training at a gym, going running, are a member of a slimming club, doing no carbs before marbs, or any of the other crazy diet and exercise regimes out there, your probably already on it. It won't kill you as quickly as it did them, mainly due to your PT or diet club leader not having as much control over you as the Third Reich (some PT's I've see have come close though, have you seen biggest looser in which that woman shouts as much as possible to cover up her lack of knowledge).
The report states:
"Whereas according to the standards of the Physiological Committee of the Section of Hygiene of the League of Nations a hardworking man ought to receive in 24 hours about 4,800 calories and an average working man more than 3,600 calories, the prisoners at Auschwitz were getting at most from 1302 up to 1744 calories for 24 hours! 1744 calories daily represent a little less than the basic conversion of food into energy of a grown man, or in other words a little less than the amount needed by a man resting in a lying position, covered and motionless. A man who works, nourished in such a way is burning up his own tissues in order to cover the amount of energy expended. This inevitably results in the wasting away of his organism in a manner dangerous to life. The diet of the prisoners working very hard outside the camp possessed such a calorific value. The prisoners who were working in the camp and whose work was also undoubtedly hard were getting at most 1302 calories for 24 hours, which was much below the amount necessary for the preservation of life when lying in bed. The above given data explains in full why the prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration camp were dying in masses after a short period of time, and only those who had the chance of getting stolen food, or were getting parcels of food from their families at home, could preserve their life. All the other prisoners were doomed to destruction”.
What shocks me the most is the 1744 kcals mentioned in the report is that its remarkably close to the 1800 kcals suggested for me during a module on nutrition at University. Its also remarkably close to the figures I often hear being suggested for weight loss amongst diet and exercise groups.
Bobby's mum has a resting metabolic rate (how many calories she burns at rest) of 1750 calories per day. When she takes into account her activity this becomes 2363 (lets call it 2400) calories. Whilst she isn't the most active person in the world, she is doing more than resting (i.e lay on her back breathing). This means that she needs 2400 calories each day for her body to maintain it's functions at the level of activity she currently maintains. Most people think of this figure purely as the amount she needs to maintain her weight but your metabolism is much more than just weight. If she runs a deficit something has to give, yet most people assume that it is as simple as relinquishing fat to cope.
Bobby's mum has decided that she wants to lose weight by going on a diet. The diet guru gives her 1200 calories, because he says Bobby's mum is a woman, and the diet gurus training manual says thats what women need to lose weight. Bobby's mum respect authority and follows the diet, miraculously she loses 10 pounds in two weeks and is ecstatic about the weight loss. Bobby's mum doesn't realise that this weight loss is not just some fat, but valuable muscle (along with water etc). In fact, Bobby's mum isn't bothered what she's lost, as long as the scales read less than they did at the beginning. Bobby's mum was warned that something would have to give is she ran a deficit, and her body has countered the energy deficit by reducing her muscle mass, decreasing her body temperature and pulse, decreasing her desire to be active and making her more aware of food.
Bobby notices that his mum is struggling to stick to the low calorie amount, temptations everywhere. She says she's just addicted to food and needs to change her behaviour and stop being such a pig. Bobby has noticed that she is often quite short tempered and that the central heating in a lot higher than usual. However, harmony is eventually restored when Bobby's mum goes back to her old eating habits which makes her warmer and less cranky.
Bobby's mum lost a lot of lean body mass along with maybe a little body fat, her thymus disappeared and she gets sick a lot now. The less muscle Bobby's mum has the lower her metabolic rate goes. She used to need 2400 calories to maintain her health yet now she has retested as needing only 1600 at rest and 2160 calories to maintain her new metabolism. She returned to her old eating habits and gained back the old weight plus more while eating exactly like she used to. Her guru suggests either going lower calorie or trying 1200 calories and then training with him 3 times per week to burn calories that way.
Bobby's mum tries this method many times over the next few decades while Bobby grows up. Bobby's mum encourages him to eat well and to finish his dinner. She even rewards him with food and scolds him by denying it. Does Bobby grow up with a healthy attitude to food? Possibly, but more than likely not.
Your kids are watching you, they copy you and want to be like you. You can't hide your cycles of fasting and binging, they will learn from you and then break your heart when you watch them grow up with the very same disordered eating that you had/have.
Eat and prosper!
As I mentioned last month in my previous post about the eating disorder heroin connection, I honestly believe most of us have some form of eating disorder. Obsessing over food, whether its quantity or quality is surly one of our nations favourite activities and an ever increasing about of media is pushed upon us to condition this thinking.
However, going back to the more traditional view of eating disorders I thought I'd comment further on the things that happen as you recover. The previous post discussed the withdrawal effects your likely to come up against. Today I'd like to think about some of the crazy things that might occur as your body repairs and returns to normal.
Remember, if your suffering any symptoms and they're worrying you, speak to your doctor and reassure yourself.
The physiological processes of recovering from the different eating disorders, and some of the ways in which your body might respond to recovery differ from person to person. This is not a conclusive list, it is aimed at giving you a broad overview of what may occur as you go through recovery.
These may all seem negative, in fact they will all seem negative while your going through them, but bear in mind that its all undoing the damage that had been done.
Some comments that people have made while undergoing the changes:
So, whilst they seem bad initially they lead to things that are good. We need your hormones back where they should be (you don't want to be starting the menopause do you). We need your digestive system working as you "are what you don't eliminate", if your not passing **** then you'll feel ****.
If you've not already, check out my previous post on cutting calories to see the list of symptoms of starvation and re-feeding.
Heroin in a health blog, surely I'm over stepping the mark this time. I know heroin chic was all the rage in the 80's but I'm not suggesting it as a viable option for those seeking slenderness.
For years I've studied eating disorders and was often shot down for stating that often exercising is a massive indication of an eating disorder. We hear it all the time, exercise is good for you blah blah blah... Most people, trainers, boot camp leaders, and all those aerobics queens, assume that exercise is good for everyone. For a start, how the hell can a group Zumba class be aimed at everyones personal physiology? It can't, and 99% of the people in the classes would probably benefit more from a walk in the park or a little gentle yoga. Training rather than draining should be the name of the game. You can't build a new stronger body without having the correct foundation. Yes there are trainers out there that talk about good nutrition, but they still push you in the gym. Would you build your house without first sorting the foundations? No because the planning inspector would stop proceedings. That is my job, to stop you wasting valuable energy on something which is not helping you reach your goal...good health.
The second scandelous statement that frequently upsets dieters and gym bunnies, is that I think "most people have an eating disorder." I mean who doesn't have issues with food;
Before you try and shoot me down, I've been there and tried the lot. Typical anorexia is usually regarded a psychological condition, (I should know I'm doing an MSc Psychology and I keep finding those research papers) that is linked to body image issues triggering the desire to under eat / over exercise.
For years I've lectured about addiction and its links to both exercise and diet, people on a diet can literally crave the miserable feeling of abstinence. It confused me in my early PT days that people would deliberately highjack their progress. Why would they do that? Read on and I'll explain further the chemical reactions that occur to hook us into an addiction.
Years ago I thought that exercise addiction was the perfect habit as I believed "exercise was good for me." Remember, back in 2001 I exercised for 4 hours, every day for 395 days (yes even christmas day) and got nothing but fatigued and frustrated. So I really have been there "feeling the burn", and I'm handily placed to empathise with the problems that stem from an exercise addiction.
Catabolism has been a favourite term of mine since 2001 when I first began studying health and the poor understanding of most gym staff and members.It confused me as to why other staff at my workplace insisted on pushing clients hard, (although that is the media impression of PT) while simultaniously cutting back on energy in. To me it made no sense. Logic (and human physiology) shows us that this is not the way the body works, yes it will survive but trickery is not the way to real results. Catabolism refers to the body breaking down muscle tissue through the use of adrenal hormones that break down our muscle tissue (highly likely) and fat tissue (less likely). These adrenal hormones are called catecholamines. Sounds rather complicated but lets look at what it means;
catecholamine |katəˈkōləˌmēn, -ˈkôlə-|noun Biochemistry
Any of a class of aromatic amines that includes a number of neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and dopamine
epinephrine |ˌepiˈnefrin| noun
Hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, esp. in conditions of stress, increasing rates of blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism and preparing muscles for exertion. Also called adrenaline.
dopamine |ˈdōpəˌmēn| noun
Compound present in the body as a neurotransmitter and a precursor of other substances including epinephrine.[Alternative name: 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethylamine; chem. formula: C 8H 11NO 2.]
So those I've consulted with over the years that have been catabolic are in effect running on adrenaline. Along side this is a natural increase in dopamine (a precursor to adrenaline) and endorphins (a powerful pain suppressor). So the two coupled together mean you get a natural buzz, ask any vegan marathon runner and they'll tell you they feel amazing. Alongside this is the disappearance of pain due to the endorphins. Its no wonder you can get an aerobics teacher that looks like **** yet claims to be pain free and buzzing.
Take a while to think about those times when you've not gone into the gym for a few days, or you've skipped a week. Its not uncommon to hear people saying that they can't wait to go back as they feel bad etc etc. Yes the gym gives you a natural high and magically makes pain disappear but its certainly not healthy nor is it going to help that lean look that you desire.
Sadly the buzz and lack of pain is somewhat addictive and so the obsession with undereating, over exercising begins. Fuelling your body with adrenaline is quite a roller coaster ride as they are opiates, yes thats right you have your own little heroin factory happening right inside your body. Holy **** your a smack head!!
In simple terms the more you supply these chemicals to your brain the more you become hooked on them, you feed the receptor sites, gain more receptor sites and need ever increasing amounts of which ever chemical your hooked on. (see Molecules of Emotion by Candice Pert in my store) If you fail to provide these chemicals (by missing the gym or eating more and avoiding the adrenaline, then you feel sluggish, depressed, in pain, and ready for an argument (if you have the energy).
So, you either starve yourself, over exercise, take drugs or maybe all 3 which causes the rise of adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine levels that give you that buzz, making you feel fantastic. Do this regularly enough and there my dear Watson is your addiction. When you begin eating normally, get injured and can no longer go to the gym, you miss out on your chemical fix and withdrawal kicks in making you feel terrible much like the heroin addict feels when they cannot get a fix. So despite all the best medical help you continually relapse, even when you don't want to.
The key to recover is knowing what you are dealing with, the above should go someway to helping that become part of your plan. I feel however it is important to very slowly re-feed. Sudden eating will obviously cause an adrenaline (endorphin and dopamine) withdrawal risking failure. Gradually building up meal sizes and timings will allow less harsh withdrawals from the chemicals your craving. I suggest taking it slowly and ensuring mineral content is maximised while building up to "normal eating."
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Independent health researcher with a BA Hons. and an MSc in Psychology. Currently battling to complete a PhD...wish me luck.
The material provided here is for educational and informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. The information contained in this site should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems. Always consult your physician or health care provider, before beginning any nutrition or exercise program. Use of the programs, advice, and other information contained in this site is at the sole choice and risk of the reader.