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 I have often been shot down for stating that exercise compulsion can be an indicator of an eating disorder. And in my years working in globogym it wasn't uncommon to see someone switching from a typical eating disorder to becoming a gym bunny. In the era of social media we now see people decrying their former dietary restraint only to be publicly displaying their rampant exercise regime. 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, all the time. The more the better, feel the burn, insanity, sweat is just your fat crying.
For a start, how the hell can a group 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 activity. Training rather than draining should be the name of the game. Yes there are trainers that talk about good nutrition, but frequently they still push you in the gym and restrict your diet. #eatcleantrainmean, more like #eatcleanbecomemean.
Would you build your house without first sorting the foundations? No because the planning inspector would stop the build. That is my job, to convince you to stop 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 some degree of eating disorder/disordered eating." Check your Facebook timeline or your Instagram feed and it's pretty clear that disordered eating is rife amongst our "health" obsessed world.
For years I've lectured about addiction, and the links to both exercise and diet. Those engaged on long term weight cycling (usually referred to as dieting) can literally crave the miserable feeling of abstinence, and it always interested me in my early PT days that people would deliberately highjack their progress. Why would they do that when eating food was working so well for them? Read on and I'll explain further the chemical reactions that occur to hook us into a diet or exercise "addiction".
Years ago I thought that exercise addiction was the perfect habit, I believed exercise was good for me, and I was determined to ensure I did it everyday. Remember, back in 2001 I exercised for 4 hours, every day for 395 days (yes even christmas day) and I ended up fatigued and frustrated. So I really have been there "feeling the burn", and can empathise with the symptoms of exercise and diet withdrawal symptoms.
Catabolism has been a favourite term of mine since 2001 when I first began studying health, spurred on by the apparent lack of understanding for both the members and the fellow staff members at globogym. 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 intake. To me it made no sense. Logic and indeed 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 longterm results. Catabolism is a set of metabolic pathways that breaks down tissue (molecules) into smaller units that are either oxidized to release energy, or used in other anabolic reactions.
To do this we need catecholamines which cause physiological changes to prepare our body for physical activity (often referred to as fight-or-flight response). With this we see increases in heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and a general increase in the sympathetic nervous system. One of the handy ways to create this catabolic state in which the body becomes stressed enough to utilise catecholamines is hunger, or a drop in blood sugar.
Included among catecholamines are epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and dopamine.
Any of a class of aromatic amines that includes a number of neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and dopamine
norepinephrine | ˈnȯr-ˌe-pə-ˈne-frən\
A monoamine C8H11NO3 that is a neurotransmitter in postganglionic neurons of the sympathetic nervous system and in some parts of the central nervous system, is a vasopressor hormone of the adrenal medulla, and is a precursor of epinephrine in its major biosynthetic pathway
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 that allows us to feel less negative effects of stress). 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 an absence of pain due to the endorphins. It's no wonder you can get an aerobics teacher that looks like **** yet claims to be pain free and absolutely buzzing (have you noticed how hyper aerobics instructors often are? The crazed 1000 yard stare is often evident.
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. It's not uncommon to hear people saying that they can't wait to go back as they feel terrible etc. Yes the gym gives you a natural high and magically makes pain disappear but it is certainly not always healthy nor is it guaranteed to help you attain that lean look you're promised when you sign up.
Sadly the buzz and lack of pain is somewhat addictive, and so the obsession with undereating, over exercising can begin. Fuelling your body with endorphins 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 **** you're 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 endorphins and adrenaline, then you feel sluggish, depressed, in pain, and ready for an argument (if you have the energy).
Solomon H. Synder along with the infamous Candace B. Pert stumbled upon opiate receptors in the brain which allowed opiates (opium, morphine, and heroin) to affect the both mood and behaviour. If you're in pain, opiates will reduce that feeling often creating a feeling of euphoria called the "high". Endorphins are you're natural heroin, often labeled as a natural "feel good" drug.
Endorphins are stress relieving hormones which act in the same way as opiates in relation to stress. In turn the elicit either a fight or flight syndrome and/or the reward system, which is why addiction is possible. Endorphins allow you to either fight or run away, enhancing your survival chances within nature.
So, you either starve yourself, over exercise, take drugs or maybe all 3 which causes the rise of adrenaline, endorphins, and phasic dopamine levels that give you that buzz, making you feel fantastic. Do this regularly enough and there my dear Watson is your possible route to addiction...(potentially depended on your tonic dopamine levels but for the sake of argument we will assume these are low in the chronic dieter/exerciser).
When you get picked up as ill (poor ECG readings, anxiety, depression etc etc and someone like me identifies that you are under-eating/overexercising then the withdrawal fun begins. Once you begin eating normally, you miss out on your chemical fix and the comedown kicks in making you feel terrible much like the heroin addict feels when they cannot get a fix. So despite all the best intentions you continually relapse, often 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 you formulate a plan. I feel however it is important to very slowly re-feed, sudden eating will obviously cause greater 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 support is available 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.