I lied. We don’t recommend supplements at Levitise, and we don’t believe that you can pop a pill, or a food, to generate weight loss. You can, however, consume something that helps to prevent weight regain, which is far more important than weight loss considering 95% of people put all the weight back on after a period of weight loss. Losing weight is much easier than preventing weight regain. We should really retitle this article to, The Number One Secret Food Supplement to Prevent Weight Regain After Weight Loss, but that would be too much of a mouthful, pun intended!
Weight loss, theoretically, is simple. You need to pull 2 or 3 of the following levers:
- Calorific Deficit Lever = ON
- Increasing Muscle Mass = ON
- Willpower Expenditure = ON
Of course, sleep, stress, environmental toxicity and other lifestyle factors can all affect weight loss but food and exercise are the big ones. And just about every strategy out there is a subset of the big 3 factors:
- Vegan diet: lower in calories due to practical restrictions of getting 2000kcal a day resulting in rapid weight loss
- Atkins/Keto/Paleo diet: removal of junk carbs robs the metabolic system of an easy fuel source which is inefficient in extracting calories from protein and fat resulting in rapid weight loss
- Fasting: intermittent fasting, juice fasting, water fasting, concentrated feeding windows, time restricted eating, religious fasts or long-term fasts = obvious calorie deficit
- Running/Marathons/Cycling/Triathlons/Endurance/Cardio: massive increase in calories results in energy imbalance (more out, less in) and a net calorie deficit
- Strength Training: increased muscle density, increased calorific needs hence net calorie deficit
- Body Building: increased muscle volume, increased calorific needs hence net calorie deficit
And the more willpower you use the faster and greater the results. Pretty much every strategy out there does this. But what happens when the willpower runs out? The weight comes back - maybe in a few months, maybe in a year, or mabe over 5 years, it almost always comes back. Why?
- Because the strategy they employed wasn’t sustainable in the long term
- The body adapts to the new strategy and then uses every trick in the book to get back to the “body fat set point” that Stephan Guyenet so excellently explores in his book, The Hungry Brain.
And in Joel Greene's book, The Immunity Code, he goes on to describe the body fat set point further in terms of mechanobiology - i.e., what’s really going on under the hood. This is ground-breaking work. Let’s take a look.
Here’s what happens when you gain and lose weight:
STEP 1: You eat too much, or you eat too many refined carbs and your body says, “Great let’s save this extra energy as fat for when we next have a famine, winter or war when food is scarce.”
STEP 2: Your fat cells swell in size
STEP 3: When your fat cells have hit their maximum size your body, helpfully, creates new fat cells
STEP 4: You embark on a weight loss strategy to lose weight
STEP 5: Your fat cells shrink in size, but they don’t disappear, you still have the extra fat cells, they’re just empty now.
STEP 6: Your body doesn’t like that. The fat cells are held together by an Extracellular matrix (ECM). This is now bent and out of shape because of the shrunken fat cells. The body considers this an "injury" to the ECM. It requires a huge amount of energy and [BLANK] to reshape the ECM to get back to homeostasis. For most people it’s easy for the body to just refill the fat cells rather than reshape the ECM. And that process might take months or years. In Joel Greene’s book he looked at weight regain over 1 year, 5 years and even over 20 years declaring that in most cases it’s inevitable.
STEP 7: How does your body refill fat cells?
- by decreasing the hormone leptin - a marker of satiety, so you don't feel as full
- increasing ghrelin - the hunger hormone
- increasing dopamine reward - more addiction from calorifically dense foods
- increasing serotonin reward - more pleasure from foods
- downregulating your metabolism - more calories from food
- downregulating willpower - less likely to resist calorifically dense foods
- altering the bacterial diversity of your microbiome - increasing the bacteria that extract more calories from food
So what is [BLANK]? What is the number 1 food supplement required to reshape the ECM and to prevent the weight regain? It’s glycine. Glycine is an amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Where is it found in food? It’s in the animal bits; collagen, tendons, cartilage and connective tissues. Pigs ears, chicken skin, ham hocks, pork tails, oxtails, chicken necks and bone broths are all excellent source of glycine. In fact, a lot of junk food like KFC is made out of these bits as they’re much cheaper than the breast meat. The downside is there are a lot of additives, preservatives and unhealthy fats in processed fast food like KFC so we wouldn’t recommend it.
Below are our recommend list of ways to get glycine into your diet. Bone broth is the best, not just for the glycine but for all the other minerals and vitamins found in it, plus its general healing properties. It's a miracle food that in most tribal societies is the first food given to weaning babies. 2 cups of bone broth a day would net you 6 grams of glycine and also provide you with 20% to 25% of your daily mirconutritional targets in only 85 kcals!
So, what are our recommendations for a truly holistic weight loss programme? A perfectly executed programme, with much patience, looks like this:
3 months to 12 months*
Remove the rubbish from your diet, add the healthy lifestyle factors in, embark on a corrective exercise programme and reach a stable weight loss plateau
Weight Loss Phase
3 months to 12 months*
Implement weight loss strategy. There are TONS. We like strength training + alternate day fasting best.
"No" Weight Regain Phase
3 months to 12 months*
Maintain healthy habits from preparation phase. Consume copious quantities of bone broth
Same as preparation phase, maintain for life
Does this seem like a long time? Yes, it’s probably the longest weight loss strategy out there. But it’s also one of the few that’s in the 5% zone that actual works. Permanently!
To your health, happiness and longevity,
The Levitise Team
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* based on how old you are, how much weight you want to lose, how long you’ve been overweight, how many times you’ve been overweight, how out of balance you are physically, mentally and emotionally and other lifestyle factors.