Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Sea Buckthorn Diet: How to Make It Work

Recently I offered a more or less technical explanation of how sea buckthorn oil enhances weight loss. In case you missed it, the bottom line is simply this: The omega-7 fatty acids in sea buckthorn oil help liquify solid fat inside fat cells so it can circulate to the muscles that burn it.

When you buy sea buckthorn oil to help you in your weight loss program, the sea buckthorn oil is not the fat burner. You are. How does this work?

Sea buckthorn oil just helps fat go out of fat cells instead of in. You still have to burn them with at least a little exercise, like walking around the block, if that's your level of fitness, and you still have to eat less.

The eating less to weigh less principle is what causes problems for a lot of dieters. We are brainwashed to believe that some magical principle or product will help us weigh less if we eat more. It just doesn't work that way. Ever.

 And when we eat the same and just exercise more, unless it's exercising for two or more hours a day without a break (sorry, weight lifting won't cut it for fat loss, although it's great for blood sugar control), we never get around to breaking down the fat stores in our fat cells that keep the bulge around the belly or make the thunder in the thighs.

No Magic Foods, Either 

So what foods help you lose weight fastest when you are doing sea buckthorn weight loss? Do you need to eat raw foods, and by that I mean raw vegetables and maybe fruit? Or do you need to emphasize lean protein? Or maybe even high-fat? How about taking sea buckthorn oil ten times a day?

No, I'm not telling you that you need to take sea buckthorn oil ten times a day. Take it with meals once or twice a day, just a scant teaspoon (2-3 ml) at a time. Don't take it between meals or when you are doing a short-term fast. Sea buckthorn is a not a magical fat burner. No particular food or combination of foods is, either.

You Have to Eat Less to Weigh Less, Or At Least to Have Less Body Fat

 The most helpful food for losing weight is no food at all. We lose weight by exercising more or by eating less. Since most of us can't do the the hours and hours of exercise it takes to trigger the enzymatic processes that fuel fat loss, we have to eat less.

Of course, just about every diet guru tells you that you need to eat more to weigh less. It's nonsense, but it sounds so good--and people will stay on the eat-more diets long enough to lose the receipt for the diet book so they can't take it back for a refund. It is simply not possible to lose fat and lose weight when you have more fatty acids going into your fat cells than you have going out.

And unless we have someone else measure our portion sizes for us (and sometimes even when we do) out appetites usually get the better of our brains. We all tend to eat more than we think we do.

People who eat 3 meals a day and snacks and lose weight either have spectacular willpower--and congratulations to those who do--or they have someone else counting calories for them. There's nothing wrong with using pre-packaged meals to lose weight if that's the way you need to do it. But there is another way to make sure you don't overeat when you are on a weight loss diet. Just stop eating. Don't eat any food at all for at least part of a day up to about 24 hours.

Short-Term Fasting Isn't for Everyone. Just Most People.

Some people can't go on fasts. If you take the same dose of insulin every day, you can't do a fast. If you take insulin and don't measure your blood sugar levels several times a day, you should not try to lose weight by fasting. If you have a glycogen storage disease or you have liver disease or you have been told by your doctor you have hypoglycemia, then you are going to go the calorie-counting, portion control route to weight loss.

Don't do any diet your doctor does not approve. But if you have the kind of middle aged spread that most of us do, then the best way to reduce your weight is to go at least a few hours without eating anything at all. Drinking water is OK.

The 17th Hour Is When Fat Burning Kicks In

Research scientists have known since the 1990's that short-term fasting enhances weight loss. The critical number is about 17 hours. When you don't eat anything at all for about 17 hours, your body runs through its supply of glucose stored as glycogen in your liver.

Since the liver combines four molecules of water with one molecule of glucose to make a single molecule of glycogen (the storage form of glucose that occurs in both your liver and your muscles), you lose both sugar weight and water weight fast. You can wake up the next morning 2 to 5 pounds (about 1 to 2 kilos) lighter if you just skip dinner and snacks.

The rate at which your body burns fat continues to increase from hours 17 to 24 and then evens out at a steady, higher rate. Since the body also needs protein and essential fatty acids, it's best to make sure you eat every single day. Just not every single meal. Skipping two meals in a row is enough to activate the changes in enzymes that help your body burn fat.

The research shows that even if you "make up" for missed food when you stop fasting, your body does not replace all the fat you lost on a short-term fast. Your weight will go up and down as you fast and eat, fast and eat, and so on, but over a period of weeks the long-term trend is downward. You don't plateau until you reach a relatively low level of body fat. It's important to understand that this is not a juice fast or a 3-hour fast or anything other than just not eating. If you go on a juice fast, you continue to supply your body with sugars.

As long as your body is burning sugars, your fat cells respond to an enzyme that keeps fat locked inside them in a solid form. This same enzyme also locks fatty acids outside your muscles so they burn sugar rather than fat. You might lose water weight if you go on a juice fat, but you won't lose fat mass.

Similarly, you don't need protein during the few hours you aren't eating. There is a popular and totally fabricated myth that we all need protein every 3 hours or our body will start breaking down muscle tissue to provide it.

Nonsense. The 3-hour diet people don't set their alarm clocks to eat protein in the middle of the night. Even they don't believe it. Our bodies do break down cells for protein--whether we are eating or not. The cells in our saliva and gastric juices contain complete protein.

Our own bodies are designed to provide us with about 100 grams of complete protein each and every day as long as stay hydrated. You do need to drink water even when you don't eat. And even when our supplies of individual amino acids run short, they don't run out in just 3 hours. It's more like 72.

Our tissues buffer our supplies of individual amino acids so that we don't absolutely have to have each and every amino acid at every meal, or even every day. Moreover, going without food for at least 7 hours (that's just overnight) activates the production of growth hormone.

Growth hormone locks proteins inside muscle so the body does NOT break them down. This process also keeps muscle intact for about 72 hours even when we don't eat. Add to that, sea buckthorn itself provides 16 different amino acids.

So while you don't take sea buckthorn while you are doing a short-term fast, either, it helps preserve muscle when you do. I know this is a hard concept, eating less to weigh less. But the simple fact is, if you lose weight, you're the one who does it. Your weight loss is never attributable to some pill or some food or even some combination of foods. Not even sea buckthorn oil. You get all the credit. And you develop your character and self-esteem as you lose weight by this method.

How Sea Buckthorn Helps You Lose Weight

Sea buckthorn helps fat burning kick in a little faster and fat storage take a little longer. It helps you burn fat and preserve muscle. But the real hero in your weight loss story will always be you.

Sea buckthorn just helps your weight loss efforts work a little better. OK, a lot better. Maybe a pound or two (about a kilo) a month, while you keep your muscle mass.

Just know that you absolutely, positively have to eat less to save muscle mass. I'm hoping to get a lot of questions about how all this works. If you want to read a book about by an expert in the field, I suggest Brad Pilon's Eat Stop Eat.

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