Elimination Protocol (AKA Give Your Bod A Fighting Chance)
The place to start if you’re serious about giving your wobbly bits the old one-two is with an elimination “blast”, which simple means dodging all the food that make you fat and messes with your hormonal mojo…
The main things to ditch are set out in detail below but, in brief, they are: processed foods (the largest source of toxicity and malnutrition), sugar, alcohol, caffeine, wheat and other starchy carbs, and dairy. Hold on a sec…
I’m not saying you have to be a complete saint when it comes to your diet, but you need realize that these food sources are making you fat and unhealthy and if you want to reverse these effects, you need to cut them down.
There are different ways to go about this…
- Dodge all the nasty food for 3-4 weeks
- Dodge all the nasty food with a intermittent breaks
Now, some peeps can get amazing results using method #1. However, I’ve found that most peeps need a break of some sort, otherwise they go crazy! So…
I recommend method #2 for most peeps, which means cutting out the nasties for 3-5 at a time and giving yourself some flexibility to have a slice of cake, etc for 1-2 days.
On my Lean In 19 program, we actually do 4 days of cutting out the junk completely and then on day 5, we have the flexibility to eat whatever we want (within reason).
Why does a “diet break” work so well?
Well, it’s more of a psychological rest than anything, which helps keep us focused AND more importantly, it keeps us from falling off the wagon in spectacular fashion.
As a long-term plan, this is what I do…
Monday to Friday (afternoon) I mostly eat “clean”, bar a few squares of dark chocolate and perhaps a slice of home made cake that Mrs has made. Through the weekend I give myself some “diet flexibility”, so that I can enjoy my time out with friends and family without having to worry about what I’m eating.
These guidelines that I’m giving you are in fact, your foundations. If you can stick to these guidelines for 70-80% of the time, then you’ll lose weight and improve your health. I’ve not doubt about it, but you need to work on them over the coming weeks and months.
You see, there are tons of people out there who start a new diet everyday. Yet, if you haven’t got your foundations in place as soon as you stop whatever the diet is, then any fat you’ve lost will come back with a vengeance! So…
Use the elimination protocol to give your body a fighting chance of losing fat and keeping it off for good.
Yes, you can add other layers to this protocol to speed up your results, which we do in my Lean In 19 program, but for now concentrate on getting these foundations in place.
Clear Out The Cupboards
Okay-dokey, it’s time to have a clear out, so let’s look at some of the foods you need to avoid…
The reason for cutting out processed foods is that they’re high in saturated fats, preservatives, sugar and salt, none of which are good for us.
Processed foods are the kinds of things you’ll find in ready prepared packets, trays and containers; or microwave foods.
They’re usually full of E numbers, hydrogenated fats and all sorts of ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Cut them out, they’re no good.
Next on the elimination list is sugar, more specifically refined sugar.
Any sugar that’s in your diet should come from fruit and vegetables rather than the refined sorts that you find in cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks, sweets, etc.
Sugar rots the hard enamel of the teeth, so imagine what it does to the soft tissues inside our bodies! Sugar is also linked to heart disease, dementia, and a whole host of other metabolic diseases.
Ideally you should automatically reduce your sugar intake when you cut out processed foods, but one to look out for in particular is fructose corn syrup.
This sweetener is the worst kind of sugar, so try to avoid it at all costs as the metabolic effects of a calorie from fructose are completely different to a calorie from other nutrients, including other sugars, and these metabolic differences explain its links with so many metabolic diseases.
Although fructose is a natural component of many foods, it is fructose corn syrup that causes the real issue.
Fructose corn syrup is highly processed to create a very sweet taste. It has become a favourite of many food manufacturers as it’s cheaper and much sweeter than regular table sugar (sucrose).
Around 30 years ago, when the media jumped on the low fat bandwagon, food companies started to add ‘healthy’ low fat or light options to their product range.
Unfortunately, by taking out the fat they also removed the flavour.
So what did they do? They threw fructose corn syrup into the mix.
The problem is that our livers are unable to deal with this highly processed form of fructose as they would do other sugars.
Instead of passing on the majority of the energy to the organs, muscles and tissues, the liver stores a large proportion of the energy as plain old fat.
This process also creates a long list of waste products and toxins which affect the functions of many other cells and tissues, leading to more belly fat and a whole host of disease potential.
You need to eliminate alcohol from your diet (as much as possible).
As most people’s biggest vice, I can already hear the groans of discontent.
But, at the risk of sounding like a condescending parent, it is for your own good.
I make my personal training clients cut out alcohol for 28 days as an all-or-nothing rule. It’s no booze, or no training.
The first (and simplest) reason you should cut out alcohol is because it is essentially liquid calories.
It adds hundreds of calories that your body doesn’t need and that result in your body storing more unsightly fat.
Alcohol also increases cortisol, the hormone which is responsible for waistline weight.
The less alcohol you have in your body, the less cortisol you’ll produce.
When you drink alcohol, even if it’s just a couple of glasses of wine, you cause fat metabolism to decline by up to 30%. That is massive!
In other words, while your body is burning off the alcohol it’s not burning off any fat and even if you’re training hard you will have to work a whole lot harder to catch up with the person who’s not drinking just to get the same results.
By getting on the wagon for just a short period of time you will give your fat loss mission a real boost.
Plus, it won’t do any harm to your general health and well-being. Your liver will certainly thank you.
Eliminating alcohol from your diet will also be good for your quality of sleep.
If you’ve had a big night out, when you get home and your head hits the pillow you’re out for the count. But is it good sleep?
You might wake up every couple of hours, feel like you’ve got Gandhi’s flip-flop in your mouth, need the toilet and stumble around. This is not good sleep.
You are more likely to make poor food choices as well, either at the end of the night (kebabs, burgers, chips), or the next day.
You never really feel like having a chicken salad for lunch the day after a big night out, am I right? More likely it will be a greasy fry-up followed by a carb heavy meal later in the day.
So, you can see that for a multitude of reasons the smart cookies cut out the juice while training.
Some of you will probably be thinking that you can’t possibly cut caffeine out of your diet because you really need to have your morning tea or coffee.
More than anything, this is probably just habitual. You need to try and kick this habit.
The reason I recommend cutting out caffeine is because it increases your heart rate and your blood pressure.
Caffeine causes a surge in blood sugar, which gives you a boost of energy; and then it sends you on a metabolic roller coaster.
You’re at the top, you’ve got a nice boost of energy, but then you come crashing back down.
And when you crash down, you end up craving more of the sugary foods and starchy carbs that we know aren’t good for you.
Caffeine is also a diuretic. It dehydrates you and prevents you from flushing out the toxins from within your body.
This is one of the reasons that being hydrated helps when it comes to burning excess fat.
If you are a ‘several cups a day’ person then I might as well warn you now: you will experience withdrawal headaches the first few days without caffeine, it’s a given, but once they have worn off you’ll be on easy street.
Wheat/Gluten and Other Starchy Carbs
Wheat is everywhere!
It is found in all sorts of foodstuffs: bread, pastry, pasta, cakes, cereals, biscuits, all sorts of yummy things that can be difficult to avoid. But avoid them you should, and I am going to tell you why.
Wheat can cause an auto-immune disease, whereby your immune system goes into overdrive to fight off foreign bodies it detects in your system (wheat particles) and, in doing so, becomes run down.
This was certainly my experience with wheat when I was growing up. If I had a big night out with friends, I didn’t get enough sleep, or missed a meal, I’d become run down almost instantly. I’d have a runny nose, my hayfever would kick off and I’d need a lie down to re-charge.
I didn’t understand why until several years ago when I visited a kinesiologist on the recommendation of a friend.
This fantastic practitioner explained to me that my symptoms indicated a leaky gut (nice) and because of the copious amounts of bread I’d eaten over the years (and other poor food choices, for that matter) I’d developed a yeast infection via my ‘leaky gut’.
This, in turn, caused my body to become acidic and overrun with yeast proteins.
You see, wheat contains lectins which bind to the outer lining of the digestive system, allowing proteins to pass through into the blood. The immune system has to try to mop up those proteins and get rid of them but in doing so becomes run down. And that’s what was happening to me. Sound familiar at all?
Apart from this, wheat can also cause bloating and bowel complaints and it can block nutrient absorption. If we don’t get enough of certain nutrients, our bodies face a multitude of problems, not least that our hormones won’t work in the way that we need them to and I have already touched on the importance of hormone balance.
By ‘starchy carbs’ I mean the foods in the grain food group: pasta, bread, cereals, rice – and also potatoes, chips and crisps.
They’re probably the foods that you really love to eat, but they’re also the foods that have probably caused you to become overweight.
Too many starchy carbs elevate your blood sugar level. Your body releases insulin to deal with the blood sugar and route it to your cells for energy.
If we continue to munch a high carb diet, over time our bodies become de-sensitised to the effects of insulin and the delivery of blood sugar to our muscles stops functioning efficiently.
Our blood sugar levels remain too high and so the body starts to divert blood sugar instead to fat cells for storage or to the liver (which has a similar effect on the liver to that of alcohol poisoning), neither of which is a good thing. So, put down the cake and step away from the bakery!
As a boy, I remember drinking milk as if it were going out of fashion.
“Drink your milk so you have healthy teeth and bones”, I was told and I’m pretty sure you grew up being told something similar.
In actual fact, drinking milk is not good for us and has serious questions to answer in respect of our health.
Not all milk is bad: take human breast milk, for example. Human breast milk was designed for people, just like cow’s milk was designed for cows (not human beings).
Cow’s milk consumption has been linked to breast cancer, diabetes, kidney stones, acne, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis and, bizarrely, osteoporosis even though milk is supposedly a good source of calcium.
There are a variety of myths surrounding milk consumption…
One of the first myths is that drinking milk creates healthy bones because of the calcium found in the milk. However, the animal protein found in milk actually depletes the human body of calcium, exactly the opposite of what milk drinkers expect it to do.
Milk, like all animal proteins, acidifies the body’s blood pH level which in turn triggers a biological correction (our bodies don’t like to be too acidic).
You see, calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer. And the biggest store of calcium is in our bones. The very same calcium that our bones need to stay strong is used to cancel out the acidifying effect of milk. Once calcium is pulled out of the bones, it leaves the body via our urine, so that the (perhaps) surprising net result after this process is an actual calcium deficit.
Another milk myth is that by drinking milk you will help reduce bone fracture and prevent osteoporosis, but the evidence suggests that high milk consumption is linked to an increase in bone fractures for exactly the reason I have outlined above.
Of course, milk is actually a processed food undergoing pasteurisation and homogenisation. These two processes are thought to cause a long list of digestive and other health problems. Cows are often given growth hormones and antibiotics to increase milk production and prevent disease and these toxic substances inevitably end up in their milk, which certainly isn’t a good thing for human beings.
You may have already asked the question “do I need to steer clear of all dairy?”
Well the answer is “not necessarily”.
There are unsweetened, cultured dairy products such as yoghurt, kefir, and sour cream that are acid neutral and so won’t cause calcium loss. However, if you do feel the need to drink milk then my favourite alternatives include rice milk, coconut milk and almond milk. Almond milk actually tastes very similar to cow’s milk and also has an alkalising effect on the body that is very beneficial. Just watch out for those containing added sugar and avoid them.
I know there is a lot to take in after reading this page and it might seem a little like I’ve just ruled out everything that you’ve ever eaten. But there is good reason: by dodging these foods as much as possible, we can get your hormones functioning properly, improve your health AND burn excess body fat. Worth an ickle bit of sacrifice, no?
And don’t forget, I’m not expecting you to be saint when it comes to all of this, but it should be something you’re constantly working on if you want to improve your body shape, health and well-being.