Not a Diet Book: Take Control. Gain Confidence. Change Your Life.

Not a Diet Book: Take Control. Gain Confidence. Change Your Life.

by James Smith

Not a Diet Book is all about losing fat and having a leaner, cleaner lifestyle that is sustainable in the long run. The book covers topics from dieting and exercise to how you can consciously make better decisions in the long run.

Summary Notes

Consumer – Method – Principle

“The principle when it comes to fat loss is a calorie deficit.”

The market for weight loss plans offers an enormous number of different types of ways and methods to help a consumer reach their goal. When it comes to losing weight, the principle behind successful weight loss, however, is always fat loss. 

Take diets such as the 5:2, the ketogenic diet, 16:8/Intermittent Fasting (IF) and low-fat diet. These are all examples of methods that have been presented to consumers as ways to reach their goal (fat loss) however, the fact that all these methods share the common principle of achieving a calorie deficit is rarely explained. 

The goal is to fully integrate fat loss as part of your daily life, while also considering other aspects of your health. Instead of following a crash, fad diet (which often fails after a while!) , tailoring your diet and lifestyle to your unique needs and desires will help you practice good habits automatically and almost unconsciously.

Actions to take

The Calorie Deficit

“Unfortunately, when people come across new evidence confirming their existing belief they will trust it.”

A lot of people believe that a certain type of fad diet is better than the other. What all diets, however, have in common is that they restrict calories. The best way to create a calorie deficit is through both restricting calorie intake and increasing the amount of calories you burn through physical activity. For your overall health, it is important to balance these two strategies instead of just focusing on one.

Although the human body treats the calories of a potato and a chicken filet differently, the bottom line is the same: fat loss is always governed by calories in vs calories out. While some exceptions exist for people with certain medical conditions such as epilepsy and endometriosis, the route to fat loss is quite simple and tends to be similar for most people.

Actions to take

Fitness ‘Tracking’ and NEATUP247

“Small habits like this make a profound difference to our identities.”

How many calories you burn depends on your weight, height, age and how active you are. We need calories to produce energy for basic bodily activities. These can be grouped into four broad categories:

  • Resting (basal metabolic rate, BMR)
  • Exercising (exercise activity thermogenesis, EAT)
  • Processing food (thermic effect of food, TEF)  
  • Activity other than exercise (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, NEAT). 

These four components make up our daily activity level and determine many calories we need. By assessing the amount of calories we typically use for each of these components, we can have a better understanding of what activities will enable us to lose weight most efficiently. For example, although NEAT is an often overlooked aspect of weight loss, most people find that a significant amount of calories can be lost there.

Actions to take

Habits – #gettingshitdone

“Where you are is not important; where you are going is.”

Habits form who we are. The best way to reach our goals is to work for it repeatedly. What we do on a continuous basis eventually becomes a habit, and we reach our goals by cultivating the right habits.

When starting something new, it may take a little while before you start reaping the rewards. It is important to focus on the habit itself rather than instant gratification. With dieting in particular, eating more protein for muscle growth and fat loss is a good habit as is focusing on eating a variety of unprocessed ‘single-ingredient’ foods, vegetables, fruit and fibre. It may take a while before you start to see physical, tangible results, but the results will last for a long time.

Actions to take

Essentials for the Good Life

“Whether your goal is to perform better, gain more muscle or be slimmer, sleep plays a huge part and should be one of the first areas to audit.”

To live your best life, you need all the tools you can get to change your life for the better. Apart from fat loss, you can get a lot of different kinds of benefits from small changes. The two most important are vitamin D intake and sleep, and you should make sure you get enough of both of them. 

Higher vitamin D levels can improve depression, anxiety and mental-health outcomes. Sleep, on the other hand, can boost recovery, performance, cognitive function and sex drive. 

Additionally, sleep helps to avoid overeating and decreases the amount of cortisol our body produces under stress. An average adult needs around 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep is sometimes related to a disturbed circadian rhythm which is associated with sleep disorders and impaired health.

Actions to take

Understanding Diabetes Mellitus – For Everyone

”The key to reversing pre-diabetes or improving symptoms and effects of Type II must be to exercise as often as possible and to reduce body fat.”

Diabetes - a common and serious illness - is due to defects in the secretion or action (or both) of insulin. What insulin does is essentially help you regulate your blood sugar levels - without it, you will experience hyperglycemia, i.e., high blood sugar levels.

Due to long-term hyperglycemia (i.e., diabetes) you may experience long-term damage, dysfunction and failure of different organs, especially the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels. 

Type I diabetes results from the pancreas failing to produce enough insulin. 

Type II is a condition of insulin resistancy and reduced insulin production, and often a result of family history, poor diet, obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Insulin resistance means that the body cannot properly respond to insulin, so even if your body is producing sufficient levels, your blood sugar will not be regulated appropriately. However, training your muscles will increase insulin sensitivity at the muscle site as glucose will be forced to be used as fuel - even if you have insulin resistance!.

The third type of diabetes is called gestational diabetes and it is observed in women who exhibit high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy although never having received a diabetes diagnosis. 

Treatment for diabetes aims to keep blood glucose levels as normal as possible to reduce the risk of developing complications. While treatment depends on the type of diabetes you have, lifestyle modifications combined with medication like insulin jabs are often needed. Consult your doctor if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, or suspect you may have it.

Actions to take

Laws of the Universe

“If you put the effort in to find what works for your own long-term goals, rather than following the latest fad, you’ll be empowered and gratified – and you’ll be able to help others spot any bullshit that’s being peddled too.”

On your journey in changing parts of your identity, body and mindset, you can benefit from ways to clarify your thought processes and how you make decisions. By becoming aware how your mind can play tricks on you, you can make your life more successful and enjoyable. 

It is also important to recognize how the company you keep affects you. When creating changes, you may need to face difficult decisions.

Remember that confirmation bias can affect your thinking and decision-making. Shortly put, confirmation bias means that we have a tendency to believe things we already believe and, at the same time, we tend to ignore information that is not in line with our previous beliefs.

Actions to take

The Power of Numbers

“Everyone has averages to work with in all spheres of their lives.”

In many areas of life, practising something will produce results. For example, if you work in sales, not every prospect you speak to will lead to a successful sale. However, if you speak to a hundred people, you are likely to achieve success with at least one. This is known as the average rate of success. 

To manipulate your average rate of success, try, for example, to dress better to make more successful sales. Even if your average is not so great right now, the important thing is that you take steps to improve it.

Actions to take

Polarization – Your New Way to Be Intentionally Unpopular for a Better Life

“We shouldn’t change our identity for anyone, let alone for a false idealism that won’t make us happy in the long run.”

A lot  of people think they have enough friends but, in reality, they could do better. To find the people who truly like you for who you are, do not be afraid of becoming across as controversial or difficult. The people who can see the unapologetic, real, version of you, will be the people who love you for who you really are. Many of us tend to adjust who we are depending on who we are with, perhaps due to insecurities or anxieties that we won’t be accepted. However, there are always people who will love and accept the real you - but you certainly won’t find them by pandering to everyone!

You will be able to surround yourself with those you trust and form a community of like-minded people. Being unapologetically you contributes to creating the mindset you need for not only your success, but for better overall mental health too.

Actions to take

Effort and Ambition

“You’re harder than you give yourself credit for.”

Every person has the ability to work hard. The way to unlock this ability is to put your effort in the right place. If you cannot see results of your work and you feel demotivated, it could be that you are putting your effort in the wrong place. Simply put, you can see the desired outcomes when you focus on the right places and vice versa. 

Progression and development are part of reaching your goals. However, they are not linear. Instead, there are cycles of ups and downs, and it is important to focus our attitudes after we have a “down” day. 

Let your feelings of aggression help you, instead of frustrate and distract you. Remember, you can use aggression as a positive driving force to get out of bed in the morning when you are tired and go to the gym when you are not feeling it. Always make sure you have the right attitude to work hard in the gym and in everyday life.

Actions to take

Effort 2.0: The Beginning of ‘Overnight Success’ – Intention and Empowerment

“If I listen to my ego’s idealized portrayal of how I gained relative success, I run the risk of not recognizing the real fundamental pillars of what got me that success in the first place.”

Determination and hard work will help you get ahead in life. Make sure your daily actions are in line with your fitness goals. The cumulative effect of sticking to them brings you the results. In fact, seeing the results is a sign that you have been doing the right things to succeed. 

However, everyone eventually hits a plateau where we seem to fall off or flatten out on the trajectory of our success. Our ego often plays a big role in this by making us complacent and hitting this plateau. However, it is still the effort you put in on a regular basis and the good habits you practice that ensure lasting success. Make sure you stick to your good habits.

Apart from being complacent, the impostor syndrome can also cause you to fail. This syndrome refers to a pattern of behaviour where people have doubts in their own accomplishments and have a persistent, and often internalized fear, of being exposed as a fraud. More often than not, these fears are totally unfounded! 

On top of these, you may experience metabolic adaptation where your body adapts to your lower caloric intake by burning fewer calories. However, do not worry, as you can still continue with your diet. You will just have to make some adjustments to ensure you meet your targets.

Actions to take

Somatotypes and Sport Selection – Why You Don’t Need a New Diet

“You don’t pick your sport, your sport picks you.”

Somatotypes, ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph are a popular way to describe the different body types. However, there is not much scientific proof that understanding somatotypes can help you in dieting and exercise. So, although there are diets planned for each somatotype, they are rather unnecessary. 

Your general eating habits and activity levels play a much bigger role in how easily someone gains or loses fat or muscle. However, your body type can give you an advantage in certain sports. For example, tall people may find basketball easier, while people with long limbs and short torsos are more likely to excel at long-distance running. 

Actions to take

Fitness Fallacies

“In this section of the book, I want to dispel many common beliefs that you’ve probably been led to believe in your life so far.”

Become aware that In the world of fitness, there are a number of misconceptions and fallacies that are simply false. While there are fitness professionals who make money by selling these fitness fallacies, it is better not to believe what these charlatans say.

Dieting: When it comes to dieting, there is no such thing as a starvation mode. Instead, your energy needs become smaller as you lose weight. Successful dieters maintain daily activity levels. Most diet fads are just fads: the key to successful dieting is to eat less than what you consume. Also, you do not gain back the weight you lose if you stick to the habits that helped you lose the weight.

Exercise: You should not train too much, instead, think about the amount of exercise you can do without overexerting yourself. While it is very popular to split one’s gym program to more than three parts (focus on three different body parts in a week) or progressive overload (increasing the weight load progressively during one workout), they are not, however, necessary when it comes to muscle growth or fat loss. These are special programs that are tailored to help professional athletes. Ordinary people get the best results from being consistent with a basic program.

Supplements: No compounds or supplements burn fat. Some substances, such as caffeine and green tea, can increase the number of calories you spend while resting. The best supplements are whey protein and monohydrate creatine..

Actions to take

Female Fat Loss

“A woman’s physiology is unique because it is solely responsible for the survival of the human race.”

Men and women are different when it comes to dieting and exercising. Women’s bodies store fat more easily and they burn calories more slowly than men. Also, the menstrual cycle has an effect on how effective exercising and dieting are at different phases of the cycle.

During ovulation, women have more testosterone in their bodies making them stronger. The first two weeks before ovulation (the follicular phase) is the best time for dieting while the one-two weeks at the end of the cycle is when women feel a need to increase their food intake. 

Some women do not experience menstruation, due to pregnancy, testosterone and DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), low BMI, or excessive and strenuous exercise. If the latter is the reason for lack of menstruation, it is a good idea to do less exercise. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have a higher need for calorie intake which should also be taken into consideration.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition where you have physical cysts on your ovaries, can lead to a lower level BMR (basal metabolic rate - this affects how many calories you burn while resting) and has a higher risk for Type II diabetes. For that reason, resistance training is very important to women diagnosed with this disease. 

Actions to take

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