Most people come to the Primal Blueprint because they want to lose weight. Ask any purveyor of a specific diet and they’ll say much the same thing. The majority of people are interested in dropping body fat, looking good naked, and fitting into their clothes. The interest in overall health, fitness, and lifestyle tends to develop organically out of that. Come for the weight loss, stay for the blue-blocking goggles.
There’s a tendency to view weight loss as superficial compared to the other stuff. That’s a mistake. Weight loss isn’t just about belt notches and positive experiences with mirrors. It confers measurable and, most importantly, tangible benefits to health, happiness, and daily functionality almost immediately. Fat loss, it turns out, isn’t a flighty pursuit. It solves a lot of serious problems and makes some really cool things happen.
This one depends on the manner in which you lose weight. If you’re starving yourself, forcing a low-fat, high-carb diet, willing yourself to reduce calories despite your physiology clamoring for more food, you’ll be hungry—maybe hungrier than you can even handle. If you go Primal on the other hand—higher fat, lower carb, plenty of protein, a focus on nutrient density—you probably won’t be very hungry. You’ll become fat-adapted, which lets you coast effortlessly for hours between meals. Instead of snacking on whatever garbage they put out in the office, you snack on your adipose tissue.
That’s the real secret about exercise and weight loss: The relationship is reversed. While the right kinds of exercise can certainly make fat loss more effective and help you retain lean mass during dieting, most people are surprised to discover that losing weight makes them want to move. One reason is that a lighter body makes movement less onerous. You can do more things without those extra 40 pounds. You can climb higher, hike longer, do more pullups and pushups, jump farther, run faster. Physical exertion is more fun and rewarding when you’re not lugging around extra weight. As we all know, intrinsic reward makes you more likely to stick to a workout plan.
You’re suddenly tapping into a virtually inexhaustible reservoir of energy—your own body fat. When your insulin is controlled, and you can release and burn fat as needed, your energy levels are remarkably consistent. If you’re losing body fat, you’re burning body fat for energy, and it’s a nice clean burn. The steady release of energy you experience with fat loss is a far superior experience to the ups-and-downs of regular glucose infusions.
You’re More Productive
Studies show, with some equivocation, that weight loss improves employee productivity. Part of this is psychological. You look better, feel healthier, and that overall improved mood translates into more confidence and better output at work. But it’s also physiological. You’re sleeping better. You have more energy. You think more clearly.
You might notice a common thread running through all these changes: Many of them both perpetuate and are perpetuated by weight loss. You lose weight, and exercise is more fun and your joints don’t hurt as much, so you exercise more, and lose more fat and gain more muscle. You lose weight and suddenly your sex life improves, so you stop satisfying your pleasure centers with junk food, and you lose even more fat. Better sleep begets a lower desire for junk food, better insulin sensitivity, and faster workout recovery, allowing further fat loss.
Fat loss gets the ball rolling. Everything begins improving downstream of those first few pounds lost. Losing weight makes all the other positive changes to your healthy lifestyle easier, more effective, and more sustainable.
What are your favorite “side” symptoms of losing weight? What benefits weren’t mentioned in today’s article? Let me know down below.
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.