Why Did You Write THE CALORIE MYTH With Author Jonathan Bailor
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Jonathan: This course is really for anyone who eats and exercises and I know that seems a little bit silly, but in reality we all like to be in the know. We want to know current events, we want to know what’s going on and we want to know the truth. As people that’s just the way we are wired. I get so fired up about what we are going to learn about today because when it comes to eating and exercise, we just haven’t been told the truth.
Often times it’s not because anyone is malicious or trying to hurt us, it’s just that we continue to get told the same things we have been told for 50 years. If you think about any other area of our lives, we don’t use the same phones we used five minutes ago, but we do use the same eating and exercise guidance as we did 50 years ago and it’s not working. The good news is there has been so much radical progress that if we can just educate ourselves in the modern science of eating and exercise, you will see how simple slim can become and how healthy is a the default state, not something you need to struggle and work for constantly.
So, very exciting and very — what’s more important than feeling great and being able to do whatever we were all put here to do to the best of our abilities. None of us were put here to count calories, I can guarantee you that. No matter what your belief system, you were not put here to do math when you sit at the kitchen table and you were not put here to spend your life on a human hamster wheel. Health is to enable you to do other things to help others, to make the world a better place and if health is complicated and requires your conscious thought always, you are not able to do that; and we are going to free you. We are going to free you from all of this complexity and all these myths by breaking down the science and giving you the tools you will need to be healthy and slim forever not just for the next 21 days or 7 days. Sounds good?
Audience: Sounds great.
Jonathan: Awesome. All right, so The Calorie Myth is the name of the upcoming book that covers all of the fun stuffs we are going to talk about today and the basic thesis of that book and the thesis of our many, many hours together over the next two days is, what if everything we were taught about health and fitness was wrong? Well, if that was true, we would probably expect skyrocketing rates of obesity. We would probably expect skyrocketing rates of diabetes. We would probably also expect skyrocketing rates of dieting and of exercise because that’s what we were told to do, that is what we are doing and we are getting worse. We are trying harder and getting worse and that’s unacceptable, that’s unacceptable in other area of life and it’s unacceptable for health and fitness as well.
How did we get to this place and how did I get to this place because – as Kendra-[??] so kindly introduced, my background is actually in technology in addition to biology. I am actually a senior program manager at Microsoft as my second job in addition to doing health and fitness research. People are like “How? What? That doesn’t make any sense.” So before we get started I would like to share with you a story of my journey to this — what has now been 13 years, over 1000 studies and over 10,000 pages of research — collaboration with top doctors and researchers all around the world. I am so honored to have guests all around the world, that’s so cool. We are talking Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, Yale, just all around the world, the most brilliant minds.
Why? Why did I do all this? My previous life, prior to Microsoft was as a personal trainer and even way before that — let’s go way back — I was a very, very skinny, geeky child. I had the opposite problem most people have, I was too thin. I was one of those naturally thin people and I was raised in a house with two professor parents. So both parents are college professors, you could imagine our dinner conversations were little less Kardashian oriented and little more Plato and Socrates oriented. So, a very geeky, skinny kid who has a much older brother, a much older brother, who’s 10 years older than I am and extremely athletic. So, you know, I wanted to be like my older — I also really liked Superman, I wanted to be like Superman and I am geeky intrinsically, like that’s just the way I am. So, I wanted to be like my older brother, geeky household, very academic parents.
What did I do? I did the same thing everyone else does. I studies popular literature, read muscle magazines, read anything I could find at the library, went so far actually to become a personal trainer. The way I paid my way through college was working at Bally Total Fitness in Columbus, Ohio, as a trainer. Also did independent training and it was in that professional experience that my life changed dramatically because two things happened. One, I wanted to get bigger. My mission for myself personally at that time was to get bigger. I wanted to be a big, strong football player, I kid you not and I am not exaggerating, I would eat, and I had the excel spreadsheet showing this, up to 6000 calories per day and the only way to do that is I would take a double shot glass of olive oil and I would just shoot it with every meal because try to eat 6000 calories of food without using weight gain or shakes is very hard actually.
So I am eating 6000 calories per day, doing no cardiovascular exercise, the type of exercise we are traditionally told to do a lot of like jogging and things like that, but as a trainer that’s not at all what my clients were doing. My clients were doing the exact opposite. Most often it was like 80 percent plus, they were female, but not always, over the age of 35 and often having family, so very time constraint. They wanted to get smaller while I wanted to get bigger. I told them to do what everyone else tells everyone else to do because it’s what we have been taught. It’s what all the experts in the field have been taught and it’s what was thought of as truth 50 years ago, but has been since disproven, but that hasn’t been shared with us yet and that’s to just eat less and exercise more.
I would start these brilliant clients out on 1600 calories per day. That wouldn’t work, so we drop in to 1400. They would feel worse and feel tired, but they weren’t losing weight. So we drop in to 1200 and they felt even worse and even more tired, so I said “You know what? You just need to exercise more.” So instead of coming to see me three days a week, I am actually going to charge you twice as much which worked out well for me from an economic perspective, but now you need to exercise for 60 minutes a day, 90 minutes a day. You are just skipping breakfast, actually you know what, skip lunch too. No pain, no gain, right? The fact that it hurts and the fact that you feel terrible trying to become healthy which in and of itself sounds a little weird, but at that time, I didn’t have that realization. It was you are not trying hard enough and that’s — I thought that way for about a year and then I took a step back because I noticed also I wasn’t getting bigger.
Here I have one person, one Homo sapien, we are all the same species. Jonathan Bailor, at that time I was about 18, 19 in that range, 6000 calories a day, not really exercising, not gaining weight. I was going to the bathroom a lot, but I wasn’t gaining a lot of weight, no way actually. Then you have other Homo sapiens, 1200 calories per day, exercising more, not losing weight, how can that be possible. How does that work? I started to think to myself and I have never actually shared this, I was one of those people — and I feel so bad about this — I was one of those people that as a naturally thin person I would look at people who are not as fortunate as I was genetically and I would be like, What’s wrong with you? Just try harder, but then I thought to myself what if someone who was like naturally muscular, told me, Clearly Jonathan, you are not eating enough, you should just try harder to get bigger.
I couldn’t and these brilliant clients were trying harder to slim down and they couldn’t despite what we were doing. It wasn’t because we were morally weak, it wasn’t because we were gluttons. It was — as I now know after this 13-year journey — because we were using the wrong information. We were given the wrong toolset and we did not achieve our results as would be expected if you have the wrong toolset. Once I came to this realization that it’s not because people are dumb or lazy, but rather that they are trying extremely hard. It’s not working and often times if you try extremely hard and something doesn’t work, you develop this thing called “learned helplessness,” which is when you try and no matter — like you are trying harder and you are getting worse. You learn that you are helpless, that there really isn’t anything you can do, so you give up and then you also fall prey to charlatans and scams that promise you results that can never be true — pills, powders, potions, etc.
When I made this discovery, I experienced this sense of sadness and failure. Two things, I was making people less healthy and my job and my mission was to make people healthier and to feel better about themselves. My approach to doing that made them sicker and feeling worse about themselves. I believe that anyone, who at their heart wants to help people, if you see that what you are doing is hurting them, your have an obligation to take a step back and say, something is wrong here and it’s probably not the other people; maybe it’s the information. So, that’s what happened. I said “I literally cannot go into work anymore because this isn’t working.”
So you’re probably wondering why I gave all this background information about my family; that’s when the geeky side of mine turned on and I was at a loss. I was doing what I was taught as a trainer, it wasn’t working. So I said, “What other options do we have?” Parents are college professors; there are other resources out there; there are academic journal articles; there is primary research; there is endocrinologist; there is neurobiologist; there are people who study your gut bacteria. There are fields involved in metabolic regulation that we never even think about. We talk to personal trainers, we talk to dietitians, but where do they get their information? Actually where do those people get their information? And actually, where do those people get their information from and then you end up in the space of this really dense academic journal articles that you can’t just read often.
PubMed is a brilliant resource for people that know about it, but a lot of these journal articles, you have got to pay subscriptions to and even if you can get access to them, try reading them. They are not like Men’s Health. So, I started reading these and after about a year I started to learn how to read them, they started to make a little bit more sense and I immediately was shocked at the disconnect between what I was taught as a trainer. There is this chiasm between what the modern actual demonstrative clinical research had proven and what I was taught as a trainer, and what we hear about all day, every day; it was shocking.
I took it a step further because I am not a doctor, so I need a little bit of help to understand these things, so I would call these researchers and I would e-mail them because on most academic papers, the researchers’ e-mail addresses were right there — because nobody reads them, so they don’t have to worry about getting too many e-mails — and interestingly enough if you call someone whose job is to do research and you tell them, “Hey! brilliant person, you are brilliant. Will you share your brilliance with me?” I want to share it with the world. They are often very accommodating.
I ended up spending, at this point, upwards of almost 15 years, so like from the age of 18, 19 — I am in my early 30s now — so over 10 years, just stepping back from what I was taught and saying, what is proven not what I was taught, what has been proven by the primary scientific research, no one’s opinions. In fact, we joke around often in the support group that biology isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of fact, just like you can study what happens when you ingest penicillin and it’s pretty predictable. You can study what happens when you ingest eggs and it’s pretty predictable. So 15 years later, about 1300 studies, we ended up at this crazy conclusion that to heal your metabolism — to take those clients who couldn’t lose weight no matter how little they ate, and this person who couldn’t gain weight no matter how much he ate.
What is the actual differences in the brain chemistry between these two people? Or in the hormonal balance between these two people? Or even in the gut bacteria between these two people; what is going on in like this person? The answer clearly isn’t just eat less, exercise more for this person. The answer is clearly not just eat more, exercise less, so what is the answer? How can these people make their bodies work more like these people? [indiscernible 14:57] get hell of a workout during this session and what we found was surprising, really surprising, but actually when you think about it, it’s actually not surprising at all, here’s what I mean.
The title of the course was Eat More, Exercise Less and that’s the subtitle of the book The Calorie Myth. How to eat more, exercise less, lose weight and live better, which seems really counterintuitive, except that we have been doing, eat less, exercise more while getting worse. So it actually isn’t that crazy to think that the opposite might give you the opposite. We will prove that out and that’s what’s cool is you don’t have to take my word for it. In fact, I would urge you please don’t take my word for it and don’t take anybody’s word for it. Biology isn’t a matter of opinion; it’s a matter of fact. It doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what’s been proven.