Friday, November 7, 2008

The Weird Results of Mike Geary's 6-week Overeating Experiment

The following is an interesting e-mail I received this morning:


My 6-week overeating experiment:

Here's the deal... I decided to use myself as a guinea pig and attempt an overeating experiment over the last 6 weeks.

Basically, I wanted to see how much weight I would gain if I purposely tried to overeat on a consistent daily basis for 6 weeks.

What do you think happened? Did I get fat? Maintain the same? Get leaner?

My theory was that if you eat the right types of super nutrient-dense foods and don't stray from those foods, that the body will automatically rebalance itself (hormones, appetite, etc)... and even though you're attempting to overeat, as long as nutrient-density is maximized, total calorie balance will inevitably end up at a level where I would not gain weight.

This goes along with my theory that calorie counting is basically pointless as long as your nutrient density of your foods is so high that the body obtains all of the nutrition it needs and re-balances your appetite and hormones to account for this.

Think of it this way... if you eat 1000 calories worth of soda, donuts, and cookies, your body needs to readjust hormone levels, increase your appetite and try to force you ingest more food to attempt to get more nutrients, since those 1000 calories were almost devoid of the nutrition your body needs.

However, if you eat 1000 calories worth of healthy foods with high nutrient density such as avocados, whole eggs, nuts, vegetables, fruits, grass fed meats, and other healthy options, your body obtains most of the nutrition it needs and accounts for this by leveling your appetite and hormones in the time period following that meal (the remainder of the day perhaps). In this scenerio, your body is not forcing you to eat more food (via cravings) to obtain the nutrition it needs since it already received a boatload of nutrition.

Ok, here were the caveats in my little experiment:

1. I couldn't just eat any and all types of foods... I would overeat on as much food as I wanted, but ONLY the foods that are "approved" according to my rules... this means all foods had to be unprocessed natural foods.

Some staples during my overeating phase were tons of whole eggs, full-fat grass-fed raw cheese and yogurt, avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, lots of virgin coconut oil and olive oil, grass-fed butter, berries, lots of fruit and veggies, sprouted grain bread, raw almond butter, sweet potatoes, and lots of venison and grass-fed beef.

2. I was still training very intensely 3-4 days/week at the gym but nothing extremely different from my normal workouts (this means that my caloric expenditure from exercise was not drastically different than normal).

The end result after 6 weeks of trying to stuff my face with as much healthy food as possible:

>> My body weight stayed EXACTLY the same! I didn't gain a single pound.

I know the first reaction of many people is that I just must have a "fast metabolism" or something along those lines and that's why I didn't gain weight.

But that is false!

The truth is that I have no problem at all gaining weight when I overeat on junk foods, or lots of processed foods in general. I can guarantee you that if I was overeating on pasta, white rice, cookies, white bread, and other processed foods during these last 6 weeks, I would have gained a massive amount of weight.

In fact, as I've mentioned before, in the past I've easily gained as much as 10 lbs in only 1 week when I've been on some sort of vacation and simply eat the normal types of processed foods that everyone else is eating.

This proves that I'm just as prone to gaining weight as anybody else.

However, notice the stark contrast in my experiment with attempting to overeat on all healthy unprocessed foods... I simply couldn't gain weight because my body would be constantly readjusting hormone levels and appetite levels to account for the super-high nutrient density I was giving it.

In the end, this meant that my body automatically maintained calorie balance without the need for calorie counting.

This is the type of eating that pretty much totally eliminates cravings... Remember I've said before that I don't think I've had any real cravings in at least 5 years (that's the time since I've been more strict on the type of foods I eat).

I also think it's actually fun and more enjoyable to eat in such a healthy manner (for the skeptics that think this involves some sort of deprivation).


Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer
Creator The Truth about Six Pack Abs

9 comments:

JOY said...

Wow! That is amazing. Or maybe it's not. maybe I should have expected those results. I want to try! Did you feel like you were over eating? Or did you really stop when you were full?

I love that you say you don't have cravings and you don't count calories. It really makes a lot of sense. I've said that I will always be a calorie counter because otherwise I overeat. But maybe it doesn't matter if I'm eating all good food. Very interesting....

Mickey said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Joy.

I'm glad you liked the article but since it was actually a guest blog written by Mike Geary, I can't answer your questions.

Andrew said...

wow. interesting experiment. i really enjoyed reading about how it all went down for you. i just came across this online social community for grass fed beef and sustainable agriculture. it's at http://www.grassfedparty.com I see that you mentioned grass fed beef in your story and thought you might be interested.

Good luck with everything!

Gomez said...

I've slowly realized that eating this way makes complete sense. It's the getting from here to there, knowing in your head how to manage cravings, yet giving in to the Crunchy Cheetos while stopping for gas at the Turkey Hill. Self-sabotage!


Gomez

Mickey said...

Hi Gomez,

You mentioned Turkey Hill, are you in the Lancaster area?

You are absolutely correct about eating. Even when you know what to do, it can be a challenge to make the healthier choice.

You need to ask yourself if your decision will take you closer or further away from your ultimate goal. If the answer is "further away", then you need to ask yourself if it's worth it. If you're really craving something, the answer may be "yes".

If so, your next decision should be to make the consequences as minimal as possible. Don't let one pack of Tastykakes be permission to go crazy the rest of the day and make sure you get your workout in.

A few nutrition slip ups will not ruin you; giving up totally will.

Good luck!

Vegan Bodybuilding said...

For me this is kind of a nightmare scenario. Upping the calories of healthy food, training hard & not 1 ounce of added lean muscular weight added!
For me it's all about adding mass without flab, & this seems to be suggesting that you'd only add mass by eating bad, which I don't agree with as I've seen it done. I'd assume the guy isn't training right or has his ideas of 'over eating' very wrong if he trained hard, over ate & failed to gain even 1 ounce of added muscle mass.

Pete http://veganbodybuilding.blogspot.com/

Marla said...

This is really interesting, but I feel like it's not a valid experiment - a possible alternative deduction is that Geary's particular genetic makeup and his particular metabolism will tend to balance out his energy equations no matter what he eats. To really be fair, he needs to do a 6-week junk food eating experiment.

I'm all for eating whole foods and natural foods, but my own anecdotal experience is that it's not a factor in weight loss or gain for me.

Mickey said...

Hi Marla,

Rule #1 is always Listen To Your Body.

That being said, you must have missed Mike's comments regarding those who would toss his experience off to a fast metabolism, etc. He said...


"The truth is that I have no problem at all gaining weight when I overeat on junk foods, or lots of processed foods in general. I can guarantee you that if I was overeating on pasta, white rice, cookies, white bread, and other processed foods during these last 6 weeks, I would have gained a massive amount of weight.

In fact, as I've mentioned before, in the past I've easily gained as much as 10 lbs in only 1 week when I've been on some sort of vacation and simply eat the normal types of processed foods that everyone else is eating.

This proves that I'm just as prone to gaining weight as anybody else."

Marla said...

No, I didn't miss that part, I just don't think it proved anything. He's mentioning a sort of anecdotal memory, he's not giving that side the same actual trial he did the whole-food side. He says he "guarantees" that he "would have" gained weight if he ate the same amount of processed food. That might very well be, but without having actually proved it, it's speculation.

He says he has gained weight in the past during one-week vacations. But what about a 6-week period? Maybe his body would begin to regulate his intake after the first week. What if he wasn't on vacation, but was exercising "very intensely" the way he did on the whole-food experiment? These are all possible factors.

I think his story is interesting, particularly the part about adjusting hormones and increasing appetite, enough so that I am planning to try my own version of it. I appreciate him sharing his experience with us. He has found something that worked very well for him.