Become a Lean, Mean Prepping Machine: Weight Loss for Survival

If the SHTF, you aren’t going to live off your fat.  Trust me on this one. If anything, a great deal of excess body fat just might be the thing that kills you.

If you are truly serious about preparedness, getting into shape is one of the best preparations that you can make.  What if you had to bug out through the snow with a 25 pound pack on your back, dragging a sled with your toddler on it?  How far could you get before you collapsed?    Is your heart in condition to go out and swing an axe for a few hours in order to get wood ready for the fireplace?  Will your back go out when you try to clean up the debris on your property after a devastating storm?

You can have all the tools and prepper gadgets in the world but if your body is not fit and strong you will have great difficulty surviving a real long-term disaster.  If you are more than 30 pounds overweight, you are carrying the equivalent of a second bug-out bag when you head to the woods, causing your expended effort to multiply, which makes fatigue set in faster. Your family’s lives could one day depend on your ability to keep up with the youngsters.  Do you want them to have to wait while you haul your out-of-shape butt up the mountain?

The vows to lose weight and get in shape are the most common New Year’s resolutions.  The busiest month at a commercial gym is January, and then things taper off as people lose their resolve.  Programs like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and MediFast also rank January as the biggest months of the year for sales.

Fitness and nutrition are passions of mine. This month, I’m going to be writing about how those are two of the most important facets of your preps.  We have goals to reach, mountains to climb and disasters to survive!  So let’s get to it!

(Whether weight loss is your goal or not, these nutritional tips will help you get yourself into the best health of your life. )

You need to eat to lose weight – not starve!

One of the biggest reasons that diets don’t work for the long-term is that people don’t learn how to eat.  A diet is a period of deprivation, followed by the reintroduction of the same old eating habits.  This sets the dieter up for a constant “up-and-down” yo-yoing on the scale.

Instead of trying to slash calories or entire food groups, start off by simply eating real food.  (A really great website to learn about this is The Eat-Clean Diet.  Tosca Reno is an inspiring woman in her 50s who transformed her life and body at the age of 40. )

If you purchase ingredients instead of meals, you’ll notice an instant effect on your health and your waistline.  You want your food to be as close to nature as possible – unprocessed meat, fruit, vegetables, eggs, grains and dairy products.  Any item with an ingredients list needs to contain ingredients you can picture in your head.  Like this ingredients list for bread:  flour, water, yeast, sugar, salt.  Avoid those chemical ingredients that require 2 lines of text or sound like they could also clean your toilet and kill cockroaches!

A word on fat – all fat is not bad!  There are many different kinds of dietary fat.  If the majority of your fat intake is coming from plant sources, like olives, nuts, avocados and coconut, this is loaded with nutrients like essential fatty acids.  Cold water fish like salmon, mackerel and halibut are also great sources of EFAs.  You need these fats to maintain proper brain function (there is evidence that chronic depression can be positively affected by the addition of EFAs), the reduction of inflammation, and the prevention of several types of cancer.  Find out more info on healthy fats HERE.

You can be starving yourself of nutrients while eating thousands of calories.

There are a couple of numerous reasons that processed food makes you fat.  First of all, it isn’t actually food as nature intended.  During processing, nutrients are stripped away.  If this type of food is all that you consume, you begin to suffer from low-level malnutrition. Either you aren’t getting the nutrients you need or those nutrients are coming to you in a form that your body cannot use.  Your body says, “Hey, I need vitamins and minerals!” and compels your brain to continue seeking nutrients.  You continue to eat, but if you select more processed food-like substances, instead of actual food, the cycle continues.  You are ingesting thousands of calories per day but very few nutrients.

At the same time you are making over your eating habits, begin a vitamin habit.  Invest in some high-quality organic vitamins to replace those nutrients you’ve been missing over the years.  As you begin to load your body up with what it needs you will notice that you eat far less than you did before.  You will feel satisfied much sooner, causing you to naturally consume fewer calories – and you won’t have that feeling of deprivation that a “diet” gives you.  You will truly feel full because you have replenished the nutrients your body needs.

Kick the chemicals!

Some of the chemicals in processed foods act biologically to make you hungry.  Excitotoxins, like MSG, white sugar and aspartame, stimulate the same area of the brain that heroin does.  They excite the brain cells to the point of cell death, as a matter of fact.  At the same time, your body begins to seek that same pleasurable stimulation that it received (like a drug addict seeking more heroin) and this results in a feeling of hunger.  If that hunger is not satisfied with more of the same food/drug, it becomes a ravenous craving.  Think about the cliche of people feeling hungry a couple of hours after a Chinese meal – that is MSG at work.

Another chemical that makes you feel hungry is High Fructose Corn Syrup. (HFCS)  Not only is this banned from my home because of the likelihood of GMO corn, but because of the effect that HFCS has on the human body.  HFCS is molecularly similar to sugar (glucose) but it causes different hormonal reactions.  It does not reduce the amount of ghrelin in your body (that is the hormone that sends signals satiation and fullness to your brain.) Nor does it stimulate as much insulin production as glucose, which also tells your brain you are full.  This means when you eat an item sweetened with HFCS, you will eat a larger serving than one sweetened with sugar, because your brain is not getting the signal that you’ve had enough.

 This is the starting point.

Weight loss is a cumulative kind of thing.  Am I saying all you need to do to take off 100 pounds is eat clean?  No – there’s more to it than that.  But this is the ideal starting point.  If you begin to nourish yourself instead of just eating, you will begin to reduce your caloric intake naturally.  Depending on your goals, this may not be enough to reach them.  But Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the saying goes.  It was built by stacking one brick onto another onto another.

It sounds contradictory but deprivation is the cause of obesity.  If you are deprived of nutrients you will be unconsciously seeking those nutrients by eating everything in sight.  If the things you are eating are not giving you the nutrients you need, you are simply consuming empty calories and feeding nothing but your fat cells.

One of the things that makes this the easiest change you’ll ever make is that it’s a great way to feed the entire family.  Seriously – who wouldn’t benefit by eradicating the presence of nasty chemicals from the food they consume?  If you are the food-maker in your family, put nutrients on the table for everyone.  They may grumble a bit at first but trust me, they’ll get over it.  This isn’t a diet – this is nutrition!  After eating this way for a while, the cravings for crap will stop.  Even the kids will notice how well they feel eating food and how bad they feel eating junk.

Your most important preps are not what you buy.  They are your brain and your body.  If the SHTF next month, how would you fare with your current body?  Is there room for improvement?  Start today by nourishing your body, no matter what size you are.  That single step will set the wheels in motion to make you a lean, mean prepping machine!

Finally, where do you want to be 12 months from now as you begin another new year?  You’ll wish that you had started today if you read this right now and simply think, “Hmm.  I should do that.”


About the author:

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

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7 Comments  to  Become a Lean, Mean Prepping Machine: Weight Loss for Survival

  1. KY Mom says:

    Good advice!

  2. Don't Be Fooled says:

    iHealthTube has real health information that Prepper’s will enjoy because they aren’t afraid of the truth.
    http://www.ihealthtube.com

  3. Debby says:

    Mostly great advice, with just a few caveats (all more modern man-made causes, sadly):
    1) salmon etc. … WAS not only fantastic, but essential. Now, with Fuku and also Sellafield (UK, dumping into Irish Sea by Norwegian Salmon farming), plus most farmed fish being fed GMO soy, PLUS now with Aquabounty introducing unlabeled GMO salmon, sadly almost all seafood is more poison than nutritious. Was a staple of my diet, so not saying this lightly, but based on significant amount of research, and heavy heart. And look into newly released FOIA info on how the gulf of mexico seafood has been considered hazardous since 1970′s!!! Exacerbated by BP recently of course. Look up “NORM” which is basically created when oil rigs filter out the oil, leaving the natural radioactive elements to fall back into sea … by releasing the oil from underground and filtering, many prime fishing areas have become highly contaminated.
    2) grains … looking into the intentional mutation of the wheat grains (by way of radioactive means to mutate back in 60′s), coating seeds with mercury etc., etc., wheat triggers an inflammatory process that makes many in population sensitive to virtually all grains and dairy. Plus, in most european countries, they aren’t as grain-heavy in terms of diet as we are in US. Take the two-week challenge … eliminate grains and dairy and see how high a percent these two items are of your total diet!
    3) Thyroid. Thyroid. Thyroid. Unfortunately hypothyroidism of various forms (and particular auto-immune caused by inflammation related to, again, grains) means that something like 70% of women 40+ in US are now hypothyroid, making it VERY difficult to lose weight no matter what they do with diet. Other underlying causes of thyroid collapse include environmental exposures of numerous kinds, low iodine in diet (exacerbated, now, with lack of safe source of seafood, seaweed, etc.). Without treating thyroid, weight can go up 20%+ on a reduced calorie, all-natural diet :(

    • Daisy says:

      All excellent points, Debby. I have a fish article in the works – the contamination is terrible. Nearly as bad is the farming practices – nauseating – they are feeding farmed fish their own feces!

      I’ve read that about the grains as well. My research says that einkorn wheat is the closest to the wheat our ancestors ate. It’s interesting that you mentioned this because on one of the articles about wheat berries on this blog, in the comments, we were discussing whether or not an organic or old-fashioned wheat might cause less of a reaction in those with gluten issues.

      Thank you for the information – it is all excellent!

  4. mary says:

    Just saw the Lyn-Gyneat Plan on tv. This is based on the idea that everyone has a unique body chemistry and it is not how much or how little you eat, but actually what you eat. Even very healthy foods may cause an inflammatory response in some people. I haven’t looked into it thoroughly, but did pick up the first tip. Drink half your body weight in water daily. I forget to hydrate that much, especially in the winter when you don’t feel thirsty. Also drink dandelion tea to cleanse and jump start the liver.

  5. David says:

    I have struggled with weight the greater portion of my life. I have lost weight numerous times only to gain it back without fail. I have hope that this time will be different. I have tried clean eating before and have no real reason why I quit. I had success but for some reason just gave up.

    Anytime I have ever exercised prior to this venture, included only cardio, no resistance training.

    My business is seasonal. I only work from March until the end of November so that leaves December, January and February for me to do nothing. I knew I needed to do something for one to not go crazy with cabin fever but also I did not want to struggle physically when my season begins like I did last year.

    The gym down the road had a good deal on memberships and allowed you to purchase a 3-month trial to you were not committed to an entire year that you may or may not use. It also came with 4 sessions with a personal trainer.

    I started my odyssey December 3, 2012 and have made it a daily goal to be active and make healthy food choices. I have made it 46 days now of being active. I know there are people who proclaim you should not work out every day. I don’t look at it as working out. My goal is not to be a body builder but to be functionally fit.

    I work with weights for the first time in my life. I have lowered my body fat % by 5 points. The number on the scale is not moving but my trainer and also personal research has shown me that the biggest gain in muscle mass is gained by beginners. I have lost many inches from my waist, hips, and neck. So by decreasing my size but not my weight, I am exchanging muscle for fat. It is a misnomer that muscle weighs more than fat. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat both weigh a pound but the muscle is more dense and therefore takes up less room in the body.

    There is no magic pill. There is no lose weight quick diet or exercise program that works. If there was, all the others would have disappeared and that would be the only one people followed. The tried and true method of eating lean protein, whole grains, leafy greens, good fats, and drinking only water along with exercise that gets your heart rate up is the healthy method I have chosen.

    • Daisy says:

      Congratulations, David! What an awesome story.

      The scale DOES NOT MATTER. If I could only persuade people to believe that one thing, their lives would change. I don’t own one – I got rid of it long ago. I changed from working in an office to a very physical life style and I eat clean. Those changes allowed me to drop several clothing sizes and likely quite a few pounds as well.

      I’m really happy to hear about the changes that you’ve made – I hope fitness remains a lifelong commitment for you!

      Daisy

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