Erik is Always Right: Nina’s Big Fat Surprise

This is my least favorite household phrase that gets uttered much too often: Erik is always right.

Do you have a special person in your life who thinks he/she is always right? And doesn’t it just really irk you when that person actually turns out to be right?! (Like, all the freaking time?)

I’ll never forget one of the first ever nutrition lessons I learned from Erik about 12 years ago. I was complaining about how I was eating “so healthy” but my weight loss efforts had plateaued. He glanced at my computer screen which showed my daily percentages of my macronutrient intake from My Fitness Pal.

“Oh, well you’re eating too many carbs. You’re hardly getting any protein.” 

I’ve told this story before; you may have even heard it. Erik spent the next twenty minutes explaining why I needed more protein, less carbs, and how I should look for foods that contained more grams of protein per serving than it did grams of carbs.

DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT WAS for me at first? I spent hours in the grocery store. But he was right, you know. I needed more protein. I burned much more fat when eating more protein.

But that’s not the end of the story. 

While Erik explained how I needed more protein in my diet, I equated his lesson to that of the ever-popular “Atkins” and “South Beach” diets.

Me: Oh, so you just go low-carb like Atkins. I did that once and got horrible headaches and skipped a period for two months.

Him: Well, sort of. You balance your nutrients better and time your carbs.

Me: Time my carbs?

Him: Yeah, eat them peri-workout.

Me: Peri huh?

Him: Around your workout. Before, during, after. Eat low carb the rest of the day and really high protein. Like whatever you weigh, eat that many grams of protein.

Me: Stunned silence. Oh.

Erik went on to tell this story about a time when he was in college and a girl was complaining of wanting to lose weight for beach week which was coming up too soon. He told this chick to stop eating carbs two weeks before her trip. Just eat protein and fat and she would lose weight. I think the chick told him he was crazy and that would never work. But a few years later, Atkins published the low-carb, high protein and fat diet.

Dammit, Erik had been right all along. 

Erik even went as far to tell me, “Do not worry about cholesterol (in your food) and saturated fat. Most experts will tell you those things are scary and awful but the legit science doesn’t show that.”

So yesterday, Erik sends me an email. He’s furious (well not really furious but definitely frustrated). Why? Because Yahoo published this article:

A change of heart, cholesterol may not be as bad as once thought.

The article promotes “eating fat to lose fat.” And the chick in the video–Nina, who claims to be the “unofficial spokesperson of high fat diets” says, “The top government expert says that we no longer recommend a low fat diet. It’s just that, that word has not gotten out to the public yet.” 

Not gotten out to the public yet? Wh-WHAT?!

Nina Teicholz’s book on this subject is called The Big Fat Surprise. The book supposedly chronicles how Nina lost weight by eating foods higher in saturated and polyunsaturated fats in lieu of foods high in carbohydrates. Well I’ve got a big fat surprise for Nina. The fitness industry has been saying this for YEARS. Hell, Erik has been saying this for over a decade.

Why are people not listening? Why has it taken this long for the FDA to re-evaluate its dietary standards which so many of us already know are horribly written? And WHY in the WORLD doesn’t Nina see a different doctor, one who’s up-to-date on scientific evidence that PROVES eating meat, vegetables, eggs, cheese, and even butter is okay to do?!

Erik told me not to let my emotion show in this post. Oopsie. 

But this is frustrating. Do you know how many questions I receive daily about food? What to eat? When to eat? How much to eat? What not to eat? What to drink? Why this, how about that, why not this, and what about that?! Do you know how frustrating it is to tell people you respect and care about that eating a steak is healthier than consuming whole-wheat pasta, only to have those same people roll their eyes at you?

It hurts. 

I don’t know it all and I don’t claim to. And half the time (or more) I ask Erik what he thinks. He is, frustratingly, almost always right.

But when I try to help people, so many times it seems as if I get looked at as if I might be crazy. You eat bacon? You don’t eat as soon as you wake up? You drink coffee? I can have a donut after I workout?

And then they’re gone. Lost again. Still plateauing and still eating too many carbs for breakfast.

The rules are actually really simple. If you lift weights, eat like this:

  • Protein, fat, and veggies for all your meals
  • Protein and fat and veggies for all your snacks
  • Complex carbs and protein before your workout
  • Complex carbs, BCAAs, and protein during your workout as needed
  • Simple carbs and protein after your workout

If you want your nutrition spot on, eat your macros. You can use an online calculator to get a decent idea of what your proper macronutrient intake should be, or we can even put you in contact with one of our macro-consultants who can tell you exactly how many grams of fat, carbs, and protein you should be eating for your athletic goals. The science is strong in support of a proper macro-diet.

What Are Macronutrients? 

Read my favorite blog post on athlete success by following proper macro-nutrition.

And no matter what your level of athleticism or health, just be cautious about processed foods. If you know how to time your treats properly, they can be okay, however the rules for sustaining great health are still pretty simple: eat meats and whole foods–lots of veggies, fruits and berries, nuts and seeds, even dairy!–and avoid overly processed foods. No matter what nutrition plan you’re following, too much of a good thing (most things that are boxed, baked, or man-made) are not good for the waistline. Just be careful.

If you haven’t started your fitness journey yet but you want to eat healthier and lose weight the right way? Well we have an eBook we’re publishing soon, just for this purpose. The Strong Figure Total Health Makeover will tell you exactly how to start making better food choices and change your life around. Because, quite frankly, the fitness industry is and has been on to how to do this for years. And we–Erik, me, our Strong Figure Ambassadors–are bringing you our best knowledge on what to really do to fight obesity and disease, and to live a longer life.

Is any of this a big fat surprise? Not really. But dammit if we’re not going to keep fighting the fat-fight. After all, Erik also refuses to lose. 

In the meantime, let’s workout. Here are your three Strong Figure Conditioning Workouts for the week:

Workout 1: For time

  • 30 Hollow Rocks
  • 21 Kettlebell Swings (or push-ups if you don’t have equipment)
  • 21 Box Jumps (or jump squats if you don’t have an item to jump to)
  • 30 Hollow Rocks
  • 18 Swings
  • 18 Box Jumps
  • 30 Swings
  • 15 Swings
  • 15 Jumps
  • 30 Hollow Rocks
  • 12 Swings
  • 12 Jumps
  • 30 Hollow Rocks
  • 9 Swings
  • 9 Jumps
  • 30 Hollow Rocks
  • 6 Swings
  • 6 Jumps
  • 30 Hollow Rocks
  • 3 Swings
  • 3 Jumps

Workout 2: 10 Rounds for Time

  • 5 Burpees
  • 10 Push-ups
  • 15 KB Swings (or sit-ups if you don’t have a KB)
  • 20 Goblet Squats (or air squats)

Workout 3: 7 Rounds for Time

  • 10 1-arm Russian KB Swings, each arm
  • 10 KB Clean and Press, each arm
  • 10 Russian Twists, each side

If you don’t have a kettlebell for this last one, substitute 10 lunges (each leg), 10 burpees, and 10 1-legged squats/pistol squats. If you can’t perform pistol squats with full range of motion, practice by using a bench, couch, box, etc., and standing on one leg, sit to the item, then stand back up. Pick something you can sit on that challenges your strength when you get back up.

We want to hear from you! How long have YOU known that fat burns fat? What nutrition myth irks you the most? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. says

    I’ve been doing keto for a few months and absolutely love it! My energy levels are great and I’ve been dropping fat but maintaining muscle. My macros are 65% Fat, 20% Protein and 15% Carbs.
    Most of my fats come from organic meats, coconut milk, avocados, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and MCT oil. Healthy fats are where it’s at!!

    • strongfigure says

      Wow that is crazy low carbs and fairly low protein too. Glad to hear you are having success.

      I think most would be surprised to find out saturated fat is really not the demon most make it out to be. I would avoid trans fats but real fats from the foods you have mentioned are perfectly ok despite what conventional wisdom suggests.

      • says

        Yes, it is but totally doable coming from an ex carb monster! To get your body into ketosis aka “A fat burning machine!” generally your net carbs (not including fibre) are between 20-50g a day. It’s easier than you think. Lots of green veggies and healthy fats.
        Protein is moderate because high protein will kick you out of ketosis, that’s the problem with Atkins and other low-carb diets. If you’re really interested in adding more fats and cutting carb look into the keto diet!

  2. Ted Skinner says

    The reason. Why it takes fda this long to come around is pure and simple money. They have been bought out by big grain and corn industries for decades. Where do you think the food pyramid came from?

    • strongfigure says

      Great point Ted!

      I will say I am surprised how many nutritionists, dietitians, and even doctors took so long. I remember talking to a doctor friend of mine a few years ago and he said many of his colleagues keep on believing what they have always believed. I guess this is true in a lot of industries. Just kind of scary since there is a lot of research showing that heart disease increased tenfold with the rise in low fat diets. Ironically, these entities blamed fat for the heart disease but it may very well be the lack of fat that is the real culprit.

      Thanks for commenting guys!