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Will dinner at 8 lead you to a Warrior

October 20, 2004 02:15 PM

It may sound like a dream come true for those who've been starving themselves on diets,
or driving themselves crazy trying to eat six small meals a day: Don't eat during the day,
then eat as much as you want at night.

Have we died and gone to heaven? Really, isn't this how couch potatoes get fat in the
first place?

But there it is in black and white: Regular overeating can help you lose weight, writes
Ori Hofmekler in his new book, "The Warrior Diet"

Hofmekler, a lean and sinewy 50-year-old Israeli man who made his name as a political
satirist in New York, is his own best advertisement for his diet -- he prefers "way of life"
-- so much so that he poses, shirtless, on the cover of the book.

He is certainly going against conventional wisdom, which urges people wanting to lose
weight to eat a substantial breakfast.

Instead, Hofmekler has an espresso, and perhaps a piece of fruit. During the rest of the
day, he eats a bit more fruit, some fruit juice and another espresso. Then, after his
6 p.m. workout, he goes home and eats whatever he wants.

"People are brainwashed to think breakfast is the most important meal of the day," he
says from his home in Manhattan. "But the most important meal of the day is dinner, after
the day's work is done, when you can relax with family and friends and eat as much as you
want, to feel relaxed."

Until then, he says, people should be hungry.

"It's good to be hungry, it translates into wonderful, creative energy that can feed you,"
he says. "It gives you a hunger for life. Think of how you are before you eat pasta and
after you eat it. Everything looks different when you're hungry. The fear of hunger is real,
but people through history have lived with hunger."

Or they did until the 20th century, in modern America, where for most people eating is
entertainment, 24/7. But Hofmekler says that our epidemic of obesity and disease is a direct
result of our tendency to eat through the day.

"Whether you're vegetarian or not, you're a predator, genetically speaking, which means
you're a hunter," he says. "And hunters used to go for days without finding food. Night
was only the time you could eat. Our bodies evolved to live that way."

Part of the problem, he says, is that the body needs to eliminate toxins as well as take
in nutrients, and when you spend your entire day taking in nutrients -- or worse,
nutrient-free processed food -- your body doesn't have an extended stretch in which it
can reverse the process and detoxify itself.

Hofmekler goes into great detail on what foods are the best to eat, but it boils down to
natural foods, not processed: fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, meat, and diary
products like milk and cottage cheese.

So, when Hofmekler says he eats whatever he wants, he isn't eating Twinkies and Doritos
and TV dinners. Because, being in good shape, that's not what his body wants.

"If I sent you into the jungle for a couple of days, you would know what you wanted,"
he says. "You wouldn't crave a Twinkie, you'd want nuts or vegetables that would keep
you surviving. In other words, when you follow the right cycle of the "Warrior Diet, you
develop a healthy hunger, a real hunger, a hunger for life, and the instinct will kick
in, and you'll enjoy your protein or veggies like nothing else."

Likewise, he is skeptical about diets that emphasize low-fat, or a high-protein,
low-carbohydrate combination.

"People can't deprive themselves from carbs, it's the wrong thing to do," he says.
"In the grain itself, in the fiber, there are nutrients you can't get any other way.
You need essential sugars and essential organic acids, which appear in fibers and
grains from other plants. Deprivation always leads to problems."

Likewise, he is a big fan of dairy, which is often downplayed in low-carb diets.

"The lactose that everyone is afraid of now is one of the best sugars you can put in your body,"
he says. "Your brain needs galactose, and you need to get it one way or another. Most people
have a phobia of the milk, but the sugar in the milk has the lowest glycemic index ever,
it's close to meat, and it doesn't raise your insulin levels."

Hofmekler also takes lots of supplements, but warns readers to be very careful about where
their vitamins and minerals are coming from, and how they're made. And he is absolutely
vehement in his injunctions against protein bars and protein shakes.

"Go for real food," he suggests. "Real food is cheaper, more enjoyable and it works better."

All of this, he says, is not about just losing weight, but of uncovering the "super-you"
underneath the fat. "I believe that the body will redesign itself if you give it what it needs," he says.

As for weight lifting, he's all for it, and gives some exercises in the book. But,
he says, the warrior way of life isn't just to be strong, but to be tough.

"We are living in a culture that adores strength, people equate power and strength,"
he says. "But strength is just the amount of force that an object needs to generate to
move something. I'm defining 'tough' as the ability to handle pressure through time.
The longer you can handle pressure, the tougher you are. Being tough is better than
being strong."
About the Writer
The Bee's David Barton can be reached at (916) 321-1075 or .

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