LET’S TALK ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS!
It’s one of the biggest industries in the world! There is a never ending stream of weight loss books, magazine articles, diet aids and propaganda. It’s not a stream, it’s actually a tidal wave. I’ve seen just about every claim that has been made: eat more of X, eat less of X, eat more of Y, eat less of Y, any diet will make you gain weight, fat is beautiful anyway (it isn’t, it’s unhealthy), and so on.
It’s a jungle of predatory lions trying to get at your money.
People with whacky opinions have found they can make a fortune out of this desperate market; they write books; they pretend expertise. If you’re a sucker for it, then there is not much we can do to protect you.
However, there are one or two guiding principles, based on decades of experience that will help you to choose. We are not trying to sell you anything, so at least it is unbiased opinion.
First, the ultimate weight loss plan is eat less! It sounds simple but it’s amazing how many people, if they are honest, are searching for ways to lose weight without giving up their guzzling addictions.
Eat less does not mean be a supermodel and quit food. Less can mean just cut down by 10%. Look, if your weight is a steady six stones over the ideal, you only need to reduce your intake by 10% and it will start to fall. Logical? If you are on a maintenance food intake, yes, it’s logical.
If you are gaining steadily, however, you may need to cut down more than that. One of the simplest regimes I know is cut out one meal a day and eat only two thirds of the portions you normally eat.
The second vital fact you need to know is that carbohydrate makes you hungry. The famous “RAF Diet” of the forties was just a low-carbo plan. The famous Scarsdale diet was also a low-carb and worked wonderfully well. People were not hungry!
Nowadays Atkins is the big name in low carbo eating.
It happens that carbohydrate (flour, starch, sugar etc) is highly addictive. For decades the orthodox medical profession has been telling people to eat carbohydrate. That’s got them all hooked on sugar drinks, cookies, tortillas, pizza and the like.
The result is an epidemic of obesity. It’s advice that kills! Recently, Atkins was proved right. I think the shock of the medical profession beginning to come around killed the poor guy!
Thirdly, nobody needs a schlock product, berries, pills or anything else to lose weight (especially beware of those with Chinese Ma Huang, or ephedrine in them, it’s an amphetamine-like substances and will send you spinning). I’ve seen lot of these over the years and studied them.
They all come down to this: take our *product*, follow this eating plan in the “handy guide” and you are guaranteed to lose weight. It’s perfectly obvious that if you just followed the eating plan and threw away the *product*, you’d lose weight anyway.
To me, this is fraud under the guise of pseudo-science. Where glob and goo products might help is in creating the sense of being on a plan. A reminder you should not be doing what you always do at mealtimes. But it’s an expensive way to buy your determination of mind!
Finally, the question of exercise. It has been said that a slice of pizza is about equivalent to an hour of hard tennis. It’s easier to give up the pizza than sweat away like that! It’s true to a degree.
But after following that line for years with my patients I have gradually come to realize the true value of exercise.
It isn’t for working off calories at all. It’s about feeling good (endorphins perhaps), boosting the immune system (a New England Journal of Medicine study showed that exercise boosts white cells in the peripheral blood), keeping up cardiac efficiency, reducing stress, staying supple and youthful, rhythm and a host of other health factors that can’t be tabulated as just calories.
So, putting the two sides together, one can say that you can eat a bit more liberally if you exercise regularly and, if you want to stay young and feel good, make sure you do between 20- 30 minutes of some exercise, at least 3 times a week. You don’t have to be a gym junkie.