This question has been asked and will continue to be asked for ever, I think. So, how do we honestly answer such a broad question. Let’s face the facts, not many people lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off.
The weight loss market is a multi-billion dollar industry and although there are many people and companies developing great products and methods that really care about helping us get the weight off and keep it off many more just want your hard-earned money. But, this is a much more complex situation than the products and systems available to us and if we use them or not.
Everyone wants the magic pill or solution so they do not have to change their diet or lifestyle. Sorry, it just isn’t going to happen. Even people who undergo gastric bypass will sometimes gain it back because they have not fixed the problem causing the weight gain. Change is a result from an action you do. You must make changes.
Losing weight is the easy part, yes it is. Your weight is controlled by the number of calories you consume over time. You can lose weight eating cheese burgers as long as you do not over consume calories. However cheese burgers will not be a healthy way to lose weight. If you eat more than you body burns (needs) then the excess calories will turn to fat. However there are many parts of the equation that can throw the wrench in the mix. The realty is much different!
Most people do not know how many calories their body requires. There is formula, however, I highly suggest your read my earlier blog about calories and energy balance. Click here. How can you manage your calories if you do not know how many you need?
Here is where part of the complexity comes in, your body’s calorie needs can be very low if you are eating a nutrient poor diet, not moving (exercising) enough, have been yo-yo dieting and have been under consuming calories. Also, certain medications and illnesses can cause a drop in your metabolism that will make it more difficult to lose weight. These illness and need for medications are most often caused by poor diet and a lack of exercise and sometimes genetics. However genetics can be overcome most of the time. By having a low-calorie need for your metabolism the foods you eat turn to fat stores when you eat more than you need.
Stress is a big hormonal disruptor and increases the bodies output of cortisol and ghrelin. These build waist and hip fat and drive your appetite to eat more. You must find ways to lower your stress. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. Other examples are Ti Chi, Yoga, walking, bicycling and swimming. Get outside and get some fresh air.
Sabotage by Food Manufacturers and regulatory agencies
Hopefully you know that when I say food manufacturing, the FOOD I am discussing is processed or refined. That is what food manufacturing does. You end up with a food like product that may have only a little real food and little if any nutritional and health benefit and foods that may be in their natural form like white rice but has lost most of its nutritional content. Most food manufacturers are more concerned with profits than your health. It’s obvious, they will use any FDA approved ingredient in the food manufacturing process regardless of what non-biased health experts say about the health impact of the ingredient. Refined and processed foods are a major cause of illness in our country. Just remember the longer a foods shelf life, the shorter it can make your life.
Sugar is the evil food. It is addicting, seductive, taste great and causes complete havoc to your hormonal, neurological and immune systems. If you don’t avoid and limit simple and refined sugar out of your diet it will slowly bring about disease and ultimately death. Sugar comes in many forms and names, beware the food manufacturers like to hide it.
All of the conditions or situations I just mentioned cause things to happen in your body that make it more difficult to lose weight. They are all stressors on the body creating chronic inflammation which causes hormonal imbalances. These specific hormonal imbalances cause cravings, a drop in metabolism and a build up of fat around the middle of our body. This situation becomes a self-perpetuating condition. The fat build up of fat around the midsection disrupts hunger regulation by interfering with three primary hormones that help us regulate the need to eat. These hormones are ghrelin (increases appetite), leptin (signals the brain the body does not need food, its satisfied) and insulin which controls blood sugar levels. To much insulin circulating and your hunger increases. If you do not burn sugar (glucose) for energy the body has to store it as fat.
If we add these together we get a formula that keeps people from keeping weight off forever. People do not balance calories, they eat unhealthy foods, the do not manage their stress, they eat way too much sugar, they do not move or exercise enough.
What is the solution?
If you will integrate as many of these keys of health into your life, you will not only lose weight, you will gain in health. And you can keep both forever because this isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle.
Of utmost importance is developing a passion for a better and healthier life. The passion will get you through the difficult times.
10 Keys to Wellness
- Eat from Mother Nature as often as possible, avoiding refined and processed foods and simple sugars. Your diet should be primarily vegetables then fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains. Raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds are even healthier. Beans must be cooked.
- Reduce and learn to manage stress. Stress is the biggest influence to our health.
- Eliminate or limit the intake of animal foods (they are very acidic to the body).
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine as much as possible. They are body stressors.
- Avoid or limit your alcohol intake.
- Avoid cigarettes and second hand smoke.
- Stay hydrated; drink plenty of fresh pure water daily.
- Get adequate time outside. Sunshine provides the best source of Vitamin D. Even when under cloud cover the ultraviolet rays penetrate and nourish our bodies. Always remember more is not always better. Just 15 to 20 minutes under the daylight sky 3 times per week will provide a lot of Vitamin D.
- Our body requires activity to be healthy. Exercise is vitally important.
- Balance your life with spiritual and societal involvement.
Four Principles of Wellness
- 1. Nutrition is king, king, king! Nutrition is 300 to 400% more important than exercise is to your state of wellness. You can’t handle stress or get the benefits of exercise without great nutrition.
- 2. Stress is a killer and will undermine all attempts to reach a state of MAXIMUM LIFE.
- 3. Physical activity is critical to reach a place of wellness. You cannot have a MAXIMUM LIFE without exercise in some form.
- 4. Spiritual and social fulfillment is critical for a state of wellness, happiness and having a MAXIMUM LIFE.
Be passionate about your health and do not let anyone undermine your success.
Wally Bishop C.N.C.
The contents of this blog is not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.