Thursday, January 06, 2005

Losing Weight: the REAL plan (part 1 of 2)

So what does weight loss have to do with virtue? In general, I think that good personal health should be considered an ethical issue. We have a responsibility to take good care of ourselves, both for ourselves and for our loved ones - especially if we have children or other people that depend on us.

Unfortunately, this has been one of my weak spots throughout my life. Admittedly, I didn't think of it as an ethical issue for most of my life, but I've always been overweight. I don't even really need to eat very much to gain weight, I guess we all vary in that.

But after losing 53 pounds in seven months, I think I'm justified in putting in my two cents on this issue. I'm thinner now than I've ever been before (I can actually feel bones and see veins here and there), but I'm still overweight for my height. I've been keeping fairly steady for the last few months, but now I'm beginning a new drive to get down even further.

People asked quite a lot what I've been doing. They were hoping to hear about some new method (everyone asked me if I was doing Atkins). But then I told them what they didn't like hearing - I was eating less.

With the United States currently suffering an overweight epidemic, I think there are some things the nation needs to know - no, there are some things the nation needs to drill into their skulls and never let it out again.

Hear are my pearls of wisdom I cast before the world - heed them well!

1) Fad diets are no good:
Forget them. Don't read about them in the supermarket magazines, don't buy diet books, don't look them up online, and don't listen to the people who tell you they're losing weight on them and it's easy. Sure, you'll lose weight in the short run (most of it water), but then you'll balloon back up again as soon as you grow tired of the dietary gymnastics (and you will). Along the way, you might even just hurt your health with overly rapid weight loss and lack of needed food categories. And no, it wasn't that you weren't doing it right, and you don't need to try a different fad diet. If it's something you have to pay for, if it requires special equipment or tools, if it says you can eat as much as you want as long as you only eat x, then it's probably bunk.

2) The Primary Directive:
Even the otherwise responsible and knowledgeable professional nutritionists are missing this one. Everyone is so consumed with "eat more of this", "eat less of that". Watch your carbs, eat low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt. All of that is "fine tuning" for optimal health - it's not what an huge person needs to be worried about. There is one thing, and one thing only, that our morbidly obese nation needs to hear - eat less - period. That's the Prime Directive. That's what it's all about - not saturated/unsaturated fat, not salt, not caffeine, not sugar, not carbs - it's all about calories.

And no, I don't mean eat less for a while to lose some weight. I mean that America eats too much, all the time. Even the skinny people eat too much. You go to a restaurant and they give you a plate larger than your torso. You go to the burger place and order a small fry - they'll often give you a large and say, "we only charged you for a small, we just need to get rid of them". You go to work and people are just randomly munching on stuff outside of meal times. This country produces so much food that it is flowing out of every national orifice. So we need to eat much less, as a norm, for the rest of our lives. My wife and I now often share a single meal at restaurants and we leave stuffed!

If you want to maintain, then follow the calorie limit for your height and ideal weight. If you want to lose, you'll have to limit your calories to less. Other than that, eat whatever you like. I lost 53 pounds and I had burritos and burgers (homemade) quite often. My wife has been excellent in finding ways to make low calorie things out of normal stuff that tast good (much of it is not even labeled as low calorie - which usually tastes bad). It has to do more with how you cook it from what I hear.

What if you're one of those people that gain weight easily, even without eating much? Then make your calorie limit even lower and never raise it to the standard. If you're not a normal person then don't expect to eat like one - consider it a medical condition.

You'll also find that drinking only water (or other 0 calorie drink) gives you a lot more food. It used to be that a cola was considered a treat. If you get used to drinking water then you'll start to think of it that way, which is a good thing.

What about malnutrition you ask? That's like a man who lives in the desert learning to swim out of fear of drowning. Believe me, if you only have so many calories per day, there's no way your going to blow the whole lot on a jelly doughnut. You will naturally seek out foods with a lot of mass and low calories, and that so happens to be some of the healthier foods. Once you're in a good weight range you can start to worry about fine tuning your diet with more of this or more of that. As long as your overweight or obese you should just focus on quantity.

Part 2 coming soon...

Please Note: One thing in trying to lose weight I would NOT do, is EVER click on or visit www.nulife-weightloss.com. This company likes to spam comments on people's blogs repeatedly (the reason comments have been disabled on this post). This shows they have no scruples and thus can't be trusted for any other service. Please do not go to that site or do business with them. Thanks.


Blogger DT Strain said...

Note to my readers. There is a person/s who keeps posting the same comment here repeatedly with a link to a weight loss website. I would first say that such websites are unnecessary for weight loss, and secondly, I would ask that any readers *NOT* click such links, or do business with unscrupulous businesses who would engage in such spam tactics - thanks :)

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