The advice we are getting on what is a safe and effective weight loss diet has become a safety issue, as evidence mounts that the advice is probably wrong. Let’s start with some major cover-my-rear disclaimers: I am not a doctor. I am not a biologist. Nothing in this area is certain at this time. So this is not medical or any other kind of advice. But if you are looking to get thinner and nothing has worked, here are some points to bring up with your doctor. Not only should you see a doctor before starting a weight loss diet, but also talk to the doctor about monitoring your health with blood tests along the way.
Ok, here’s the thing. We fat people have been told for decades that we are either lazy, gluttons, or both. It is real simple they say; if you would just push away from the table and go burn more calories, you will lose weight. Eat more than you burn and you will get fat. So if you are fat, you must be eating too much or exercising too little or both – end of story.
Evidence is mounting that this is the opposite of what is really going on. You are not fat because you over eat and are inactive. You have more hunger and less energy because no matter how much you eat, your body is starving. If you do eat less and exercise more, you are only starving yourself more. Eventually, as anyone knows who has tried to lose weight the low calorie way, you will eat. At some point your body takes over, and just as you can’t hold your breath for ever, you will go get something high calorie to eat. Since you have been taught this is bad, you will feel guilty and depressed, but only after you have eaten. This is not new information, it is just that now there is a building body or research to support it. Here is how it works.
We are told that a healthy diet is one that is mostly carbohydrates. Carbs are sugar, potatoes, bread, etc. Eat as little fat as possible (we can not live without eating some) and keep the protein down. The current recommendation is for over half our daily calories to come from carbs. In our body, the carbs turn to sugar, which will kill us in high enough dosages, so the pancreas produces insulin to get rid of the sugar. As we continue to eat so many carbs, the insulin starts to over produce. What the insulin does is cause the sugar to be stored in fat cells. It also keeps it locked up there. Because so much of what we eat is a carb, there are not enough calories left available to fuel our bodies. So we are starving ourselves. We are hungry and we have little energy. If we eat less, we will lose weight, because we are after all eating fewer carbs, so less insulin and more calories can escape fat cells. The actual process is more complicated that this, but this is the gist of it.
The most important influence on weight is heredity. It is your genes that will tend to make you gain weight eating the same food as someone whose genetics allow their body to eat the same foods without weight gain. In fact people who cannot store carbs as easily will not only be thin, they will also tend to be over active, because they need some way to burn off the energy floating around in their body. But ask them this question, “if a doctor convinced you that you would live longer and be healthier if you gained 100 pounds, could you do it?” Most of them will admit that it would be hard. Unfortunately, because it is easy for them to not eat and be active, they assume it is easy for everyone. They assume everyone is just like them. So they think a fat person must be fat by choice.
Not only are we not losing weight, we are depressed and embarrassed. We have bought into what everyone tells us, even though we know from experience, that it is not true. We are getting fatter and that is unsafe. I am going to write more about this, so stay tuned.