The Weight Loss Equation

The Weight Loss Equation

The Weight Loss Equation

The Nutritional Health Education Center is not a weight-loss facility, but any discussion about health usually begins with diet, and you can’t talk about diet without people asking questions about weight loss. That’s probably because now, more than at any other time in all of history, people are suffering with excess weight they just don’t know how to lose and it is a serious threat to long-term health. So why are so many people having so much trouble? Why here, why now?

There are several factors which make our present living conditions totally unique, unlike anything humans have ever faced before. One of these is the ubiquitous presence of “prepared” foods on every street corner, every aisle, every shelf, etc. From a quick treat to a full meal in a box, you can get anything pre-made. In theory, this would save us time cooking and we would spend that time on other activities; but in reality, the saved time is often spent on leisure – more time in front of the TV, more time on the computer, sitting, sitting, sitting..

Our ancestors ‑ and I mean recent ones, people you actually met ‑ spent a lot more energy on food acquisition than we even think about. Most of them participated in growing at least some of their food, harvesting it, preserving it, and finally preparing it for the table. That’s a lot of calories burned in pursuit of a meal. Now all we have to do is “peel back foil to expose tater tots…”

In addition to the small effort involved in food acquisition, we also have a record number of people doing a full day’s work without ever standing up. Desk jobs were comparatively rare 100 years ago, and back then, after putting in your hours at work, your home life would definitely keep you hopping. There was wood to chop to heat your house, a mower you couldn't ride on, a washboard that didn't clean your laundry without you, and no dishwasher at all. Our present physical demands don’t even come close to matching our caloric intake.

Exercise became fashionable in the wake of this industrial revolution, but it’s over with so fast and then you’re back to the sofa or the desk chair. Humans weren't meant to consolidate their physical activities into one hour of the day or less. We need to burn calories more steadily all day long – we’re stayers, not sprinters. When exercise is taken all at once, it may do a great job of negating the calories from the most recent meal, but it doesn't have much impact on the meals you eat later in the day. Weight gain happens one meal at a time – each meal’s calories have to be used immediately or they turn into fat. I can’t stress the importance of this concept enough.

When you eat a bagel, for example, the carbohydrates are converted to various forms of sugar within a very short period of time. The sugars enter your blood stream where they trigger an insulin response from your pancreas because your body doesn’t want much sugar circulating in your blood – that’s not good for you. Insulin is like a door-to-door salesman. He starts out in the best neighborhoods where all the muscle cells live. He knocks at each cell door and what he’s selling is sugar. He persuades each cell to take some from the blood stream rushing by. He keeps knocking and fast-talking until he’s completely worn out. Eventually, the muscle cells reach the saturation point and they all tell him “no.” When this happens, the salesman moves to a different neighborhood – where all the fat cells live. He convinces the fat cells to take whatever is left for storage – as fat.

As long as the salesman is still in town, nobody uses what’s in storage – they all buy new because after all, it doesn't cost anything. What that means for you is that you can not burn fat for fuel (which is the only way to lose weight) as long as you have insulin selling new sugars in your system. Unless you’re already diabetic, insulin won’t be there unless sugar is there in significant quantities. Sugar won’t be there in significant quantities unless you put it there. Does this give you a good idea or two about how to shed unwanted fat?

The answer lies in taking carbohydrates (sugars) in small enough quantities that you can use them immediately – and then using them immediately. That’s how to stop weight gain. If you use more fuel than you take in, that’s how to lose fat. So what can you eat that will not put too much sugar in your system?

When you decide what to eat, first acknowledge that it is a decision. You are choosing; no one else is doing it for you or to you - though they are making it very hard. You need to consciously rate the foods you have to choose from, give them a grade. The basis for this grade is a simple comparison: compare how many calories the food has with how many nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients) it has. A level foods, such as fresh broccoli, have a lot more nutrients than calories. B level foods such as mashed potatoes have slightly more nutrients than calories, C level foods such as frozen Brussels sprouts in sauce break even, and so on down to F level foods such as sweet rolls in a can which have essentially no nutrients and loads of calories. How can you tell which is which?

Consider this, ALL processed food is D level or below. That means anything that comes in a box, can, mix, or packet is a very poor choice which will not allow you to lose weight. ALL so-called “diet” foods fall into this category. It has been proven by numerous studies that the chemical sweeteners and flavor enhancers used to make processed food taste like something actually make you fat. Even if a processed diet drink has no calories, the chemicals make you want to eat things that do have calories and some of them also affect your body chemistry to keep you from ever feeling satisfied!

Of all the non-processed foods, which foods have the smallest nutritional benefit coupled with the highest calorie count? Meat, eggs, and dairy products. While diets high in animal products may have some use short-term in correcting abnormal blood sugar handling mechanisms in the body, humans weren't made to handle huge amounts of meat and dairy in the long run. Animal products in large quantities eventually make people sick. The fact that it’s extremely difficult to eat enough meat and dairy to make those high-protein diets effective without first achieving a roaring case of indigestion is the first strike against them. Even if you’re one of the few who can do it comfortably, a health crisis likely looms large in your future. Probably the largest nutritional study ever undertaken showed clearly that a diet high in animal protein promoted cancer growth even in animals whose natural diets are very high in protein, and most definitely in humans whose natural diet is much lower in protein. (The China Study)

The chief complaint with the whole concept of a diet, is that you can’t stay on it. When the diet’s over, the old habits return and the weight comes back. So why go on a diet you can’t stay on for life? You need one that will not only allow you to lose unhealthy weight, but also maintain excellent health for the rest of your life. That’s not a diet you’re on and off of, that’s a lifestyle change. It couples eating only healthy foods with consistent activity levels in proportion to your caloric intake.

If you had $300 in a savings account, and you were depositing an additional $100 dollars each month, how could you use up the money in the account? We all know the answer is easy: we have to spend more than we’re putting in each month. If you only spend $75 per month, your account will grow. If you spend $150, the balance will quickly come down in just a few months. There is no escaping the mathematical reality whether we are talking about money or weight.

So what foods will give you a lot of nutrients, but not many calories? The A level foods are all living in the produce section of your local grocery store, and to a lesser extent in the freezer section (plain frozen vegetables only). They’re also at farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and local farms all over the world. Fresh vegetables and fruits are the way to wellness – and weight loss. That’s sound advice you can take to the bank.

The weight loss equation:

Your current weight

-- all processed foods
-- excess meat and dairy
+ loads of fresh veggies and fruits
+ plenty of sleep
+ plenty of good clean water
+ consistent activity


* a slim healthy you *

The Weight Loss Equation