At my place of work/lounge n’ read, the topic of weight loss is well, prevalent let’s say. Sometimes I mention to customers that “x” weight loss product is our best selling item, and that we sell more of it than any other product for any other purpose. Most people snicker and say, “well, has anybody ever heard of putting less food in their mouths!” or “it’s called eat less and exercise more, duh.” Weight loss sure sounds simple. All you have to do, according to these very sure people, is exercise more and eat less. Hey, what is the track record of this plan anyways?
More Americans are significantly overweight than at any point in history. The human race is fatter than it’s ever been in history. If a study could be done to measure precisely how much of an increase there has been, the percentages would probably be in the trillions (meaning for every one million significantly overweight people today, there was only one a thousand years ago). This seems probable. I don’t recall seeing any blob pictographs carved on stone walls do you? Sure there’s been plenty of people throughout history that were a little on the soft side, but double their lean bodyweight? Only a Sumo wrestler force-feeding himself 10,000 calories a day would have been able to achieve this.
Nowadays, gaining weight is so easy isn’t it? There are people who can’t seem to gain weight, like the amazing Don Gorske, but for many others weight gain seems like a relentless force that creeps up on us all. Why is dieting not that simple, and why are dieter’s faced with a dilemma?
First of all, weight gain has little to do with how much you eat or how much you exercise. It has everything to do with your metabolism. This is why a currently inactive person like me who eats whatever he wants does not gain weight, while others are eating as little as they can possibly eat and hitting the gym every day with only temporary success. The dilemma is that eating less slows down the metabolism, making weight gain easier and more likely in the long run. However, because people lose weight while eating less (temporarily), this is viewed as positive feedback for such and such diet. “All I have to do is keep eating like this and I can do it baby!”
This is a lie, not only because at some point you will probably stop losing weight, but because nearly everyone cannot defy the needs of their bodies, which will eventually send overwhelming signals to you to eat, eat, eat. Even worse, people fail to overcome physiological signals and view that as a weakness, “I have no willpower, I’m a lump of decrepit crap. I’ll never be able to lose weight! I suck!” Everybody knows that starving yourself for a month is somewhat reasonable, and that you will lose weight during that month. But starving yourself for a year or two is impossible (unless you are anorexic or Ghandi). At some point hunger cravings become overwhelming. If you don’t believe me, spend a month and a half backpacking in the wilderness on less than 2,000 calories a day (if I would’ve had a weapon other hikers would have been in danger!). I am 100% certain after experiencing this that I could never live a life of prolonged malnutrition. I fantasized about food so much I couldn’t sleep for days on end after being out there for a month.
Here’s what trying to eat less really does. Once you become a little bit overweight, which is due, at the core, to eating food high in calories and low in nutrients (aka – eating nearly everything produced and sold in the entire country), you figure it’s time to eat less. It makes some logical sense on the surface, but it turns your body into a fat-storing warehouse. Your body gains weight in the first place because it is not properly nourished, which slows down the metabolism. Only an undernourished body stores fat. Then you slow the metabolism down more by cutting back your food intake, and the body panics even more, thinking “wow, I thought I was in danger of malnutrition before, but this is getting serious!” Like a bear piling up the pounds before hibernation, the body is then poised to gain even more weight once food becomes abundant again. The whole time the body wants more food and signals the intensification of cravings more and more the longer this food shortage is prolonged.
Furthermore, there is a massive load of [email protected]!*% about the dangers of eating fatty foods, and this is often the first thing to be cut out of the dieter’s diet. Again, what signal does this send to the body? From the outside the message is loud and clear, “fat is in short supply, so it must be time to store it for emergency purposes.” And don’t forget that the body can convert other compounds to fat in the body, like sugar and refined carbohydrates when consumed in excess – a very wise survivalist thing to do during a fat shortage.
Exercise, on the other hand, is a much more effective way to lose weight. Those seeking instant gratification for their programs; however, tend to push their bodies harder while nourishing them less. You can remain thin if you continue to exercise fanatically, but is this really sustainable? In reality, after pushing your body too hard for too many years while not properly nourishing yourself with wholesome foods, you will suffer from debilitating aches and pains to the point where you just can’t exercise much. Then what happens? You swell and deteriorate at breakneck speed. This is one of the reasons I don’t recommend excessive exercise as a viable option for weight loss either. Most people create an over-reliance on the exercise, and truly strenuous exercise is insanely hard on the body. It causes drops in blood sugar, acidosis, and other conditions that leave you incredibly vulnerable to illness, both common and severe, physical and neurological, (plus proneness to injury).
Plain and simple, the best way to gain weight long term is to:
1 Infrequently exercise until exhaustion
2 Skip meals frequently
3 Eat a light breakfast or none at all, maximizing the daily fasting period
4 Eat white rice and flour and refined sugar/sucrose/fructose/dextrose – preferably dissolved in your favorite carbonated beverage
5 Eat a low fat diet, drink skim milk, and replace animal fats with vegetable-based fats
6 Starve yourself for extended periods of time on “weight-loss” programs
7 Feel guilty about something that you eat every day
8 Make sure all of your food is thoroughly cooked
9 Never walk anywhere
10 Eat packaged foods with chemicals that are known and proven to cause metabolic dysfunction and weight gain. MSG/Aspartame are my favorites, found in diet drinks, Nutrasweet, and all products containing the following food labels….
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Soy protein isolate
(I will personally send $5 to anyone who can find a cracker, soup, frozen dinner, or cookie at a large chain supermarket that does NOT contain one of these items).
Has anyone tried any of these things and found that they were prone to weight gain? Me too.
Losing weight takes a leap of faith – to eat and nourish yourself with rich and delicious foods. Most of all, it takes patience, realistic expectations and goals, a willingness to sacrifice things that you love in order to pursue the experience of better health, and dedication to a long term vision. With this mindset, the following suggestions will be helpful…
Rule number 1 is to eat plentiful amounts of the most nutrient dense foods you can find (seafood, organ meats, vegetables, whole grains, and raw dairy products).
Rule number 2 is to make sure at least 50% of your calories are verifiably raw.
Rule number 3 is to exercise easily, walking especially, almost every day, but don’t exhaust yourself.
Rule number 4 is to avoid packaged and processed foods, including organic stuff.
Rule number 5 is to eat fats plentifully, particularly raw diary products, animal fats, and raw coconut products.
Rule number 6 is to eat less simple sugar in all forms, including alcohol, refined grains, and natural sugars like honey and maple syrup (raw fruit and raw vegetable juices should be consumed in moderate amounts but never excluded).