For the past couple of months I’ve been putting a greater effort into losing some of my more than ample midsection by cutting back on the bad stuff and working out. I just wanted to write down some of the things I’ve come to realise since doing so. These tend more towards the way we think and I believe this is the root of many issues.
- We tend to believe that “more is better” and this is perhaps the most detrimental psychological issue facing North Americans when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. I’ve travelled extensively in the United States and believe that the large portions(or huge as in Texas) that can be had for cheap are a main cause of overeating. Just because we are paying our hard-earned money does not mean we need 4 pounds of food at a sitting. If restaurant owners would reduce both quantity and price things would improve.
- We have a thing for sauces. I’ve come to see that many of us eat any dish with a sauce as if the food were merely a vector for the sauce. In many cases it’s not the food itself that is unhealthy but rather what we put on it. I’ve caught myself putting far more dressing on salad than is necessary to add the flavour, in fact watching others I’ve come to see that it’s the taste of the sauce they want and care little for the food it’s covering other than for texture.
- The food industry is as evil as insurance companies and banks. We are all genetically programmed to seek out and ingest as much of the things that provide high calories as we can. This is a throwback to when food was scarce and our bodies have not yet come to realise that we have access to large amounts of it. The makers of the food we buy are very much aware of this and engineer the food they make to have the sweet, fatty flavours and carbs with the right mouth feel that triggers the deepest parts of our brain to kick into “eat as much as you can” mode. They say they are wanting to provide nutrient dense, good quality food but in reality they don’t care if you die at 40 as long as you buy their product in massive quantities before you do.
- Corn is in everything. If you take a good look at the ingredients on the label of any packaged food you buy you’re going to in most cases find something derived from corn. Trigicerides, Xanthan gum, High fructose corn syrup, Dextrin, MSG, Caramel colour, Maltose, Dextrose, Maltodextrin, Ascorbic acid and others all come from corn. If you had a corn allergy you’d either be very healthy or die young.
- The outside is the place to be. When you go grocery shopping and are trying to eat right the thing to do is avoid the isles. All of the food that’s good for you can be found on the outside, fresh meats, produce, dairy etc can be had by simply going around all of the isles full of processed garbage.
- Calories aren’t everything. Once you come to understand this you will feel much more free and less likely to yo-yo in your weight. The number of calories you consume is important but they are not the evil that so many believe. Every one of us needs a certain number of calories to just go about our day, this is the basic number our bodies burn to fuel what we do. Going over that number will cause our body to store the excess for lean times and create new fat cells to do so. Cutting back large numbers will produce weight loss but will put our bodies into “starvation” mode. When in this state the body believes that food is scarce and will slow the metabolism to burn less in order to protect us. We also tend to burn more lean muscle in order to make up for the shortfall, we only burn fat reserves as a last ditch effort to get energy when food intake is low for long periods of time. When in this state and we then eat more than the number of calories we burn(like when you’ve lost some weight and begin to take in more calories) our body stores it as fat for the next time things get bad, so if you diet many times like this in your life you loose muscle and increase the number of fat cells in your body. Basically if you cut back too much you create more fat, and fat cells burn 70 times less energy than muscle cells meaning over time you need less calories to get through the day and will only get heavier. Feeding yourself what you need, eating high quality food and getting some exercise will make the body increase it’s metabolism because it has enough. As a result you will begin to lose the weight and it will not come back as easily.
These are just some of the things I’ve come to understand and I hope sharing them will help others.