According to results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, nearly 50% of people make New Year’s Resolutions. Can you guess what was at the top of the list as the most common resolution? LOSE WEIGHT! Considering that most people (over 66%!!!) are overweight or obese, this makes perfect sense. There’s a big FAT problem though. Diets DO NOT WORK. 98% of people who “go on a diet” gain the weight back eventually. A sad situation, and extremely defeating for those who put forth so much energy, and often money, into calorie counting, weighing and measuring, portion control, starving, and essentially not having any fun with food. (Note: While it’s true that regular exercise is important for many reasons and absolutely should be part of everyone’s life, diet trumps all – for health and weight loss both. In other words, if a person is overweight and begins eating right without exercise he/she will lose weight [until they likely plateau. Then it’s time to move!]. If they still eat like crap but begin exercising only, the weight will be less likely to come off, and of course they will be continuing to put their body at risk for disease.)
Yesterday morning, 1/3/13, I weighed myself. This isn’t something I do too often. Never really cared for it. But, out of curiosity and to make sure my weight is in check, I step on the dreaded scales once a month or so. I have always been very anal about my weight; old habits die hard I guess. Anyway, I weighed in this morning at 120.5. Not a bad number to start the year with. My intention for sharing this with you is not to brag or toot my own horn, but rather to show you what can happen when you stop traditional dieting and EAT! I, like most, have tried pretty much every diet out there. As I mentioned, I was obsessed with my weight and even though I was never really heavy, I had some extra pounds I really hated; hence, the dieting. And as is standard operating procedure with all diets, I would lose weight, and gain it back. I played around with those 10 pounds for years, shooing them away and ultimately letting them back in.
All this changed when I started EATING, and stopped practically starving myself while counting calories and points. How is this possible, you ask? It’s possible because the body inherently knows what to do with the right foods. Put quite simply, fat in our mouths becomes fat on our body. It’s true we need fat to survive. However, our requirements are quite small (same with protein), and they most certainly aren’t meant to come from highly processed nutrient-free oils, which are rampant in processed and restaurant/fast foods. The foods with the highest percentage of fat are the foods that make up the majority of most people’s diets: animal foods and oils. When I struggled with the extra weight, I was no exception to this rule. I was always grossed out by meat in general, but I believed I needed the “protein” and told myself as long as I ate lean meats like chicken and turkey, I’d be ok. And don’t forget the low-fat dairy; I ate quite a bit of it. If only I’d known that chicken contains only slightly less fat than the leanest beef! And while dairy products can be low in fat, they are cancer promoters and create all kinds of problems for human bodies (great for baby cows, not great for humans. And actually, the low-fat varieties are more cancer promoting than the higher fat ones, since the pesky dairy protein casein is concentrated in the lower fat versions – this happens when the fat is removed). So, as I said, too much fat in the mouth equals fat on the bod. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are used for energy and metabolized by the body efficiently.
So, that’s how I did it. I began eating a plant-based diet filled with whole foods. I loaded up on whole grains like oats and brown rice, vegetables including delicious potatoes of all kinds, fruits and legumes/beans. The only fattening plant foods that are also whole foods are nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and coconut. As long as you don’t go ‘nuts’ on those foods, you can eat as much as you want of the other whole foods and weight will no longer be an issue. There is no counting, weighing or measuring. I am no longer hungry all the time, and feeling deprived. Honestly, the cravings for the crap go away fairly quickly. Over the holidays, I even ate things I don’t normally eat, exercised a little less, and my weight stayed the same. When I go on vacation, I can still treat myself because the majority of what I’m eating, the majority of the time isn’t contributing to weight gain. I’m in my mid 40’s and am thinner than I was in high school. I haven’t been on a diet in years and I LOVE to eat! If you want to lose weight and keep it off, consider changing your diet and making it a way of life. Your scales, and your health, will thank you.