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What Would You Be Willing to Give Up for Your Health?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

When I first read "Why We Get Fat (and What to do about it)", one of the defining moments for me was the statement (paraphrased):

"Obesity is a disorder of excessive fat accumulation. Not excessive calorie consumption."

At that point, I felt a heavy burden lift off my shoulders.

I wasn't unable to lose weight because of a personal failing. I wasn't a glutton or weak willed. I was eating something that caused me to store excessive fat.

The glutton argument that excessive calorie consumption caused weight gain was absurd when I was eating 1300 calories on average. Why did I maintain/gain weight on the bare minimum of calories?

For me, it was grains.

I'm not going to doubt some people may do just fine losing weight on grains. I am not on a crusade to burn all toast across the country to save people from the evils of bread.

However, I would appreciate if, in kind, people would stop telling me that I am somehow harming my healthy by eliminating a 'food group'.

People in 3rd world countries die of protein and fat deficiencies. There is no such thing as a wheat deficiency. If you enjoy wheat, by all means, partake. But the notion wheat is an essential food group is wrong.

What kind of message is that sending to people who have gluten intolerances or allergies? Surely people aren't meaning to suggest these conditions are inherently less healthy?

I had a friend in college who was deathly allergic to peanuts. A roommate opened a jar of peanut butter, and just the smell of it made her sick. If she ever accidentally ingested a peanut, it would kill her.

I had a boyfriend who was allergic to berries. It wouldn't kill him, but it would make him very sick.

I have a friend who is allergic to shrimp.

I know a woman who is gluten intolerant.

To imply that any one of these people is less healthy than anyone else is insensitive and rude. They just have to eat other foods and avoid these.

So what is wrong if someone voluntarily eats less of it, as I have chosen to do with grains?

I have never been diagnosed as gluten intolerant. However, grains did have some adverse effect on me. As that was the main thing I changed about my diet, I feel pretty confident it was a contributor.

To demonstrate what effect it had, here's a photo comparison I took last year after one month on a lower-grain diet. All I did was stop following the advice to eat 3 whole grain servings per day.

Belly bulge decreased.

Fortunately, I've had a lot of years to be confident with who I am. I don't care if I don't have the flattest abs on Spark. The only person I'm competing against is myself.

I have never said that people need to give up grains to be healthy. However, to imply that it is somehow 'less healthy' is a deterrent to people who may be helped by it.

In order for me to successfully lose weight and make changes, I had to accept a few things:

- I was overweight and obese.
- I damaged my metabolism and health with poor choices.
- Changes don't happen with wishes.

At one time I, too, thought I would never be able to give up bread, pasta, white potatoes, rice, and pastries.

And I haven't. I just eat a lot less of it. Once per day when I want to maintain weight. Once per WEEK when I want to lose weight.

Once I discovered that was the roadblock between me and my personal goals, I found it easy to put aside.

Once I discovered the negative ways 3 daily servings that breads, pasta, potatoes, and rice had on my body, I found it very easy to say I can do without.

Once I put aside those very calorie dense foods, I had more room in my diet for healthy foods I eschewed in favor of grains: avocados and nuts.

Once I discovered the wonderful ways avocados and nuts improved my health and look of my body, I voluntarily preferred to eat these over breads, pasta, potatoes and rice.

What would you be willing to give up for your health?

Would you only give it up after you have already become sick with metabolic syndrome or heart disease?

Would you be willing to give it up before it came to that point?

If you are blaming your genetics because you can't lose weight, you are partially right.

There are very few people who have the genetics to lose weight on an all pasta diet.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • SHERRY28269
    Great blog! I agree that you have to find what formula works for you for weight loss!
    2033 days ago
    I'm a big believer now of you've gotta do what works for you! If it works, you do it. If it doesn't work, find another alternative with no apologies!

    I'm glad I stumbled across your blogs today! I'm looking forward to reading more! And congrats on being a Spark motivator!
    2033 days ago
    Slowly but surely I believe health "experts" are coming to the conclusion that weight management is not a one size fits all.
    2034 days ago
    RJNICHOLS: emoticon

    ANGRITTER: Good for you for knowing how to work with it!

    SALONKITTY: The before photos are very motivating. I recommend taking some, even if you chose to keep them private (most of mine are).

    As I just got back from a 2 hour bike ride, I think that is a great idea for a topic! I hope you don't mind me taking you up on that!

    EATNBOOGERS: And you too!

    MRS.CARLY: Ouch! :( That's an awful big jump - hope it's just a water weight change.

    SKIRNIR: As you say, to each their own. I sincerely hope that you never get gluten intolerance or fructose malabsorption (both of which can cause poor digestion of fats), or less portion size of breads and fruits won't be much of a choice. For me, my IBS symptoms were one of the conditions that went away after eating lower grains. I had no idea it was related, until it was gone.

    FATBASTICH: emoticon

    LYNDALOVES2HIKE: I love those things too, but as you say, my life isn't diminished without them. I love the fit of my clothes. I don't feel deprived in the least.
    2034 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/29/2012 6:55:47 PM
    I think my body works a lot like yours and I have no regrets about giving up bread, pasta, potatoes and other grain foods - of course, I've never been very fond of pasta and didn't grow up eating potatoes or rice so those were pretty easy to give up. I've loved a lot of bread-or-cereal-type products but have noticed my life doesn't seem even slightly diminished without them and I've also noticed that the scale is moving after a long, long, LONG period of little or no movement. At this point, I don't really care what others think - they can love it, hate it, think I'm being unhealthy or whatever. But oddly enough, nobody's commented on it so far and if they do, it's not going to bother me one bit - to each his own!
    2034 days ago
    "Changes don't happen with wishes."

    Amen to that.
    2034 days ago
    I guess to each their own. But am I willing to give up breads? Heck no. I think for me breads are healthy. Why? Because I have to eat low fat, or my IBS gives me difficulties and I won't eat higher protein than I do now. What am I willing to give up for my health? Nothing, except larger portions. IE I have nothing on my ban list, just limit serving sizes. And to say that spark says all calories are equal, is a misrepresentation of spark. (That was in a comment.) Spark doesn't advocate a low carb diet, true. But they do advocate getting your nutrients and such too, which means not all calories are equal.
    2034 days ago
    You SHOULD be given a motivator award. You put in a lot of time and effort into your blogs that are so so educational and so informative.

    I agree with you, I spent the last week eating too many treats and I'm up 7 pounds. REALLY?!!? 7 pounds?!!? is that necessary for my point to be made?!!?

    Apparently it is.

    Thanks for the post!
    2034 days ago
    Gotta do what works for you!
    2034 days ago
    Love this post! I see posts all the time on the main boards with frustrated people wondering WHY they can't lose weight when they're eating a bagel and banana for breakfast, sweetened yogurt for a snack, pasta at dinner, low fat/low cal weird fake baked goods, etc. What can you say when you have the SP experts repeating the calories in/calories out line, and the all calories are equal thing?

    I just say what my experience was, and it was very much like yours and many others--I could not get the weight off as long as I continued to avoid fat and eat high carb processed foods, and that includes grains for me.

    I wish I'd taken before photos at the beginning of this month, because the changes I've seen in my body in just a little under a month of no sugar, no grains has been pretty dramatic. I've lost nearly 10 lbs, but it LOOKS and FEELS like about 20, probably due to the bloating and such.

    Your photos here show the same sort of change.

    I also agree wholeheartedly about the notion that those who forego grains are somehow unhealthy! Great point about nobody ever suffering from "wheat deficiency", haha!

    Another topic I hope you'll tackle at some point is the notion that low carb diets can't support an active lifestyle. I saw a post from one of the SP fitness experts saying so, which I of course had to reply to, saying that it was not my experience AT ALL, and that I actually have more energy and a better attitude eating this way.
    2034 days ago
    I also try to avoid grains. I will eat tuna sandwiches and those 2 pieces of Nature's Own bread are enough for me! i try to avoid pasta, but sometimes eat it with chicken and veggies, but more chicken and veggies than pasta, I can promise you.

    You are right, some of do not process these dense calorie foods well and our bodies don't burn it off with exercise. I have IBS and too many grains will set it off and then I am in total misery for DAYS.

    So glad you said this and I hope many read it and understand.

    Take care of yourself and keep moving forward.
    2034 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/29/2012 11:01:55 AM
    What a dramatic example in the photos. Good points and something to keep in mind.
    2034 days ago
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