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.