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What is the best way to lose the weight?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I was contemplating this question as I was watching a show on Dr. Phil about morbid obesity recently. The answer may depend on several factors.
People who are several hundred pounds overweight can make huge progress just by limiting the number of calories they eat to a normal amount, even a high "normal", let's say 3000 calories/day. If they also stop eating processed foods than this can make just as big a difference.
Of course most people who are trying to lose weight on their own rather than being at an expensive in-patient weight-loss clinic have had tremendous difficulty giving up processed foods and eating "normal" amounts because processed foods are filled with addictive ingredients, primarily sugar and wheat. For anyone who is not convinced that wheat products (incl. whole wheat) are addictive please take a look at the book "Wheatbelly" by William Davis.
Replacing these addictive foods with other foods that are just as satisfying but not addictive can be critical to success. Sugar and carbs in general are addictive in part because every time we eat them our body responds with releasing insulin from our pancreas so that the carbs, all of which our body turns into sugar, can be moved from our blood stream to our cells. Insulin is good and necessary but if we eat carbs a lot every day as most people do, our cells get gradually less responsive to insulin and our pancreas has to produce more of it, ultimately leading to type 2 diabetes when our pancreas can't keep up any more. The other problem is that every time our insulin levels go up, our sugar levels then go down quickly, leaving us hungry for more carbs. For most people this cycle is the reason they feel hungry every couple of hours. THIS IS NOT NORMAL but a sign that our body has become too reliant on carbohydrates for energy.
Therefore the way to eliminate the constant hunger is to cut down carbohydrates, and get more of our calories from fat.
The other advantage of eating fewer carbohydrates and more fat is that our body is getting used to using fat for energy and is getting better at it the fewer carbohydrates are available to use for energy. Our body does not distinguish between using fat from our diet and body fat as far as using fat as fuel. Once it is used to burning fat it will be better at burning fat, giving us plenty of energy for all our daily activities.
For people who have already lost most of their excess weight, eating fewer carbohydrates is often the only way to improve their body composition, because once their body has gotten used to burning fat there is so much more energy available for working out making working out much more easy and fun.
This is an experience that I share with many people on the low-carb, paleo and primal teams on spark. So, regardless of how much weight you have to lose (and you may at first be able to lose on almost any diet) if you can wrap your mind around giving up sugar and grains you will be working with your body to lose weight and get in shape.
For all those who are convinced they could never give up grains and/or sugar: It is actually much easier than you might think: Xylitol is an excellent low-glycemic sweetener that will not affect insulin levels much and it can be used just like sugar. Stevia is another healthy sweetener that many people enjoy and it is completely calorie and sugar-free.
Grains are easily replaced with nut meals/flours, the most popular ones of these are almond flour and coconut flour, but also flaxseed meal.
A diet that leaves you hungry and without energy will make any exercise an uphill struggle which is very discouraging for someone who does not have a long habit of enjoying exercise. Eating a lower-carb diet (between 50-100grams/day) while consuming more fat and a moderate amount of protein will hugely increase energy levels and joy of exercising and thereby increase muscle mass as body fat is reduced.
At least that has been my experience over this past year.
Now I'm going shopping for our Thanksgiving meal, including meats, eggs, full-fat dairy, different colors of vegetables, nuts, fruit and even some dark chocolate.
Happy Thanksgiving,
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great food for thought!
    1943 days ago
    I always read your blogs and thank you for the information you’re putting out there. As you know, a “low carb” day for me is keeping under 200. Fortunately, the conventional advice calories-in/calories out, portion control etc. worked and continues to work for me, but I’m pleased that there are alternatives for those who need something else. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1944 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    I've been reading THE SUGAR FIX by Richard Johnson M.D. and learning so much about why fructose makes us fat. His lecture on YouTube is worth listening to.
    1944 days ago
    I struggled to find a meal plan for many years and then looked up body types and got my daughter(med student) to research a plan that has been invaluable to me. I don't eat bread which was the biggest help to my metabolism. I replaced it with ryvita and kavli bread or sawdust as my hubby calls it.
    I incorporate a higher amount of protein and fat than is 'recommended' but as each person is different and all the blood and sugar tests are good I'm happy to keep going.
    I go for avocado and nuts and seeds to give a good fat. I love dark chocolate but found as I lost weight my craving for it has dropped to one piece every couple of days.
    I do eat frozen yoghurt every night and feel happy with myself.

    Thanks for the info it is greatly appreciated and enjoyed by us all by the responses emoticon emoticon

    1944 days ago
    that's a good question. The reason for moderate protein is that excess protein that the body does not need for building muscle will be turned into sugar by the liver, a process called gluconeogenesis. To determine the approximate amount of necessary protein you need to figure out your approximate lean body mass which is total body weight in pounds minus pounds of body fat. Then eat about 1 gram of protein for every pound of lean body mass.
    Only body builders and very high level athletes need more than that.

    1944 days ago
    Interesting. Why moderate proteins? I found a free copy of Wheat Belly (epub) on the internets, will check it out ;)
    1944 days ago
    This is very well written and certainly something to consider. However, right now I count myself in the numbers who can't imagine giving up carbs and I unabashedly admit to a fondness for sugar. I am not super high in either category and maybe some day I will consider trying to be low carb. I get a good amount of protein each day but struggle to get enough fat grams.

    Currently, I remain of the opinion that there are many ways to lose weight. What works great for one person may be a failure or at best a successful misery for another. I wish everyone success in any healthy way that works for them.

    1944 days ago
  • KANOE10
    That was well written and so true. I am going to recommend this blog to other people.

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

    1944 days ago
  • OOLALA53
    Over a hundred years of aiming at a certain amount of calories or even a certain weight has proved to be a huge failure. So has making drastic changes. Yes, the successes are out there, but they are the exception.

    Slowly changing the crucial ratio between refined foods and wholesome foods, as well as decreasing amounts of dense foods over time, is what people end up doing in the long run. Accepting that it's going to be a long haul and making it enjoyable along the way is so important!

    You can and are doing this. Just keep going!

    1944 days ago
    Great information there, I enjoyed reading it and now to work on it.

    1944 days ago
  • ERIN1957
    I love this!! Very well said!
    1944 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.