Are the barriers of dieting psychological or physical?
A good question... to begin with
On the last count the word ‘diet’ produced in excess of 500 million web pages of diet plans, and dieting tips from health gurus, diet companies, youtube nutritional professionals and otherwise - from all over the world. And yet we are approaching the peak of an obesity epidemic which is causing untold mental misery and depression, aside from the ever increasing debilitating diseases being linked to those overweight or obese.
With such an abundance of information available - how can this be?
The trend is unforgiving and is second only to smoking in terms of the cause of self-inflicted premature loss of life, but left to its own devices within the next five years obesity is sure to take the number one slot. Mother Nature is ruthless in her approach to life, in that she only allows the fittest to survive and the trend we see today is her reaction to the effects of a diet that is clearly not suited to the well-being of the human body and mind. We only have to stop, take a step in back and look around us to see that there is one hell of a serious problem. There is no need for statistics, reports or media news to tell us such. It's clear that we as individuals have to make a change in what we do if we have any intention to reverse the current obesity trend.
The ultimate responsibility lies with each and every one of us to act for the benefit of ourselves.
Science and technology today is getting nearer and nearer to the possibility of a magic drug with the ever-increasing understanding of the human genotype and genetic engineering.
But in reality, who would ever wish or want to be absolute dependent on one drug, potentially an ongoing daily basis for all your lifetime, simply because of a lack of understanding about the relationship between the food our body has been designed for, and the food we eat.
Why is it, we knowingly overeat when we know it is bad for us and that we are doing harm to ourselves? Why is it, that the only time we choose to ignore our food is the time when we are eating it!
So, is it a psychological thing, a physical thing or is it both?
In order to answer this we must first look at the change in our diet over the last 50 years. Consumption trends of refined carbohydrates such as sugar has risen dramatically, but at the same time the consumption of fats and proteins has remained reasonably stable. Saturated fats has indeed become and still is a problem although thankfully now overall consumption of saturated fats has dropped slightly, but still remains an issue.
Many studies particularly those associated with research in how the Atkins diet worked revealed that the effect of refined carbohydrates and fats both have a form of addiction associated with them. Studies have shown that refined sugars have the effect of playing havoc with the fine balance of maintaining the level of glucose in the bloodstream. This in turn has a detrimental effect on our hormonal activity, such as insulin and glucagon which are both responsible for maintaining the level of glucose to its normal level following a ‘surge’ intake of refined carbohydrates in our diet.
These acceptable levels of glucose in the bloodstream are maintained at surprisingly narrow margins.
Refined sugars therefore induces excessive hormonal activity in its attempt to restore homeostasis. These unnatural ‘swings’ in hormonal activity often cause differing mood swings from that of being happy and content to being sad, on edge, and even feelings of anxiety or panic. Prolonged exposure to these hormonal swings can often lead to the whole process becoming less effective and subsequently diabetes can be the end result.
Other studies have shown surprisingly that the effect of eating significant quantities of fats actually leads to an unexpected human reaction in terms of nutrition.
You would think that eating food rich in fats would have the effect of satisfying feeling of hunger. But amazingly medical research has shown the opposite to be true.
Clinical trials have shown that foods rich in fats actually induces people to eat more not less.
At the time the results from such experiments were groundbreaking as they completely contradicted the nutritional thinking of the time.
It is also interesting to learn that further medical studies have suggested that foods rich in protein have been linked to the response that indicates that you have consumed sufficient food. In other words, it is believed that proteins in some way, triggers the ‘I am full’ response.
And then of course there is the massive change in our energy expenditure. We used to hunt and gather food but now we happily pop to the local supermarket to buy it, or at worse, have it delivered to our front door. Food has changed from being scarce to being in abundance (at least for us), and we have changed from being ‘active’ to relatively ‘dormant’.
Move less and eat more…what should we expect?
And many believe that even the act of not exercising can trigger the bodily response to lower the metabolism and build fat layers under the skin for 2 key reasons, both being linked to human survival. In evolutionary terms, it may be that you are unable to ‘hunt’ and therefore unable to secure food. Reducing the metabolic rate of your body makes total sense to preserve energy. Secondly, if food is available during a spell of non activity, does it not make a whole load of sense to lay down fat layers under the skin to retain bodily heat and secure an energy source during potential ‘lean times’.
Perfect sense, perfect design and yet we don’t understand ourselves and if we do, many choose to ignore the warning signs out body is offering.
In essence therefore, it is very clear that part of the problem within the dieting world that we humans face is certainly a physical one that is linked to the interaction of the food types we eat with that of our body. And clearly, over the last 50 odd years our diet has changed out of all recognition and yet our body is doing the same as it has been doing for well over the last 100,000 years.
We are in the 21st century, our body is still in the ‘Stone Age’. Evolution is a slow slow process but over millions of years the relationship and reaction of chemicals in our food with the cells of the human body has been cemented and cast, for eons of time.
So, it is us that need to change… because Mother Nature will not entertain us for thousands of years to come…
Run with it, eat what your body has been designed for and successful weight loss will follow for sure…
EAT MODERATELY: The first step to loose weight
Clear and simple. Here how to proceed
Yes. This is the primary thing you must do. Did you know that your new automobile is likely to have a larger cup-holder than your older model? That restaurants use larger plates, bakers are selling larger muffins, pizzerias have larger pans, and fast food companies are using larger French fries and drink containers than 20 years ago?
Did you know that identical recipes for cookies and desserts in the old editions of “Joy of Cooking” specify fewer servings?
It is evident to all of us that overweight and obesity have increased sharply in the USA in adults and children in the last few years. Since studies show that activity of people has not changed much in the last decades, the increase in body overweight must come from a change in the food intake.
Considering that about half the people in the USA consume their meals outside the home, the portion sizes become an important factor in the increase of body overweight.
The American Journal of Public Health published a study about the current sizes of portions in restaurants, fast foods, and food manufacturers. The authors compared the data with the sizes of the past 30 years, and they came up with some amazing numbers.
First they noted that all the portions offered in every category exceed by far the guidelines of the USDA and the FDA. Cookies are seven times bigger than recommended, cooked pasta five times larger, muffins three times larger, and so on.
Then they discovered that portion sizes began to grow in the 1970s and have continued to grow at the same rate as body overweight. Food and fast food companies today promote larger items and use larger sizes as selling points. Widespread price competition has induced manufacturers to introduce larger items as a means to expand market share, since they discovered that profit rises when the product size is increased. In the mid ‘50s a very well know fast food corporation, offered only one size of French fries: that size today is called “small”. The food industry invests billions in making their products more attractive, sexier, saltier, or sweeter and we are vulnerable to their promotions.
This happens at a moment when we became more sedentary and kids spend longer hours in front of the TV or their computers.
Going to Europe or other countries we see some striking differences in the food habits. First of all there is not so much advertising about food. Most of the Italian TV ads are about basic ingredients such as olive oil, wine, and pasta, and not so much about prepackaged food or fast food chains.
In addition the portion sizes are considerably smaller than in America. We recently had dinner in a steakhouse and the smallest portion available on the menu was a 10 oz filet mignon.
That is about three times larger than the average size of a portion of meat in Italy.
We noticed ourself many times that people moving to the USA from other countries would gain weight in few months.
There is no doubt in my mind that the large amount of food we ingest today is one of the main causes for the general growth of overweight in America. This doesn’t affect only people with a weight problem, but also those who are maybe only a few pounds over and struggle to control the size of their waistline.
In an environment where lifestyle and advertising pushes to eat out more and in larger quantities it is imperative that we learn how to control ourselves.
One very good way to start We learned from a trainer at the gym, and We encourage everyone to try. It is very simple: On a notepad or smartphone that you own, write down everyday for a week everything that you ingest.
Take note of the quantities, not only for the main meals, but even the smallest things such as drinks, candies and snacks. Then with the help of a calorie chart add up the numbers.
Many people say “I don’t know how I gain weight. I don’t eat very much”. We bet they are ready for a big surprise. It is incredible how all those little things we munch during the day add up to a large number of calories.
After the shock, the realization will come that something needs to be done. First it is important to understand what a regular portion looks like. 3 oz meat: is approximately the size of a deck of cards or a bar of soap (when was the last time you saw a steak of that size?); 3 oz fish: the size of a checkbook; 1 oz cheese: the size of matchbox; one medium potato: the size of a computer mouse; 1 cup pasta: the size of two eggs.
When eating out choose the small or medium sizes instead of the large ones.
Ask for half of the meal to be packed to go.
Share your portion with a friend.
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Don’t eat the bread and butter before the meal. For your home don’t buy a lot of food, but buy single serving packages. If you snack don’t eat from the bag, but place a few chips or crackers on a dish. Cut in the amount of sauces, mayonnaise and cream cheese, and use low calories types. If you are a big eater fill yourself with a large quantity of vegetables and eventually fresh fruit.
In conclusion: Everyone that tries to keep weight under control knows how difficult it is. The first step is to be inventive in ways to reduce the sizes of the food portions.