Are you trying to lose weight?
It’s become the national pass time you know.
But even with so many people trying to lose weight, the results are pitiful. As a nation, we are definitely getting fatter, not fitter.
And you know that some of the crazy diets can be downright harmful to your health.
My goal with this article is to not only convince you that dieting will not work for you but also to declare that if you do diet, you will end up getting fatter not fitter.
I will show you irrefutable proof that any diet you attempt will ultimately fail and you will end up worse off when it’s over!
I don’t think you are.
I think you probably realize by now that diets really don’t work. Yea a new one comes out every other week and they kinda sound good sometimes. And even though you may give them a shot, you really don’t believe it will work.
Yea he was right.
But you try anyway because we as a society have been conditioned to believe that weight management is simply about dealing with calories. You either must consume fewer calories or burn off more through exercise and an active lifestyle. And of course doing the two together (eat less and burn more) is the prescription you are always offered.
And admittedly, this does sound very logical. It is easy to believe. And that’s why every diet program ever created, in some way, shape or form, attempts to limit the amount of calories you consume.
The bottom line: None of it works. You are fat no matter what healthy diet to lose weight you choose to follow.
It is the sad truth. And you know it. You’ve been there before.
Well you know what your trainer or dietitian or the company who sold you the diet products will say, don’t you?
And they are right about that last one.
You nor anyone else has sufficient willpower to force themselves to eat less than your body craves for very long.
The basic diet formula that you always fall back on is:
Not going to work. You can only hold out so long.
And then you crash and all the weight comes back and probably a little more to boot.
And you feel like shit. Physically and mentally.
And to top it off, everyone is telling you it’s your own damn fault. You didn’t stick to the plan. You’re too weak. You failed.
It’s total fucking bullshit ya know.
Think about this.
Have you ever really thought about it?
What group of people, in our population and really all populations around the world, are the heaviest?
It is the poorest people.
The people who have the least are the fattest.
How can this be?
The most common reasons offered about the conundrum of how our poorest can be the fattest are:
Well let’s think about this.
Are they too dumb to know better?
It is true that the poor, on average, have less education than wealthier people. But that doesn’t mean they are dumb.
They are less educated but no less life smart.
And you know, it is a funny thing but almost everyone I come across, no matter what their economic background, knows the basics of what is good or bad for them.
But they eat it anyway. Rich or poor, people eat stuff they know is not good for them. You do it and I do it.
And the reasons for this are many but not the subject of this article. So let’s move on.
The point here is that poor people are not fat because the are too dumb to eat good food.
[adsense] What about #2? Are they lazy?
Well this doesn’t make any sense at all. The poor have the toughest jobs. They do all the real work, the physically demanding jobs. Construction workers, service people, farm laborers, etc. The poor work far harder than the wealthy do.
So #2 is BS.
Now being too tired to fix a healthy meal after working your ass off all day might make a little sense. You may be able to paint this into a narrative.
But it is not that hard to prepare good food. Turn on the oven and bake the chicken. Or maybe fill the crock pot in the morning and it’s ready when you get home. Stir fry some veggies.
And salads are not that complicated nor labor intensive.
So I’m not buying #3.
And #4, the no exercise because there are no fitness centers doesn’t fly either.
First, we already said these folks are getting a lot of exercise at their physically demanding jobs.
And second, many people who work out and are quite fit do it without gyms. They are runners, walkers and bike riders. Some just take their dogs for long walks everyday or play basketball with friends at the park.
No, the “no gym” excuse doesn’t make sense either.
It’s simple really.
They have a lot of mouths to feed without a lot of financial resources.
Their only solution is to purchase the cheapest calories available so they can get the most, so to speak, for less.
And if you look at food from the perspective of calories per dollar, highly refined, grain-based carbohydrate type foods win out.
Poor people don’t skimp on protein, fresh fruit and veggies because they don’t like them. They can’t afford them.
Check out this article showing the costs of various foods per 200 calories. It’s easy to comprehend because there are photos of the foods showing relative quantities.
Here is another great visual. You have to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to get 200 calories worth (in many cases it is far more than you would ever eat in a single sitting) but when you get down to refined carbohydrates like baked goods, you can see how easy it is to consume a lot of calories.
Because that is your proof that all diets will eventually fail.
Poor people (most of them) are not gorging themselves on these cheap calories.
You have read about the Great Depression in the 1930’s when the US economy collapsed after the stock market crash of 1929. There were a lot of poor people out on the street without jobs, homes or even food. We have all seen the pictures of the bread lines and soup kitchens feeding the displaced people of the Depression era.
No! They were not fat.
They looked like what you’d expect people to look like who are living on too few calories. They looked hungry. They were skinny, even gaunt looking.
So what gives? Why are today’s poor (and a lot of the rest of us as well) fat while the Depression poor were quite thin?
It’s a good question. And the answer is primarily due to a few big changes in the food system that have occurred over the past 3/4 century.
OK so let’s put this guy back into the bread lines of the 1930’s. Now I don’t really know how many calories you could obtain from the bread lines but I am sure it wasn’t very much. Maybe our guy was getting 1200 to 1500 calories if he was lucky.
At these levels, his body is wasting away as the only source of protein he has is his own muscles. And your body will prioritize keeping itself alive above all other needs when calories are cut to very low levels.
Your brain is fed first followed by your liver, kidneys and heart, ?your metabolism gets slowed down (to conserve energy) and whatever is left (calories to burn for energy) is spread among all your other needs (cell maintenance, fighting disease, moving around, growing hair & skin and on and on).
This is why, by the way, any highly restrictive diet will show weight loss initially. When you drastically cut intake of calories, you will lose weight, for awhile. But you are not forced into compliance by the complete lack of available food.
The guy in the Depression was truly starving, eating far fewer calories than his body required to maintain his body weight (and health).
Well first, the bread lines still exist and they are a lot longer than in the 1930’s. We just don’t see them.
The government has stepped in and in good government form, fucked it all up.
We have in excess of 45 million people in hidden bread lines around this country. The use of technology and the SNAP card keeps it on the down low but make no mistake, the result is still a bread line.
A big difference, however, from the 1930’s breadline is: 1) there is a huge variety of food (if you can call it that) to pick from and 2) today’s poor can have a significant chunk of change in their wallet.
Now I am not making an argument against welfare benefits or how much the government gives the poor for food, housing and whatever else. The point here is that in today’s world, our mythical 3000 calorie a day guy is still likely getting his caloric needs met. Or close to it.
The poor don’t literally starve today. They just eat a lot of cheap, empty calories. Unhealthy, yes but you can survive on it.
If you don’t mind being fat.
The second really big difference today (that the government is also responsible for) is that we subsidize agricultural production of certain crops. These?farm subsidies, coincidentally started in the dust bowl years during the Great Depression and ?are why all this cheap food exists.
While probably started for a good reason by FDR, the continuation of these farm policies down through the decades has led to the availability of very cheap (and crappy) food.
If you are the activist type, this is something to really sink your teeth into. ?The artificial propping up of the agricultural system in this country has been an unmitigated disaster.
But for this article, the bottom line is that billions of dollars are annually given to big agricultural, allowing them to sell grains (mainly wheat, corn and soy) at under their real production costs. And this has allowed cheap, crappy food (with a huge profit) to enter the food stream of an unsuspecting public.
Think about this. Go back to the calories per food type graphic.
To get 200 calories of carrots, you need 570 grams. That’s about 1 1/4 pounds of carrots.
For a glazed doughnut, 200 calories is less than one whole doughnut. Looks like about 7/8 of a doughnut.
To get carrots to your supermarket for purchase (the simplified version), they are planted, watered, picked, transported, washed, bagged and then transported again to your neighborhood store. And what are they, about $1.50 per one pound bag? So about $1.88 for 200 calories of carrots.
The doughnut, on the other hand, probably has 50 different ingredients (something like this:?Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Palm Oil, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Sugar, Dextrose, Salt, Defatted Soy Flour, Whey, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Mono And Diglycerides, Baking Soda, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Calcium Sulfate, Ammonium Sulfate, Ascorbic Acid, Artificial Flavor, Wheat Gluten, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Enzymes, Egg. Glaze Ingredients: Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup Solids, Palm Oil With Soy Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Sulfate, Dextrose, Agar, Locust Bean Gum, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Titanium Dioxide. Contains: Wheat, Soy, Milk, And Egg Ingredients) and needs a huge manufacturing system to bring them into existence.
The main ingredient, wheat flour, is planted, watered, harvested, transported, milled into flour(which is about 20 different steps), packaged, transported to bakeries, mixed with a bunch of other ingredients, formed, baked, glazed (several more ingredients), packaged and transported to your market.
You can probably buy a box of glazed doughnuts (quantity 8) for $3 at your supermarket. Each doughnut is about 225 calories so for $3 you are getting 1800 calories or paying about 33 cents for 200 calories worth of baked wheat.
How is it possible that 200 calories of highly processed wheat (and a bunch of other stuff) can be sold at your supermarket for 33 cents while simple carrots grown in the field cost $1.88?
Grains have them (subsidies) while other food products do not.
In this country you can buy food at retail for less than it costs to grow the main ingredient because our government (using your money) subsidizes it.
Oh, and by the way, this food makes you fat. Really fat.
That is the first thing to get through your head. if you want to get thinner and healthier, you need to figure it our for yourself. Government recommendations will lead you astray; the food and diet industry is corrupt; and your doctor doesn’t know what he is talking about in this area.
The only way permanent weight loss will occur from restricting calories is when starvation levels are achieved over a prolonged period. Like being in a concentration camp or out of work in the Depression era.
If you are depending on willpower to force yourself to eat less than your body desires, you will fail miserably. It can work for awhile.
But then it doesn’t.
Trying to manage your calories in and out (the math) will not work.
The key is in understanding the hormonal effects (the chemistry) of eating different types of food. Understanding this is the only path to a healthy diet to lose weight.
Effective supplementation can also help. Even if you are eating a fairly balanced diet, you are lacking critical vitamins and minerals. Read here about the best supplements for men to take.
The hormonal effects of eating different foods and effective supplementation are the subject of future posts.
Need personal help understanding the chemistry and achieving permanent weight loss?
Schedule a free strategy session to see if personal coaching makes sense for you.[hcshort id=”7″]
Mark aka The Old Spartan and Over-50 Fitness Savior is a 63 year old coffee guzzling father of five wandering the outdoors around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mark helps Active Boomers get lean, healthy and strong so they live rewarding, fun lives using his signature Spartan Method training system.
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