Weightloss. It’s what’s on the minds of most adults right now, and if it isn’t now, it will be later. And for those people who never have to worry about their weight … we all hate them! 😉 We live in the era of fad diets like “The Zone” and “Atkins”. We live in the pill nation for everything with drugs like hoodia, ephedra, cortisol, caffeine pills, and appetite suppressants. But no matter what drug or diet you choose … it will never take your weight loss worries off your mind.
America. We are the fattest nation in the world! We are the nation of the quick fix, fast food, and most importantly, fast food. For those of you who have seen “Super Size Me”, you saw a man in full physical health start eating a McDonalds diet for a month. By the end of the month, he was fatter, looking physically disgusting and sick, he gasped as he climbed 6 steps and the doctors begged him to stop. Did this test stop America’s obsession with fast food …? Not! We remain the nation with sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and people with disabilities because they are too overweight and function normally in society.
But wait! Pharmaceutical companies have given us solutions! In fact, a co-worker told me like she had bad news: “Well, my doctor had to put me back on Lipitor.” And then two minutes later, “So are we going to have Burger King for lunch?” This irritates me a lot. All I want to say to these people is, “This is not like cancer. You weren’t just affected by these diseases through no fault of your own. It’s your horrible, horrible diet … JUST STOP!”
However, I must say that the fault is not entirely with these people. We are conditioned from childhood, with happy food toys and jungle gyms in the restaurant to make fast food fun. As we grow, we learn that it is easy and socially acceptable. In our fast-paced society of mothers who are too tired to cook for their family, teenagers too busy with school activities, and college students who are too stuck with work (and parties) to learn to cook … the concept of “fast food”?
On the other side of the scale (no pun intended), we have the weight loss industry. One of the most profitable industries in America. We are constantly bombarded with the latest pills, supplements, diets, programs, gyms, trainers, and exercise equipment that leave our heads spinning! Now when you think about it in the cynical and suspicious way that I do … the fast food industry is making us fat, so the weight loss industry steps in to save the day … coincidence? … conspiracy? … .We will save it for another article. Most importantly, we are all being manipulated by these industries because we are lost! We do not trust ourselves to know how to lose weight because we are the ones who allow ourselves to gain weight in the first place. So we read all the books, we go to all the websites, we look at all the infomercials trying to see who has “it.” Who is right, who has the secret, who is the god of weight loss who will heal us forever and as quickly as possible. We are looking at all these other people when all we really have to do is listen to ourselves, to our bodies, and just to logic.
Think of elementary school. We learned in gym class that we need to exercise and that it can be fun and make us feel good. We learned about the food pyramid, which, although it has been recently updated, still tells us that we need a balanced diet. I remember specifically in 8th grade biology class, learning about fats (lipids), carbohydrates (starches and sugars), and proteins (large chains of amino acids). We learned that each of these substances has a certain amount of calories and that your body uses these calories as energy to keep your body running. We are burning a couple hundred calories just sitting in a chair for an hour. These are just basic things that most people have already been taught … WE ALL FORGET IT! Or do we just want the miracle “cure” to gain weight?
In the 90’s it was all about “fat free” and “reduced fat”. We all think, “Hey, if what I’m eating is fat-free, I can’t get fat from eating it!” WRONG! All they did was increase the carb count and, in some cases, the calorie count as well. But we didn’t want to see that. In the new millennium we copy super skinny famous actors (who, by the way, are not just getting skinny out of vanity, but to keep their jobs). And the low carb and no carb revolution began! We all stopped eating starches, we lost a ton of water weight in the first two weeks because we no longer had carbohydrates in our systems to retain it … leaving us constipated and crying when we saw the bread basket on the restaurant table. because “we couldn’t have any”. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that sugar (like in candy) and other simple sugars shouldn’t be a regular part of your diet and my dentist would agree too. However, denying yourself an entire food group for God knows how long is just plain stupid!
So what does that leave us? Everything we learned when we were young! It all comes down to the number of calories you eat should be very close to the amount your body naturally burns on its own every day. If you want to burn a little more and lose some weight … eat a balanced diet and get some exercise. And this doesn’t mean you have to start getting up at 6am to run 5 miles, or join a gym and go 4 times a week for 2 hours at a time. Because I know from experience that if you do that, you will burn out and never want to exercise again! Exercise just means increasing your activity level from the level your body is used to on a normal day. Don’t have a lot of free time? Therefore, park your car further away from the store entrance in the parking lot than you normally would. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, even if it’s just for one flight. Walk your dog around the block and back instead of just letting him out the back door (trust me, it doesn’t take as long as you think and your pup will love you for it).
Be smart. Be logical. Don’t rationalize eating McDonald’s for lunch every day just because you ran a mile that morning. (You’ll be screwing up your heart in more ways than one.) And sorry, there are simply no miracles that will make you lose 20 pounds. In 2 days. Suck it up! Realize that it took you a while to gain your weight … it will take a while to get off … as it should. As impatient as we are, our bodies still need time to adjust to any changes in activity, stress, and weight. And unless you’re a successful model or actor (which I doubt you are if you’re reading this), you don’t get paid for how good you look in front of the camera. So put down the copy of People magazine, stop telling yourself you need to look like this, and give yourself a fucking break. Give your body a break. Most importantly, give your mind a break because this is not brain surgery. Everything we need to know about weight loss we learned in elementary school.