Seduction by Marketing Interests - POSTED ON: Sep 30, 2012
Marketing interests foster the belief that all we have to do is use their product to “get the excess weight off”. They'll kiss our behinds, not because they care about us, but to get our money.
I use the term “marketing interest” to define someone who has a product or an idea that they would like to make financially profitable. It could be a food, a drug or supplement, a book or other publication, a diet organization, an exercise machine, an event such as a marathon, personal services like a trainer or nutritionist, a politician, or even …. gasp!… a medical doctor or facility with a specialization involving the condition of obesity.
Advertising also now gives a more positive spin on this process by substituting the term “get healthy” for “lose weight”; thereby making certain that the concept Slim equals Healthy, and Fat equals Sick. During the past several decades, this language has been adopted by popular culture, which was an extremely successful marketing ploy. It has resulted in the majority of society … including those in the medical profession …now accepting that concept as an absolute Truth of Life. An informed person who dares to question the basic reality of that premise now faces mass opposition.
Most of us who struggle with obesity, desperately want to be “normal weight”.
We want to be “attractive”, “trim”, “fit”, “toned” and “healthy”.
We want an easy way to accomplish that goal. A way that doesn’t take much thought or a lot of time and effort. We want it to come “naturally”. So, we are easily seduced by the false promises of a simple, effortless way. We can also be seduced into agreeing to make a lot of effort for a very limited time.
Phrased anyway you like, essentially, this is a lie.
And, not a “harmless” lie, but to use a term I frequently heard as a child…
It’s a lie “straight from the pits of Hell”.
As long as we believe there is….somewhere….an easy way, it becomes almost impossible to commit oneself to the hard work and constant struggle that it takes for weight-loss and maintenance of that weight-loss.
People who are clearly fat commonly express the concept that that they
don’t want Thoughts about Weight/Food/Exercise to "Rule their Life".
I have no way to help anyone toward that Goal of Mindlessness,
because Thoughts about Weight/Food/Exercise have ALWAYS "Ruled MY Life."
I'm not a person with the genetics it takes to be naturally thin, or even naturally normal-weight. I did not spend any less time Thinking about those issues when I was Fat than I do now. The difference is that when I was Fat my Thoughts were not accompanied by consistent Action, while during my weight-loss period ...and now inside Maintenance...
my Thoughts about those issues now tend to be productive and positive.
Sometimes, ... if we choose to ... we can make hard work enjoyable, and that is the direction I’ve chosen to take with my dieting hobby.
Perfect is the Enemy of Good - POSTED ON: Sep 29, 2012
Most people sometimes feel a strong inner drive to be “perfect” despite the fact that perfection is an impossible and often self-defeating goal.
Just like in every area of life, whatever diet, food plan, or way-of-eating, that one chooses can never be followed perfectly. Each of us makes many independent daily food choices based on what we feel best fits with our own lifestyle and personal eating philosophy. We aren’t all the same, and I believe that we shouldn’t try to be. However, there are a few helpful things that we might want to keep in mind while making those daily food choices.
Perfect is the Enemy of Good.
Everywhere we read conflicting information about what foods we should eat, which micronutrient or chemical contained in food should-we-choose-to-eat-or-not-eat to make us normal weight, and keep us from illness or death (i.e. healthy).
Our modern world will never be perfectly free of contaminants.
Okay, it’s the collective fault of society, but there is no going back. Also, life-spans here in the modern world are longer and more disease free … overall for more people … than life-spans were in our recorded past. So since we can't have perfectly pure food, the operative question in the real world is: Which of the available food choices are acceptable for me to realistically consume in my own life? What won’t make me fat, sick, or kill me?
Risks outside our control tend to get exaggerated.
We are frequently told that we should not eat this or that food substance, AND we are frequently told that we should eat these specific food substances.
People tend to get very worked up over what is perceived as the latest “chemical threat” in our food. Instead, we need to focus on the large risks that are within our control, … like focusing on the AMOUNTS of the readily available food that we eat … rather than exaggerating the smaller threats of what specific foods contain, just because the way that these micronutrients or other chemicals are handled often appear to be outside of our personal control.
New in the news is not new in the world.
When the news media highlights a “chemical threat” the tendency is to think the threat itself is new; that the consequences are unknown, and in the future. But if some chemical in foods does actually contribute to the risk of disease, it’s been doing so for years. That risk isn’t something looming in our future, it’s already in the present, and already part of the life we now live.
Perfectly pure food is not available on this planet. Instead of focusing on the latest news media hype, we need to do the best we can with the food supply we've got.
So lets focus on eating readily-available food in ways that will provide us with a personally satisfying lifestyle while understanding that EVERY person cannot achieve a slim, shapely, fit and toned body; that most diseases are simply a risk of life; that our bodies are designed to wear out; and that death will eventually arrive for everyone.
What is Junk Food? - POSTED ON: Sep 28, 2012
What is “Junk Food” anyway?
Is it an "edible food-like substance"? The opposite of:
Junk food is slang - an informal term - for food that contains a high level of calories from sugar or fat, with little protein, vitamins or minerals.
The definition of Junk is anything that is regarded as worthless, meaningless, or contemptible; trash. The definition of Trash is anything worthless, useless, or discarded; rubbish, So Junk or Trash is something worthless. The opposite of that would be Treasure, as the definition of treasure is a valuable or precious possession of any kind.
There’s a wise old proverb that says: “One man's trash is another man's treasure”, meaning that something that one person considers worthless may be considered valuable by someone else.
Whether something is trash or treasure is a matter of an individual’s perception. This proverb is applicable to current popular culture and its food issues.
The most common viewpoint is that junk foods include salted snack foods, candy, sweet desserts, fried fast food, and sweet carbonated beverages. Although every person has their own list of foods that they call junk foods, society uses the slang term “junk food” as though we all agree on exactly what these specific foods are.
White sugar and white flour are carbs that become glucose when ingested, and will provide life-sustaining physical energy, just like other carbs. This, when used together with a bit of protein, some fat, and an added multi-vitamin-mineral pill, is a diet that many modern humans use to sustain reasonably healthy lives. We see the term “Healthy” everywhere nowadays, but “Healthy” really only means not-sick and not-dead.
Recently I saw an article headlined: “Junk food is an issue of national security”. And in fact, there appear to be foodie terrorists everywhere ... People who insist on forcing their strong opinions about which foods are trash, and which foods are treasure.
Nowadays, one can’t go for long without being exposed to the assertion ... (everything seems to be believed by someone) ... that some specific micronutrient, such as carbs, or animal proteins, or fats cause heart disease, cancer and/or Alzheimer’s disease.
Assertations abound that chemicals used in processing foods, or genetic changes in the way food is now grown, or foods fed to the animals providing protein products make many of the major foods unhealthy and unsafe.
There are many opposing opinions on which food micronutrient, or which of the chemicals within foods, will kill us or make us sick. People can’t even totally agree on which ones will make us fat.
In my lifetime, I’ve personally experimented with a great variety of different food plans. Some were labeled “fad” diets. Some were labeled “crash” diets, Some were labeled “healthy” diets. Some were labeled “balanced” diets. Some were labeled “low-fat” diets. Some were labeled “low-carb” diets. Some of these food plans tried to distinguish themselves by redefining themselves … insisting that they weren’t “Diets” at all.
No matter which food plan I was currently on, there were always plenty of “nutritional experts” around to tell me that my current plan was wrong. “Nutritional Experts” across the board have delighted in telling me that my diet-of-the-moment was providing me with too few calories to meet my body’s nutritional needs, and that I absolutely MUST eat at least 1200 calories or more every day. The reality is that I’m a short, light, elderly, sedentary “reduced-obese" female and my body requires LESS than 1200 daily calories to sustain my current normal-sized weight. Despite my low-calorie intake my body isn’t shrinking into nothingness, and my recommended daily multivitamin seems to work well to effectively correct any potential nutritional deficiencies.
One common question that the “experts” all seem to find unique and meaningful about any specific diet is: “Are you going to continue to eat like this for the rest of your life?” As to any one specific diet, I find that question irrelevant, because there are literally thousands of different food plans possible. My personal choice is to engage myself in serial diet monogamy which has brought me from morbid obesity to a normal size, and allowed me to at normal size for quite a few years. Although I’m over age 60, all indications are that I’m still in excellent health.
The truth we all need to face is that the human body is designed to wear out, and even if we are fortunate enough to avoid the major diseases, we will eventually die of old age… Probably by our mid 80s, but perhaps not until we are in our 90s. The time I’ve spent visiting the elderly in nursing homes has taught me that the stretch between death in one’s mid-80s and death in one’s 90s, seldom comes with years of excellent health, and practically speaking, it might actually better to avoid an attempt to extend one’s life span for an extra 5 or 10 years.
So, are the following pictures Junk Food to YOU?
The majority classify the above foods as Junk Foods,
but would you agree with the people
who classify the foods below as Junk Foods?
Bread (carb) - Butter (saturated fat)
Hot Dog in Bun with ketchup and mustard & fried Onion Rings (carbs, processed fatty meat, sugared condiment & fried food) - - - Cheese, crackers & Grapes (animal based fatty protein, wheat-flour carbs & high sugar frutose carb)
Roast Beef Sandwich (fatty red meat, wheat carbs) - Tuna Salad Sandwich (wheat carbs - mercury tainted protein source?, mayo- fat & carb, chopped eggs - cholestrol)
Beefsteak, green beans, carrots & roasted white potatoes (fatty red meat, high starch vegetables) - - crisp fried bacon (processed fatty meat with nitrates).
The examples above demonstrate that almost every food seems to contain some micronutrient or substance that SOMEONE can find objectionable.
Going to the Gym - POSTED ON: Sep 26, 2012
I often hear people who want to lose weight say,
"I need to start going to the gym."
It’s true that most people need to be more active and less sedentary.
I’m not against exercise or the health benefits it can give one.
However, the idea that a bit more physical activity will reduce one’s body weight or prevent weight gain is a modern myth. It takes a lot more than regular trips to the gym to combat obesity.
In more ways than one, people just have “too much on their plate”.
Too much food, and too many activities.
Food intake determines body size as related to weight-loss and maintenance of that weight-loss. Exercise determines how physically "fit" one's body is ... at whatever size it happens to be. One cannot outexercise a bad diet. To see an example of diet vs. exercise, watch the video at the bottom of this article. Most people with limited time who are struggling with obesity would be better served to focus on their food issues.
For the majority of people, … especially parents with young children, … it isn’t the expense of the gym fee that keeps them away. It’s the lack of time, low self-esteem, poor body image, depression, and sheer exhaustion from their stressful days. The last thing needed is yet one more obligation (meaning: visit to a gym or fitness center) in their already busy and overscheduled days.
If there was an extra hour or so to actually dedicate to going to a gym it might be a more "healthful" choice for them to get an extra hour of sleep or do something more enjoyable and relaxing.
The problem is not that people are too lazy or too cheap to pay for gym membership. The problem is that they are too busy, too stressed, too short of time, too exhausted, spend too much time in their cars, and are too caught up in everything else that makes a “healthy lifestyle” virtually impossible.
Changing one’s lifestyle is more about changing one’s ‘life’ than one’s ’style’.
Perhaps a life in which there is actually time to stop and smell the flowers would do more for busy people to better manage their weight than a workout.
See below for a video on Diet vs. Exercise.
Points Worth Considering - POSTED ON: Sep 25, 2012
I don't have to personally agree with every word that another person says
to appreciate and enjoy their viewpoint.
And, every so often, I run across an article in someone else's blog that is so amusing and clever,
that despite any minor points with which I might personally disagree, I wish I'd written it myself.
Here's an example that I find worth memorializing at DietHobby:
"The weight loss conundrum
Disclaimer: this post expresses my personal opinions. Fancy that. On my personal blog too. And guess what, this opinion may even be different to yours. You can let me know if you agree or disagree with the views expressed here. You might even go as far as to tell me that I am wrong. I may or may not care about that. Enjoy reading.
Phew. Now that we got that out of the way let’s talk weight loss. Everyone on the internet knows that the best way to get traffic is to tag your pearls of wisdom “weight loss tips” and “Jessica Biel’s diet secrets”. I have neither. Sorry. But this post was mostly brought on by the frustration that the topic of losing body mass is still a priority not just in conventional women’s magazines but in the ancestral health community.
You know the one: “Yes, I’ve given up grains because Robb Wolf told me to, I don’t eat refined carbs after reading Gary Taubes, I stopped sugar after watching that Lustig’s video and I force down a tablespoon of fermented cod liver oil since attending Weston A.Price conference. I feel great but… How do I lose another 10kgs?”
And of course there is no shortage of available experts on the interwebz:
- eat less carbs
- eat more safe starches
- introduce interval training
- stop HIIT to salvage your burned out adrenals
- eat sauerkraut for healthy gut
- calories don’t matter
- calories matter
- start IF
- use FitDay to track your daily intake
It’s all very sad.
In the meantime the average long term success of most weight loss strategies is around 1%. Yeah, sure, most people do it wrong. They choose the wrong diet (Lemon Detox, anyone?), they choose the worst possible exercise (if you are a female with a cup size C and above, for god’s sake stop running). And they just don’t have the willpower that the new dieter has (sarcasm font). Because the new dieter knows that he/she will be different. I will be in that 1% who does it right and stays skinny ever after. The End.
There are numerous reasons why weight loss strategies fail. And there are numerous reasons why they succeed. Temporarily. You can lose weight in literally thousands of different ways: Paleo, low fat, low carb, low calorie, ketogenic, vegetarian, aerobic exercise, HIIT, IF, bariatric surgery, liposuction…
That’s why the to and fro arguments on which approach is better for weight loss is kinda pointless. YES! YOU CAN LOSE WEIGHT EATING MARS BARS AND DRINKING COKE! (feel free to leave this page at this point and celebrate).
We have this love and hate relationship with a number that determines our body mass. Lily Allen famously said: “And everything’s cool as long as I’m getting thinner”. There is another number that we have become very preoccupied with in the last few decades: serum cholesterol. Chasing that number (down) is the name of the game, mostly by pharmacological means. Of course, you could tilt this snow globe upside down and decide that the number per se is not very meaningful and in fact represents some other pathological process in the body. Ideally you would choose an intervention that both addresses the cause of the problem and pushes that number in the direction you want. A nutrient-rich diet free of processed junk and pro-inflammatory toxins accompanied by reasonable physical activity is likely to address the chronic inflammatory state that leads to dyslipidaemia and therefore drop the dreaded cholesterol numbers down and please your conscientious doctor.
But sometimes it doesn’t get you to the magic 5.5 mmols that your doctor wants to see. Just like your 6 month foray into the Paleo diet fails to get you to that elusive number that determines your weight, size and consequently happiness. Time to go on PaleoHacks and shout for help.
I am not having a go at the desire to be slimmer. Sure, I wouldn’t mind losing a few kgs. I also wouldn’t mind losing my freckles or having bigger hands (it sucks trying to find surgical gloves that fit). Neither affects my sense of self worth.
So for what it’s worth, these are my ideas in relation to weight loss (note, doesn’t say FOR weight loss):
I am overweight? Oh thank you, kind sir, I wish I knew this earlier!
Let me just switch to a healthy diet and start running.
1. If your primary focus is weight loss you are already behind the eighth ball. If being skinny was a powerful motivator we wouldn’t have 2/3rds of the Western world overweight or obese. Wanting to lose weight tends to screw with people’s heads even with the best foundation: they start stressing (excess cortisol=bad), they start reducing/counting/starving/hating their bland food/exercising at 5am and generally stop listening to their bodies.
Things are quite different when you eat to nourish every cell in your body. Shift your focus to wellness and flip the switch.
1a Unless you have congestive heart failure or chronic kidney disease, chuck your scales. Like now. Get up and throw them in the bin.
2. Start with having a nutrient-rich diet and get rid of junk. Use whatever framework takes your fancy: Paleo, primal, perfect health diet, whole30, Mediterranean, vegetarian (gasp! ). Minimize the “healthy” versions of unhealthy food, you don’t want any food holding you emotionally hostage.
Until you have that down pat, forget the words “Do you have these pants in a smaller size?”
3. Find a regular consistent physical activity you enjoy. I know exercise is supposed to be about torture. That’s ok if you enjoy torture, no judgement here. Do something you can see yourself doing regularly in a year. Or five.
3a. Do not ramp up the volume/intensity of the said activity to accelerate weight loss beyond the level you see yourself comfortably doing long term. Did I hear you say “bootcamp”? Pfft.
4. You cannot fix self esteem issues with weight loss. The two have very little to do with each other.
4a. In the same vein, having weight loss as a dangling carrot in the future can derail your enjoyment of today. Don’t put off activities, clothes or happiness until you get thinner. See point 1.
5. It seems that the thoughts of weight loss frequently return when people are still longing for a six pack in spite of measurable improvements in their physical and mental health. This is where we hit a little snag.
Let’s say you start off in the obese category. Up to a certain point weight loss and health gains go together. Then you reach a state where your body is happy, healthy and well-nourished. To lose more subcutaneous fat from this point will not gain any further health benefit. In fact, you may dip down into negative territory. If you are body builder, dancer, gymnast or any athlete dependent on low body mass this is the risk you have to take. If you are a suburban mother of 2, disappointed she doesn’t look like her graduation photo any longer, you may be playing a dangerous game. If you still choose to continue down this path that’s cool. Your choice. It’s way harder to shift the happy-healthy weight so you may have to pull out all stops. Some of those deviate even further from the path to long term health and wellness. Obviously if you are naturally lean and small you have to flip this scenario 180 degrees. Getting massive past the point of diminishing returns may not be optimal for your body either.
When I see an obese patient I do not have an overwhelming desire to help them lose fat. To me their weight is nothing more but an external manifestation of serious internal issues. I worry about their risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune conditions. I feel the same level of concerns for the skinny-fat: normal BMI with little muscle and obvious visceral adiposity.
Incredibly sexist and quite offensive to naturally thin women.
However we don’t think twice when the ads are turned the other way around.
For a health-conscious and somewhat rebellious community we are still remarkably superficial and eager to conform to the current body image stereotype."
by Anastasia on Primalmeded.com
All good points that are certainly worth consideration.
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