Posted by: dietingnow | July 6, 2007

Weight Loss – The Group Approach

People are social beings, so for many of us, it doesn’t make sense to try and lose weight alone. Many people do better in a group program such as Weight Watchers. In fact, Weight Watchers has been one of the most successful weight loss programs around for many years now. It operates on a simple, yet ingenious formula that makes weight loss simple for the majority of people.

The first element is the grading of foods according to points. The key is that it’s a simple system. Different foods are given a different number of points based on their fat and calorie content, and you are given a daily ‘allowance’ of points depending on how active you are and how much weight you want or need to lose. This means that you don’t need to stick to pre-planned menus, you don’t need to buy special foods or supplements, and you can eat the foods you love. There are no forbidden foods.

This is very different from a lot of other diets and weight loss programs, which tend to target a particular type of food and blame it for everyone’s weight problems. For people who subscribe to the low –carb approach to weigh loss, simple carbohydrates are the ‘enemy’. For fitness guru Susan Powter, fat is the enemy. The problem is that all of these diets lose their appeal after you have been on several different ones, and they all tell you different things. In fact, as a society, we almost expect a new approach to eating to come along every year or so, just to confuse us!

At Weight Watchers, though, they just let the numbers speak for themselves without judging the foods. Some foods are simply higher in calories, so if you want to eat them, you have to eat less in order to lose or maintain your weight. It’s very simple. So, for example, if you want to plan to have dessert, you can cut back on some of your other food for the day, or just exercise a bit more.

Another thing that makes Weight Watchers so successful is the group approach. Everyone comes to meetings together, a little bit like AA or any other support group. There, everyone is weighed in public, though there is no scolding or shaming, Psychologically, though, that really does make people try harder to lose weight. People know that if they slip up, everyone will know. Everyone will probably be very understanding, but by the same token, everyone is likely to applaud you when you do stick to the plan and lose weight.

Weight Watchers is the original, but there are many other weight loss programs that are based on this group approach. It’s very helpful to many of us, much as exercising with a friend can be much easier than doing it on your own. Basically, eating is a very social thing, and one of the reasons why people fail to lose weight may be that they feel the need to participate in the social aspect of eating.

Weight loss groups deal with this need very constructively. You have the opportunity, on a regular basis, to be with a large group of people who are in the same boat, so to speak. Weight Watchers also has qualified counselors on hand to help you with any trouble you might be having with your weight loss plan. That kind of support is definitely well worth the very reasonable fee you pay for joining.

Weight Watchers is a diet, not a way of life – you set goals, and when you meet them, you’re ‘finished’, so to speak. However, one of the aims of this program is to teach you certain skills that you will be able to keep for life. These include a sense of portion control – because we are often served huge portions of food in restaurants, for example, some of us seem to have lost touch with what a reasonable portion of food looks like, or what it feels like to eat it. This, in and of itself, leads to a lot of weight problems. Weight Watchers and other similar weight loss programs help you reinstate the sense of portion control by limiting the amount of food you eat at a single sitting down to a more reasonable size.

Think about the number one reasons why people are overweight nowadays. Overweight people fall into one of two different categories. Either they have an unhealthy lifestyle – working long hours, eating out all the time, not getting enough exercise – or they simply eat too much, often in a compulsive way. This type of eating – eating when one isn’t hungry, for example, or eating for emotional reasons rather than physical hunger – is really a type of addiction. It should be understood as an addiction, and it often is. For example, the group Overeaters Anonymous functions on many of the same principles as AA or other twelve step programs. Excessive eating is treated like an addiction because that’s exactly what it is.

But if that’s the case, it’s easy to see why this addiction might be harder to treat than some others. The way to deal with an addiction is to stay away from the behaviour that’s out of control – alcoholics can’t touch alcohol, for example. The idea is to not do it at all until the addiction becomes a thing of the past – in fact, for many addicts, they can never indulge in their addictive behavior again, not even once.

With food addiction, though, that’s obviously impossible. People have to eat – there’s no getting away from it. That’s why food addiction, though it’s an addiction to a non-lethal substance, may be the hardest of all to deal with. And that’s also why companies such as Slim-fast, who produce and market meal replacements for people to use while dieting to lose weight, actually do succeed in helping some people.

The idea behind meal replacements is that you don’t really eat at all for a good part of the day – instead, you have a special shake or other product that gives you all the nutrients you need, and stops you from feeling hungry. This works in two ways: first, it controls the calories you take in, because the meal replacements are quite low calorie. Second, it breaks the cycle of addictive behavior because you’re not really eating. You can get away from the behavior much as an alcoholic can (and must) get away from alcohol, and that gives you a better chance of breaking the addictive process.

Though most meal replacement plans do recommend that you eat one ‘normal’ meal per day, some people who are serious about losing weight don’t do even that. That’s precisely how Oprah Winfrey once lost a lot of weight – about fifty pounds. She said that she found it easier not to eat at all (subsisting on meal replacement shakes and bars) than to control her eating. When you know that you won’t be eating ‘real food’ at all for a while, it takes the guesswork out of it. Everything becomes very straightforward, and it’s a fact that many people have lost weight using this method of weight loss.

There are drawbacks, though. For one thing, while a weight loss program is supposed to teach you about how to eat for the rest of your life – to establish healthy habits, in other words – using meal replacements clearly doesn’t do so. Once you go back to eating real food, you might find that your problems with controlling your food intake are still there. Though you will have lost weight, you are more likely to gain it back if you haven’t learned healthy eating habits.

Also, there’s a danger that some people will keep on using the meal replacements for extended periods of time, just because it’s easier and more convenient. Though they re designed to give you a minimum level of calories and nutrition, meal replacement bars cannot substitute for real food over an extended period.

However, if you know or suspect that your problem with food resembles an addiction or compulsion, it may be worth your while to think about using meal replacements for a while in order to lose some weight. Try to make the time you spend using them as productive as possible, though. Really come to terms with your past behaviour, and learn what it feels like to be full but not stuffed. Figuring out the answer to these and other aspects of healthy eating will help make your weight loss permanent.

Posted by: dietingnow | July 1, 2007

Calcium and Healthy Eating

Did you understand the importance of calcium in your diet before the widespread news of the effects of too little calcium was published?  Probably not.  Chances are you still don’t fully understand the effect of calcium on your digestive processes and the functioning of your heart.

Calcium is one of the essential elements that must be present during the metabolism of our food, and during the beating of your heart.  Calcium deficiencies in these two areas are what helps lead to heart disease and osteoporosis.  When you don’t take enough calcium in through your daily intake of food and vitamins, your body will draw on the calcium reserves in your bones in order to have enough to maintain body processes.  This is why women, who are older, often develop osteoporosis, and don’t even begin to realize they are at risk.  When the amount of calcium in your blood drops to a low level, the body will draw calcium out of the bones.  This causes your bones to become more porous and brittle. This explains the rise in broken hips in older people, especially women.

In order to absorb calcium into our bones, we need the presence of estrogen and exercise.  Both of these are in short supply during our later years, chiefly because your body doesn’t produce estrogen after menopause, and as we age, we lose the ability to exercise.  Vitamin D is a backup to the estrogen and exercise problem, however, because Vitamin D does continue to help our body absorb Calcium.  Hence, we have the addition of Calcium to milk, naturally high in Vitamin D.

If you have determined that you need supplemental Calcium, there are certain forms of calcium that are more easily digested.  The best absorbed form of calcium comes in a pill in the form of calcium salt like carbonate or phosphate.

There is a further warning to some forms of calcium that are available on the market today  Both the bone meal calcium and dolomite calcium have been  found to contain toxic metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, and cadmium.  One additional piece of advice, if you’ve heard that antacids contain calcium that you can use as a supplement instead of vitamins, the information is correct.  However, you’d have to take a handful of antacids and quite often they contain substances that disrupt the digestive process. The best advice to date is to purchase a good calcium carbonate or phosphate as a vitamin supplement and establish a regular habit of taking them first thing in the morning with breakfast.

If you have heart, kidney, liver disease, or high blood pressure, you should consult a physician before taking calcium supplements as the medicine you’re already taking may contain a built in supplement, or may cause a reaction when combined with calcium.

The recommended daily dosage for children is 800 milligrams of calcium each day. This level is fairly accurate for women until they reach the post-menopausal age and the level of estrogen production is reduced or eliminated.  At that point, calcium intake should reach a level of 1500 milligrams per day; almost double that of pre-menopausal women.

Posted by: dietingnow | June 30, 2007

Are Cereals Good For Us?

In the beginning, there was cereal. The cereal was rather plain, not very tasty.  So, the ingenious cereal manufacturer added sugar.  He came up with great ways of adding sugar to the cereal, so that all the kids loved the way the cereal tasted.  This was a wonderful invention, and it worked for some twenty odd years.  Then one day, someone thought to ask what all that sugar might do to the children consuming the cereal.

The cereal wagon train had to circle the wagons, and come up with a better plan.  Thus was born the “vitamin fortified” label you see on the box of cereal now.  Vitamins and minerals essential to the development of our healthy children were added to the cereal mix, and all the parents were happy.

As a fairy tale, the cereal industry is a little lacking in appeal, as a breakfast food; however, they’ve remained an expert.  When cereal first came into being, almost 200 years ago, it did not have very much appeal. It tasted awful, and didn’t look much better. The purpose of the invention was for convenience and health.  And those were the only purposes it served; taste and presentation were not figured into the equation.

Then along came the Kellogg brothers, and cereal received a boost. Taste became an issue in the effort to sell more cereal.  The World’s Fair was in Chicago, and the cereal industry was primed for their piece of the pie.  It came, too.  The cereal was a smashing success, puffed rice.  It’s still around today, with sugar added.  It had the added sugar at the fair, too.  It sold like fire ripping through old lumber.  The Kellogg Company was on the map.  You still buy cereal from them today.  A better grade of cereal, with many drastic changes since the turn of the 20th century, but cereal none the less.

There is truth to the story in that at some point in time, parents began to question the good that cereal packed with sugar could do for our children.  They believed them to be consuming entirely too much sugar, and not enough of the food they needed to meet their nutritional needs.  The Kellogg Company, and others like them, saw part of their market slipping away, and set about to correct the problem.

It was during the 70’s that so many cereals acquired the “fortified with vitamins and minerals” labeling that you still see today.  Thanks to many advances in the processing and extracting of vitamins from their natural sources, they could be added to the cereal mix during the early stages of processing, and presto, good cereal that’s good for you.  This continues today in many of the varieties of cereal we have available, many of them just for your health.  Many cereals have combined wheat products, grains, and fruit into cereals that are not only vitamin fortified but also health fortified.  These cereals provide your vitamins, minerals, grain, and some fruit needs when you sit down to your breakfast meal.  Cereals are one instance where demand has had a profound effect on the market.

Posted by: dietingnow | June 22, 2007

The ABCs of Eating Healthy

The ABC’s of Eating would be a great title for an education course that addresses all of the food groups, the benefits and detriments of those groups and how to ascertain what our individual needs are from each category.

That doesn’t seem like such a difficult concept, but do you see any class being taught that addresses those issues?  No, and more than likely you won’t.  Because our society doesn’t feel like it is an issue that should be addressed by our education system.

Let me put this proposition before you, however.  Has there always been an evident need to learn to drive?  No, driving wasn’t around until the turn of the 20th century.  Driving is included in the education system, and taught as a matter of course each year.  The need to be educated in the ability to drive is relatively new, and is not one of the “old world” school topics, but it’s included because a need developed.

Education about our eating is a need that has developed over the last 30 years, and has now reached epidemic portions. Advertisements about our eating choices are driven by the need to make a profit.  The commercials our children are watching have nothing to do with their real nutritional needs, or the foods that actually are good for them to consume.  Here is where the educational process should bridge the gap.  Just as our education system teaches our children how to count, read, and write, they should teach them about their eating habits.  We educate our children because knowledge is power.  It provides them with the power they need to make good decisions, acquire jobs, create new products and processes, and to live out their lives as they see fit.  Shouldn’t they also have a basic knowledge of how to utilize the food resources around them? 

Teaching and educating about the basics of the food groups, how they work with your body, the metabolic process of digesting those foods, how the body uses and stores energy, and how to keep all those processes working at optimal levels is as important as understanding the algebraic theorems  and how they apply to our ability to perform mathematically.  Determining just where in the education realm that such a class would fit is another matter.  Members of the educational system will probably tell you that it simply isn’t a matter of concern for the school system, that it is an issue best addressed at home.  But how can it be addressed at home, if the person at home has no knowledge to impart?  We don’t just acquire the knowledge needed for intelligent food consumption with the birth of our children. 

The basic food groups and what foods fall into each category is a topic lightly addressed during the health classes taught at our middle schools.  But what about the metabolic process of digesting those foods, the interaction of the food, the nutrients, and our energy needs? Knowing how to differentiate between what foods will provide both energy, nutrients, and good taste is a learned knowledge.  Do you suppose children would continue to stuff something in their mouth if we addressed the consumption of Twinkies in the same way we do dirt?

Posted by: dietingnow | June 15, 2007

Easy Weight Loss – Small Steps that Make a Big Difference

If you have a significant amount of weight to lose – say 20 pounds or more – the task ahead of you can seem very daunting. Is it any wonder that so many people try to put it off, or to deny that the problem is as serious as it really is? But studies show that being significantly overweight carries with it a huge health risk, so being in denial about weight problems is very dangerous – it can even be deadly.

Still, when you think about it in terms of a concrete plan to lose weight, it can be very daunting indeed. One pound is approximately 3,500 calories, and just thinking about how much exercise you would have to do to burn that much is exhausting. You can understand why people put it off, even though that has the potential of making the problem worse.

Maybe the best advice, therefore, is this: Take it slow. Don’t try to lose the weight all at once, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose. Instead, every week, commit to a small change in your lifestyle that takes you a little bit closer to your goal. For example, the first week you might decide to add some exercise to your daily regime. But if you don’t have the time or the energy to go to the gym and do a full scale work out, don’t worry about it – you can still participate. Commit to going for a fifteen minute walk every day after dinner – just fifteen minutes, just an easy walk, but you have to do it every day, rain or shine. It doesn’t sound like an ambitious plan – almost anyone can do it. The point is actually doing it, not just thinking about it.

The next week, you might decide to address the health of your diet, so you decide to eat fruit for a snack instead of the crackers or chips you might normally reach for. Again, it’s a small thing, just one modified snack a day. But again, if you do it everyday, soon it will start to make a difference.

Here’s the trick, though. When you start implementing your second week’s change, keep doing what you committed to doing the first week. I mean, you might as well. You’re already used to it, and each of these changes, in and of themselves, are small and easy. So during the second week, you’re walking every day and eating fruit. You’re well on your way. The third week, you may decide to eat a bit less. Here’s an easy way to do it – for any food that you would normally eat, take away a quarter of it. So, fill your plate and then take off a quarter of the food and put it in a Tupperware container for later, or buy a slice of pizza at lunch but tear off a quarter. Throw it away, or, if that offends your moral sense, put it out for the homeless. Or get a doggie bag, if you’re in a restaurant. Of course, if there’s an actual dog around, you can feed it your excess food. Then proceed to enjoy the rest of the meal or snack, regardless of what it is. Fruits and vegetables are exempt from this process, by the way – they don’t need to be ‘quartered’.

It is usually at this point, around the three-week mark, that people start noticing a difference in the way their clothes fit. Weight loss is starting to kick in, and it will only accelerate during the coming weeks. We don’t recommend that you weigh yourself, however. Save that for the end, and you’ll be amazed. In the meantime, enjoy how different your lifestyle changes are making you look and feel. Keep accumulating them.

Here are some more ideas for incremental changes: During the fourth week, you might want to give up fried foods, if they are something you normally eat. Or you might want to walk instead of taking the elevator, or park three blocks away from home or the office and walk the remainder. The point is that it all adds up. You don’t need to make big changes in your lifestyle – over time, the little ones an make a huge difference.

Posted by: dietingnow | June 15, 2007

Losing Weight with the Body for Life Program

Most weight loss programs focus on either diet or exercise, but that might just turn out to be a mistake. Effective weight loss depends on both, as part of an integrated program. That’s just what the Body for Life program delivers.

This is a program that combines a specialized diet consisting of five carefully balanced meals a day, combined with the right nutritional supplements and exercise that is done at specific times of the day. That, perhaps, is the key to the success of this program – the instructions are very detailed, so deciding to follow the program at all inspires a lot of dedication. Also, the results on this program tend to be very quick, which does a lot to encourage people to stick with it, even though it may be difficult.

The Body for Life program is explained in a book of the same name, and taking a quick look inside the cover of this book just might get you hooked. These pages are a composite of many ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures – with a difference. Everyone starting  the program is required to have his or her picture taken in a swimsuit. If you are significantly overweight, that can be an ordeal in and of itself, but the purpose is to compare it with an ‘after’ shot, also in a swimsuit, after you have completed the program. That makes it all worthwhile. There is a dramatic difference between virtually all the before/ after shots. This is a weight loss program that really works.

The exercise program that is part of Body for Life is as specialized as the diet. As well as cardio exercise, there are exercises specifically designed to build muscle. These increase in intensity as you progress in the program. Building muscle is a very effective way of losing weight. Not only does muscle look good, allowing you to lose inches as well as pounds – but it also helps you lose weight. Muscle burns fat even when you’re not actively engaged in exercising.

There is a good reason why the program has you eat five small meals instead of three larger ones. For one thing, it means you never get hungry, so you never feel deprived. If you are feeling deprived on a diet, you are much more likely to cheat. Also, if you go for long periods of time without eating, your metabolism – the rate at which your body burns calories – tends to slow down. In fact, the way that Sumo wrestlers pack on so much weight is by eating just one huge meal a day!  On the other hand, if you eat at short, regular intervals during the day, you will boost your metabolism. Your body will burn energy faster, especially when you are exercising throughout the day, too!

The Body for Life program is for those who are serious about losing weight and getting fit. Evidence shows that its unique blend of diet and exercise actually does work – many people have used this program to great effect. It requires some dedication – there is a detailed and specific plan that you have to follow each day. This might be a deterrent to some people who might not have the time to dedicate to their weight loss program. Once you have made the decision to participate, though, it’s likely that the structured nature of the program may keep you on track better than if it were less structured. If you have a lot invested in your weight loss program, you’ll put in the extra effort to make sure it works.

The Body for Life program has sometimes been criticized, on the basis of two factors. First, the program requires that you buy and take quite a few nutritional supplements. These are intended to make sure that you don’t fall short of any nutrients while eating a somewhat restricted diet, and they are also formulated to help you lose weight faster. However, it does mean that you will have to lay out some cash in order to follow this program. The second factor is that the program is not individualized. Everyone follows more or less the same program, whereas the trend today is to design individualized weight loss programs based on physical and psychological traits whenever possible.

Despite these factors, however, evidence shows that this is one weight loss  program that really works. With this combination of diet and exercise, if you follow it faithfully, it’s almost impossible to fail.

Posted by: dietingnow | June 11, 2007

What is Metabolism?

The dictionary defines metabolism as the sum of all biochemical processes involved in life, or the sustaining of life.  In application concerning our health, metabolism is related to the intake and use of food.  In reference to the case in point it is our ability to utilize our food to the fullest extent.

The body’s metabolism is a unique process for each individual person.  No two people metabolize food at the same rate therefore no two people have the metabolism.  We all use our calories at different rates, with different results.  Our metabolism, like our fingerprints is unique to each of us.  But the need to understand and accommodate this metabolism is an issue that we all face.

Some people have really high rates of metabolism.  In other words, when they consume food, their bodies burn it up almost as fast as then consume it.  Then there are those of use who use our food intake so slowly, as to not even notice that we’re burning calories.  These people who burn quickly are often slim and trim, the people who burn more slowly are the people with a tendency toward obesity.

All of this metabolic process is related to our calorie intake, our vitamin and nutrition needs, our thyroid and endocrine production, and how well all of these processes come together.  For years, people have sought ways to raise the metabolic rate.  If you can raise someone’s metabolic rate, you are then better able to control the burn of calories, especially for overweight or obese people.  This would make the goal of better or improved health a much easier reality for those people.  Efforts to date have produced very little results.  There are foods that we can consume that naturally raise our metabolic rate, but not to a great extent.  What we need is a way to directly alter the rate.  We need to be able to raise our metabolism to a point where we can actually see a benefit. 

Right now, the greatest results in raising our metabolism come from exercise and building our muscle mass, while reducing our body fat.  Adding more muscle to the body, in turn causes us to burn more calories, and this helps to elevate our metabolic rate.

What determines our metabolic rate, as far as our genetics?  Generally, we tend to inherit the same tendencies for metabolic rates, body frames, and other related body functions from our parents.  Thus, the origin of “well, she comes from big people; naturally she’s going to be big”. 

Our metabolism functions also depend on how well we have taken care of our nutritional needs.  The process of burning calories and creating energy is a delicate one, and one which must be carefully tended, or it can become imbalanced.  It is often through these natural imbalances that we tend to “inherit’ our metabolic rate. 

I believe through careful analysis, and attention to each person’s unique needs, we could bring about a more natural balance of the metabolic burn vs. the calorie intake. To a level where optimal health and weight control are in equilibrium.

Posted by: dietingnow | June 3, 2007

What Happens to Those Carbs In Your Body?

When a person consumes a meal high in carbohydrate content, have you ever noticed how sleepy they become? Have you ever questioned why?  Most of the effect comes from elevated blood sugar levels, this condition then makes us sleepy.  Why do carbohydrates turn into sugar?  Whenever you begin to break down carbohydrates, they turn into starch or cellulose.  The starches can be broken down into simple sugars called monosaccharides, or complex sugars called disaccharides.  Our body uses these sugars for the production of energy.      When we consume food, our body turns the food into some usable form of energy.  The food may go through a couple of other processes before it reaches the energy stage. Since carbohydrates are starches before they are saccharides, if your body doesn’t need the energy, starch is a great storage vehicle for unnecessary glucose.  Perhaps a simple explanation of the carbohydrate sugars and where we find them might help.

The sugars known as monosaccharides are glucose, galactose, and fructose.  Glucose is the sugar produced by our bodies.  Galactose is absorbed through our milk and yogurt consumption.  Fructose is a sugar found in honey.

The sugars that are classified as disaccharides are sucrose, lactose, and maltose.  Sucrose is common table sugar, lactose is the combination of glucose and galactose found in milk, and maltose is a product of starch digestion when combining glucose and glucose.

So what effect does this have on the body?  Well, once you consume more sugar or starch or carbohydrates than you need, your body stores the excess as glycogen.  The only people who actually benefit from excessive glycogen storage are marathon runners, who load up on carbs prior to a big race in order to be able to sustain extended period s of excessive exercise. Stored fat can become extreme, and your body reaches levels that classify you as morbidly obese.  This is just such the case in America today.  A vast majority of our population has reached obesity, and we are experiencing epidemic levels.

Over indulgence in carbohydrates therefore lends us to a tendency to become overweight. What happens in our bodies when we become overweight?  Once our bodies are obese, many organs have trouble functioning, due to fat surrounding them, or simply the fact that we are too large for them to properly support.

Either way, too many carbohydrates leads to problems for our bodies.  We can limit our intake of carbohydrates by consuming more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Less bread, rice, cereal, pasta, and grains lowers our intake of carbohydrates.

The other option we have is to simply increase our daily physical activity.  Carbohydrates as previously pointed out are the fuel producer for the body.  If we want to rid ourselves of more carbohydrates, we simply need to pickup our daily activity.  If you aren’t exercising, now would be a great time to start.

Responsible eating habits, proper nutrition and exercise, and an understanding of the foods you eat and what they contain that your body needs or doesn’t need is the basic building block for overall good health.

Posted by: dietingnow | May 30, 2007

To Eat, or Not to Eat?

To eat or not to eat?  This is a question that confronts us daily, as we go from home to work, work to home, and back again.  We have designated times for breakfast and lunch. Dinner would be the only place where we really have any freedom as to the time we consume our meal.  But do we really want something to eat? Are we really hungry? Or do we eat simply because the time to eat has arrived?

With generations prior to the 20th century, eating was an opportunity to stop and rest, and actually consume nutrition because your body told you it needed nourishment.  Physical energy expenditures had used up whatever resources you had provided earlier.  Physical work and a real lack of nutritional supplements kept the body in constant need of nourishment.  That is a time past.  Today, with the advent of the computer, physical activity is no longer a part of the work equation.  We no longer lack for vitamins and minerals, thanks to the boom in the vitamin market.

Information is more readily available for us to learn about our individual needs, and regulate what we consume.  But consumption and “programmed eating” is more rampant than ever.  We watch television, and see something good to eat. What do we do? We go to the refrigerator and hunt something to eat.  Our body hasn’t notified us of any real hunger.  But our visual senses say, hmmm, that looks really good. I believe I’d like to consume some food.

There is a real difference in what we need to eat to stay alive, what we need to eat to stay healthy, and what we want to eat thanks to advertising and designated lunch hours.  What we need to eat to stay alive is such a small portion of food; it surprises even the most prepared reader.  Your body must consume only five to six hundred calories and lots of water to stay alive.  When faced with life-threatening situations, your body will revert to a “starvation” mode.  In other words, it cuts back on bodily functions to just bare minimums necessary for life.  In this way, it cuts out any excess need for extra calories. 

The calories intake necessary for healthy functioning is a level unique to each individual person and can range from around 1200 calories to over 2000.  The amount of food we need to satisfy the advertising and programmed eating habits is over 3000.  In other words, thanks to advertising and “It’s time to eat lunch” programming, we consume at least 1000 more calories than we need each day.  This is why our nation is facing an obesity epidemic and our children need medically prescribed diets to lose weight.

If we could take a week and pay attention to what our body really says to us about its needs, we would be a healthier society without a lot of effort.  It is because we listen to the advertisements, the restaurant menus, and the call of “it’s lunchtime, where are we gonna eat?” that we have problems now.

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