The Ultimate Guide to Weight Loss.

Note - please refer to your doctor before trying any of these recommendations. I am not an official nutritionist or a dietician, but I did have the main paper on rabbit nutrition at an international regional animal science conference in Egypt one year, so I'm not totally stupid.

Today's topic is the weight problem.

There's an obesity problem in N. America, including Mexico, USA, Canada, and a lot of Europe as well. Whole cities of obesity- O-B-City. So much for the drive to "end world hunger" - that would probably ensure universal obesity. When parts of you are puffed up like balloons with fat, that's your body trying to tell your brain, "I have no more places to store food."

I am not body-shaming you, your body is just fine, but fat is not a "body type". I'm actually brain-shaming you, because your brain is the problem - it sees your body puffed up with stored food and does a mental trick - it is easier for your brain to come up with excuses for the condition of your body than to agree to do any difficult work to correct the problem.
Put your brain on the scale!

Early in 2020, before the Pandemic, my favourite spring dress (for the past 7-8 years) did not fit, so my brain said FIX THIS - NOW! My brain can still do this. How about yours? I have (you'll hate this) no excuse for not being a perfect size 10! And a BMI under 20! So I got to work on the problem, figured out the real key to weight loss, got hungry, and did it. My belly had too much belly fat and that is the worst kind, it can begin to control your metabolism so that you live to sustain it!

For more on belly fat, we go to Live Science reporting on an article in NYT: In addition, as fat builds up in the body, fat cells infiltrate the spleen, bone marrow and thymus, where many immune cells are produced. This can weaken the immune system by both reducing the number and undermining the efficacy of immune cells produced. Excess fat can also spur chronic, low-grade inflammation throughout the body, as fat cells release inflammatory substances called cytokines and macrophages do the same, in an effort to clear dead fat cells from the body, Science reported. While all these factors may worsen COVID-19 outcomes for people with obesity, now there's this new evidence that the virus infects fat cells directly. "This could well be contributing to severe disease", senior author Dr. Catherine Blish, a translational immunologist and professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, told the Times. "We're seeing the same inflammatory cytokines that I see in the blood of the really sick patients being produced in response to infection of those [fat] tissues."

See if this works for you - spread out your thumb and fingers, flat on the table. Measure the maximum width (tip-to-tip). Multiply that by pi and that should be your maximum waist-line. Works for me, comes put to 31.5", but I can beat that and be 31", a size 10. Does it work for anyone else, or is it a bogus indicator?
Waist size is important; it is a clue to your amount of internal (visceral) fat and that is the worst kind, between all your internal organs. It begins to control your entire metabolism in order to maintain itself. It releases nasty things into your bloodstream, such as cytokines and TNF (tumor necrosis factor) which inflames proteins in the bloodstream. You really need to get the visceral fat under control. And it very definitely isn't a "body type"!

BTW, BMI index is stupid, a weight index should be a Brix scale, so that if you have an index of 0.95 you float; if you gave an index of 1.05, you sink (like me). To calculate your BMI, it is m/h² where m is your mass (weight in kg) and h is your height (in meters).

A problem with the typical N. American diet is an improper calcium/phosphorus (Ca/P) balance in the meat and potato diet. Not enough calcium. Unlike in Latin America where people chew on coca leaves to help with their high-starch diet, there is no such remedy here.

And all the heart disease issues? Your heart runs on calcium; on every beat a calcium ion jumps from one side of the membrane to the other. No calcium, guess what? But don't take big doses; break a Ca supplement up amongst several meals. Also, if you are eating excessive protein (i.e. a big steak), it takes another calcium ion out of your circulation to help the kidneys eliminate every extra molecule of protein.

You can't lose weight if you don't drink lots of water. Not coffee, it is anti-water, your mouth thinks it's liquid, but it actually dries you out. Your body has three sources of water - drinking, drawing from your digestive tract, and water extracted in the process of storing fat. With not drinking enough water, you are forcing your body to store more fat, even while exercising! Also, it takes a lot of water to hydrolyze the stored fat into metabolizable energy. Drawing upon your energy stores (fat) requires a surplus of water and periods of hunger, very, very hungry, as long as possible, every day.

There is that TV ad about "you are not yourself when you're hungry", showing an angry monster. Yes you are you when you are hungry! Humans are supposed to be hungry, almost all the time - we're hunters! THIS is the key to weight loss - long periods of being hungry every day. It is difficult to access that stored energy, it's supposed to be difficult, just like it's hard to get coins out of a piggy bank. You can't just dip into energy stores now and then by incremental reductions in how much you eat or by punishing your muscles with workouts. It takes serious hunger to get your body to consider letting out some of the energy stores. So learn to enjoy your new friend, Hunger! But remember, it is doing real work for you, taking off that excess weight.

Eat a big breakfast? You're hooped; you will not have good hunger at all today.

Don't go on a low- or no- fat diet! Your heart runs on fat, it is the only energy source with high enough energy density to run your heart. Your heart gets first dibs on any fats (triglycerides) in circulation. Don't starve your heart!

Say for example you have 100 lbs extra fat, at 3500 cal/lb net stored energy value, translated into food-input level calories, could mean that you consumed, at minimum, an extra meal of almost 2000 calories every day for almost a year. Or, 1000 calories every day for two years (do the math). That's how much too much you ate!

Do you wear a belt or other item or jeans that hold in your stomach for you? After a while, your belly muscles come to depend on that, and just lose their tone. No need for them to do the work anymore! See if you can walk AND hold your gut in. Probably not, many people in the Mid West can't chew gum and walk at the same time!

But here's the root of the whole excess weight issue - You still eat like you did when you were a teenager! Get over it - you don't need as much food anymore, you are not (supposed to be) still growing! But why would you be eating like a teenager? That period in your life is your fall-back time psychologically; it is the time of tremendous tumult on the pathway to being an adult (a dolt). So you return to that behaviour as your default position. Get over it! Close that chapter! Get hungry!

People ask "what's the best exercise/activity for losing weight?" Forget about it - exercise most often ends up being an excuse to eat more. Only a relatively small portion of your total metabolizable energy goes toward moving around, and you can't increase that very much, unless you are doing heavy work every day or you are a trained athlete, and even then you are as likely to be draining energy away from bodily repair as from stored fat.

Humans are built to run, to run prey to exhaustion. See Scientific American Vol. 320 No. 1, January 2019, p. 22-29. Exercise hardly affects weight loss, but is essential to brain health. "...we have evolved to require physical activity for normal brain development. Exercise causes the release of neurotrophic molecules that promote neurogenesis and brain growth, and it is known to improve memory and stave off age-related cognitive decline." So exercise, not puzzles and brain games can help postpone mental decline.

The human need for exercise relates to the biggest mistake in human history, according to Jared Diamond (Discover, May 1987), which was the invention of farming - the Neolithic Revolution, where we left the hunter-gatherer existence after about 200,000 years and ended up with this sedentary life and cities and governments and disease and warfare. That was the mistake, leaving the life we had adapted to by evolution.

In all that time, 95% of human existence, we traversed the planet leaving no meaningful mark. (see The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells, 2019, Tim Duggan Books). And that remaining 5% of human existence after leaving our hunter-gatherer inheritance, has brought us to the brink of climate destruction.

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Written by Kathleen McCroskey
Last update 2021-12-11

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