This was taken during the optimistic, golden time just before beginning the complete basement renovation that would ultimately destroy us.

Des Informations, des Idées, et des Opinions Suspectes - rarement mises à jour et de qualité douteuse.

Lose weight by NOT dieting

Calorie-restricted diets are not the way to go.

Good Calories, Bad Calories - the book

It used to be thought that ulcers were caused by excess acid in the stomach. This excess acid would essentially burn holes in the stomach lining. In the past, ulcers were a chronic affliction and symptoms were treated with expensive prescription bismuth solutions like Maalox and Pepcid AC. The companies that made those very profitable products were understandably not impressed when an Australian scientist discovered that, in the vast majority of cases, ulcers are actually caused by a simple bacteria (h. pylori) and can be completely cured with a round of anti-biotics. If I remember correctly, the entire medical community, no doubt aided by the pharmas, jumped all over this poor guy who made the discovery. The guy must have endured some pretty intense vilification until public preception shifted...Now Maalox can be bought over the counter - like Tums. And ulcers have pretty much become a non-issue for most people.

Now consider cholesterol and the low-fat movement. Public perception is gradually shifting away from the idea that fat is bad, fat causes obesity, that saturated fats are somehow worse than polyunsaturated fats, and that dietary cholesterol really has any effect on blood cholesterol, or even that elevated blood cholesterol is reliable indicator of coronary heart disease. It's seem to me to be a pretty slow shift, but maybe that's only because I happen to be living through it. On a personal level, I have been able to unequivocally prove to myself that the reverse is true. In 2009, 60 pounds overweight and with a cholesterol level of nine, I spent 6 month eschewing polyunsaturated fats, eating very little monounsaturated fats, yet I drastically increased my intake of saturated fats. Among other things, I ate tons of red meat (I'm not a big chicken fan) and eggs, I enjoyed cold cuts often, and I would save my bacon fat and use it to fry up my veggies; all habits I still maintain. Lo and behold, I lost those 60 pounds and my cholesterol number dropped to 5.6, not that the number particularly means anything to me anyway. So, I can say I lost 60 pounds and got in shape with the Hoppe Hi-Fat Diet. (Send $$$ for details.)

With great humility I lay the previous two examples before you to simply to illustrate that just because wisdom may be conventional (conventional wisdom) doesn't mean that it's correct. People used to think that the earth was flat before they realized it was oblong... Now consider this - the point of this whole post. It is a popular misconception that weight-gain and obesity are caused by the simple formula of calories-in vs. calories out. Many people subcribe to the mistaken notion that if you are fat, you need only reduce your calories-in until you are thin. They say that the only reason fat people are fat is because they eat too much. Until recently, I believed this myself, but I've done the required and several minutes of Internet research it and have now come to a different conclusion. I'm going to tell you instead, that

it is possible to take in only starvation calories and stay fat.

That's right, I am saying that for some (and who knows? maybe most?) people, no amount of calorie restriction or dieting is going to change their weight. They will die of malnutrition before they lose weight. It's just not as simple as calories-in, calories-out. Check this guy Gary Taubes out, and if you have the time, especially check out the talk he gave at Dartmouth in 2009. He says everything far more eloquently than I ever could...

So, if that's the case, then what is the secret to losing weight? I'm not entirely sure; I know that the solution doesn't lie with just one simple change, but again drawing on personal experience, I suspect the answer lies with a combination of moderate calorie restriction, quality nutrition, active lifestyle, and good mental health. That's hardly revolutionary and it sounds easy enough, but in today's society what with the intense pressures and the sedentary habits and the ingenious marketing and advertising bombarding us daily, it's a lot tougher than it seems.

And if anybody has a copy of Good Calories, Bad Calories, could I borrow it?

Lose weight by NOT dieting
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