These are all the factors I have found (over many years of “trial and error”) to be necessary in order for ME to consistently (finally) lose weight, and not get hungry. If you have found that your body resists every attempt to shed pounds, even though you have stayed consistent with a lower calorie diet plan, like a 1200 calorie “balanced” diet, maybe there is a thought or two here that might help. Every person is different, and what works for me, may not work for you. However, I am sure there are many people out there who have similar experiences and body types, who might benefit from this blog post.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or dietitian. Do not take anything in this post as medical advice. This my experience, and I share it with you in case it might be helpful. Your failure to consult proper medical and nutritional counselling is completely your responsibility, not mine. Anything posted here is purely my own experience, and the dietary opinions shared are just that, my own opinions.
I have been at this game since childhood…mostly unsuccessfully. It is through combining ALL the knowledge I have gained over the years into one plan for eating, that I am finally doing it successfully. Just for your information, I am a 58-year old, disabled, and sedentary male. My past highest weight was about 350 pounds. I lost about 50 pounds many years ago, by convincing a doctor to prescribe Metformin to me, even though I am not diabetic and my fasting blood sugars are consistently in the 90’s. It took about 9 months of taking it before I suddenly started dropping weight, even though I was not following any particular diet at the time. I am currently at 248 pounds, and consistently losing weight.
HERE WE GO!
RULE: NO diet will work, with which a person is uncomfortable, unhappy, constantly hungry, or unable to follow for the long term. The only diet which has the possibility of working long-term is one which fits comfortably with the lifestyle, needs, and tastes of the person. It must be a style of eating which satisfies hunger and is palatable. A diet which allows weight loss over time, is the same type which will allow the person to keep it off after the goal weight is achieved. Anything else will lead to “yoyo” dieting, and can only end badly (from personal experience).
NOTE: You may have to LEARN to “like” a new style of eating. This is doable, at least for me. I will not insult you by making the very false and condescending statement – “if I can do it, anyone can”. This can only be true when all caveats and prerequisites are first met. Everyone has different abilities and motivations. Just because a person may “currently” find it impossible to change how they are eating, does not mean they won’t sometime find the motivation and strength to make the necessary changes. Don’t give up!
1. Low carb diet. Avoid fruits, starches, grains, and other high carb foods. This is NOT a no carb diet, although, if results are not seen, an initial period (i.e. TEMPORARY and short-term) of NO carbs may be needed to stimulate an initial decrease in insulin resistance, to the point where a more reasonable and “livable” daily diet will then continue to allow weight loss.
2. No “high glycemic index” starches, especially corn, rice, and potatoes. They contain carbs which may stimulate the pancreas to excrete too much insulin, too quickly, into the system to handle the carbs. This may lead to higher insulin resistance, and over time, to pancreas exhaustion and type 2 diabetes in individuals who are prone to it.
3. No grains. They have too many carbs, and contain the highest levels of Monsanto Roundup herbicide (glycophosphates) of all foods (along with corn, peas, potatoes, soybeans, and many other crops, and to a lesser degree all other foods grown in the US). Glycophosphates have been classed as a “probable carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, they have been hypothesized to MAYBE contribute to type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance (I have not yet found definitive studies to back that up).
4. No foods with added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Also try to avoid additives such as maltodextrin. Sugars are believed to be the main factor in widespread obesity and type 2 diabetes, especially in the USA. They attack by greatly and quickly increasing insulin levels in the blood stream. This is possibly the number one factor in weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Sugar substitutes such as “Nutrasweet” may yet cause problems for me, but they are not preventing me from losing weight. I think the jury is still out on those. Plus, I think it affects some people more than others. I do not seem to be having a problem with them myself. Sure, there are many who can tolerate all the sugar, and never have a problem with diabetes or obesity…I am not one of them.
5. No highly processed red meat (especially bacon and hot dogs). I am avoiding all red meat. I am also limiting my use of poultry products. There is a lot of speculation, and many unknowns involved with the use of growth hormones and antibiotics in the meat industries. A recent study shows that nonhuman sialic acid N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc), stimulates an immune system response in humans, may lead to inflammation, and may also play a role in type 2 diabetes.
http://www.pnas.org/content/112/2/542.abstract (the research study)
6. Reduce sodium intake to at, or below the FDA DV(Daily Value), increase potassium intake to above sodium intake, and attempt get somewhere close to the DV for potassium. Reduce salt, increase “natural” potassium. Potassium supplements can cause too high a potassium level in the body, leading to trouble. “Trouble” is much less likely to happen through intake of the natural potassium in foods. Not everyone is sensitive to higher levels of salt, but others may experience edema or high blood pressure as a result of high intake levels of salt and/or not enough potassium to balance the body’s all-important electrolytes.
7. No, or very little alcohol. The subject of alcohol and fat is incredibly controversial, with experts on both sides. Here are some things I know. While the body is burning the alcohol, it completely stops burning carbs and fat. So while you drink, at a minimum you are putting off weight loss. Alcohol messes with several hormones, particularly by increasing cortisol, which is directly related to the storage of “belly fat”. Heavy drinking likely leads to more severe health issues…ever heard of liver failure? Mixed drinks usually have lots of sugar in them to make them palatable – don’t do it, the sugar may go directly into fat storage. Alcohol may also increase appetite, especially for things which are salty (chips, pretzels, etc.) and greasy. Coupled with the reduced self-control it sometimes brings, a binge of drinking can also be accompanied with binge snacking and eating.
8. No trans-fats. Keep saturated fats in line with the DVs (Daily Values) set by the FDA. In fact, my diet pretty much meets the requirements for minerals, cholesterol, carbs, fats, etc. set forth by the FDA’s DV list.
9. Don’t eat a lot of fruits. They are very healthy, but also contain natural fructose, and other sugars which will NOT help you lose weight. I can’t stand grapefruit, which is a better fruit choice, so I don’t eat them. Eat fruit sparingly.
AGAIN: this is NOT dietary advice. These recommendations are simply what “I” had to do to finally lose weight.
10. My food must be easy and quick to prepare – if I have to do much cooking at all, I won’t stick to it.
11. My food must be soft, since I am horribly lacking in teeth to chew it with (and cannot afford the oral surgery I need before I could get dentures). 😦 I occasionally will eat bananas, which does not seem to interfere with my weight loss. I once tried pureed apples, but it was too much work, so I stopped (applesauce has added sugar in most cases).
12. Take a multivitamin to make sure you are not missing something important, but don’t go crazy with supplements. Get potassium from food, not pills.
13. No fast food, at all. Try to do the Chinese buffet rarely, and try to make better choices when there. Chinese food has lots of sugars in their sauces. Eat lots of veggies, no breaded foods (deep fried), and less rice. Chinese food is my personal favorite.
14. Make sure to read all food labels. Eliminate anything which lists “sugar” or “high fructose corn syrup” in the ingredients. Try to eat the “least” processed foods you can. Get vegetables which are fresh, or, for canned food, look for “no added salt” on the label. Watch for high levels of “saturated” fats or any “trans” fats. It is acceptable (politically correct) to be trans-phobic when it comes to fats! Become familiar with the FDA DV chart, especially concerning fats, carbs, protein, sodium, potassium, and cholesterol. Learn what to look for on labels…you will likely find that what you have been buying is loaded with nasty stuff that will keep you fat (and possibly unhealthy)! It is a mystery to me whether or not additives, such as coloring agents, flavorings, and preservatives have negative health affects. I look for foods with the fewest of these items.
CHEATING: Everyone cheats occasionally (in relation to dieting. I am not referring to other forms of cheating!). If I am out with family for a holiday at a restaurant, I am not so careful. I still try to stay away from sugars, but I don’t obsess about what I order. Please note, that my cheating at an eating joint is VERY occasional. Only major holidays and maybe once every two or three months. IF you notice yourself cheating a lot (your mind has a tremendous capacity to minimize, without our even realizing it!), there is likely something not right with the diet you put yourself on. If done right, I believe you will be satisfied with what you eat, and will not feel the need to snack. Now, at first, some adjustment of habits, and of your body to the new food, may be needed before you stop being constantly hungry. After that, you should be good (we hope). I have been at this since I was a child – so be patient. Learn from my mistakes, and from all the things I have found which prevent a person’s weight from coming off.
COMFORT FOODS: I was a great sandwich person, which I had to give up to lose weight. Grains have too many carbs, sandwich meats may cause other weight-related problems, and ketchup (which I have a life-long love affair with) has high fructose corn syrup which most likely WILL sabotage your weight loss. I have substituted tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s – which is much better than generic vinegar) and mustard instead. To kill any hunger problems I have, I use cheese, cottage cheese, and “natural” peanut butter (the kind with peanut oil which you have to stir). There is nothing like a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, straight from the jar, to completely kill any hunger pangs. These foods have some carbs (the cheeses), but not a lot. They also have some saturated fats, but also contain a lot of unsaturated fats, which are a good thing (unsaturated fats, especially Omega 3’s, can raise HDL, your “good” fats). Find some comfort foods, which fit into a healthy diet, and allow you to lose weight while eating them.
EATING OUT: See item #13.
FISH: In general, fish meat is (has been?) the best type of meat for human consumption. However, pollution has caused problems even with this food source. Plastic beads, mercury, chemicals killing the algae (essential for the survival of life), and more, are making this food somewhat problematic.
For practically every food or substance out there, there is someone who will tell you it is bad for your health. On the other hand, we either eat or die. I know there are problems with some foods I eat, but it is a matter of determining what is most healthy for you, and hope the bad stuff does not end up killing you. With all the controversies, lies, and half-truths, it is hard to know what a person is to do. In the end, you find what works for you, and ignore the rest. If mercury in my brain starts to become a problem, maybe then I will again alter what I am doing. Right now, weight is my most pressing health problem – at least one that I can do anything about.
I have found it necessary to combine ALL these things together in order to lose weight. In the past, I have been on many 1200 calorie “balanced” diets, in which I never lost a pound. It is a great shame, but the best government-provided information on healthy dieting, even 20-30 years ago, was exactly the WRONG way to lose weight (according to a more modern understanding)! It hurt me rather than helped me. It is only in recent decades that some of the REAL causes of weight gain, and some of the REAL answers to it, have become known (in my opinion). I have constantly researched all these things for decades, trying to sort the truth from the fiction, and finally found something that works, and fits my lifestyle and personality. I had to become somewhat an expert in nutrition in order to understand what needed to be done in order to entice the body to shed fat. Maybe you, too, will need to do the same research to understand the requirements of your own body.
There are numerous chemicals allowed in the US, which have long been banned by most European developed countries. China is still using many of the same things we are, and are also suffering a great increase in “weight gain” and related problems. Yes, even the “skinny” Chinese are not so skinny any more. This should say something about all the fertilizers, herbicides, growth hormones, antibiotics, etc. which we (and the Chinese, and a few other countries) are still using. According to research, general environmental pollution is wreaking havoc on the health of so many people, and we are going to end all life on the planet if we don’t change our tune.
This was just supposed to be a short list of my own dietary requirements, but, being a blogger, I just could not help myself, and it has become an informational piece as well. If you are one of those overweight people, like me, who has run into a brick wall with weight loss, and out-of-control appetite (likely related to insulin levels), then maybe some items here might be the ones you need to become successful. Good Luck!