The fight with obesity goes on and on, particularly in industrialized countries where the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles, toxins in the environment, and consumption of processed food are at all time highs. It is responsible for a myriad of serious health problems from heart disease, hypertension, kidney failure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, to name just a few. There are many experts who will tell you how to lose the weight and keep it off. But are they really telling you the truth? Maybe not. Here’s why:
Weight gain is both a cause and a symptom of other problems in the body, but in general it is not something that can be controlled through fad dieting and eating so-called “low fat” or “non fat” foods. Beware of anything labeled as “low” or “non” fat. This is often a warning that one of the major ingredients in the food is actually loaded with sugar or carbohydrates. These foods are not whole foods, and therefore are not recognized by the body in the way that whole foods are during digestion.
Real, healthy fats in moderation are not only good for you, but necessary in keeping weight in check, balancing out the fat burning process in your body, and keeping your cholesterol levels normal. So go ahead: eat organic red meat, eat saturated fats like butter & sour cream, eat raw cheeses that are not fat-reduced (raw cheese is better than the processed, homogenized variety because it gives your body the enzymes and fats the way they occur in nature without chemical additives) drink whole milk, use healthy oils in cooking such as almond, apricot, coconut, grapeseed, and olive. Saturated fats have long received a bad name due to the fact that most studies conducted on individuals consuming those foods were eating too many simple carbohydrates, not exercising, taking stimlants and drugs (including prescription drugs), smoking, and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Be certain to include plenty of organic fruits and vegetables (both steamed or blanched and raw) with all or most meals. Other foods essential to health include nuts, seeds, legumes. These foods contain proteins and good fats that are vital in maintaining health.
You should also replace all beverages containing sugar, carbonation, and large amounts of caffeine with purified water. Drink at least 8 eight ounce glasses per day. Do not drink your tap water for any reason. Tap water contains many chemicals, additives, and toxins that poision your body and do not contribute to effective weight loss. Health food stores often sell reputable bottled purified water, and some sell water contained in metal tanks in the store which eliminates the leaching of plastic into your drinking water.
Cut out all refined carbohydrates from your diet and be sure to include in moderation: sprouted grain products such as breads, tortillas, english muffins, etc. (good brands are Ezekiel or Alvarado Street, found in the refrigerated section of your health food store). Over time, you will find your weight will come down and your health will reach new heights you never expected. Although contrary to the FDA’s food pyramid, your daily diet should not exeed more than two to three servings of grain products. When the grain servings you eat are whole, unprocessed grains in moderation, your body will not accumlate unwanted or excess fat. The FDA’s current food pyramid ratios actually encourage unhealthy weight gain and toxins to linger in the body. Labels on foods we purchase in the store are misleading; many boxes or containers of processed grain products read “whole grain”, but if you take the time to read the list of ingredients you will find that these foods contain enriched wheat or white flours that are actually poisionous to the body in large doses. Just stop and think about the mass amount of processed grain products available in stores and eaten in large quantities in our society – breads, bagels, pizza dough, cereals, crackers, pastas, biscuits, donuts…the list goes on and on. Just because the label says “whole grain” does not make it so, and just because the label says “organic” does not make it healthy to eat. Become a label reader and live by your reading and you will find that it makes a huge difference. Instead of ordering a sandwich or burger at a restaurant with french fries, order that same item without the bread on a bed of lettuce and vegetables and order a salad with a balsamic dressing. At home you have more control over the quality of ingredients in those same items and you can experiment with preparing many tasty renditions of the restaurant counterparts. You’ll find the difference is not only satisfying and delicious, but far more healthy.
Exercise is, of course, another very important component of maintaining your weight. You do not have to become a fanatic; find something you enjoy that compliments your interests and lifestyle. An activity that is easy to keep up and moderate in nature such as walking, hiking, cycling, and encourages being outdoors is an ideal choice – especially if you have not been involved in regular physical activity previously. Regular exercise is not only fun and a good way to participate in a social environment with others, but it promotes stress management and a peace of mind that is hard to describe. Riding your bike or walking to work instead of driving your car, as a good example, gives you fresh air and avoids the stress of traffic while helping the environment. Stress management is paramount in keeping weight down and maintaining good health. If your schedule is so busy that you don’t have time to prepare healthy foods, get adequate rest, and participate in some kind of regular exercise you enjoy, something should change or your stress levels will skyrocket and your weight will continue to go up. Meditation, quiet music, yoga, and even activities like martial arts and pilates greatly reduce stress as well as provide physical exercise for your body.
Chemicals and toxins are another cause of weight gain and obesity. These substances accumulate in fat tissue found in your body. The more chemicals and toxins you eat in food, the more fat the body manufactures. You may believe you are eating healthy as much as possible, but by examining the actual content of the food you are consuming, you may find the culprit to some of your weight issues. The best policy is to continually make effort to eat natural and organic whole foods. It may cost more at the store, but over the long run it is healthier and will keep your long-term health care costs down. Unless food is certified organic, it is likely to contain antibacterials, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides and other poisionous chemicals. In addition, animals raised for food in commercial, factory-farm environments consume dangerous amounts of chemicals in the food they eat. These chemcials are absorbed by our bodies when we consume the meat.
According to nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, “A liver overloaded with pollutants and toxins cannot efficiently burn body fat. A tired, toxic liver is the number one weight-loss stumbling block.” Commercial and conventional manufacturers intentionally add synthetic chemicals to processed foods which increases the life of the food on the shelf.
“Synthetic chemicals, which have been used to fatten up animals for meat production by reducing their ability to use their own existing fat stores, also contribute to weight gain in humans. Animals fed low doses of organophosphates gain weight on less food. While their use as growth promoters in meat production has been banned after research found them highly toxic, organophosphates remain a common pesticide and are used in the manufacture of gasoline additives, lubricating oil, and rubber.” Over time, these toxins and chemicals accumulate in the body’s various waste removal organs such as kidneys and liver, causing them to become overworked and weakened. This causes unnecessary amounts of stress. Research reveals how continual stress on the body’s adrenal system causes the over production of the hormone coritsol which contributes greatly to cravings for simple carbohydrates such as chocolate, soda, candy, and other sweets (even when you are not hungry).
For more information on how you can reduce the toxins in your body and discourage weight gain, visit Shirley’s Wellness Cafe.
Another respected health expert on many topics, including how to manage weight, is Dr. Joseph Mercola. For years, Dr. Mercola has researched and found the causes and working cures of many widespread health problems. Read about how the Bacteria in Your Gut Might Make You Fat on his web site. You will learn about how doing something as simple as eliminating sugar from your diet, you can start on your way to reducing bacteria in your digestive tract that contributes significantly to weight gain.