"I don't understand why I'm not losing weight. I exercise. I eat healthy food. And, I'm not eating that much."
-Just about everyone I know, including me--before I went plant-based & ditched the oil-
If you received this post via email, click here to get to the web version with all the links.
Prior to 23 months ago I was exercising, eating a healthy "mostly" vegetarian diet, & exercising more than most.
I weighed 132 pounds & never lost a single pound. To tell the truth, I didn't think I needed to lose any weight, but now that 15 pounds have just effortlessly fallen off--I'm thrilled. I feel better, my blood pressure is excellent, my cholesterol is perfect, the belly fat has banished, & I like how my clothes fit.
Huh? So, what was I doing wrong, before? Turns out, I was eating about 400 more calories a day than I needed to. And all of it was from cheese, pizza, olive oil, nuts, nut butters, chocolate, desserts, & eating out.
If you haven't watched the 4 part HBO documentary, "The Weight of the Nation" yet, watch it online here. This eye-opening research-based film is the reason for this post.
Bottom Line: We're getting fatter & sicker, while consuming more calories than ever before. You've heard it all a thousand times. To lose weight we need to eat less & move more. Lots of people have already tried this approach. And lots of people have failed, over and over again.
Yes, "The Weight of the Nation" is a must-see, but they left out one important message:
It's a lot easier to lose weight, get healthy, AND FEEL FULL, if you switch to a diet that's PLANT-BASED, NUTRIENT-DENSE WITH NO-ADDED-OILS and MINIMAL USE OF HIGH-CALORIE NUTS & SWEETENERS!
It's the ONLY way you can eat a boat-load of food, fill your tummy, be satiated, get healthy, and STILL LOSE WEIGHT.
No calories to count.
It's that simple!
Sure, you can go ahead & follow the moderate standard lower-calorie Weight Watcher's sort of diet (like Rhonda & Elana in Weight of the Nation), count calories, include a little dessert, some nuts or almond butter, a couple of teaspoons of olive oil, some chicken, a little feta or goat cheese, a mini-slice of pizza---but, I'm telling you--you probably won't feel full--and you won't lose your cravings for fat and sugar.
You'll probably feel deprived. And how long are you going to put up with that?
No wonder people just give up trying to lose weight.
If we honestly look at what we are eating, consider how much we eat out, all the little indulgences we choose to ignore, start paying attention to labels, & start moving more, we'd notice how easy it is to lose weight--on a plant-based no-added oil diet. And yes, you won't lose weight on a plant-based diet if you make up your own rules!
Meet Nutritional Mathematician, Carson C. Chow
Carson C. Chow is a mathematician who didn't know much about calories or obesity until he took a job in 2004 with the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
But, Chow was a quick learner & he put his mathematical modeling skills to work to better understand how the U.S. has gotten so overweight & sick since the 1970's.
He also helped figure out a "slimmed down" equation that ordinary folks could use to calculate how much they can eat if they want to lose weight. His equation factors in age, height, activity levels throughout the day, plus how quickly you want to achieve your goal weight.
I used the NIDDK calculator today, and it was spot on for me.
I plugged in that I wanted to lose 15 pounds in 180 days-- and it told me I needed to eat just 1326 calories a day for 180 days, provided that I exercised strenuously a few days a week, given that I have a desk job & sit at a computer all day.
And, once I lost those 15 pounds, I could up my ante to 1558 calories to maintain my weight. Woo Hoo! Lucky me.
Totally, accurate for me. It took me about 6 months to lose 15 pounds, & I've been able to increase what I eat to just about 230 calories--the equivalent of a date or two, and some walnuts. Maybe.
But, guess what? I didn't count calories while I was losing weight, and I don't count them now.
So, how do I know the NIDDK calculator is correct? Because, I check in" periodically & plug my calories into myfooddiary.com--and I always seem to eat around 1400-1600 calories a day. And I eat a lot.
Give the NIDDK Body Weight Simulator/Calculator a try & see what you think. Find it here.
- First download & install the NIDDK applet--it will take a few minutes
- Then close your browser & restart it
- When you go back into the site after you've downloaded the applet, you'll need to click "Allow Access" for it to work.
- Be careful to change all the defaults that apply to you, or this won't work correctly. For example: Change from grams to pounds, change from kj's to calories, from centimeters to inches, & change your original & goal weights
The NIDDK Body Weight Simulator/Calculator
"A Mathematical Challenge to Obesity," by Claudia Dreifus
Yesterday, the New York Times published an "enlightening" interview with Carson C. Chow--definitely worth reading. That's where I discovered the NIDDK Calculator.
Here are some of the interview's highlights:
What new information did your equation render?
That the conventional wisdom of 3,500 calories less is what it takes to lose a pound of weight is wrong. The body changes as you lose. Interestingly, we also found that the fatter you get, the easier it is to gain weight. An extra 10 calories a day puts more weight onto an obese person than on a thinner one.
Also, there’s a time constant that’s an important factor in weight loss. That’s because if you reduce your caloric intake, after a while, your body reaches equilibrium. It actually takes about three years for a dieter to reach their new “steady state.” Our model predicts that if you eat 100 calories fewer a day, in three years you will, on average, lose 10 pounds — if you don’t cheat.
Another finding: Huge variations in your daily food intake will not cause variations in weight, as long as your average food intake over a year is about the same. This is because a person’s body will respond slowly to the food intake.
Did you ever solve the question posed to you when you were first hired — what caused the obesity epidemic?
We think so. And it’s something very simple, very obvious, something that few want to hear: The epidemic was caused by the overproduction of food in the United States.
Beginning in the 1970s, there was a change in national agricultural policy. Instead of the government paying farmers not to engage in full production, as was the practice, they were encouraged to grow as much food as they could. At the same time, technological changes and the “green revolution” made our farms much more productive. The price of food plummeted, while the number of calories available to the average American grew by about 1,000 a day.
Well, what do people do when there is extra food around? They eat it! This, of course, is a tremendously controversial idea. However, the model shows that increase in food more than explains the increase in weight.
In the 1950s, when I was growing up, people rarely ate out. Today, Americans dine out — with these large restaurant portions and oil-saturated foods — about five times a week.
Right. Society has changed a lot. With such a huge food supply, food marketing got better and restaurants got cheaper. The low cost of food fueled the growth of the fast-food industry. If food were expensive, you couldn’t have fast food.
As for the genetic argument, yes, there are people who are genetically disposed to obesity, but if they live in societies where there isn’t a lot of food, they don’t get obese. For them, and for us, it’s supply that’s the issue.
Any practical advice from your number crunching?
One of the things the numbers have shown us is that weight change, up or down, takes a very, very long time. All diets work. But the reaction time is really slow: on the order of a year.
People don’t wait long enough to see what they are going to stabilize at. So if you drop weight and return to your old eating habits, the time it takes to crawl back to your old weight is something like three years. To help people understand this better, we’ve posted an interactive version of our model at bwsimulator.niddk.nih.gov. People can plug in their information and learn how much they’ll need to reduce their intake and increase their activity to lose. It will also give them a rough sense of how much time it will take to reach the goal. Applied mathematics in action!
What can Americans do to stem the obesity epidemic?
One thing I have concluded, and this is just a personal view, is that we should stop marketing food to children. I think childhood obesity is a major problem. And when you’re obese, it’s not like we can suddenly cut your food off and you’ll go back to not being obese. You’ve been programmed to eat more.
You said earlier that nobody wants to hear your message. Why?
I think the food industry doesn’t want to know it. And ordinary people don’t particularly want to hear this, either. It’s so easy for someone to go out and eat 6,000 calories a day. There’s no magic bullet on this. You simply have to cut calories and be vigilant for the rest of your life.
What Did I Eat Yesterday? About 1400 Nutrient-Dense High-Volume Calories
After plugging my information into the NIDDK Calculator I ran the calorie numbers on what I ate yesterday--being scrupulously honest. I wanted to see just how much I'm eating these days.
I knew I ate a lot. I figured it had to be a high number of calories. Wrong!
Yesterday, I put in an hour of spinning & weights after work, and after dinner I sat in a chair, vegged out, watched "The First Grader" (which I recommend, BTW) with the Lab Rat--and consumed a GYNORMOUS bowl of air-popped popcorn, seasoned with Bone-Suckin' Barbecue Rub, plus a mix of PB2, Penzey's Cocoa, stevia, a couple of chopped walnuts & a half a banana. Quick chocolate fix. I was stuffed.
And what else did I consume during the day?
- Breakfast: A bowl of Savory Cheezy Oatmeal with Spinach, Shiitakes, & Sun-Dried Tomatoes, topped with 1 1/2 tablespoons of chia
- Lunch: A bowl of Mark Bittman's Miso Soup with Soba Noodles--substituting steamed French lentils for the grilled tofu which we had devoured the the night before.
- Snack: 20 ounces of a vegetable-heavy Green Smoothie (kale, orange, berries, & carrots)
- Dinner: A green salad with tomatoes & cucumbers, plus a big serving of Enlightened Bulgur, Swiss Chard, Garbanzo's & Tofu Feta cheese. Delish!
- Dessert: 1/4 cup of pop corn, air-popped, 2 tablespoons of PB2 mixed with 1 tablespoon of cocoa & stevia, a tablespoon of chopped walnuts, & a 1/2 a banana. Yum!
A quick look at the numbers will show you that these 1400 calories were power-packed!
- 570.1 mg of vitamin C. This is 760% of the recommended daily value (75 mg) for adult women.
- 45332 IU of vitamin A. This is 1,511% of the recommended daily value for women.
- 37.8mg of iron. This is 210% of the recommended daily value for pre-menopausal women.
- 66 grams of protein.
- 70 grams of fiber
- 1050 mg of calcium
- 23 grams of fat--the only "too low" category by "normal standards", & 2.1 grams of saturated fat.
|Tuesday, May 15, 2012|
Four pounds of plant-based food above the red line = 1500 calories of food. Goodness. Enough to fill anyone's tummy.
As Always, I'd Love to Hear Your Feedback on the Post
Did Your Results with the NIDDK Calculator Seem Accurate?