Monday, January 16, 2012

Lecture: How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind

I watched an amazing video called "How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind," which effectively blew my mind (in a good way). Dr. Doug Lisle (PhD) gave an amazing talk regarding the weight epidemic in this country and what we can do to combat it and his advice was startlingly simple. I will share more later. First, some background .

There are many "causes" of obesity, according to many experts. For example, some people think that childhood trauma can contribute to that. Dr. Lisle argues, then there must be some great parents over in Asia- they have few weight problems! Kidding aside, what he is saying is that Americans face the same stressors as people in other countries but we are clearly heavier.

There are only 3 species that are found to be overweight on Earth: dogs, cats, and humans. What do those 3 species have in common? They are all fed "human food." The funny thing is that most people in the USA eat about the same amount of food regardless of whether they are fat or slender (excluding vegans and raw foodists who are clearly slender because they eat better than the rest of us). So, why are some people (the majority of the population, sadly) overweight while others are slim? Is it because they exercise more? Actually, no! This is one of the greatest myths out there! Slim people exercise and eat about as much as the rest of us. Slim people have no reason to feel superior just because they look good in a pair of jeans...just like obese people shouldn't feel bad or feel like they just don't exercise enough.

It turns out that the difference between the skinny person and the fat person is in the normal variation between human individuals: slim people have more fat receptors and fat people have less. Fat people don't get the "message" that they are full as fast as slim people do. We are talking about a difference here of maybe 100 calories per meal, for example. Not a lot but over time it adds up.

So, does this mean you are destined to be overweight because it is in your genes? No! Lisle says the answer is simply to change how and what you eat.

1) Eat lots of low calorie-concentrated foods (plants, beans, legumes, whole grains, etc.)
2) Eat none or few high calorie foods (fats, oils, meats, dairy, etc.)
3) Eat salad first, then veggies, then carbs

If you eat this way you will fill up your stomach with high fiber, high nutrient foods that are low in calorie and activate your receptors to signal your brain that you are full. Sounds simple but change can be hard.

Lisle says to try starting with one simple change for 30-60 days. His example was a woman he was counseling that had initially wanted stomach bypass surgery. He talked her into eating oatmeal for 60 days for breakfast. He told her she could put anything on the oatmeal she wanted but just eat the oatmeal every day. No other changed were encouraged. She lost 78 lbs., if memory serves (I have to go back and watch this movie again. Priceless stuff).

I for one think the oatmeal challenge is a great place to start. I am at my lowest weight in ...ever?? And I eat oatmeal for breakfast nearly every day. Usually, I add walnuts, berries, dried cranberries, chia seeds, banana and almond milk. You can see that I eat a lot of volume of food but the key is that it is all low calorie dense and high fiber. Perfect. Try this change for 60 days and see how much weight you can drop!

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