In the war of the waistline there are many skirmishes and outright battles. We win some and we lose some. Hopefully, on balance, more of the former and less of the latter. The battle is waged over a long period of time. Besides calorie consumption and exercise, there are other variables that enter into the equation, including genetics, sleep, stress and just the difference in individual bodies.
I have been fortunate in that the mathematical part has worked out fairly consistently and predictably for me, but I know that for many folks, they hit a plateau and can’t seem to penetrate it. They can starve themselves and still not get through.
Now comes a fascinating piece from the New York Times entitled Always Hungry? Here’s Why.
For me, the most important part of the article was the following two paragraphs:
“As it turns out, many biological factors affect the storage of calories in fat cells, including genetics, levels of physical activity, sleep and stress. But one has an indisputably dominant role: the hormone insulin. We know that excess insulin treatment for diabetes causes weight gain, and insulin deficiency causes weight loss. And of everything we eat, highly refined and rapidly digestible carbohydrates produce the most insulin. My emphasis
“By this way of thinking, the increasing amount and processing of carbohydrates in the American diet has increased insulin levels, put fat cells into storage overdrive and elicited obesity-promoting biological responses in a large number of people. Like an infection that raises the body temperature set point, high consumption of refined carbohydrates — chips, crackers, cakes, soft drinks, sugary breakfast cereals and even white rice and bread — has increased body weights throughout the population.”
In my personal battle of the bulge, over the last four-plus years while writing this blog, I have learned tons about healthy eating, healthy living. Back when I started I ate a lot of processed foods including TV Dinners. I gave myself the title: Mr. Lazy Cook for good reasons. I liked it quick and dirty. Over the course of writing about and reading about the blessings of the Mediterranean Diet, I have found myself leaning more and more in that direction.
I assume most readers know what the Mediterranean Diet entails. Briefly, it includes:
• High intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, fish and cereals
• High intake of unsaturated fatty acids but low intake of saturated lipids
• Low intake of dairy products, meat and poultry
• Mild to moderate alcohol consumption
It doesn’t take a genius to see that there aren’t any processed foods on the Mediterranean Diet.
In view of the fact that more than 60 percent of our population is overweight and 30 percent are obese, some rethinking of our dietary inputs seems due.
When I started writing the blog back in 2010 I weighed 165 pounds, my best weight in over a decade. Since then I have melted off a further 10 to 15 pounds by exercising regularly and eating fewer and fewer processed foods.
I think if you start cutting back on the ‘boxed meals’ you will find you have more success in your weight loss efforts.