by Tony Isaacs
A research team at John Hopkins University has examined 20 different published studies and national surveys about weight and eating behavior. Their conclusion is far from encouraging.
They also found that an astounding 80 percent of African American women over the age of 40 are currently overweight, with 50 percent falling in the obese category, putting them at great risk for heart disease, diabetes and various cancers.
Obesity has long since reached epidemic proportions and it continues to grow despite an avalanche of new diets, weight loss drugs and decades of low-fat. low-carb and no-fat foods. Blame has been placed everywhere from sedentary lifestyles to overeating to emotional problems to even the recent contention that merely having fat friend will make you fat.
No doubt lack of exercise, over-eating and emotional problems all contribute to obesity. I personally think that what we consume and what we fail to consume contributes to obesity as much or more than how much we consume.
Our bodies, like all of nature, are synergistic systems. Maintaining proper weight and proper health depends on proper nutrition as well as proper lifestyle. Our immune systems – our natural first line of defense against illness and disease – and every organ, every organized system of cells, all depend on timely elimination of waste and toxins and a constant supply of proper nutrients in order to keep all of them healthy and working together to keep us healthy.
Unfortunately, our fast food micro-waved food and highly processed foods off the grocers shelve plus the minimal vegetables and fruits we do eat that come from our depleted and contaminated soils do not give us anywhere near the nutrition our bodies need. Consider the fact, for example, that a bowl of spinach had 8 times as much nutrition when our grandmother ate it than it does now – for those of us who even eat one of the healthiest of dark green vegetables.
So what does this have to do with obesity? Simply this: I believe that our bodies instinctively know the amount and kinds of nutrition we need and they send signals to us when we do not get the proper nutrition we need – much like we see dogs and other animals eating grass when they instinctively know that they need extra vitamins and missing nutrients. I am convinced that a major cause of obesity comes from the fact that we continue to eat because our bodies are craving vital nutrition that is missing in the food we are eating.
But when our bodies signal us that we need more vitamins and minerals, we only recognize the craving and we attempt to satisfy it by eating more food. Instead of eating healthy foods and supplementing vitamins and minerals, we attempt to satisfy our cravings by eating more of the same nutrition-poor junk that created the problem in the first place. And so we just grow bigger and bigger. And even more sedentary, because lack of proper nutrition equates to lack of having the proper energy we need to become more active. It is a cycle that feeds on itself.
Low fat foods are not the answer. Just look at what has happened during the same period that we have seen an ever increasing amount of low-fat and no-fat foods brought into our diet:
During this same time period, we also saw an explosion in convenience and fast foods, junk foods, microwavable foods, over-processed foods on our grocer’s shelves and produce from increasingly depleted soils – all of which failed to prove the nutrition we needed and that our bodies instinctively craved.
Neither is the secret to beating obesity always a simple matter of burning more calories than you consume. Or, as some would say, "just don't eat so much". How simple that sounds, and in many instances it may well be good advice; however, many overweight people actually eat very little yet at best only avoid adding still more weight. Regardless of how few calories one consumes, if those calories do not consistently have a healthy amount of essential nutrients you will not have the metabolism of a healthy body and that will likely make it more difficult to burn off more calories than you consume. And as for "stop eating so much" that is easier said than done. In many instances it is good advice, but hard to do when your body is not getting the nutrition it craves and letting you know about it!
I firmly believe that a sensible diet with supplementation of natural and plant derived vitamins and minerals is a key to obtaining and maintaining proper weight and proper health. And of course, proper exercise – .even if you have to begin very modestly. Every little bit helps. Park a few spaces further away from the office or from the entrance to the grocery market (and please don't take one of those exercise robbing electric carts to ferry you to and through the store and back!). Even small amounts of daily activity make one more healthy physically and mentally, making it easier to make progress and obtain goals.
Speaking of sensible diets, here is the one I use:
Fast one day a week and consume nothing besides your vitamins and mineral supplements except for fruits, fruit juice, water or juiced vegetables and fruits. I alternate – one week on the fasting day I might have nothing but watermelon. Watermelon is a great cleanser and detox and also helps dissolve and pass any kidney stones that might be forming.
The next week it might be all dark grapes (WITH seeds). Another great detox and cleanser (just wait to see what comes out before the day is through!) and it has the benefit of being a great destroyer of cancerous cells which we all have in abundance. The next week maybe just juiced veggies and fruits. The next maybe just water.
On the other six days of the week, divide your meals into 6 small ones of healthy food items (plenty of fresh veggies and fruits, nuts, small amounts of lean meat, etc.) Think of these six as breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and evening snack. Before each one consume a tall glass of water. Consume another glass of water with each one. You will lose weight during the day of fasting – perhaps two to three pounds and perhaps another two to three pounds during the week if you add in some exercise and avoid things like candy, sweets and sodas.
After the day of fasting you will find your stomach shrunken and will be able to keep it that way with the smaller divided meals. And the water helps keep you full. A healthy substitute for a two or three of the glasses of water would be unsweetened tea – or tea sweetened with Stevia or Lo Han (I drink a mix of unsweetened green and black tea). Once or twice a week, you may "indulge" in a small sweet or maybe one soda. But only once or twice.
And each day, be sure to take a good vitamin and mineral supplement. I take a multi-vitamin, a supplement with calcium, magnesium and zinc, vitamin D, and a plant derived mineral product that contains 75 different trace elements.
It works for me and others I know. Hopefully it will work for some of you as well.
Which brings us to emotional support. Instead of falling prey to the recent idea of fat friends making you fat, I say use your weight-challenged friends to support and help each other lose weight. This is what this forum is all about.
Live long, live healthy, live happy!