Growing up, I never struggled with my weight. I couldn’t gain a pound. I never made less than 2 sandwiches at a time and I easily drank a gallon of milk per day. I didn’t understand weight gain and the struggle that goes into losing weight or just maintaining a healthy weight.
Later in life, I found myself at an unhealthy weight and lost 30 pounds by just making a few small changes. However, I’m still not at the weight I think is the best for me and I’ve gone through a variety of different diets and approaches in an attempt to lose the last 15 pounds or so.
In the book, “The End Of Overeating” by Dr. David Kessler, he explores the science and tactics behind the food industry and our own habits that keep us from being at the weight we would prefer.
“I’ve learned to recognize overeating in restaurants all over America. It’s not hard, because people who have been conditioned to overeat behave distinctively.
They attack their food with a special kind of gusto.
I’ve seen them lift their forks, readying their next bite before they’ve swallowed their previous one, and I’ve watched as they reach across the table to spear a companion’s french fries or the last morsel of someone else’s dessert.”
That comment hit me right in the face, because that’s exactly what I do. I love food and love to eat. Since I don’t eat anywhere near the amount I used to eat when I was skinnier, it seems to be a mystery as to where these extra pounds are coming from. But it’s not.
“People get fat because they eat more than people who are lean.”
That was the “duh” moment in the reading for me. Even when I’ve tried Paloe, Keto, or any other type of diet, I wasn’t focused on nutrition or calories. What I was looking/hoping for was “eat as much as you want of this and you’ll still lose weight.” However, that’s not how it works.
In 2010, a professor at Kansas State lost 27 pounds on his “convenience store diet” – eating nothing but Twinkies and other sugary cakes but keeping his total calories to 1,800 calories instead of the 2,600 calories he normally consumed.
I’m sharing this book with you not as a judgement or condemnation of your weight or size. I rarely meet a patient that’s overweight that doesn’t know they’re overweight and that hasn’t already tried to do something about it. Being at a healthy weight is important for a lot of reasons, but from a chiropractic standpoint, it’s important to reduce the amount of pressure and strain that gravity is placing on your joints.
Experts indicate that 1 pound of body weight puts 3 pounds of pressure on your knee during each step. You are dealing with recurring knee pain in particular, losing 10 lbs can make a huge difference in how you feel. We’ve had patients have all of their knee pain going away after losing weight. If you don’t think it makes a difference in how you get through a day, put 20 pounds in a backpack or weight vest and walk around for the day and see how you feel. It matters.
You’re not reading this post to see if you need to lose weight. Chances are, this post piqued your interest because you’ve already tried a bunch of things and you’re hoping this post will give you that last piece of the puzzle to hit your target weight.
Here’s some revelations from the book:
- In tracking calories, most people do a poor job of reporting what they eat. People that are overweight are particularly inaccurate
- People that gain weight eat an average of 400 calories per day more than others. That would add 2 lbs of body weight every 3 weeks
- Foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt stimulate endorphins in the brain and that’s why we like them. A combination of sugar with fat is particularly tempting and enjoyable.
- Eating foods high in sugar, fat, and salt makes us want to eat more foods that are high in sugar, fat, and salt.
- The more access you have to food, the more likely you are to overeat. Given the opportunity to eat without restriction, people consumed an average of 4,500 calories daily (150% more than what they needed to maintain their weight)
- The food industry specifically creates food to stimulate our brains with sugar, fat, and salt and looks to create foods that are high in “hedonic value.”
One of my biggest takeaways from the book is that it’s not just will-power that affects our success in keeping a healthy weight. The food industry is preying on how your brain responds to different stimuli. We can’t assume that just because a food tastes good, it’s good for us — even if it looks like it should be healthy.
The simplest and oldest ways to lose weight are still being active, decreasing portion size, and don’t buy snacks or foods you shouldn’t eat and bring them into your house. Losing weight does not equal health, however. Going for the most nutritious thing on the menu, whenever possible, is a great goal. (I’ve often gone for the biggest portion or what I think will be the best tasting.)
Primarily, the book will shed light on the science behind why different foods affect our brains and our ability to resist them. Study after study will show you “dang, that’s why I do that?” and while it may initially make you feel like you’ve been tricked, it won’t work on you again.
In Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence” he talks about marketing tactics and how we are influenced into buying more based on how our brain works. Once he sheds light on a tactic that is being used to influence you, the tactic no longer works effectively.
That’s why I’m suggesting you check out this book. Once you see how your brain is being influenced by your choices and by the companies that want you to buy their stuff, you can make an informed decision about your next steps.
Ultimately, it’s up to us to decide what healthy habits we want to incorporate into our lives. It’s a day in and day out daily decision to do more of the “right” things and less of the “bad.”
We want to improve your spine and the function of your nervous system, but we also want to help you continue to take healthier steps towards better health whenever possible.