Bill Cutshall’s Weblog

October 24, 2008

You’re DOING IT WRONG! – Dieting

Filed under: Big Help for Small Minds — billcutshall @ 6:00 am
Tags: , ,

Dieting is not about figuring out what you can eat.  It is about eating less than you burn.  If you are spending your time making lists of food you can and cannot eat on your diet, you’re DOING IT WRONG!

Americans, on average, are overweight.  It is no mystery where the excess weight comes from and yet the strategies devised to correct the situation seem to diverge from dealing with the actual cause almost at their very core.  Simply put, the body burns a certain amount of calories in a given day.  Any calories consumed in excess of that amount will be turned into fat and stored.  Any calories burned in excess of those consumed will cause the body to turn fat back into usable calories and burn it.  If you are overweight it is because you consumed more calories than you burned over the course of your life.  Period.  It isn’t because you have a slow metabolism and it isn’t because you are big-boned and it isn’t because stress caused your body to manufacture cortisol which promoted the creation of unsightly body fat.  The process that makes people fat is long-term and the solution is as well.

Eat Less and Excercise

Unless you do both of the above things, any other steps towards the goal of weight-loss are basically pointless.  A successful diet is the result of eating fewer calories than you need and it turns out people don’t need near as many calories as they think.  A 200 lb man only needs about 2700 calories a day.  A 120 lb woman only needs about 1500.  Exercise will increase those numbers but not by as much as most think.  An hour jogging (not walking) on a treadmill only burns 400-500 calories, the equivalent of 3 twinkies or one big muffin from CoffeeBarn.  To burn a pound of fat takes a 3500 calorie deficit.  Clearly this is easiest to accomplish over several days and requires focus both on intake and burn levels.

Math is Easy

The math of a healthy diet is easy to understand and the implications on lifestyle are as well.  People tend to have a giant blind spot where the consequences of their actions are concerned, however.  Healthy eating and healthy living are slow processes while unhealthy habits are rapid. Twenty-three and a half hours of good diet behavior can be ruined in the remaining 30 minutes.  Count progress by successful days rather than by successful meals.  Don’t bargain or barter with yourself.

Here are some tips regarding your diet:

Soup is not a diet food if you eat the bowl.

Eating several small meals a day is not a sound dietary strategy if you also eat several big ones.

Alcohol has calories even if you lose track of how much you have had to drink.

You do not have 20-30 lbs of compressed fecal matter spackling the walls of your colon so a cleansing program will do nothing for you.

Meal replacement bars only help if you actually replace a meal with them.

A salad served in a bowl the size of a wash-basin probably has enough dressing and toppings on it to give it more calories than a couple slices of pizza.

Food you eat off the plates of your spouse or kids has calories.  So do the little candies from the bowl at the office.

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator does not mean you can have a Snickers bar and still expect to lose weight.

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