Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Why You Hardly Ever Hear About The Benefits of Hunger

I have been in the weight loss field for over 25 years and I have done extensive research on the subject of hunger.  There is absolutely no disputing the health benefits of prolonged periods with no food (fasting) and letting your body go hungry before eating, and yet you hardly ever hear about it. Why is that? The answer has a lot to do with the fact that no one makes money if you are not eating! Think about it! Most of the information we receive today, directly or indirectly, comes from somebody trying to sell us something. [For example, everywhere you look, there are ads, whether it is on TV, in Magazines, on the radio, on billboards or on the web.] It is estimated that the average person comes across thousands of ads every day. A big percentage of those ads are from food companies trying to persuade you to eat their food by telling you how good it tastes or how good for your health it is. Food companies alone spend billions per year on advertising. Here is my question. Who makes money when you don't eat? No one! Since no one makes money from you when you don't eat, who would be interested in promoting the benefits of fasting or not eating? No one, or at least very few people.
I am not saying that food companies don't care about their customers' health or that there is anything wrong with advertising, but they have a product to sell and if a solution does not involve their product they are not going to promote that solution. At the end of the day, it is not their job to promote a solution that they don't benefit from. They are in the food business, not the weight loss business. The only people interested in promoting this healthy idea are people like me who sell information on books or have paying websites that make money directly from the consumer and do not rely on paying sponsors on our websites to make our income. Our loyalty lies with our clients because our clients pay our salary and we know if we want our clients to keep coming back, whether to buy another of our books or continue paying their memberships, we need to give them the best information possible. Unfortunately, our advertising budget can't compete with the billions of dollars the food industry spends on advertising, so this is one reason why you hardly hear about the benefits of letting your body go hungry before eating.
As far as why most nutritionists don't teach the important role hunger and fasting plays in health is because most college courses on nutrition don't emphasize it. I remember all the nutritional courses I took, and not one talked about the importance of letting your body go hungry. All the courses focused on calories and the type of foods we should be eating or avoiding.
As to why most colleges and universities don't emphasize the benefits of fasting and letting your body go hungry, I can only speculate. The evidence is so overwhelming, the only conclusion I could come up with is that there is something else that is holding them back from teaching about fasting and hunger. My guess is because of special interest groups, like the food industry, who sponsor many of the studies and newsletters universities publish.
Think about it. It is not in the best interest of the food industry for people to eat only when hungry because they will end up eating a lot less food. The food industry, through the millions of dollars they spend on lobbying, has a lot of influence on the government's nutritional recommendations. Also, the food industry spends plenty of money on colleges and university research studies. Do you think is in the best interest of the universities and colleges to teach things that could hurt their biggest sponsors? Of course not.
A great book to read about the food industry and the great influence it has on the way we eat today is the book by Marion Nestle "Food Politics". You will be surprised when you learn the amount of influence the food industry has.
The bottom line is that the food industry has great influence over the government and the educational institutions and any information that would hinder the sales of food gets ignored or greatly suppressed. Since most educational institutions don't emphasize the benefits of fasting and eating less often, most nutritionist, who get their information from those institutions, will not be very aware of the benefits.
Although I am a big believer in the value of education, sometimes structured education, like colleges and universities, can put blinders on people. That is what I think has happened with most nutritionist and that is why so few of them teach the importance of fasting and letting your body go hungry before eating.
Now you know why one of the best things you can do for your health has been kept so quiet!  
For information about my company Live Your Way Thin LLC and the services we offer, please visit my website:  http://www.liveyourwaythin.com

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Don't Be Afraid to go Hungry

Many people believe and, many nutritionists would tell you, that if you skip a meal or if you go for too long without food, your metabolic rate will slow down and you will overeat at your next meal. 

Both of those statements are wrong. First of all, in studies of people who have fasted for a day or have skipped a meal, reported eating only slightly more than they would ordinarily eat, when they finally had a meal after fasting or after skipping the previous meal. Also, research has shown that even extreme fasting for three days in the row, will not slow down the metabolic rate. J. Webber and I. A. Macdonald, “The cardiovascular, metabolic and hormonal changes accompanying acute starvation in men and women,” British Journal of Nutrition, 71, no. 3 (March 1994) 

Many people also find letting their body go hungry very uncomfortable. That is true, but the discomfort is temporary, the benefits are permanent. Think of it as a withdrawal. If you are a coffee drinker, you know what happens if you don't drink your coffee. You get a headache because your body goes through a caffeine withdrawal. This is temporary and manageable. You see, most people have never felt true hunger because they eat all the time, so when they take a break from eating they go through some discomfort similar to a withdrawal. The good news is once your body adjusts, you will not believe how good you will feel and how much more energy you will have. I know, because I have been through it myself. It definitely worth the minor discomfort you may go through. 

Remember, with any habit you try to break, you will go through some discomfort. Developing the habit of allowing your body to go hungry before eating, is probably one of the best habits you can develop and the benefits to your health are tremendous. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Nobody Has A Weight Problem!

Yes, you read the title correctly, nobody has a weight problem, what we have is a behavioral problem.
The first thing you absolutely must realize, if you want to achieve sustainable weight loss, is that you don't have a weight problem or a fitness problem, what you have is a behavioral problem.  Being overweight and out of shape is the symptom of your current habitual behaviors that you repeat on a daily basis with little conscious thought.  Sometimes you are not even aware of them.  Unless you eliminate the habitual behaviors that got you overweight and out of shape, and replace them with good behaviors, you will never be able to achieve sustainable weight loss.  Just look at all the weight loss programs on the market today, that don't help people make changes in their habitual behaviors but instead focus on helping people lose as much weight as fast as possible.  Although most of them are able to deliver fast results, those results don't last too long.  Just look at the national statistics, over 95% of the people who lose weight regain the weight back.  Why?  Because they don't help people eliminate the root cause of weight gain, which is their daily habitual behaviors. 
To help you stay focused on the root cause of the problem, which is your habitual behaviors, don't use the scale as your success indicator. 
Let me explain what I mean by that. Most of us, when we’re trying to lose weight, use the scale as our success indicator. In other words, we weigh ourselves every week to see if the scale shows a lower number (which makes us feel successful) or a higher number (which makes us feel defeated). By doing this we focus on the symptom and not the problem.  Instead, track on how you are doing on the healthy behavior you are trying to develop or the unhealthy behavior you are trying to eliminate. 
For example: Let’s say you are working on breaking the habitual behavior of eating junk food Monday through Friday. You should keep track of the number of times you engaged in that habitual behavior Monday through Friday and each week try to eat less junk food than the previous week. So let’s say the first week you engaged in that habitual behavior 10 times.  In other words, you ate junk food 10 times during the week, Monday through Friday.   Let’s say the following week you engaged in that habitual behavior only 7 times.  That means you made progress and you should consider that week a successful week regardless if you lost weight or not.  Each week you try to do better on the behavior you are trying to develop or eliminate than the previous week.  Before you know it, you will have developed the habitual behavior of not eating junk food Monday through Friday.  Now, keep in mind that developing one new behavior does not mean you will start losing weight because sometimes you need to develop or change 3 or more behaviors before you start losing weight.   You just keep reaping this process with each habitual behavior you need to develop or change and sooner or later you will have changed enough behaviors to lose the weight you want.
Another reason why you should not use the scale as your success indicator is that it does not tell you the full story.  Sometimes you can do everything right, eat the perfect diet, do all your exercises, and the scale can still show you that you gain weight. This can happen for many reasons — eating salty food or a large meal before a weigh-in; for women, accumulated water weight during a menstrual cycle; or any number of other reasons.  A person's weight can fluctuate 3 to 5 lbs or more in one day. That’s why it’s more realistic and encouraging to focus on the behaviors you are trying to develop or change than the weight you are trying to lose.  Besides, your habitual behaviors are the real problem, not the excess weight.
So if you want to maintain the right mindset focus on the behaviors you are trying to change in order to lose weight and get in shape and not the weight you are trying to lose.
At Live Your Way Thin the way we use the scale is to tell us if a client has changed enough habitual behaviors to affect their weight, we don't use the scale as our success indicator.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Breakfast... Is It The Most Important Meal of the Day?

Today the majority of people in the west, believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day regardless if they eat it or not.  As we have learned from history, many times popular beliefs have been proven wrong.  So, let's look at the breakfast idea a little closer. The first question I would like to ask is, “how did we even start believing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?”  If you look at human history, people did not eat anything first thing in the morning. Even today, if you look at healthy cultures around the world, people don't eat breakfast, or if they do it's coffee or tea with something very small.  I know when I lived in Greece,  as kids we did eat something small in the morning for breakfast, but most adults never had breakfast.  If you look at cultures in Africa and South America untouched by the west you will see that none of them eat breakfast.  So how did we, in the western world, come to believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?  The answer is very simple.  Marketing!  As sad as it is, we live in a world today that with the right marketing you can get people to believe almost anything.  Is it possible that special interests are driving this idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?  It wouldn't be the first time that special interest groups are trying to get us to believe something that is not true!

You hear about studies on breakfast all the time, stating how important breakfast is to your weight and health.  Here is my question?  If breakfast is so important to the human body, then how come most people are not hungry in the morning?  What?  Is their body trying to sabotage itself?    Nowadays you can find a study to prove almost whatever you want.  So let's take a closer look at these breakfast studies.

Dr. David Allison of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama and his colleagues took a closer look at breakfast studies.  What they found out after they analyzed 92 breakfast studies, published between 1994 and 2011 is that there is very little strong evidence to support the notion that breakfast makes any difference in losing weight.  Most of the studies were observational.  Simply put, the author suggested an association between breakfast and weight change based on his or her observations but there may have been other behaviors common among breakfast eaters that they did not take into account.  Many times the biases of the researcher influence the conclusions of the research.
The bottom line according to Dr. David Allison and colleagues is that there is no hard evidence that links eating breakfast with weight loss.

If this is not enough to convince you that breakfast might not be the most important meal of the day, let's look at breakfast from another point of view.  Digestion!  If you look at healthy cultures around the world, including the one that I was raised in Greece, the main meal was always eaten at a time that we could rest afterward.  In the cities within Greece, people ate a big lunch but had a 3-hour lunch break and we usually took a nap right after eating.  In the villages, where my mother is from, they did not have a break in the afternoon because they worked in the fields, so they had their main meal at dinner, where they would rest after the meal.  If you look at other cultures, the main meal is also eaten at a time when people could rest afterward.  Look at animals that eat of any significance like lions, tigers, or even our domestic dogs and cats.  What do they do after eating, they sleep or at least rest.  Think about it, how do you feel after eating a big meal?  Don't you feel like taking a nap too?  This is because when you eat a big meal (not necessarily overeating) a big part of your energy goes towards digestion.  Digestion, by the way, requires a lot of energy, that is why, naturally, your body wants to rest so digestion can take place properly.  If you eat and don't rest afterward you compromise digestion.  That is why for best digestion resting after a main meal is a very good idea, which animals know to do instinctively and all the healthy cultures around the world also seem know.

However, if you eat like a king in the morning and then go to work, that creates a problem for your digestion.  If you have stressful job, it makes it even worse because stress is not good for digestion either.  In my expert opinion, breakfast is the worse time to eat for the vast majority of adults in the western world.  I don't want to say that you should never have breakfast because there are exceptions.
Personally, I don't eat breakfast but I do make exceptions.  I believe in the 80/20 rule.  If you eat perfect 80 percent of the time, your body will forgive you for the 20 percent when you don't.