(My next column will appear after Succot. A K’tiva V’Chatima Tova to all of Clal Yisrael. May this be a year of complete health and happiness for each and every one of us and a year where we all increase our personal efforts to bring that about.)
In part I of this article, we saw how having a low metabolism doesn’t doom someone to being overweight. Yes, it is a valuable tool in weight loss and something necessary for good health but it doesn’t come close to taking care of weight loss without a change in eating habits as well.
Third, don’t blame your GENES!
Steven Blair, a professor of public health at the University of South Carolina, poses these rhetorical questions: “Are your genetics driving you to eat more? Move less? Genetics hasn’t caused the obesity epidemic because our genetics haven’t changed in the last 30 years.” While our genes are most likely not responsible for the prevalence of obesity, they may give us an advantage (or disadvantage) , weight-wise.
Melinda Johnson, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says: “While genes strongly decide the shape of your body, peoples’ lifestyle (primarily eating too much and moving too little) is by far the main reason they are fat. Research has shown that our eating and exercise habits are heavily influenced by the people we spend time with the most, which is likely the main reason we see obesity running in families. Genes have an influence, but it’s relatively minor for the vast majority of humans.”
A 2010 study of twins was conducted at the Institute of Preventive Medicine at Copenhagen University Hospital. Danish researchers concluded that the evidence that genes could affect the proportions of the human body had been overestimated and couldn’t explain the increase in obesity over the past 70 years. They also suggested that environmental factors, such as habitual diet, must therefore play an important role in the obesity epidemic—and there was very limited evidence that genes influenced diet.
And finally fourth, DON’T GO ON A DIET!
Why are so many people keen to embrace the latest dietary fad? More than likely they hear about them via the media, says Dr. Joseph Donnelly, professor and director of the Center for Physical Activity and Weight Management, University of Kansas. “This, of course, doesn’t make it correct.”
“Remember,” urges Marjorie Nolan, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “that any diet is only as good as your ability to keep the weight off.”
Fad diets don’t work for many reasons, largely because they:
- Are quick fixes that are difficult to maintain
- Often tilt the dietary balance (high protein, low carbs, high fat, no fat, all-grapefruit) and deprive the body of crucial nutrients
- Wreak havoc with your metabolism
- Promise unsustainable amounts of weight loss in too rapid a time frame
“The National Weight Control Registry is a large, often-cited study of individuals who were successful at long-term maintenance of weight loss,” explains Jakicic. “It showed that the people who are most successful at weight loss were eating a diet that was roughly 20 percent protein, 25 percent fat, and 50 percent carbs. This is a diet recommended by almost all behavioral weight-loss programs.”
Although adjusting to a different way of eating can be a big adjustment, eating properly is a wonderful experience. You will learn to enjoy your food even more and not leave the table overstuffed. So once again, I am sorry to say, that there is no way around it. We need to eat less (without going UNDER our metabolic threshold, because that can cause weight gain) and we need to move a lot more. It is important to make healthy choices of foods as well. Make sure you have included abundance and a variety of vegetables and fruits in your daily food intake. Most of all, remember; if you are waiting for THE pill, THE food, THE diet; well, it isn’t anywhere on the horizon.
Changing your habits in order to eat less and moving more will “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”
Alan Freishtat is an A.C.E. CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER and a LIFESTYLE FITNESS COACH with over 17 years of professional experience. He is the co-director of the Jerusalem-based weight loss and stress reduction center Lose It! along with Linda Holtz M.Sc. and is available for private consultations, assessments and personalized workout programs. Alan also lectures and gives seminars and workshops. He can be reached at 02-651-8502 or 050-555-7175, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Check out the Lose It! web site – www.loseit.co.il US Line: 516-568-5027