How Do You Volunteer?

It happens all of the time, I overhear someone that needs to lose weight talking about what they are doing about it. Sometimes they are exercising more, sometimes they are trying to just eat fruits and vegetables, their plans are all utilizing the advice you hear most often–“Reduce calories and exercise more.” I happen to know that this type of diet does not work in 95% of the overweight people that try it.

I want to pipe up, I want to tell them that I have learned the way it’s really done, that there is a way to lose weight that does not involve counting calories and joining a fitness club. Sometimes I do find a way to get into the conversation. Sometimes I do offer my advice, but what I have to say is so foreign to the average listener–“eat more fat, eat less fruit.” I try to tell them about the fantastic new literature on the subject:

“Good Calories, Bad Calories,” by Gary Taubes


“Why We Get Fat,” by Gary Taubes


“The Big Fat Surprise,” by Nina Teicholz


The objections you get from someone that has tried and failed many times to lose weight are very disheartening. “My doctor says…”, “I just can’t give up my…”, “My metabolism…”, “It’s my fault…”

The idea that all you have to do is cut calories, or work out, or a positive combination of the two is so simple. The fact that it’s impossible to cut calories forever, and that as soon as the dieter quits the weight comes roaring back is always considered a personal failure. The fact that almost nobody can successfully lose weight permanently by cutting calories and working out is never considered evidence that the whole idea of ‘energy balance’ as a reason that people gain weight is flawed.

How would you answer if I asked you what results you would expect if you ate 1800 calories of cocoa puffs cereal and milk, while I ate 1800 calories of t-bone steak for a month? What if I asked you which one of us would put on weight and which of us would lose weight? The simple fact is that I would lose weight because I ate no carbohydrate by eating t-bone. You would gain weight because all of your calories were from carbohydrate. You would get the same results if you ate 2000 calories at McDonalds by eating what is left of the hamburger after giving me the meat and cheese in it. I could eat at McDonalds every day and lose weight. You would blow up like a Thanksgiving float.

It’s all in the books. I can talk to you for hours about the ins and outs. People I talk to always have their reasons. They all think that their past failures are personal failures. Everybody thinks they know how it works, even when it doesn’t work. What can I do? How do I effectively spread the word when I see an opening? Help me find out how it is done…

About dcarmack

I am an instrument technician at the electric utility servicing the Kansas City Missouri metropolitan area. I am in the IBEW, Local 412. I was trained to be a nuclear power plant operator in the USN and served on submarines. I am a Democrat, even more so than those serving in Congress or the White House.
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