The Skinny on Overweight
Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 10:01AM
Skip Hellewell in diet, overweight, prevention

I’m moved by the genuineness of our readers.  A bit overweight?  Well, it’s right out there in your comments.  Summer is coming—school will be out in about 100 days and swimming suit season follows.  Thinking about dieting?  Forget it.  Diets are temporary and Word of Wisdom Living is about permanent, healthful change.  Fortunately, a healthy lifestyle usually leads to a healthy body.  I say usually because we’re all different, but eating right is the place to start.   

A heavy guilt trip has been put on the overweight and obese in our society.  This is counterproductive; it just doesn’t work, as evidenced by the continuing national weight gain.  So lets do something smarter.  The common wisdom says weight gain occurs because we eat too much and move too little—excess calories become excess fat.  So, shame on the overweight?  Maybe not.   

W of W Living suggests a different theory:

This theory removes self-starvation—but not a little self-discipline—from the cure for overweight.  The hunger impulse is too strong to ignore for long, so we need a better strategy.  Here’s a new plan, based on the sugar-insulin theory of weight control: Simply eat a reasonable amount of healthy food and you’re on your way to a good weight.  Real food is rich in nutrients and filling fiber, but low in calories.  And don’t forget to exercise, get plenty of sleep, enjoy a little sunshine, and deal with whatever stress is making you snack.

Lest you credit me with too much genius, I must acknowledge the sugar-insulin theory has been around for a while.  Unfortunately, society tends to solutions that place guilt rather than enlighten—so the worn-out “eat less, move more” mantra persists in the media.  We’ll deal more thoroughly with being overweight in a later post, but here are a couple of suggestions from the Word of Wisdom on eating:

1. Lower your blood sugar and insulin levels by avoiding factory food.  Factory food is high in refined carbs (the white stuff—sugar, flour, white rice, plus HFCS) that raise your blood sugar and insulin levels.  Insulin moves the excess blood sugar into our fat cells and keeps it there.  If you don’t significantly reduce the refined carbs in your diet your waistline will keep growing.

2. Farm food has a low glycemic index (G.I.)—a measure of its ability to spike your blood sugar level.  A diet with a low G.I. lowers your insulin level and results in smaller fat cells.  Smaller fat cells mean a smaller waistline.  So enjoy some fruit and nuts along with lots of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, with a little meat and dairy.

3. If you buy factory food you’ll eat it.  So avoid the center aisles in the grocery store that offer sugary drinks, cookies, candy, chips, and bakery goods.  (Ever noticed that the baked goods in stores don't even taste that good?  If you're really craving apple pie, make your own!)

4. Life is to be enjoyed, but get your guilty pleasures in the smallest possible dose.  I like See’s candy, but I follow Healthy Change #8.  If I see a store in the mall I get my favorite piece.  But we don’t bring boxes or bags of candy into the house.  Sad experience has taught that if it’s in the house it’ll get eaten.

5. Besides sugary drinks, avoid diet drinks too.  They’re less healthy than water for a number of reasons, but there is another problem:  Studies show that diet drinks DO NOT result in you eating less sugar.  In fact, they seem to reinforce the infantile desire for sugar so you get extra sugar in other forms (more to come on this topic).  Per Healthy Change #6, drink lots of water.

Lifestyle change works best if your friends join in, so pass the word.  And please share your weight loss experience by adding a comment, so we can learn together. 

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