It is really very simple to lose weight and keep it off when you come right down to it. I know. Ten years ago at the age of 58 I decided I had to lose 50 pounds of fat. The doctor confirmed the necessity. The mirror mocked me. I weighed 217 pounds, was pre-diabetic, and had high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high risk for heart disease. I was a candidate for an early grave.
Over the course of 16 months, I gradually but steadily lost those 50 pounds. By the time I turned 60, I was down to a trim 166 pounds, and saw my abs for the first time in my life. My body fat had plummeted to a very pleasing 8%. The mirror was now more friend than foe. I have never regained the fat. I never will, and today I am almost 69.
Now, many people wince when I tell them my weight loss success “secret” (which is really no secret at all, by the way). Why, you ask? And I ask back, why do you think there is such a huge obesity epidemic going on all over the western world right now?
The simple answer: Sugar addiction. You may have read or heard about it. If you are significantly overweight, and eating a Western-style diet, then you are probably addicted as well. Ten years ago, I was a flaming addict myself. Believe you me, I hit the donut shops regularly, downed chips, crackers, and cookies as snacks with reckless abandon, and wondered why I was gaining weight. Until I gave up my addiction. What worked for me was to go “cold turkey”.
It took me about two weeks to really sense that I had overcome my addiction. It takes the human body about that long to readjust. But then, once past that point, you no longer experience uncontrollable cravings.
So to get started, I got rid of all the sugary foods in my house. Just threw them in the garbage, where they belonged. This included all sweets, cookies, crackers, chips, donuts, many frozen dinners, ice cream, white bread, sugary cereals, colas, fruit juices, etc. Even some “healthy” yogurts. They’re all loaded with sugar in its many forms, including the worst of all: “high fructose corn syrup”. Basically, any manufactured food item whose nutrition label shows more than about 4 grams of “added sugars” per serving falls into this category.
Now you must be wondering, then what was left for me to eat? Simple, once again. There are plenty of things: Fruits, veggies, nuts, meats, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, whole grains, legumes, etc., etc. You know, the nutritious natural foods that you find along the inside perimeter of your grocery store. Not the man-made stuff sitting on the shelves along the inside aisles.
You see, foods with added sugars do not contain enough fiber bound to the sugars to slow digestion. The added sugars, unfettered, find their way quickly into your stomach, and then soon hit the liver. They overload the liver, which can process only small amounts of sugars at a time and supply them into usable energy for your muscles and other organs. The overload portion of sugar is then routed by the liver to your fat cells. That makes you fatter.
In contrast, natural foods, many of which still contain sugars, such as fruit, are high in fiber, and the sugars are bound up with the fiber. they are not “added sugars”. Then, when they hit your stomach, your digestive process has to work much harder and longer to separate the sugar from the fiber. So, the sugar just dribbles down into your liver, and your liver is therefore not overloaded. The sugar goes to the muscles and other organs only, instead of some of it being shunted to the fat cells. As a result, you don’t get fatter.
To lose weight, you need to establish a calorie deficit… More calories being burned by your bodily activities and functions than what are being shoveled or poured in past your lips. A sufficient deficit can be achieved by reducing your baseline caloric intake by about 15% below the calories needed to maintain your weight. That should result in a sustainable and healthy 3 – 5 pounds per month of weight loss. You want those calories to be coming from the natural foods, not from the above-demonized processed foods with the added sugars. I think you can probably understand the reasoning… The added sugars are empty calories that do not provide nourishment… All they do is produce more fat. You are trying to lose fat, not gain it.
Also, since you’ll be in calorie deficit mode, you might be feeling a little hungry at times, for a while at least until your stomach shrinks. You should know that foods with lots of protein, as well as foods containing healthy fats, will help to keep you feeling full. Drinking water is another superb way to quell hunger pains. The sugary foods, if you revert to them, do not create a feeling of fullness. All they do is give you a short “sugar high”, and soon thereafter you get the “sugar blues”, and crave more sugar, and the addiction cycle repeats. That is what your sugar addiction does. That’s why it is crucial to break your addiction to be successful. Got it?
Now go round up all the sugary foods in your house, and get rid of them. Don’t buy any more. Keep them out of your house to avoid temptation. Learn to love fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, meats, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, etc., etc. They really do taste great, and as your pallet gradually becomes accustomed to not tasting sugary foods, these healthy foods will begin to taste better and better. And your bathroom scale will be growing more and more accustomed to a lighter and lighter you! Simple, right?
Thought you might be interested in seeing what giving up my sugar addiction did for me. Photo below, on the left, caught me at an atrociously rotund 217 pounds, ten years ago at age 58. You should know that back then I was getting plenty of exercise (running several miles per week, and working out at the gym typically 5 days per week). But I was still gaining weight from all that sugary junk in my diet. It wasn’t until I gave up the sugar that the fat began to gradually disappear.
Fast forward ten years. Photo on the right is of me right now, at nearly 69. I have successfully held my sugar addiction in check for the past 10 years, and I’m doing quite well. I am enjoying what I eat, am never hungry, and I feel great. The only weight I have gained since then is 20 pounds of lean muscle, after losing the 50 pounds of fat. I still hit the gym and get plenty of cardio, and now weigh about 186 pounds, with scant 8% body fat. While ten years older, I feel and tend to act at least 20 years younger. Another good thing going for it, I’m not too ashamed anymore to be seen shirtless outdoors.