Diet and Weight Loss
If you're like most of us, you are either always
living on the edge 'in between' diets - or always resolving to drop those extra pounds
Part of the problem is probably that you haven't found any regime
that really works for you. Something that you can stick with for the long haul.
Hey, everyone needs to lose weight from time to
time. You're no different! But there are so many conflicting diet doctors and diet plans telling you so many
different things, how are you to know what to believe.
The only real way you can make sense of it all is to see the big
picture. If you understand what dieting is all about, the real, honest to goodness principles behind weight loss,
you will be in a much better position to judge for yourself which programs make the most sense for
This site spells out all the facts for you. The facts
behind dieting itself as well
as behind all the top diet programs being offered
today, so you will have all the information you need to make the best
dieting decision for you - one that you can stick with for the long haul. We will begin with a
History of Dieting
The practice of dieting in order to lose weight is ancient in its
origins. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, physicians and patients regulated their food carefully, in order
to prevent disease. The scientific classification of foods was broken down into proteins, carbohydrates, starches
and lipids. Doctors and scientists began experimenting with targeted diets in the 19th century.
William Banting is one of the first people known to have
successfully lost weight by dieting, circa 1863, by targeting carbohydrates. (The low carbohydrate diet, marketed
today as the Atkins
Diet, remains popular today.)
Dieting Today...Dieting is one of those things that is
completely integrated into American and world culture. On any given day, a huge portion of the population is
"on a diet" and "counting calories" in one way or another.
How many of the diet names in the
following list do you recognize?
- The Atkins Diet
- The Cabbage Soup Diet
- The Grapefruit Diet
- The Hollywood Miracle Diet
- The Rice Diet
- The Scarsdale Diet
- The Stillman Diet
- The South Beach Diet
- The Zone Diet
You probably recognize many of these names because you
hear them all the time! We've gone diet crazy in this day and age, but how many of you really understand the
essential principles of calories in and energy out, of weight gain and weight loss, that underlie so many of these
Before we go into the specifics of the above diets, we are going to
take a close look at what a DIET - ANY DIET - is really all about.
Have you ever wondered why, for so many people (and especially for
anyone older than 30 years old), weight gain seems to be a fact of life? It's because the human body is way too
efficient! It just does not take that much energy to maintain the human body at rest; and when exercising, the
human body is amazingly frugal when it comes to turning food into motion.
At rest (for example, while sitting and watching television), the
human body burns only about 12 calories per pound of body weight per day (26 calories per kilogram). That means
that if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kg), your body uses only about:
150 X 12 = 1,800 calories per
Twelve calories per pound per day is a rough estimate
Those 1,800 calories are used to do everything you need to stay
- They keep your heart beating and lungs
- They keep your internal organs operating
- They keep your brain running.
- They keep your body warm.
In motion, the human body also uses energy very
efficiently. For example, a person running a marathon (26 miles or 42 km) burns only about 2,600 calories. In other
words, you burn only about 100 calories per mile (about 62 calories per km) when you are running.
You can see just how efficient the human body is if you compare
your body to a car. A typical car in the United States gets between 15 and 30 miles per gallon of gasoline (6 to 12
km/L). A gallon of gas contains about 31,000 calories. That means that if a human being could drink gasoline
instead of eating hamburgers to take in calories, a human being could run 26 miles on about one-twelfth of a gallon
of gas (0.3 L). In other words, a human being gets more than 300 miles per gallon (120 km/L)! If you put a human
being on a bicycle to increase the efficiency, a human being can get well over 1,000 miles per gallon (more than
That level of efficiency is the main reason why it is so easy to
gain weight, as we will see in the next section.
Taking Calories In
The 1,800 calories that a typical person at rest needs per day is
just not that many. For example, if you go to your neighborhood McDonald's restaurant and order the Big Xtra meal,
you will get a sandwich, a large order of french fries and a large Coke®. This meal contains:
- 710 calories in the sandwich*
- 540 calories in the french
- 310 calories in the drink*
In other words, just this one meal provides 1,560 calories you need
during a day. If you get an M&M® McFlurry™ with it for dessert, you'll get 630 more calories, so you are
already consuming almost 2,200 calories just at this one meal!
Similarly, if you go to Pizza Hut and get a Meat Lover's Pan
Pizza®, each slice contains 360 calories.* If you eat three slices and get a large drink to go with it, that's
1,390 calories -- just 410 calories shy of a full day's worth of calories.
Similarly, if you eat 12 SnackWell's Crème Sandwich Cookies --
which, if you think about it, really is not that hard to do -- you've taken in 660 calories. That's more than
one-third of the daily caloric intake.
The point here is not to slam these products or make them look bad.
For example, I've got two kids and I go to McDonald's at least once a week. The point is that, in America and most
other developed countries, it is incredibly easy to find and consume calories.
Let's take a look at what someone might consume in a typical day.
Face it, many of us are over-worked, over-booked and totally
over-extended. So, convenient food often takes the lead in our daily diets. In a typical day someone might consume
something like this:
- You might have a couple of Pop-Tarts for
- then hit McDonalds for
- grab some potato chips and a cola for a
- head for the nearest Pizza Place for
- and top it off with a large bowl of ice cream while
You can see how the number of calories coming in can
easily reach 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000 per day without any effort at all. That's the problem.
Your body, it turns out, is extremely efficient at capturing and
storing excess calories. Whenever your body finds that it has excess calories on hand, it converts them to fat and
saves them for a rainy day. It only takes 3,500 excess calories to create 1 pound of new fat on your
If you're taking in just 500 extra calories per day, then you are
gaining a pound of fat per week (500 calories x 7 days in a week = 3,500 calories/week). Since it is easy to get
500 calories from just one ice cream cone or a few cookies, you can see that weight gain is completely effortless
in today's society. Food is just too easy to find.
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