Some simple truths when it comes to weight loss:
Despite pouring of dollars into anti-obesity drug development, and with many great and creative minds working on the problem for the last couple decades the Holy Grail of an anti-obesity drug that is both highly effective and safe appears elusive.
(Which of course beg the question – What the heck do the supplement marketers know that these guys don’t )
and quick fixes don’t seem to work either….
Exercise is great, but even the best exercise program can’t prevent things like social overeating, mindless eating, food addiction, or the like.
(fancy way of saying you can’t out train a bad diet)
So if we aren’t getting an anti-obesity drug anytime soon, and exercise has it’s place, but isn’t the cure all…the question becomes:
Why are we so afraid to eat less?
We’ve even tried the opposite (The eat more to lose weight approach) which has the pleasant effect of making you never feel hungry, but you also never really feel lean either.
In the health and fitness world we’ve promoted all combination of proteins, fats and carbs. For some reason none of these combinations had staying power as ‘the cure’
On the government side (where we are typically afraid to take a stand on anything) we stick with the ambiguous and nonsensical “Get plenty of exercise and eat a healthy and balanced diet”
Which of course begs the questions
What type of Exercise?
How much Exercise?
What is healthy?
What is balanced?
And even when we know what ‘healthy and balanced’ is, we’re still skirting the issue of ‘HOW MUCH” healthy and balanced diet.
The answer is less.
If you weigh more than you want to, you are eating more than you need to.
Most likely, our timidness to say ‘eat less’ comes from the fact that there is a small group of people who always see things in black or white type extremes.
So ‘less’ to them means A LOT LESS, or even BARELY ANYTHING….And this is scary.
(I’m not sure why this is, but I have a hunch it has a lot to do with this post –> Perfect abs)
That being said, if this IS the reasoning for shying away from saying ‘eat less’ then we are putting the needs of a few people ahead of the needs of a massive group of people (pun not intended), and this isn’t right.
The other reason we may shy away from saying ‘eat less’ is that it creates the need to know ‘how much less’.
This question creates the need for calorie counting, and predictive equations.
And predictive equations create the need for guesstimating fat mass and lean body mass and the average calorie burning associated with exercise.
So we measure, predict and guesstimate…then pretend it’s all 100% fact.
Because if there is one thing us ‘experts’ don’t like to say..it’s I DON’T KNOW (again probably because of this –> perfect abs)
Now, we all have our estimates (I like 10 times IDEAL body weight if you’re NOT doing Eat Stop Eat, 11 or 12x if you ARE doing Eat Stop Eat), but again, they are ALL estimates.
This is where the confusion sets in…we start pretending we know EXACT numbers when everything is estimates.
So it could be our fear that people would take ‘eat less’ to the extreme that keeps us from saying ‘eat less’. It could be the fact that by saying ‘eat less’ we have to admit that we don’t know EXACTLY how much less.
You don’t sell magazine covers, diet programs, books etc with the headline “EAT LESS TO LOSE WEIGHT” it’s not catchy, it’s not sexy and it certainly doesn’t put you in a “Oh my gosh I HAVE to buy this” frame of mind.
So, those are probably the three biggest reasons why eating less isn’t the answer.
Of course, there is the one reason why Eating less IS the answer…. it works.