Reasons People Stay Fat
In my book Healthy, Sexy, Happy (June), I provide a list of “10 Reasons People are Fat.” You’ll have to wait for the book to come out for that list, but last night, while drifting off to sleep, it occurred to me that there are also reasons why people don’t want to lose weight. Well, maybe they want to but they have stumbling blocks that prevent them from trying. So let’s look at them.
5 Reasons People Don’t Try to Lose Weight
(1) Dieting Fatigue. It’s hard to imagine reaching your optimal body weight when you’re suffering from dieting fatigue. At one point, dieters give up and stop dieting. Most people plateau at a certain fat level and stay there. This is actually healthier than continuing to tax your adrenals and thyroid by dieting, which indicates a time of famine to your body. I discourage dieting, because dieting always fails. In a recent presentation in Seattle, I showed a photo of me at age ten, chubby and sporting a terrible hairdo. I was chubby because my mother fed her family factory produced food products instead of real food. From age ten on, I learned a lot about metabolism. I learned about real food from my grandma. Her parents sent her to work in a bakery as a teenager, where she glutted on pastries. Her mother was a rotund, mega-bosomy Polish immigrant who wore housedresses and industrial strength shoes to support her girth, her thinning gray hair in a bun. So when a customer said to my grandma, “Oh you’re going to look just you’re your mother,” it stopped her cold. She refrained from pastries and shrunk down. Later she became a health devotee, preaching the benefits of real food. I have taken up her cause—it worked for Grandma, and it worked for me. Give up factory produced food, eat a diet of real, whole, living food, and your body will gradually but effortlessly shrink to its optimal body weight.
(2) Real food doesn’t taste as good as factory produced food. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Real food is so much more delicious, satisfying, sexifying, and fun than that factory food glurk. We all know the power of psychological conditioning. Deciding not to eat factory food products takes determination. You have to abstain long enough to allow your taste buds to reboot so that you can taste real food again—or maybe for the first time in your life.
Your tongue is the home of ten thousand taste buds with receptors that react to different tastes: sour, bitter, salty, savory, sweet, astringent, and umami, a taste identified by the Japanese to define the flavor of amino acids in meat, shellfish, mushrooms, potatoes, and seaweed. Factory food products are adulterated with more than three thousand food additives, preservatives, colored dyes, mineral-stripped salt, aspartame (which is two hundred times as sweet as sugar), heat-and-chemical-processed vegetable oils, and—most deadly of all— MSG and flavorings. Prolonged exposure to these extreme tastes desensitizes taste buds. MSG, for example, is a flavor enhancer, and flavorings are the weird science product of multibillion-dollar chemical research that produces artificial, highly addictive, taste bud–blasting flavors that keep people hooked.
The best way to purge your life of factory food products is to literally throw things away in your kitchen pantry and refrigerator. Start fresh. Purging your life of poisonous garbage and learning how to shop for and prepare real, living food is a process that simply takes dedication and discipline.
(3) You’re embarrassed to exercise. If you are overweight, and especially if you are obese, the idea of going to a yoga or Pilates class or taking a hike may be mortifying. If you’re out of shape, you may be flashing to times you tried to exercise and how they made you feel achy, tired, angry, stupid, and fat. If you value my opinion, and I hope you do by now, please know that everyone has emotional pain in their lives. Most people are inherently compassionate. Many, many, many people have struggled with weight issues. When I see an overweight or obese person exercising I think, “Way to go!” I don’t think a single negative thought. I believe that most people share my view. So please do not let embarrassment stop you.
(4) You’re too stressed out, exhausted and overworked. I get it. I’m releasing two books here in the U.S., and revising them for the Indian market. I just moved across country with my entire life including my dogs. I’m planning a mind, body, spirit documentary to shoot in India in May. I write this column and have a weekly radio show, in addition to trying to get at least one or two videos up on YouTube and my Facebook fan page every week. This list doesn’t include paying bills and general life duties. But even during this transition, I paid attention to my three primary goals: eating real food, meditating, and exercising. Sure, my piano practicing fell by the wayside, but no one is perfect. Even though I ate in restaurants a lot more and bought prepared foods at organic stores, I still ate only real food. I meditate every morning before I do anything else, and I schedule exercise on my calendar. I’ve been doing this for fifteen years. That way, when someone asks me for that time slot, I can legitimately say, “I already have something booked at that time, can we find another time.”
Insomnia is a major stressor. You have to sleep if you want to shrink down to your optimal body weight. I consider myself quite the expert on sleep, as I suffered horrible insomnia after my thyroid crashed fifteen years ago. My journey to optimal health is the theme of Healthy, Sexy, Happy, and addressing insomnia was key for me. Sleep is crucial if you want to maintain a healthy body weight for many reasons, but let’s just look at the hormone aspect. Weight management is confounded by sleep deprivation. If you constantly push past exhaustion, you’re likely to begin to eat more. It may seem that you need more fuel because you’re awake more hours, but in reality, it’s hormones that are dictating your hunger. Two hormones, ghrelin and leptin, work together in a checks and balance way to control hunger and fullness respectively. Ghrelin, which is made in your gut, stimulates appetite. Leptin, which is produced in fat cells, signals your brain to stop eating because your stomach is full. Sleep deprivation drives leptin levels down, confusing satiety. At the same time, ghrelin rises, stimulating your appetite. If you are sleep deprived for long periods of time, it’s likely that you will gain weight, and stay overweight.
(5) Wardrobe. I have a very good friend who is painfully thin. I’m told that I’m honest with my friends and it’s true, I have told her in no uncertain terms that being that thin is not attractive and is definitely not sexy. Recently while visiting her she asked me to help her with her wardrobe. We went through all of her clothes, deciding what to keep and what to toss out. I realized that one reason for her staying so thin is that she’d invested quite a bit of money in clothing. It’s true that a decent wardrobe is expensive, and you may not want to invest in a brand new wardrobe, but let’s be realistic here. You’re going to look so much better if you allow your body to reach its optimal body weight. No designer label looks as good as you will look when you are healthy, sexy, and happy.
Your girlfriend in health,