Weight control holds the key to longevity. You do not find overweight centenarians, do you? So, to live long, you need to lose weight, at least control it.
This week marked a milestone in the pharmaceutical industry: the launching of the first FDA-approved over-the-counter weight-loss drug – ALLI. It has already created a sensation in the media: a multi-million advertising campaign for a multi-billion drug for millions of consumers craving for a miracle drug that would stave off their craving for food.
This sensation created by ALLI goes to show how desperate consumers are in their search for the holy grail of a weight-loss drug. With the blessing from the FDA, many consumers seem to have the illusion that they can now continue their binge without adding weight – something akin to "no pain and no gain."
ALLI is no magic bullet. "This is not a pill, it's a plan," says Pat Barid, a registered dietitian and consultant for the drug manufacturer. Similarly, the drug is efficacious in guiding and preparing you to lose weight gradually by eating smaller portions, following a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet, and becoming more physically active. If that is the scenario, then why do you need to take the drug? A drug is still a drug, which is a chemical – you do not take it unless you absolutely have to.
Ah, but you want to lose weight – and you want to eat to your heart content too !. In other words, you want to eat your cake and have it too. You can do that at the expense of gaining unwanted weight. It is not only a dilemma but also a frustration.
Focusing on losing weight is like running after a red herring – it is frustrating and futile.
The bathroom scale just indicates your body weight, and that is all. It does not tell you how much fat or muscle you may have lost during a given diet. It may not even tell if you are healthy or not, unless you are grossly overweight. Therefore, do not become obsessed with your weight. After all, your body weight always fluctuates – which is a fact, and which is very normal.
When you go on any diet, your body's metabolism immediately starts to react and to slow down, and that accounts for the initial weight loss in any diet program – so do not be overjoyed and jump to the conclusion that it works. It is only a self-delusion: initially your body loses only water, not your body fat.
Given that lean muscle mass requires calories at times of rest, the amount of muscle you maintain directly affects your metabolism in a positive way. You burn calories while you sleep. In other words, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism rate is, and the more calories you will burn. The converse is also true: as you lose your muscle mass, your metabolism rate decreases, and so does your weight-loss rate. That explains why you would stop losing weight after have been on any weight-loss program. On the other hand, fat, being inert, has little or no effect whatever on your body's rate of metabolism. These are the fundamentals for better understanding of how weight loss occurs.
The maximum amount of weight (fat or muscle) you can actually lose in one day is about one half pound. Since your body is about 60 percent water and one gallon of water weighs approximately eight pounds, any additional weight loss greater than one half pound may only be water, and not your body fat. Therefore, when your body replaces the water lost, weight gain will re-occur, and you are right back to where you started at an unhealthy weight. Does that sound familiar to you?
Consider this: 3,500 calories equal one pound of your body weight.
Do your math: To lose 10 pounds, you have to expend 35,000 more calories than you consume; and to lose 10 pounds in two weeks, you need to burn 2,500 more calories a day. You know very well that it is not a piece of cake! That explains why you forever can not lose your weight, not to mention controlling it. So forget about weight loss!
Losing weight is forever "impossible" to many individuals because they have become obsessed with numbers. They are forever playing the losing game of numbers. They have to count their calories, their carbohydrates, and their proteins, among others. Profit-making diet plans allure them with numbers, both "hard" and "soft" data, to the land of myths and fallacies, where they end up only in frustration and disappointment.
Remember this simple factor: Weight loss occurs only when the calories you consume are less than the calories you use up. This is the most important factor in weight loss, also one most difficult to achieve. Trying to circumvent it with state of the art is nothing short of impossibility. That is why most weight-loss plans are always about counting calories: giving you a calorie chart, calculating your daily total calorie need, and then instructing you to eat less than that, hoping against hope that your weight will drop dramatically.
So how to lose weight without drugs? Read Part Two of this article.