This is going to be the most comprehensive articles you will find
on the subject. I know this because I keep getting articles like it
in my inbox and they all point to just one or two things, and they
try to sell me something related to those things. They are never
Iím going to give you three solid reasons, one orchestrative
reason, one holisitic reason, and one overall controlling reason.
[Yes, I just created a neologism.]
You donít have to take notes, but believe me: there will be a
But first, did you hear about the two women talking, when one
brings up the subject of her new diet?
ďItís terrible. I have to cut out white flour,
white sugar, potatoes and my favorite bread. Then I have to measure
everything. No cold cuts, mainly fish and chicken and steamed
vegetables. I canít have any alcohol and canít use any sugar
substitute other than stevia. And there is no cheating. No eating
after six in the evening. Not even a smoothie before bed.Ē
ďThat sounds horrible. How long have you been on
ďI start tomorrow.Ē
Everyone hates dieting. This is one reason they donít work. And
this isnít even one of the reasons I had planned on telling you. So,
you got a bonus.
#1: It's all about metabolism.
When most people diet, they start cutting back on their calories.
You might want to say, at this point: ďDuh.Ē
Well, if youíd read my book (Rapid Safe Weight Loss), youíd know
thereís a lot more to the process than just cutting calories.
Now consider this. Your body is always trying to maintain
balance, or as we science folk like to call it: homeostasis.
After just a little over one week of cutting calories, your body
realizes the calorie restriction and lowers your metabolism
to burn fewer calories, mainly because your body thinks itís
You see, we all still have the bodies of Hunter/Gatherers. When there
were food shortages, our bodies went into its famine phase, slowing
down our metabolism to keep from burning all our fat stores.
Weíre going to need fat stores to make it thru the famine and
when the famine eventually ends weíre going to need our fat stores
to create the energy needed to get out there and hunt/gather.
So, after just over a week of fewer than normal calories
(even if your normal calories are huge and causing you to gain
weight), levels of
our hormone leptin are dramatically cut our metabolism drops, and
there you have it: your weight loss plateau.
Nobody likes those damn plateaus when weíre dieting!
There are things you can do to counter this
You have to fake out your body with creative cheating, intermittent
fasting, foods that stimulate greater metabolism, and exercises that
kick your fat burning in gear.
Sounds simple, but you need a plan and you need to follow it.
#2: That damn
is secreted by our fat cells. If you are obese, youíre secreting an
awful lot of it and your brain will eventually become resistant to
it. Thus, your brain just doesnít know that you're fat. You look in the
mirror, you see that youíre fat, but your brain wants to be told by
leptin that youíre fat and that you donít need to eat.
This is a terrible, vicious cycle:
You diet. Your leptin levels drop. You stop dieting, your leptin
levels go up and up and up and up till the brain canít sense them
anymore and your body thinks it needs to build fat stores to secrete
leptin and so you start putting on the fat. Ainít that a kick in the
The way to stop this is, again, those same recommendations weíve
just mentioned. You need to tell leptin youíre the boss: You have to
fake out your body with creative cheating, intermittent fasting,
foods that stimulate greater metabolism, and exercises that kick
your fat burning in gear.
#3: Gremlins! (Ghrelin)
Actually, thatís my mnemonic [a little trick to remember
something]. The actual word is: Ghrelin. Itís referred to as the
ďhunger hormone.Ē Ghrelin has a few roles in the body. It controls a
huge portion of your digestion, for one thing. And since it is
produced in your stomach, lap band surgery (or all of these
surgeries that shrink the stomach) have an effect on how much
ghrelin is produced, and the overall effect on your body, because of
these procedures, is to ruin your digestive system and put your
wellbeing in jeopardy. Not a good situation.
Ghrelin levels are reduced during digestion. When they are high,
they signal the brain that youíre hungry and had better eat soon.
Eating puts them to work digesting your food, hence they begin to
Now the bugaboo is this: Studies show that even after a year of a
reduced calorie diet, your ghrelin levels tend to stay high. One
study I found showed ghrelin levels remained high up to 18 months
after people stopped dieting. Our bodies just don't seem to
adapt to calorie restriction, at least as far as ghrelin
is concerned. When you stop dieting, it takes a long time for ghrelin to just settle down and so
you feel hungry all the time.
However, the good news is this: Intense exercise lowers ghrelin
levels. Or if you canít do intense exercises (youíre old like me Ö
or injured like me), just taking a walk after meals will help bring
them down. (And this is why walking after meals is so important!)
#4: You stopped dieting.
That's right. Diets don't work because we stop
them. Say you want to lose 50 pounds. You diet, and diet, and diet,
and finally lose the weight. So you stop.
You have stopped doing what was working and now
you're going to go right back to what wasn't working.
This is why I hate fad diets. Even the best
diets, with tons of peer reviewed studies behind them, like the new
LOW CARB diets eventually fail because you go back to eating carbs
when you are off the diet.
This is why, in our book, Rapid Safe Weight Loss,
we tell you this is not a diet. It's a lifestyle change. Yes, it's
very rigorous for a while when you will experience some great weight
loss, but you continue to use much of what you know after that to
maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Do not get me wrong: I am not saying stress
causes weight gain. There has been only one study (I think out of
Italy) that claimed this and that study has been thoroughly
But stress can be a factor.
Why? We are hunter/gatherers. Our bodies cannot sense any difference
between the stressors in our lives today (car troubles, stupid, mean
bosses, etc) and the stressors in our hunter/gatherer lives (a tiger
chasing us for its dinner).
A ferocious animal breathing down on us or a butt-headed boss
breathing down on us produce the same stress hormones. Dieting or
experiencing a famine both produce the same stress to our bodies,
or, at least, our bodies cannot discern any difference.
Even it seems our governments seem to want us to live in fear. If itís not the
Commies itís the Terrorists.
Why is it so easy to get us to live in fear?
Look around you. Do we have an obesity epidemic? Do you know that
most people who are obese, are obese because they are living in
That is why itís so easy to get us to live in fear: Weíre already
The obese are afraid they will not get their next meal. They fear
an approaching famine. We have food all around us but inside of us
are these fears, and our greatest fear, as hunter/gatherers, is famine. All
our fears are related to famine. And no, this is not rational.
However, thatís one thing about fear is they donít have to be
rational to be real (or at least feel real).
And fears mess with our hormones. Stress will not
put weight on us, our habits do that. Stress keeps us from
losing. When stressed, we store fat.
Iíve discovered a very interesting method of losing weight that
is built upon the premise that diets donít work. Instead of dieting,
you are slowly lifted up into a place of safety where you are not
going to starve and you can give your body permission to be thin.
I know it sounds crazy, but it works. Conquering our fears is a
huge undertaking. Living in the present can do it, but living in the
present is also a huge undertaking.
Here are a few links to programs that can help you:
If itís something that you must start and then stop, then itís
something that will not work in the long run because maintaining
proper health is a full time job. We donít just do it for a while
and then stop.
First of all, if we have fat, we have inflammation. Inflammation
comes from being fat and is also responsible for being fat. (In an
article on metabolic syndrome, we ask the question:
Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?).
How many redundant studies that show that our diets and
lifestyles are killing us have to be conducted before we realize
that our diets and lifestyles are killing us?
We must free our bodies of inflammation. We must get up off our
asses and move: Ask your doctor if getting up off your ass is right
We must eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired, and
If you own a dog, then you know you have a zen master living with
you. Learn from that zen master.
SoÖlearn from my example. The older you get, the slower you work
your way up into an exercise program after your winter hibernation.
After writing that book, I dropped 35 pounds in one month by
following the instructions; the minimum instructions. You can do
your exercises more often than the minimum and you can lift weights
every other day. Itís up to you.
But I did the minimum, lost 35 pounds, and then I decided to work
on the second part of the book (which is not written yet because Iím
too damn busy doing 17 other things) about Maintenance.
Thatís the one thing most diet programs donít have because diets end.
Lifestyle changes never end.
Maintenance is the incorporation of tiny lifestyle changes that
keep you from gaining back that weight you dropped from those larger
lifestyle changes you recently made to lose the excess. And in the
maintenance program you still have the option of going back to the
basics and working off a few more pounds when you are ready ─ or when
you need to, because part of your maintenance program is weighing in
You have to set a limit. If you reach or exceed that limit, you
have to go back on the more rigorous plan and get rid of it so you
can get back to your maintenance.
By maintaining just a few of the rules set forth in my book about
exercise, intermittent fasting, and creative cheating, etc etc
etc, I was able to maintain my weight for two years.
So, now you know why diets donít work.
You also know never to go on a diet. Instead, we incorporate
lifestyle changes; changes that might be a bit radical at first, a
bit extreme, but they are changes that you can, at a minimum,
maintain the rest of your life, just in smaller quantities and for