How to Lose Weight

Monday, 7 July 2008

[Picture of a burger and fries]A SLIMMING DIET is needed if you want to lose weight. While a little exercise can help at key times during a slimming diet, the main thing is to watch what you eat.

Media Makes You Fat

Dieting is always in the media. It is like the weather; it never goes out of fashion: are fashion models too skinny? are Children are becoming obese earlier? Slimming is big business — which means it is fundamentally capitalist, and that means it depends upon making you want something all the time, and never, ever satisfying that need. The media tells us that dieting makes us fat, while promoting a new diet! The one thing they say that is true is that the answer is a change in lifestyle, but then they spoil it all by telling you to change your lifestyle in a radical way — with different food and drink and exercise regimes!

Today, you are not merely to eat healthily and cook like a TV celebrity chef, but you also have to consider the carbon footprint, choose organic, be fair to third world farmers, watch the pennies, and take into consideration religious dietary requirements on top of your slimming diet demands! (see “Why Consumer Choice is Not Good“). Life is FAR TOO COMPLICATED FOR ALL THIS!

Why Do You Want To Be Thinner?

If you want to be thinner for heath reasons, then do something serious about it – such as the Atkins diet (see below) — or perhaps a professional medical treatment. If it is down to peer pressure or media pressure (see “Why Girls Want to be Stick Thin“), then it might be better for your health (and mental health) to step back and reflect on your body image and esteem.  Maybe you just need better clothes? If you still feel the need to slim down and tone up — perhaps for a beach holiday or wedding — then you will probably not be interested in changing your whole lifestyle, you would probably choose a quick fix… the crash exercise and crash diet method.  Get it sorted, get it done approach.

Why do you Want to Exercise?

My guess is that you probably just want to exercise to speed up weight loss and maybe improve muscle tone.  Cardio-Vascular and Aerobic training will be of no use, but these are by far the most popular things slimmers do! Some people will say that they want to be healthier through exercise, a lot of people would say that they want to be fitter. Hardly any will say they do exercise to increase fun or because they compete in sport or games. That is a shame.

What is Fit?

To set the record straight, fitness means being fit for purpose, which is merely apt, appropriate, sufficient, enough, or plenty. The word was never intended to mean excess, so terms like “very fit” or “super-fit” are silly and meaningless. If you go about your life without too much effort, then you are fit enough for your life and lifestyle.

If, however, you change your lifestyle, and find that you are out of puff or that muscles start aching, then you are clearly not fit for purpose — that said, it won’t take you long to adapt. This is patently and obviously true — take for example a person who moves home, to an apartment on the third floor. Initially, taking the stairs would require effort, but soon it becomes no problem at all. Look around, there is plenty of everyday evidence in support of fitness flux.

Exercise can be bad

The trouble is that many people who wish to lose weight, take up exercise for the duration of the diet. In addition, they pick the wrong exercises — and gain a voracious appetite to weaken their dietary resolve! Some try toning, but end up building muscles (which weighs more than fat). This must be avoided at all costs because exercise builds an expectation in the body, your metabolism will speed up, and disaster will strike as soon as you quit your exercise program — especially when you stop slimming at the same time.

Crash exercising

Crash exercising always ends badly — often in a real crash! You will burn out, you might injure yourself, or you might have to suddenly stop due to ill-health or injury… and that sudden stop is bad news for losing weight and muscle tone.

If you are going to exercise, then you must maintain it (and be able to maintain it) or else it will be counter-productive. By all means get a professional guide, but don’t get carried away and go “for the burn” — just set reasonable and realistic targets for toning and fitness that you can maintain for years to come. Think about playing a team sport rather than taking a step class or joining a gym filled with weird machines. If you think about it, gyms are designed for body building.

Remember that exercise is as bad as crash dieting, and it is exercise more than anything else that leads to a lifetime of yo-yo weight gains and losses.

Vested Interests

The media and the gym clubs sell us exercise equipment and gym memberships. Books have to be sold. The government want us to be less ill and obese. There is a lot of information out there, and it is confusing. But the solution is simpler than you might think: just walk about a bit more — take the stairs now and then, go dancing — do some stretching — and that is more than enough exercise for anyone, even while dieting. Do more at your peril.

Still sceptical? Come on! Be realistic!

Are you really a gym person? Do you like other people’s sweat and germs? Can you honestly afford the time to go? Is that really you, someone you want to be, or someone you think you ought to be?

[Picture of a girl using a machine in a gym club]Do you believe that you can eat what you like and then just work it off in the gym?

Think Again; it takes a great deal of effort and work over quite a long time just to burn off an teenie-tiny chocolate snack. Is that amount of lifestyle change really going to work for you?

Body Fat comes from Food & Drink

If you are overweight, then it is most likely because of your eating and drinking habits. That is the cruel truth unadorned. But that is NOT an accusation, I am not merely saying that it is a fat person’s fault that they are fat.

Eating and Drinking Culture

Look, people eat and drink for myriad reasons, including boredom, bad habit/ unconscious triggered response, loneliness, and sadness, but also to socialise. In other words it is most often a lifestyle topic.

Life pretty much revolves around food and drink if you think about it, from beers with the boys, barbecues, picnics, pizza with the kids, eating with the family, a bottle of bubbly to celebrate, or a stiff drink to commiserate, food and drink are centre-stage.

When people marry, there is a wedding breakfast, and there is always food at a wake. Birthday cakes, romantic dinners, and mamma’s apple pie tell us the bald truth about how important food and drink are to us all.

How Can You Change Your Whole Lifestyle?

The media demands you change this, that you turn away from the honest truth, that you change your lifestyle to some ridiculous ideal, and that is why such regimes are doomed to failure for us (and wealth for the media moguls, gym equipment sellers and health club entrepreneurs). They ask you to give up your life for some toned, slim, healthy lifestyle of fresh fruit and vegetables and hours in the gym or jogging round the park.

Another truth is that it took a while to get fat, so it really ought to take at least as long to get back to slim. So take the long view, and be realistic — forget the gym and the meal drink substitutes.

Slimmed down portions

Small changes go a long way, but if you want bigger changes or if you are impatient, then an ideal time to change your lifestyle is when you are already changing your lifestyle for other reasons. So if you have moved home, started a new job, or if there is a new relationship or situation, then exploit the imposed change to impose new “healthy” changes of your own. By that I mean, fewer beers, smaller portions, more stairs and stuff that you will realistically be able to maintain easily.

Stay True to Who YOU Are

Generally, though, it really is best if you do NOT change your lifestyle. You are you. Stay that way, be yourself. Just start training yourself to do with a little less food. Start leaving a few things on your plate. Educate your stomach slowly.

Do not buy “slimming” foods or foods that claim to be “healthy”. That’s utter nonsense! One thing is merely substituted with another, fat with trans-fatty acids, sugar with chemicals and so forth. Look at the French and Italians — in fact see my post entitled “Why The American Dream is Our Nightmare” of January 2007.

Buy smaller cups and plates, and reduce portions!


Do fad diets work? Yes they do, it’s just that people cannot stick to them — or else they do not really understand them. And they don’t keep you thin.  With franchises and food manufacturers we get an industry that needs you to be on a slimming diet, and this is reinforced by celebrities in magazines and the papers. Exercise regimes and books have to be sold!

Calories and Body Type

Calorie-controlled diets don’t work, of course they don’t, not in the long term. The extent to which they fail very much depends upon your body type (somatotype and female equivalent), they also fail because it is too much of a lifestyle change to add up calories all the time.

Crash diets are great if, when they are over, you manage to maintain things — and that has to mean smaller portions of carbs and fats. The choice is yours to lose weight slowly or quickly. The key to success is to monitor the situation by weighing yourself, keeping an eye on things, and minimising lifestyle changes.

If you have to slim, it is certain that you will have to reduce your carbohydrates (but you must not try to eliminate them; you need them — ketosis is out of the question), and (more importantly, reduce your fat intake and this means a protein rich diet. This is what history teaches us.


Do not confuse slimming with anorexia, or bulimia. Eating disorders are quite different from fad or yo-yo dieting behaviour. Also do not confuse a so-called healthy diet with a slimming diet. Five portions of fruit each day is demanding, expensive, bad for your teeth and stomach, and is very fattening unless you exercise a lot in the gym.

3 Responses to “How to Lose Weight”

  1. Ali Says:

    interesting post. hadnt thought of it like that is good point coz food is family plus freinds equals a life ppl must be realistic tho i do think eveyone must excersize more,,not too loose fat just too live longer!!!

  2. mac Says:

    A Canadian professor of spine biomechanics rails about the dangers of the ubiquitous sit-up …
    So McGill suggests replacing sit-ups with exercises to strengthen the core while not bending the spine: bridges, planks, leg extensions, bird dogs, and “stir the pot.” The bird dog, for instance, simply involves getting on all fours and, while keeping the core muscles tight, extending the opposite arm and leg, then switching limbs. “Stir the pot” is a more complex movement: moving shoulders in a small circle while in a prone push-up position with forearms balanced on an exercise ball.

  3. Dave Says:

    Daily Mail article by Hannah Sutter says that Starchy foods are making us fat (pasta, bread and potatoes).

    “We’re following Government advice on how and what to eat, but that advice is so wrong it is actually making us fatter.

    The endless message of ‘eat less, do more’ has never been proven using proper clinical trials.

    And we’ve only started to get really fat since governments started promoting the current low-fat health messages, back in the early Nineties…

    In fact, a higher-calorie diet that is low in starch has been shown to improve weight loss, mainly because of the impact of insulin on fat storage.

    Most experts agree it’s the hormone insulin which makes the body store fat. Over time, people can start to overproduce insulin, which can lead to insulin resistance and eventually Type 2 diabetes.

    The foods that trigger insulin are primarily starch and sugar”

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