Weight Loss By the Numbers: Constant Vigilance

OK. Some may have been following my weekly weigh-in. I have since stopped going to weight watchers, but I am now following a healthy eating program with some of the elements from the program.

I read this article, which may shed some light on the issue of Obesity in America.

A Conversation With Carson Chow
A Mathematical Challenge to Obesity, New York Times

Huge variations in your daily food intake will not cause variations in weight, as long as your average food intake over a year is about the same. This is because a person’s body will respond slowly to the food intake.

So if this true, the real idea is not freaking out about daily food intake, but averaging it out over time. This means changing habits more then a daily counter, which I had a problem with on Weight Watchers.

Hidden foods like trips to the vending machine or high calorie coffee drinks add up with the accounting being tallied at the end of the year.

The real problem is that once we lose the weight, we want to go back to eating about how we normally ate, but it takes time to adjust to the new way of eating. This is why most, like myself gain even after losing.

Did you ever solve the question posed to you when you were first hired — what caused the obesity epidemic?

We think so. And it’s something very simple, very obvious, something that few want to hear: The epidemic was caused by the overproduction of food in the United States.

If you are on a weight loss program is seems obvious that there is a lot of food out there that should be avoided or eaten moderation at best. These are the high point packaged/fast foods on Weight Watcher for example. Veggies and Fruit by contracts score NO POINTS on the new Weight Watchers program if that give you an idea.

Beginning in the 1970s, there was a change in national agricultural policy. Instead of the government paying farmers not to engage in full production, as was the practice, they were encouraged to grow as much food as they could. At the same time, technological changes and the “green revolution” made our farms much more productive. The price of food plummeted, while the number of calories available to the average American grew by about 1,000 a day.

Well, what do people do when there is extra food around? They eat it! This, of course, is a tremendously controversial idea. However, the model shows that increase in food more than explains the increase in weight.

Those extra 1000 calories are out there. There is a vending machine in every building on my college campus and during holidays the break rooms and even classrooms usually have free candy for the taking. And every college club does bake sale fund raisers and visiting groups who table in the student center offers free candy.

So it is just me? I am not offered a drink, a cigarette or drugs, but free or cheap baked goods and candy are every where. I can try to avoid eating it, but I cannot avoid it. With that said, billions are spent trying to tempt me to lower my and the rest of our resolve.

You said earlier that nobody wants to hear your message. Why?

I think the food industry doesn’t want to know it. And ordinary people don’t particularly want to hear this, either. It’s so easy for someone to go out and eat 6,000 calories a day. There’s no magic bullet on this. You simply have to cut calories and be vigilant for the rest of your life.

The message is The “Lose 30 pounds in 30 years program.” (smiles) It reminds me of the Harry Potter character Mad Eye Moody’s tag line “Constant Vigilance!

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