You’ve been led to believe that weight loss is a totally straightforward affair. “Minimise your calorie consumption”, people tell you. “And, exert yourself more. Work out harder. Make sure to burn off more calories than you take in.”
Great – but what if you’ve been trying to do that, and it hasn’t been effective at all?
If you’ve been trying to follow the standard advice and getting nowhere, it’s because that’s a completely oversimplified view of the situation. It ignores some of the most important factors governing how human metabolism really works. Let’s take a look at 3 astonishing things no one ever told you about weight loss.
1. Plastics May Be Making You Fat
Plastics? What on earth could plastics possibly have to do with your weight?
As it turns out, they play a more important role than you’d think.
There’s a relatively new buzzword you need to know about: “obesogens”. Obesogens are chemical substances that can disrupt your metabolic system. The end result of the disruption: You gain weight — probably lots of it.
Substances found in plastics are some of the most ubiquitous obesogens, but they are not by any means the only obesogens out there. Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates are two of the most notorious obesogens commonly found in plastics.
Obesogens can be present in food packaging, and it is possible for these chemicals to transfer from the packaging into your food. That’s one possible way you might be ingesting them. For example, BPA is often present in can liners.
There are multiple, complex ways that obesogens can interfere with the way your metabolic hormones function. Your metabolic hormones can help to govern your cravings for food and feelings of hunger. Your metabolic hormones also work at communicating with your brain to signal how much energy your body has stored, and whether your body is in current danger of starving. Obesogens can interfere with your body’s perception of how much energy you have stored, and how much energy it needs to conserve to prevent your starvation.
If you’ve had problems with burning off excess weight, despite fervent efforts to diet and exercise, it is quite likely that obesogens have been interfering with your normal metabolic processes – perhaps signaling your brain to conserve energy as a misguided and erroneous precaution to guard against starvation.
So what can you do to fix that situation?
For starters, you can limit your contact with obesogens to the greatest extent possible. They are hard to completely evade, but you can certainly take action to reduce your exposure to them. Here are a few of the easiest steps you can take to get started:
- Avoid drinking from plastic cups, plastic water bottles or plastic anything. Instead, get yourself a glass water bottle or stainless steel canteen to drink from.
- Do not ever microwave your food in plastic containers.
- Put your food in glass storage containers instead of plastic.
- Shop for fresh edibles at the farmer’s market rather than buying grocery store foods packaged in plastic. Or, if you have the resources, grow your own food.
- Avoid eating tinned foods, even if the cans claim to be BPA free (because nobody has yet proven that the commercially available alternatives to BPA are any better than BPA is).
Be aware, also, that obesogens are present in non-stick cookware. Getting new cookware free of non-stick coatings is another simple step you can take to avoid obesogens. Look at options such as ceramic cookware for baking and some stovetop use. Glass is a multi-purpose option that’s good for both storage and baking. Cast iron and top-quality stainless steel cookware are other options for safer stovetop cooking.
The good news: None of these steps involve dieting or giving up the foods you enjoy. Yes, they require some basic lifestyle changes – but overall, don’t you think these changes will be easier than dieting?
2. Counting Calories Doesn’t Work
In Australia, the government requires food packages to specify the total amount of kilojoules, or calories, you’d be expected to get from consuming the food in the package. This oversimplified view of energy could lead you to make wrong assumptions.
Let’s look at an example. Maple syrup and high fructose corn syrup have similar calorie counts. Maple syrup has 52 calories per tablespoon. High fructose corn syrup has 53 calories per tablespoon. The similar calorie counts might lead you to believe that these two sweeteners are more or less interchangeable — but that is totally untrue. Your body metabolises these two sugars in dramatically different ways.
Researchers from Princeton University in the United States warn us that the body is likely to transform high fructose corn syrup directly into excess body fat. In contrast, maple syrup offers your body a variety of healthful nutrients including polyphenol antioxidants, zinc, manganese, potassium and calcium. (This is only true of real maple syrup, not the artificial stuff – which, ironically, is quite likely to contain high fructose corn syrup.)
Clearly, your body processes these two sweeteners quite differently, despite the similar kilojoule counts.
Main Takeaway: Don’t bother counting calories. Instead, make a conscious effort to consume foods that will provide your body with the nutrients you need for peak health – and foods that will power your body efficiently. Simple calorie counts don’t really give you any indication of this.
3. You Cannot Buy One Easy, Magic Solution for Weight Loss
You’ve probably heard zillions of different marketers clamouring, “This one thing is THE SOLUTION to dramatic weight loss!” People tout all kinds of supplements and even surgical procedures like liposuction as being the magic bullets for losing weight. It is true that those things might provide a small amount of help with your weight loss journey. However, no single supplement or surgical procedure is likely to make a huge difference on its own.
The truth is, if you want to lose weight, you are going to have to make multiple lifestyle changes that go well beyond the usual advice to take this or that supplement, curb your eating or increase the intensity of your workouts. Healthy weight loss requires a multi-faceted approach. One of the best things you can do for your health: make an effort to understand how your metabolism truly works, so you can work with it rather than against it as you attempt to lose weight.
I hope this information has given you a clearer understanding of why your weight loss efforts might have been less than effective in the past. Best wishes with using this information to achieve the weight reduction you desire.