The Importance of the Bird’s-Eye View
Life gets easier when we have the proper perspective. A wise person has the ability to see the bigger picture. Getting the proper perspective on health and weight loss is tremendously difficult in the United States. We are constantly bombarded with sales messages that urge us to seek the quick fix. Have you noticed how many pharmaceutical ads pass through your eyes during your favorite TV show? These drug ads are high on emotion and low on facts and convince us that managing your health and weight is complicated. This is called the “illusion of complexity.” The ads convince us that the simple “solution” is to take the drug they are selling. The constant drumbeat leads many of us to believe that drugs are the best answer to health problems. Here is the reality: 70 percent of our most common causes of morbidity and mortality (heart disease, diabetes, and many cancers) are directly caused by our own lifestyle choices. Of the remaining 30 percent of our most common causes of morbidity and mortality, a full 25 percent can be attributed to the treatment for the initial 70 percent. In other words, we are killing ourselves with our own poor lifestyle choices and then making our health even worse with “quick fix” drug and surgical treatments instead of simply making better choices. For more information see this study. The proper perspective in health care requires stepping outside the box to take a bird’s-eye view. We can see that the quick fix (a pill for every ill) isn’t working. We have to take responsibility for our own health which requires the wisdom to make better lifestyle choices sustained over time. Slow and steady wins the race. Having this proper perspective makes weight loss much easier as well.
Nowhere is the illusion of complexity more alive and well than in marketing to people who are desperate to lose weight. High carb, low carb, fat is bad, fat is good, high protein, vegan. How is the average person supposed to know which message is the right one? Here’s the answer: understand once and for all that weight loss is very simple and it’s only companies that want to sell you products that make it seem complicated so that you will “need” their solution.
Occam’s Razor Applied to Weight Loss
Weight Loss can be boiled down to one simple equation: calories in-calories out. Your body needs a certain amount of calories each day to maintain your weight. If you eat more than the required amount, you will gain weight, and if you eat less you will lose weight. Your current weight is a result of your average calorie balance. That’s it.
I have many patients that struggle with losing weight and they have tried all kinds of complicated “diets” and ultra-intense workouts. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they fail. They have the wrong perspective. They are a ball of fire for a few weeks and see some results, but then give up because the diet and the routine are simply unsustainable. Giving up often leads to guilt and more weight gain.
The Bird’s View Applied to Weight Loss
In all of our goals for health and weight loss we must remember our hunter-gatherer genetic heritage to find real long term solutions. The answer is always caveman simple.
Action Steps to Achieving a Healthy Weight:
1. Eat real foods that could have been found 10,000 years ago. Focus on vegetables, lean meat, and fruit. This is called the Paleo diet. It is very hard to over-eat these foods. They fill you up but provide low caloric density, therefores, your calorie intake will be lower.
2. Move your body every day. It’s a genetic requirement and it keeps your joints healthy as well. For more information on the importance of joint motion, read the Chiropractic section at www.spauldingchiropractic.com. Moving your body every day increases your calories out and promotes weight loss. We want this daily movement to be sustainable, so make it something you enjoy and that isn’t too hard on you. Walking, biking, and your favorite sport are great choices. If you desire a more muscular physique (which will also help with your favorite sport) try some general weight lifting or CrossFit.
3. Use Intermittent Fasting (IF) for up to 16 hours a day. For a review and more information on IF, click here.
4. If you are going to eat any junk food, apply the fresh fiber first rule. Eat a piece of fruit or a vegetable before you eat the junk food. This will fill you up somewhat and you will take in fewer calories over time.
All of these steps are very simple ways to reduce calories or to increase the calorie output of your body. Dropping your daily calorie intake and increasing your daily calorie output leads to weight loss. Use these simple steps to succeed over time. Aim to lose one to two pounds per week. Remember, this is not a “weight loss diet”, per se, but rather a way of eating in accordance with our genetic requirements. It is easy to sustain and promotes health and a healthy weight.
Improving health and losing weight requires the proper perspective. Be aware of the illusion of complexity and understand that health and weight loss are relatively simple. These steps are used by this Fairbanks Chiropractor and they will work for you as well.