There is a great scene in the classic TV series, Seinfeld, where Jerry and George are desperately trying to begin work on their television script. The two hem and haw and basically look for any excuse not to begin. After a couple of days with nothing accomplished (except for some big talk about what they intend to do) Jerry stares at the near empty page and in his uniquely Seinfeldian way concludes, “We need something here..."
For many of us, this is exactly what starting a weight loss program is like. We ponder it and proclaim it for months until the day finally comes and we say, “We need something here.”
The something is always the sticking point, isn't it? We know exactly what it is we want: thinner, happier, healthier selves. It’s the how that’s at issue. Yoga, Pilates, Herbalife, Jenny Craig, Slimfast, Atkins, MMA, Zumba, Weight Watchers, Arrggghhh!
We do “need something here”… immediately. Obesity is a killer, true enough, but- perhaps more than any other human affliction- obesity causes countless “mini-deaths.” Guilt, shame, scorn, pity, grief… obesity brings with it the entire spectrum of human suffering. A vehicle is precisely what’s needed, but as anyone who has ever broken down while on a family vacation can tell you, not all vehicles are created equal. The purpose of this article, then, is to give you the tools to evaluate your weight loss vehicle (program) so that you can choose the one which, at long last, will get you to your destination.
1. Is your program a weight loss or a fat loss program?
Weight loss. Fat loss, potato, potahto let’s not call the whole thing off. This is a hugely important distinction and indicative of the tragic oversimplification of this entire subject. The definition of weight is ”the gravitational force exerted by an object on another object” – in this case the earth. The significance of this for our purposes is pretty much who cares? We want to be lean, that is, without extra fat hanging from places where it has no business. Nobody dreams of walking on a beach and hearing, “Wow, he/she is exerting significantly less gravitational force upon the sand than last summer.” Not when we can hear, “Wow, what a hottie!”
Lean tissue (muscle) weighs three times as much as fat. It is also metabolically active (which means it burns calories at rest), healthier, and way sexier. A program which does not distinguish between weight loss and fat loss will likely result in a greater proportional loss of muscle and water weight. This will have a negative effect on your metabolism, energy level and long term success.
Hint: If your program is not tracking body fat %, lean muscle mass, and water levels, it is likely not a fat loss program.
2. Does your program involve cleansing and detoxification of the cells?
It is no exaggeration to say that, in the modern industrialized world, we are under a constant chemical assault. There are over 82,000 chemicals registered with the federal government. They are in the air we breathe, the food we eat, household cleaning products, skin care products, etc. The average American has 700 hundred toxic metals and chemical residues stored in his/her body. The body quarantines these toxins in fat as they will do much less harm there than they would if released into the blood stream. So, in the presence of toxins, our bodies are incentivized to hold on to fat!
3) Does your program address hormone imbalance?
And if that wasn’t bad enough, there is a special class of chemicals which can wreak havoc on all of our bodily systems and hurl us straight into the gnashing teeth of obesity. They are called hormone (or endocrine) disruptors and they do precisely as their name suggests… they mess with our hormones.
Hormones are the chemical messengers that, along with the nervous system, pretty much run the body-and this definitely includes fat loss. Fat loss is, first and foremost, a hormonal event. A program that does not include balancing hormones as one of its' main goals may actually ignore the main mechanism of fat burning and encourage the ingestion of foods (and other products) laden with hormone disruptors!
4) Does your program make you healthier?
If we were designing the IWLP (Ideal Weight Loss Program), most of us would agree that weight (fat) loss would be a function of actually getting healthier overall. This should be a given, but it is not. It is entirely possible to, “rob Peter to pay Paul," to be so myopically focused on weight loss that we sacrifice health in the process. Think of all of the desperate things human beings have done to drop a few pounds: dangerous amphetamines, liposuction, lap bands, “binging and purging”, injections, and so on and so on. None of these have normalizing, rebalancing and revitalizing of the body as their main methodologies, but is that really too much to ask?
All things being equal, energy out exceeding energy in equals weight loss. However, "all things" are no longer equal, economic and environmental factors have made sure of that. The ideal weight loss plan (IWLP) would address all of the highly individualized causes of excess body fat and do it in such a way as to make your body healthier and your mind sharper. Surely, this is the something we all need here.
Dr. David Rendelstein offers an all-natural, fully customized scientific approach to fat burning, weight loss and improved health, with offices in Cranford, Marlboro and Toms River. For more information, please call 908.325.5192.
This article appears in the March issue of Natural Awakenings Magazine Monmouth/Ocean edition. Click here to subscribe.