Monday, August 22, 2011

Losing Weight is Easy!

When I switched from healthy eating to a nutritarian lifestyle earlier this year, the pounds around my waist just vanished with almost no effort of my own! In 3 months I lost the 30 extra pounds I had carried for 10 years. It wasn't magic. There is a scientific basis for this loss. (Thanks to Healthy Girl's Kitchen blogspot for pointing out the work of Dr. Douglas Lisle to explain it.)

While eating all I could stuff in my mouth, I was still cutting calories, and getting full, yet not overeating. How does this work?

First let's look at calories. Typical American foods, meat, breads and starchy vegetables (i.e. potatoes), register at 1200 calories per pound, 1000 calories per pound and 500 calories per pound respectively. So an 8 oz steak, 2 slices of bread and a baked potato (with butter and sour cream of course), bring the tally to around 1500 calories just for ONE MEAL! And that doesn't count dessert or soft drinks with the meal. Is it any wonder Americans just keep getting fatter and the popular solution is to "cut back."

On the other hand, raw vegetables average 100 calories per pound; cooked vegetables, 200 calories per pound; fruits, 300 calories per pound, and grains 500 calories per pound. Bet you can't get a whole pound of salad down the hatch at one sitting! Yes, stuff yourself every meal, and you'll still lose weight - and be nutritionally richer for all the enzymes, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients you're getting.

But calories is only half of the story. The other half is volume. Take the following food pairs that are roughly equivalent in calories:
  • 1 pint of ice cream versus 5 pounds of cooked carrots
  • 1/4 of a pizza or 2 pounds of cooked broccoli
  • 4 oz. of chocolate or 3 baked potatoes
It's easy to put away a small volume of food that is "calorie-dense" and not feel full because the stretch receptors in the stomach have not been affected. But try to put away a large volume of plant food with the same caloric content, and you will stop long before you clear the plate because no one's stomach can hold that much!

The bottom line is that we are used to eating "ultra" foods, like concentrated detergents - a lot of power in a little amount. Losing weight, then, isn't about sacrificing portions so much as it's about overturning the food pyramid. Eat your vegetables first! Get full on them. When you have eaten all the produce and legumes required by the Fuhrman food pyramid*, there won't be room for steak!

To your health and happiness,

*See "What is Nutritarian?" tab

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