Did you know that the American public spends an average of $35 Billion dollars per year on a certain item that is doomed to failure from the beginning and not one congressman or senator is calling for an investigation to look into it? What is this item? A new stealth bomber? Six thousand dollar toilet for a missile frigate? No, not even close. How about welfare or farm subsidies? You’re not even warm. The answer is much simpler than you might think: Weight Loss.
It is widely estimated that we spend approximately $35 billion per year on weight loss programs, products, and potions and you know what? They don’t work! It is not even that they don’t work, They can’t work! The typical weight loss program that you pick up at the checkout aisle of your local grocery store or a commercial weight loss center goes against human physiology and the way our bodies are designed to work. They are in a sense physiologically incorrect.
What am I talking about? Let me explain, the typical weight loss program is based on a steady caloric reduction which enables the body to lose weight. Sounds good so far right? The problem is that no one ever bothered telling us what we were actually losing. Fat? Not entirely, when you decrease your caloric intake to or below your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), daily caloric requirement needed to maintain lean mass while only conducting involuntary activity (heart beating, lungs breathing, etc..), your body has to get by on less energy yet still do the same amount of work. It becomes, even more, counterproductive when “voluntary activity”(exercise) is added yet caloric intake is still at BMR. When forced into this situation the body simply begins to “lighten the load.” This means the body perceives that it is about to go into a state of caloric (energy) deprivation which prompts the body to begin rid itself of whatever material that most consumes calories. This material just so happens to be our lean muscle.
So what is weight loss then? Well, it is actually a combination of lean muscle and fat loss, not just fat loss as most people believe. Still doesn’t sound that bad? Let’s take this a step further then. When you begin to reduce your lean muscle mass, you are also damaging your metabolic rate(i.e., metabolism). Our body’s ability to burn up or use calories for energy is directly dependant upon the amount of lean mass we have. What most people do not realize is that our lean mass is actually our calorie burning machinery. Calories, specifically fat, are burned in our muscle: Lower it and you lower your ability to burn calories! What we have done at this point is we have lowered the number of calories we can now consume/burn on a daily basis. This means if we consume any excess calories above our daily BMR needs, we are very likely going to store the surplus as fat. When this happens it then becomes necessary to live off of 1,000 calories or less for the rest of our lives if we wish to keep our weight down due to the muscle loss. Just ask Oprah about her “Opti-fast Diet” experience.
It has been calculated that up until the 1940-50s the average American woman took in 3,000 to 5,000 calories per day. Today the average American woman takes in less than 1,500 calories per day and is on some type of weight loss program. Today one out of every three people in the United States is considered obese. In the 1970’s one out of every four people was. As we become a society more and more dependant upon appetite suppressants and commercial weight loss centers, we have also become largely a more unhealthy society due to incorrect dieting practices. Only when a person has embarked on a program that includes identifying the proper amount of daily food intake (based on body statistics and goals), the proper amount of aerobic (fat burning) exercise, the appropriate amount of diet augmentation (food supplements), and the proper amount of resistance training needed will they be able to truly alter their body’s appearance and maintain that appearance. Until then, do your best to avoid those good marketing/bad science weight loss programs in your checkout aisle.