As a physician who has successfully helped 50 patients lose a total of 2000 pounds, or an average of 40 pounds each, in a 5 month period, I can tell you that these myths only get in the way of healthy and safe rapid weight loss. And NO! These patients did NOT have gastric bypasses or lap bands! They used their bodies' natural weight loss tactics to succeed.
Let's talk body basics. We eat to stay alive. When we eat extra it becomes fat. When we don't eat enough to sustain ourselves, the fat is burned off to use up what we've stored. It's that simple. All mammals have this ability. Fat allows our body to have sugar and nutrients to stay alive and disappears when we don't have enough going in our mouths.
However there are all these little nuances to that simplicity that are used to confuse you and help perpetuate these myths to losing weight.
1. "Losing more than 1-2 pounds a week is unsafe."
I have safely guided my patients through a 1-pound-a-day weight loss through low-calorie diets. It works and it is safe and was how we were genetically designed to use fat. I sometimes think the people who use this first myth are justifying people staying on their diets or regimens longer. It sells gym memberships and sells monthly weight-loss programs that cost 50-1000 dollars a month. If it's normal to just lose 1 pound a week, you can keep someone who needs to lose 80 pounds on that diet for 80 weeks! That's a good amount of cash! If you look to the Mayo Clinic website there are multiple articles explaining against losing more than 1-2 pounds per week, however you see that they discuss rapid, doctor-assisted weight loss for the most unhealthy patients. Why do we do that for them but not healthier patients? I have made no distinction and the results have been great. But yes, these patients lose weight with the guidance of a physician so that I can ensure there are no problems during the weight loss.
With my weight loss programs that I have given my patients, they can lose 30 pounds in 30 days, 80 pounds in 80 days, 150 pounds in 150 days, and so on. I just had a patient come in today who lost 50 pounds in 50 days, came off 3 medicines for blood pressure, who looks and feels great. Her blood pressure is 100/80 now when it was 150/90 when we started. Are you telling me a slower weight loss would be better for her so she could have high blood pressure even a day longer? I don't think so. She's healthier and safer in a rapid amount of time with my hypnosis and rapid weight loss techniques that I will explain later in an upcoming article.
2. "Don't skip breakfast. It's unhealthy in a diet and you won't lose as much weight!"
Eating breakfast keeps your metabolism in line so you burn more calories through the day. This is true when you are at a steady weight. However, when it comes to losing weight, eating breakfast is not an accelerator of weight loss. The calories going in still need to go somewhere. Yes, you definitely get more obese in the long term if you skip breakfast, then eat normal amounts of food for lunch and dinner afterward. A person who skips breakfast puts their body in starvation mode so that any excess food that you eat later in the day instantly becomes fat as the body scrambles to keep any sugar available in the body after being told it's starving when breakfast is skipped.
However, if you skip breakfast, and then take in small amounts of food for lunch and dinner, (lower amounts of calories than is needed for a full day), you WILL BURN FAT to make up for energy that you don't have coming in from food. So skipping breakfast, during a lower calorie intake period, allows you to burn excess fat. It's the way God designed us. When we were hunter-gatherers and we roamed the earth for the next food supply as nomads, there would be times where the winter would come in and the food supply would drop, or there would be times of famine where there just wasn't a food supply. God was smart enough to design us with a source of sugar during these times of need for food. All mammals have this food storage system called fat. When you see those commercials asking to aid children starving in other countries, those children are relying on these fat stores to survive their lack of adequate nutrients.
Well here is how this system got bastardized. After we went through the ice age and became agrarian in our economy, an abundant food supply existed. We didn't starve anymore, and we don't starve anymore because right now we have plenty of farms and excess food stores to supply us with nourishment. The supermarkets have been bigger and supersized as has our readily available fast food. It's funny we call it fast food because although it is fast due to the rapid service, this is the very food that prevents us from fasting anymore since it is readily available. In fact we overindulge and never starve, and that leaves us with huge food stores in our body through obesity.
Add to that that we have, over the last 15 years, added huge amounts of sugars to our food as fillers and as fat replacements to add flavor. So not only do we not starve anymore in the middle-class western hemisphere, we also give ourselves more food than we need and thus we are more obese than ever. (Don't get me started on our first ever epidemic of obese 6-month-olds because of recent additions of fructose to formula).
So we don't starve anymore but we have a plentiful harvest every time we walk into a supermarket. Since people don't starve, we have no chance at using our natural human system for sugar storage and release: Fat burning through Calorie deprivation.
That's where Gastric bypass, mouth wiring, lap band procedures come in. Instead of having famines or food shortages or winter times to naturally allow us to lose weight as we were designed, we use artificial surgeries to force our unhealthiest members of the population, the severely obese, to lose weight the way Nature had intended. Forced calorie droughts through surgical means work but have high-level surgical risks for these unhealthy patients. Through my experience with my own patients and those of my colleagues, I've seen our patients die after these procedures from sepsis (Body infections), Heart conditions, complications of the surgery itself and anesthesia, malnourishment, iron deficiency anemia, vitamin deficiency, and depression-induced suicides. I even had one patient die from bulimia after the procedure. Not everyone gets the psychological support they need nor do they get the guidance of what to expect once they lose the weight.
Also there has been a phenomenon of displeasure and poor satisfaction with the results after they have lost weight. When I say satisfaction, I am talking about life satisfaction. Many people lose weight through surgery only to find that the tremendous changes they have been told would happen in their lives don't happen. Guys who lost weight aren't suddenly dating models, Women aren't suddenly happy to have smaller dress sizes. There isn't a sudden acceptance into social circles after this rapid weight loss change. This leads to a feeling of defeat.
4. "Medicines and supplements can enhance your weight loss!"
Some people use medications and miracle supplements to allow them to not notice hunger but eat less. I get asked at least 50 times a month by patients and friends to give them phentermine. Nobody I know who has used phentermine has had a sustained weight loss, they haven't lost large amounts of weight, and the risks of the medication are great for people who already have enlarged hearts or elevated blood pressures. You aren't supposed to take it with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, glaucoma, or any heart conditions, conditions that many obese people already have. The medication can make you restless, nervous, dry of the mouth, and induce insomnia. But people are so desperate to lose weight they keep looking for artificial means of weight loss.
Worst of all, I've had a few patients in recent years come to me to find that their use of that medicine with Fenfluramine in the past has led to Heart valve problems and a lifelong cardiac condition. If you want to continue to believe in medicines and supplements as weight loss miracles, you should plan on giving up large amounts of money for minimal weight loss. There are some supplements and medicines that enhance your weight loss such as orlistat and phentermine itself. But to truly keep the results, you need to make changes that are sustainable. With the methods I use, the results are sustainable and ongoing and are real life methods... ones that the patient can understand without having to do point calculations and higher math nor do they have to buy foods processed and packaged by someone else. You can use whatever food you like. My next blog will explain how.
3. "French diets are tiny! This restaurant is gyping me!"
Now let's look at food amounts and how people joke about the small amounts of food the French serve in their restaurants. If you look at pictures of people from the USA before 1960, you will see we were a lean nation then. People's plates were smaller, we ate less food, and we were in trim shape for the most part. Look at your grandparents pictures and those of your great grandparents -- a picture is worth 1000 words. People ate leaner and survived at a thinner weight. Compare a restaurant plate then to one now that you can get from Atlantic City or Las Vegas Buffets. Those plates are HUGE.
In these days of supersizing, buffets, and large dinner plates, the mindset is quite different. We expect a full plate these days, and we expect second helpings of what we like. We like sugary drinks. And as a whole, the population back then wasn't as far off from what we do now in the realms of exercise and training. Sure, we have highly developed cross training and intense burning and core body exercises now, but isn't it funny how not many of these new regimens are different from the past (Kettle bells are back in vogue for training? Lifting tires?). The only difference is our perceived eating needs have changed to explain the lean bodies of our grandparents to our own. Do you see fat skeletons of cavemen and women in the museums?
France has not strayed very far from it's previous eating patterns. In fact in American Movies and commercials we are constantly making fun of the small portion sizes in the French diet. However what they are eating in portion is actually in line with what truly is needed. Just Google "world obesity rankings" and you'll see where US and France currently stand. You'll see USA at a 30% obesity rate (3 out of 10 Americans is obese) versus France at Number 23 on the list with a 9.4% obesity rate (Just less than 1 out of 10). The closest country to the USA, Mexico, is at 24%, so we are WAY over the rest ofic the world in the USA.
So these days, most of the population have a skewed view of proper food amounts in our diet, we have a food supply full of sugars and high fructose corn syrup, and we go back for seconds and clean our plates. Add to that the vast amounts of food we offer for celebrations. The last wedding I went to for 200 people there were 5 large tables of all-you-can-eat food and all-you-can-drink free alcohol. Way over the handfuls of food we should be eating. Christmas time is always a gutbuster, and Easter and Halloween are candy-based foods. Gluttony is en vogue these days. The USA has been battered by constant commercials about food and eating to make a normal portion size that of a super big burger and large sized fries and large sugary soda. We have learned to eat until full rather than to eat when satisfied. The handfuls of food in the french diet is normal and not wasteful! We no longer have to be brainwashed to eat until full. We haven't been listening to our bodies to stop eating when we are satisfied. (This is one of the subconscious commands I give my hypnosis clients to help them lose weight). Eat when hungry, stop when satisfied. Avoid being full as that is the signal from the body that you went too far.
All these myths I've mentioned above prevent appropriate weight maintenance and rapid weight loss. They are just a few of the myths that make naysayers say while the doers lose weight with me. In Neurolinguistic programming and Hypnosis we talk about "Frames": Those reference points people use to view the world. The most basic frame is optimist vs pessimist -- do you see the glass as half empty or half full? People who see the glass half full are the ones who see most things in their lives as positive, those who see it as half empty have a pessimistic tone to the things that happen in their lives. If you believe in these myths, you are already framed to not accept the paradigms and information I am about to present to you in the next blog. These beliefs have clouded doctors and their patients for years as to what is right and wrong about weight loss. When we reframe these thoughts from generally accepted truths to myths and barriers to our success in weight loss, we have freed ourselves to accept that it is safe to lose a pound a day using our natural mechanism for food intake reduction.
In my next blog I will discuss my friend Dr. Alwin Lewis's discovery on dieting and rapid weight loss, and how it has helped transform the lives of many of my patients into successful rapid weight loss and hypnosis clients without pills or surgery... see me at http://www.rapidweightlosshypnosis.com
Arthur E. Apolinario, M.D., M.P.H.
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