How To Lose Weight: The No-Bull Guide
Our No-Nonsense Effort to Solve the "Weight Loss" Riddle, Once and for All
"Thirty years of nutritional advice
have left us fatter, sicker, and more poorly nourished.
Which is why we find ourselves in the predicament we do:
in need of a whole new way to think about eating."
- Michael Pollan
article by LiveReal Agent Grace
(Editor's Note: This article complements and overlaps, in some parts, our other inquiry into "Which Diet Is Best?" - although (spoiler alert) this inquiry is more narrowly focused toward losing weight.)
Losing weight seems to have become a national sport.
- a "sport" with most of the fun parts removed, with fewer victories, a higher injury and casualty rate, more confusion about the rules...
We could go on. But it's a huge, big-money national pasttime:
Americans now spend something north of $60 billion dollars every year (again, that's billion with a "b," every year) trying to lose weight (source: Marketdata Enterprises).
There are an estimated 108 million people on diets in the US in 2016, and they typically make four to five "attempts" per year. (ABCNews)
An estimated 45 million Americans diet each year and spend $33 billion annually on weight loss products. Yet, nearly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.
- Boston Medical Center
In 2002, 231 million Europeans attempted some form of diet. Of these only 1% will achieve permanent weight loss.
- Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D.
(We could go on alone these lines also).
It's pretty rough out there.
But despite the grim odds, apparently fixed playing-field, and seemingly paid-off referee, a lot of us very reasonably see losing weight as a goal worth pursuing. And we pursue it.
And it's a rough pursuit.
Some folks pick the first approach they hear about and try that. For others, who try to sort through all the various approaches to try to pick the "best" one, it's a bewildering scene and a message casserole: some say it's all about "diet;" others say diet doesn't matter. Some say "exercise;" others say exercise doesn't help. Some say it's all about calories, carbs, fat, or some specific type or combination of food you eat. Some say it's genetic & is something we have no control over; others say we definitely have control. And so on. We are probably more confused about the basic question of "what to eat?" than anyone else in history.
It's absurd. Eating, being healthy, having a reasonable weight shouldn't be this hard. (And from what we can gather, it wasn't always.)
There's a lot of suffering going on, and frankly, we think a lot of it is unnecessary. Much of it is due to an overload of conflicting information, much of which is either fragmented, discredited, random or inconsequential - but which we hear shouted from rooftops and blown all out of proportion...while valid, reliable, clear and comprehensible approaches sit there quiety, gathering dust, being ignored. Much of what was designed to be part of the solution has become part of the problem. Many approaches that are trying to help are actually making things harder. And in the meantime, those pounds seem to just keep coming on. Or at least not going off.
So we, your trusty LiveReal Agents, decided to plunge in to this madness, and ask the multi-billion-dollar question:
How do you lose weight?
(Editor's Note: For the record: as our usual method, we aren't planning to rest on our laurels with this "answer." The way we work is, even when we find an "answer" that satisfies us, we keep trying to disprove it, and/or find something better. We see our current answer as a "working hypothesis," and if something better comes along, we'll adopt it. But until it does, we're satisfied that what we have is the "best" answer available.
To clarify a few things before we attack the problem. What's the criteria we've used to approach this?
- Effectiveness: Does it work; is it as effective as possible in regards to health & weight
- Time: Is it time-consuming (ideally we want to be able to do something with our lives besides struggling to lose a few pounds)
- Simplicity in Plan: Does it require you to become a nutritionist, biochemist, chef
- Simplicity in Execution: Does it require the attention, energy, and effort of a full-time job, or is it fairly easy/low-maintenance
- Expensive: Does it cost a ton of money, (eg is triple-organic, hand-sifted, pre-gargled coconut water that's been made from the sweat drips of a pregnant virgin Tibetan llama at $40/drop - a daily requirement?) - or is it actually affordable for normal people
- Positive: Does it tell us what to eat, as opposed to only telling us what not to eat
- Willpower Exhaustion: Does it require a constant, relentless amount of exhausting effort to keep up; are you supposed to go around fighting hunger all day, every day
- Health: Is it healthy (we aren't too interested in a diet that helps us lose weight and also kills us, like one in very popular one seems to do...)
- Relations: How does it affect other folks and the rest of the world
- Honesty: We want to make sure we don’t have a hidden agenda, an ax to grind, we aren't secretly making a few extra bucks by promoting our mother-in-law's diet book, etc. (We don't, and aren't. And as of right now, none of our in-laws have written diet books.)
So, what's our answer? With billions of dollars and millions of pounds at stake, we want to know...seriously, honestly, really: how do you lose weight?