Maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the most effective ways to ward off disease and premature death. Carrying around just ten extra pounds of body fat increases your risk of diabetes, cancer, and all-cause mortality. And though diet plans are a dime a dozen, effective tools for long-term weight loss are hard to come by, but I hope to show you that you CAN develop weight loss willpower that will last a lifetime.
Why is it so hard to lose weight and keep it off? In particular, how can we be so completely committed to a diet plan one minute only to be bamboozled by the next pizza slice or double-decker chocolate cake we come across? Well, as usual there's no single simple answer to this question, but here are some ideas. First of all, when we were traipsing desperately across the African savannah tens of thousands of years ago, our brains had to come up with a way to motivate us to survive and procreate. In order to survive, we had to eat, but food back then was difficult (sometimes dangerous) to come by, so our brains had to make us want it bad. Enter dopamine and taste sensation-without them, eating would be boring, at best.
Today, though we continue to operate with that same primitive brain-the one that says, "Eat high-calorie food whenever it's available!" - we live in the modern world, where, for better or worse, high-calorie food is constantly available at every corner. And until our brains catch up to that fact, we have a challenging dilemma. And for most of us, weight loss willpower is too short-lived to overcome the relentless pull of the calorie-rich, nutrient-poor food that makes up the Standard American Diet (SAD).
So how about those tools for long-term weight loss? For most of us, achieving a healthy body weight will mean making significant lifestyle changes-from eating less to exercising more. But wait, is eating less an effective weight loss measure? Actually, according to the research, only about three percent of people manage to lose weight permanently through portion-control diets. For the other 97%, the pull of highly-stimulating, salty, fatty, sugary food is too much, and they revert back to the SAD. Luckily, there is a diet style that allows you to eat almost as much as you want while losing weight. Plus, this way of eating provides protection against heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes-the major killers of Americans.
This eating style goes by several names from high-nutrient eating to Eat to Live, and it centers around green vegetables. That's right, the secret tool for long-term weight loss is to eat large amounts of vegetables, fruits, beans, and seeds. A quick scan of the scientific literature will reveal literally thousands of peer-reviewed, published articles corroborating the amazing benefits of a diet based on unrefined plant foods.
Now, I know some of you are thinking, "I could NEVER eat like that." But, dear reader, allow me to gently remind you that your ancient brain, while it's managed to keep you alive so far, is not very interested in your long-term health--it's more into instant gratification. Please know also that taste is learned and it can be relearned. If I kidnapped you and force-fed you for a month, not only would you lose a significant amount of weight, but your cholesterol and lipid numbers would drop along with fasting blood sugar. Perhaps most important is that, after about two weeks of my nutrient-rich cuisine, you'd actually start to like it!
At that point, weight loss willpower becomes much less important because the pull of SAD starts to weaken as cravings diminish, and your pleasure in eating returns to normal, even on a diet of leafy greens, fruit, seeds, and nuts.
Hard to imagine, I know, but I hope you'll give it a shot and increase the likelihood of finally achieving a lifetime healthy body weight. The best way to start? Eat a VERY LARGE salad every day, beginning today!