Am I telling you anything you don't know?
I thought not.
One reason they don't work is that we have the idea that a diet is something temporary. We think, even if we know better, that this will be a short term change and after that we can return to having pop tarts. We can return to them if we wish, and we might, once the diet is over. (Can you tell that there are pop tarts in the house?)
What is needed instead is gradual permanent change. Small changes add up. This is a sustainable approach and it is what I did. So, over the next year I will offer various suggestions to change what you eat. Most of them you already know, but don't do. By focusing on one change a week, "muscle memory" can gradually be built up.
If you make radical change all at once, there are several risks. First you risk confusing your body. If your body thinks you are starving, it will reduce your metabolism. This is why dieters rebound, often to a new higher weight. They have reset their "set point" at a lower level and if they return to their former habits, they gain weight.
A diet may force you to permanently adopt your diet caloric intake to be your new intake--permanent misery. Instead I will propose that you eat what you plan to eat for the rest of your life. Thus the ultimate name for this series of blog posts will be "Plan What You Eat." So don't lose weight too quickly. In fact you should not try to lose weight. Instead eat what you already know you need to eat, and then, as a side effect, you lose weight.
There are several other negative possible consequences to losing weight too rapidly. There is a connection between rapid weight loss and losing your gall bladder. If you lose weight rapidly you might end up with Richard Simmon's problem. There is a reason he wears baggy clothes. He has a lot of hanging skin around his midsection. Losing weight slowly will not eliminate this, but it will help. The body also stores toxins in the fat. If you lose weight rapidly, you risk drenching you body with all these toxins at once. This cannot be good for you.
Do not go on a diet. Instead gradually change your habits until your habits are healthy habits.
Today's "homework" assignment is Dr. Barron's presentation on the myths of obesity. Dr. Barron heads the UCSF obesity center. He notes in the presentation that the level you set your calories on a diet will become your new permanent level if you want to avoid weight gain.
Be careful, do not diet.
Note that you need to use your own best judgment on any "homework" I assign.
For those interested in military matters this longish article on the current Russian military might be of interest.
In particular I want to focus on the word chosen in the subtitle by the author for propaganda purposes.
"Vladimir Putin's brazen moves in Syria and Ukraine."
The United States destabilizes the whole Middle East--and Putin's decision to help an ally is brazen! The fact that most readers will not even notice the pejorative term "brazen" shows just how effective US propaganda has been.
No leader of Russia is going to allow its only warm-water military ports to be seized by NATO. This is exactly what was at stake in Ukraine. Victoria Nuland gave a speech a few years ago at the National Press Club where she admitted that the US was spending 5 billion dollars to destabilize Ukraine. She was also caught in an intercepted phone call planning Ukraine's transitional government. When asked what the EU might think about this her response, again caught audibly, was "Fuck the EU."
But yet Putin is the brazen one!
Naturally, nations have differing interests, and nations will do what they feel is in their own best interests. Russian and US interests are not the same. The idea that Putin wears a "black hat" and Obama a "white hat" is very humorous. What is not humorous is that the propaganda masters of the US are largely getting away with it.
So when you read articles such as the one I linked to at the beginning of this post, read critically. Think about the word choices the author of any article uses. Ask yourself the question, "Am I being played?"
Of course you are. Don't let it happen.
The Bell Curve, or normal distribution, is a useful tool in many areas. Here is a chart from the Wikipedia article on normal distribution:
The red line is the typical distribution that is called the bell curve. An example might be a chart of height. Along the horizontal axis would be height. Along the vertical axis would number of people. The most people would be along the top/middle of the curve. NBA players would be on the right, and very short people on the left.
An example of this as it relates to health might be vitamins. The vertical axis would be optimal health; the horizontal would be dosage of the vitamin. A little of a vitamin, because of the steepness of the curve, is very beneficial. As you increase the dosage the benefit increases. But there is a reduction in the benefit from each additional dose of the vitamin as the steepness of the curve decreases. At some point increases in optimal health stop and any additional vitamin decreases optimal health. While I supplement, the bell curve tells me that care is needed so no overdose occurs. The dosage is the poison.
Exercise is another example of a Bell Curve. For this curve the vertical axis is optimal health, and the horizontal is amount of exercise. A little exercise can have a tremendous impact on your health. Remember the curve is steep. But just as with vitamins, the dosage is the poison. You can very negatively impact your health if you do too much. (Did you really expect I would tell you what vitamins to take and everything would be alright? No, you will need to move your body. It is a little embarassing for me to write about this as it is cold where I am and exercise, moving, for me has dropped off considerably. )
The dosage being the poison is not a new concept. It has been know for hundreds of years going back at least to the medieval times. (If a history major like me cannot quote a medieval scholastic, who can?) So if you go to your granddaughter's birthday party, a small piece of cake isn't going to impact you much, assuming you are not allergic to wheat. But if you go to a "birthday" party every day, your health will suffer--the dosage is the poison.
Sorry, but today's homework is math. But an understanding of what a Bell Curve is will be helpful.