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You can lose Weight

Forty million Americans and ten million Britons are plagued with excess weight.
Are you one of them?
How about your children or relatives? Here's what you can do about it.


BEFORE YOU BEGIN reading this article be sure you understand this point: You CAN lose weight no matter how obese you are. One individual, 6 feet 3 inches and weighing 802 pounds reduced down to 232 pounds by age 39 — a loss of 570 pounds. Many dozens have lost 200 pounds or more — and kept it off.

All in all, overweight Americans, Britons, Canadians, and Australians have lost well over a million tons! But the sad sequel to that story is that most of the weight was gained back. Quick weight loss (and gain) is easy, but very few people maintain a slow weight loss with no gain.

It is estimated that only about two percent of clinically supervised overweight patients are successful in attaining their proper weight and maintaining that weight for a year.

That's not very encouraging news to the millions of overweight people, most of whom either hopscotch from one fad diet to another or else totally give up the hope of ever losing weight.

If that's your dilemma, do yourself a favor — read just one more article on overweight — this one! The only workable way to lose weight, and maintain that weight loss, is contained in the principles of this article, compiled from the writings and records of the world's most successful nutritionists and weight-loss experts.


Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness

Your first motivation to lose weight should be in the interest of life itself. If you are 20 percent overweight (about 30 pounds for most people), chances are you will die seven years before your time. Compare this with an average four years loss of life for the person who smokes 25 cigarettes a day during his adult life.

Being a mere ten pounds overweight can carry a greater health risk than smoking 25 cigarettes a day.

The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company compared the likelihood of death for those rated as overweight compared to those of normal weight, ages 25 to 74. Here are their results:

The greater likelihood for death from any cause, at any age, was 47% higher than normal for overweight women, and 50% greater for overweight men. For all adults death by heart diseases was 63% more likely, death from liver diseases ranged between 90 and 100% more likely, death from diabetes was 275% more likely, and even mortal accidents were 24% more likely for the overweight client.

Experience has shown, however, that few overweight people are motivated to action by these statistics. It takes a heart attack, or a similar trauma to stir them to serious action. Then, it may be too late.

Most overweight people are primarily motivated to reduce by a desire to look better, to please a mate or boyfriend, or to compete in sports or in a job.

Everyone wants the freedom to run, walk, swim, climb stairs, lift, pull, or even stand for long periods of time without fear of physical collapse — freedom to enjoy life to its fullest.

To escape the mental crutch of wrong eating habits is to know freedom, liberty, a renewed confidence. No more cruel jokes, no more heart flutter at the end of a flight of stairs, no more social rebuffs, followed by eating or crying jags. This freedom should be your strong secondary motivation — second to life.

Life and liberty free you to pursue right happiness. Your family, your hobbies, your work, and your friends become your whole life — instead of your food and your body being the center of the universe. Thousands of success stories have demonstrated that a new successful life opens up when you "kick the habit."

While kicking the habit, you don't have the advantage of going "cold turkey" like an alcoholic or drug addict. You've got to eat to live. The key to weight loss is what you eat, and what you burn up.


The Multiple Causes of Overweight

But complicating a person's efforts to lose weight are such varied factors as his background, his job, his eating habits (both past and present), his home environment, his heredity, and his society.

Most overweight people have two strikes against them, environmental and hereditary. When both parents are overweight, the child's chances are 80% of becoming overweight; if one parent is obese, the child's chances are 40%. If both parents are normal, the chances of a child being obese shrink to 10%. Most of this inheritance is not through the scapegoats of "heavy bones" or "glands" or "water retention," but simply through the parents setting a wrong example!

The "third strike" is delivered by our society. We live in a sedentary world: sitting in school as children; sitting on jobs as parents; sitting in cars; sitting in front of TV's and motion pictures; and sitting at leisure. Even military cadets and coal miners recline, sit, and stand over 18 hours out of each 24.

Society also provides us with "convenience foods" which multiply calories, but don't nourish. You've probably never been "filled up" by a TV dinner, but it adds hundreds of "empty" excess calories. Our grandparents, living on relatively low-calorie natural foods, and exercising as a way of life, were able to combat both of these "calorie conspiracies" which afflict today's sedentary society.

If you are overweight, resist the temptation to blame your heredity, environment, society, parents, grocer, or any other quick scapegoat. It is ultimately YOUR fault. Nobody force-fed you.


How NOT to Lose Weight

When you know the one and only principle for losing weight — eating fewer calories than you consume — it is fairly obvious why most diets and reducing plans do not work.

Because of glowing reports of unbelievable losses, millions of overweight people turn to the myriad diet "fads." Depending on your particular weakness, you can choose a drinking man's diet, a high-protein diet, a high-fat diet, a high carbohydrate diet, or even a Zen Buddhist "spiritual diet." There is the "Air Force diet," which the Air Force vehemently disowns, or the "Mayo clinic diet" which the Mayo Clinic disowns. There's a diet of grapes, a diet of grapefruits, a diet of greens, and just about any one-food regimen short of Luther's Diet of Worms.

Fad diets, however, don't work — in the long run — and they can be very dangerous to health, especially over extended periods of time. Dr. Morton Chenn, Chief of the Nutrition Clinic of New York City's Health Department, has called them a "major health pollutant."

Unfortunately, fad diets are essentially symptomatic of the problem which brought the person to his present obesity. That is, many dieters have never learned to eat correctly. Fad diets promise a way to continue wrong eating patterns — with supposedly different results! Such is not the case.

Advocates of fad diets usually do lose 15 to 30 pounds in a matter of a month or so. This weight loss could be maintained if the person continued to give up the forbidden foods for the rest of his life. But on most fad diets, those "forbidden foods" contain necessary nutrients he has temporarily missed — the protein in meat, eggs, milk, and cheese; or the carbohydrates in fruit, bread, or milk; or the vitamins and minerals in liver, green vegetables, or milk.

Here is the fad dieter's dilemma — 1) either quick weight gain if he goes back to those foods, or 2) detrimental side effects if he doesn't. There is no way to win. He hasn't permanently lost those 20 pounds or so. According to Dr. Jules Hirsch, professor and senior physician at Rockefeller University, the fat cells which shrunk in size are still alive and functioning — "sending out metabolic signals" to "fill up" with the forbidden family of foods, which most people do (much of the dramatic weight loss was just water, anyway).

The greatest crime of fad diets is that the dieter didn't learn anything. He has not learned discipline, and chances are he will gorge his way back to obesity faster than ever. As a result, the "fad" dieter is usually worse off than when he started. His hopes are frustrated. He begins "diet hopping" from one plan to another. A defeatist syndrome ensues.


The ONLY Way to Lose Weight

The only way to lose weight permanently is to take in fewer calories than you burn up in activities. Each pound loss will require a 3500 calorie "deficit." If you are 30 pounds overweight, for instance, you will have to manage a 100,000 calorie "deficit" over the next few months.

It's easier than you may think! In fact, enjoyable.

A paragraph from a well-known nutrition textbook sums up the best principles for doing this. "For the ordinary overweight individual (this is you, if you are among the 99 out of 100 without a medical problem), by far the most satisfactory way to effect weight reduction is simply to cut down sharply on the concentrated energy foods (sugars, starches, and fats), while maintaining an otherwise well-balanced and adequate diet. Such a diet does not involve actually going hungry."

"It should be, as far as possible, a diet one likes and is willing to use indefinitely" (Nutrition and Physical Fitness, p. 461).

There is the vital key most dieters ignore!

Your diet has to be a way of life. You must live with these foods (and exercises) the rest of your life. You must undertake a program to reprogram your taste buds.

It's widely understood that a weight loser cannot allow himself the luxuries of rich desserts, pastries, or most packaged and prepared "goodies." But the key is not stoic self-denial. The key is educating yourself to enjoy a balanced diet for the rest of your life. It involves a new attitude toward food.


What Type of Diet is Best?

"Diets" won't work — for most people. Nobody's life is so regimented that they can eat the same foods at the same hour day in and day out. Such dull dieting is not necessary. Calorie counting is also a bothersome chore that most dieters abandon, with good reason.

However, there are a number of effective weight reducing programs (not "diets") today which offer wholesome, balanced, nutritionally sound plans for consistent, safe, and delicious continued weight loss.

Dramatic results do not occur overnight. But encouraging and noticeable results take place within weeks. And the 99% of overweight people who DON'T have medical problems WILL reach their ideal weight "legally" within a few short months. Ten pounds loss per month is normal — IF the program is honestly followed.

And the weight stays off, because proper eating habits are firmly established by months of diligent usage. As you lose weight, your body consumes slightly fewer calories per day, and your weight will automatically level off at where it should be.

Proper weight reduction programs, such as Weight Watchers, are based on taking in fewer calories, even though the members do not officially "count" calories. The program prescribes "unlimited" low-calorie foods, and specifically limited, although generous, portions of medium-calorie food.

The highly successful Weight Watchers International, and its many imitative competitors, require you to eat everything listed, because each course of food contains vital nutrients. Sometimes the required food is much more quantity than the dieter is used to.

We highly recommend food programs like Weight Watcher's, which are based on most of the proper principles of weight reduction. They prescribe good food, plenty of it, delicious new recipes, and an environment of people who share similar goals.

But there are some cautions: don't join unless you're really serious about losing weight. Don't kid yourself, or "cheat," because you'll only be cheating yourself. Also, if you are confident in your own willpower, you may want to follow a proper eating program on your own without joining a club. If so, obtain the proper program of eating, and follow it alone. But remember, experience shows that most people need help — from their family or overweight friends in a club.

A third point to remember is that proper eating habits are not enough. Proper food is the most important point by far. But proper exercise is also important and helpful toward weight loss, despite what any "food-only" program may tell you.


The Role of Exercise

You can lose weight without exercise, BUT you can lose a pound more per week with exercise. More importantly, you will feel better and your weight will be muscle and tissue, not fat.

The people in our "have" nations and Western democracies are not the vigorous, out-of-doors, physically active people they once were. We don't get as much daily physical activity as our grandmothers and grandfathers did.

The average worker, though, would rather ride than walk, use elevators rather than climb stairs, and use pushbutton machines rather than elbow grease. Our complete life-style has changed. And with the change has come extra weight.

What kind of exercise helps you lose weight? Intensive cardiovascular sports such as handball, basketball, tennis, or squash burn up 10 calories a minute, or 600 per hour. True, that's less than an average meal's worth of calories, but an hour of such exercise for six days a week burns off over a pound a week! This is in addition to your weight loss based on better eating habits.

Most overweight people should not jump into such heavy activity immediately, without a doctor's approval. For most overweight people over 40, a lot of brisk daily walking is more appropriate. Walking burns 5 calories a minute (for a 150-pound person walking 3½ miles per hour), or 300 calories per hour.

Walk to work or to a bus stop if possible, then walk as much as possible while at work or home. If neither of these activities are possible, take an evening walk alone or with the family (if it's safe to walk alone on your streets!). Many doctors endorse walking as the best all-around exercise for most overweight people.


Exercise for Life

Remember that the "way of life" principle applies in exercise as well as dieting. One day a week will make very little difference, but daily exercise will help — if continued as a lifetime practice!

It is important to realize that exercise alone is one of the hardest ways to "diet." A change in eating habits is of primary importance, since a fat person is highly limited in the amount of exercise he or she can do. Even in normal sitting, standing, or walking activities, obese people are much less active, by actual motion studies, than physically trim people.

But the role of exercise in weight control should not be ridiculed as it sometimes is. Many feel exercise can't burn up many calories, or that if they exercise there will be an automatic increase in appetite to cancel out the good effects.

The facts prove otherwise. Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer states, "Too often, these misstatements have been popularized by clinicians and nutritionists who, though well and extensively informed in other matters, have never tested the validity of these particular propositions." The very fact that farmers "fatten up" their livestock by preventing exercise (by penning them in) shows the ridiculousness of the "no-exercise" school.


Devising YOUR Plan

The proper kind of weight loss plan frees you up, allows snacks, breaks, and enjoyment. The right plan for you fits your needs, fits your schedule, fits your fatness and fitness. It frees you to get your real kicks out of life instead of food. You'll get new enjoyment out of your work, your friends, family and hobby. Food will be on the "back burner" of your mind.

To repeat the basic principles, your program should include:

1. Fewer calories eaten, through a program of eating only the right foods.

2. More calories burned up by a program of exercise.

3. A life-long way of living; food you can live with the rest of your life.

4. A slow, deliberate diet, allowing at least a month for each 10 pounds overweight.

5. The help of others — your family, doctor, and friends.

6. A motivation based on longer life, freedom from compulsive eating, and the pursuit of happiness.

7. Drive, resourcefulness, and stick-to-it-iveness.

Yes, it will take character. But the successful reducers can tell you by experience it will be fantastically rewarding, and remarkably enjoyable! Many people that we talked with, who had been overweight for years before reducing, said they felt like "new people." They felt younger, healthier, had a brighter outlook on life and were generally much happier. Many remarked they didn't understand why they hadn't reduced a long time ago.

And more important, they have experienced a deep and profound sense of personal accomplishment. That accomplishment will be yours if you follow these principles.

If you really want to be a new person, and you don't have a workable plan to lose weight, seek help from a qualified nutritionist today. Plan your course of action. Start your weight-losing campaign tomorrow morning — it's the first day of the rest of your life.