How to Lose Weight Learning From the Eating Behaviours of Overweight People
Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Losing weight begins by eating healthier foods and exercising on a regular basis. For decades, researchers have been fascinated by the precise eating habits of overweight and obese people. However, as you can imagine, their fascination has not been easy to translate into concrete conclusions due to the complexity of eating behaviours, weight loss, and other confounding variables.
It has been proposed that obesity is an adaptive response to a high-fat diet, with the necessary equilibration of fat intake and oxidation (fat burning) being achieved through expansion of fat stores, if not through increased physical activity.
In general, losing weight has been “dummied-down” to creating a negative energy balance, meaning that you need to consume fewer calories than you expend. And in the long run, the only effective method for accomplishing this negative energy balance for weight loss is through a combination of regular exercise and a more moderate consumption of food.
Considering that 1 lb of fat is equal to 3500 calories, to lose 1 lb of fat would take about 1 week if you did nothing else but reduce you caloric intake by about 15%.
To achieve your weight loss goals it is also helpful to understand what prevents others from not just losing weight but also packing it on. A lot of the research is inconclusive and some conflicting, but what follows are some of the more clear cut conclusions regarding eating behaviours that lead to weight. Follow the Fat Burning Remedies for weight loss solutions to each issue.
1. Compromised Fat Burning Ability
According to researchers from the International Journal of Obesity, a predisposition to obesity appears to be associated with defects in the ability to raise fat oxidation (or fat burning) in proportion to moderate or high fat intakes. This also appears to be characteristic of formerly obese subjects and, notably, non-obese restrained eaters.
This indicates that the body of an overweight individual (for whatever reason) is less able to burn fat as more fat is consumed.
Fat Burning Remedies:
i) Get more active and start with low intensity cardio exercise that specifically burns fat. Walking for at least 30 minutes every day is a great start.
ii) Resistance training is equally important since the more lean muscle you develop, the more you boost your fat burning metabolism. Resistance train using your bodyweight or weights 3-4 times per week.
iii) Use a fat-specific digestive enzyme such as lipase before eating. Lipase specifically digests and breaks down fat in the body and helps prevent healthy fats from being unused.
2. Restrained Eaters Eat More
In 1972, a researcher from Psychology Today suggested that the obese-normal differences in eating behaviour could be due to greater hunger experienced by obese individuals. This might be due to actual dieting or the fact that many overweight individuals may be engaged in a chronic struggle to restrain their eating against a biological drive toward further weight gain.
The role of restrained eating in eating behaviour was initially explored in a series of studies by Herman and his colleagues (published in the Journal of Personality) assessing the concern with dieting and weight, and short-term weight fluctuation.
One of the crucial but initially surprising behavioural findings and correlates of restraint was a tendency to exhibit ‘disinhibited’ eating. This was demonstrated through a fascinating experiment whereby subjects were given “preloads” (a pre-meal) of zero, one, or two glasses of a milkshake, and then asked to consume ice-cream ad libitum as part of a ‘taste’test.
While actual intake of ice-cream was, as expected, inversely related to the size of the preloads in subjects scoring low on the Restraint Scale, the ice-cream consumption of restrained subjects paradoxically increased with a greater preload!
Subsequent studies showed that restrained subjects tended to eat more after a preload identified as high in energy, compared with the same preload identified as low in energy. This paradoxical behaviour apparently occurs when the perceived intake of energy is sufficient to cause normally restrained eaters to suspend their self-imposed restraint, thereby releasing an underlying desire to eat.
The pattern of thinking identified with such behaviour has been characterized as, “I’ve blown it already, so I might as well eat!”
Many factors other than food preloads have been shown to precipitate overeating in restrained eaters, such as emotional events (including anxiety), the presence of other people overeating, the sight and smell of well-liked foods, and even the anticipation of a forthcoming high food intake.
These findings confirm a major influence of cognition on short-term food intake, and suggest potential causal links between restraint and compulsive eating, and perhaps longer- term failure of losing weight.
In relation to the development or maintenance of obesity, the role of restrained eating and related behaviours, especially tendency for disinhibited eating, remains suggestive.
The paradox is that we live in a weight-obsessed culture and environment where slimness is promoted as the ideal of beauty, self-control and success while, at the same time, energy-dense foods and opportunities to eat are ubiquitous. It’s no wonder that more than 60% of the North American population is overweight.
Fat Burning Remedies:
i) Stop dieting! Severely restricting your caloric intake and depriving yourself can only lead to further weight gain, not weight loss!
ii) Choose foods that are “nutrient-dense” not “energy-dense”. These include fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and sprouted seeds and grains. Since you’ll be supplying your body with the minerals and nutrients it needs, your body will no longer crave “non-foods” as it did before.
3. Palatiblity, High-Fat Foods and Weight Gain
It makes sense that we would want to eat foods that taste better, right? Well, unfortunately many of these “traditional” yummy foods are fairly high in fat (and not the good kind) which makes them addictive and hard to put down.
Present knowledge is consistent with the view that preferences for, and consumption of, dietary fat (specifically cooked and rancid fats) are linked to weight gain. Consumption of diets moderate or high in fat or energy density (with low physical activity levels) appears to be critically implicated in the development of obesity amongst susceptible individuals.
For many people, the palatability (taste) of “energy-dense” (high calorie) foods may not be of concern solely because of their inherent nutritional composition, but because such foods may present a particularly potent stimulus for the breakdown of restraint, loss of dietary control, and overeating of these or other foods.
Palatability is commonly invoked as an explanation of overeating leading to obesity, although the fundamental cause of high fat preferences and intakes in obesity remains somewhat obscure.
The basis for fat preferences in general was recently reviewed in the journal Progress in Obesity Research, and that analysis suggests that post-consumption, “psychobiological” effects of fats may contribute to an associative conditioning process, through which a liking for fat-associated sensory qualities is acquired by experience. This means that high-fat foods (cooked or rancid fats to be exact) can be addictive by conditioning our sensory system to enjoy and subsequently crave such foods.
Fat Burning Remedies:
i) Avoid cooked and rancid fats and oil. Instead, choose natural living foods. Foods such as walnuts, cashews, coconut, durian, cacao, olives, and avocados that have not been cooked provide some of the best sources of healthy fats that actually do your body tremendous good – and they’ll actually help you burn fat!
Living foods recipes such as raw chocolate any other amazing dishes are not only highly nourishing but are incredibly palatable. Transition to eating more living foods and watch your cravings for addictive foods vanish into thin air!
By any mechanism, the physiological effects of energy-dense, high-fat foods, when combined with a heightened responsiveness to such foods, or given a tendency for disinhibited eating, creates ideal nutritional and psychological conditions for excessive food intakes leading to weight gain and perhaps obesity.
Nonetheless, now that you understand some of the eating mechanism for gaining weight you have the power to change. Simply, follow the fat burning remedies recommended in this article and your weight loss efforts will be rewarded!
Take control of your eating and lose weight today- click here to read Eating for Energy!
Nutrition Expert, Yuri Elkaim and his groundbreaking raw food book, Eating for Energy, have helped thousands of people in over 80 countries regain control of their health and weight. Watch his new You Tube Video and discover a delicious GREEN smoothie recipe that will alkalize your body while keeping you energized and nourished. For more on his revolutionary healthy eating book visit http://www.EatingforEnergy.ca.
Copyright © 2008 Total Wellness Consulting.
Astrup, A. (1993). Diet composition, substrate balances and body fat in subjects with a predisposition to obesity. International Journal of Obesity 17, Suppl. 3, S32S36.
Herman, C. P. & Mack, D. (1975). Restrained and unrestrained eating. Journal of Personality 43, 647-660.
Mela, D. J. (1996). Assessing the dietary implications of macronutrient substitutes. In Progress in ObesityResearch 7, pp. 423430 [A. Angel, H. Anderson, C. Bouchard, D. Lau, L. Leiter and R. Mendelson, editors]. London: John Libbey & Co.
Nisbett, R. E. (1972). Hunger, obesity, and the ventromedial hypothalamus. Psychology Reviews 79,433-453.