What’s Old is Not Necessarily Obsolete (Part 2)

In the early 1900s a scientist (Wilber Atwater) discovered that burning a food will release energy. This energy is measured in units called–surprise!–calories. (I am not going to get too deep into this, and the fact that a scientific calorie is not the calorie that we count. We are actually counting kilocalories, or kCal. Whenever I refer to calories, I mean the calories that we count in food, the stuff on the food labels.)

But this is when food began to turn from the idea of pure sustenance into sources of energy. And further research showed that carbohydrates–all of them–release 4 calories per gram. Proteins also contain the same amount of energy, 4 calories per gram. Fats are huge energy stores, with 9 calories per gram. Alcohol is almost as energetic as fat, with 7 calories per gram. (This gives another reason why excessive alcohol consumption have be problematic.)

This is the basis of calorie counting.

I think back to my childhood in the late 1960s. I can remember watching my parents sit at the kitchen table after dinner with their notebook and a reference book, listing everything they ate and adding up the calories. This was about the same time that Weight Watchers began to grow. In the 1970s, other services arrived, such as Nutrisystem, followed by Jenny Craig in the mid-80s. Both were based on buying pre-packaged foods. In personal experience, Nutrisystem’s food was processed, prepared, controlled….and very small. I remember dropping in small bags of rice to rehydrate it before eating and the bags were small. They offered cans of meat pate (okay, it was really paste) the size of a small can of cat food. The size of the can was not the only comparison to cat food (although, to be fair, the BBQ beef version wasn’t bad tasting.)

Those companies continue and others have grown, all offering various levels of pre-packaged food. And they will work. Seriously! If you follow their plan, carefully, you will lose weight. It is expensive, and not exactly eating “clean”, but it will be effective.

It will be effective because it carefully limits your calories. It is calorie counting, but you pay someone else to do the counting for you.

What about other methods that are not calorie counting?  Things like hCG? Medifast? Slim-fast? I remember in the early 80s wanting to lose weight with Dexadrine (before it became the relatively harmless Dexatrim). The pills made me jittery, and if I had followed the “included diet plan” I would have lost weight, because it was a 1200 calorie a day menu plan.They all revolve around one thing: a tightly control caloric intake, with other substances to “enhance” the method.

But guess what? You are still calorie counting.

How about prescription medications? Phen-fen was an appetite suppressant–with some pesky cardiovascular side effects for some people–but it only worked when I ate less. Xenical–later to become the over-the-counter medication Alli–helped block fat absorption. With that medication, you still needed to be careful of your dietary consumption (eat very low fat diet) which simultaneously reduced the gastroinstestinal side effects and reduced your caloric intake.

If you want to change your weight, you have many options, but they all involve eating less and moving more. I just believe that my method, using LoseIt, is very effective. Is it the best? I don’t know. I haven’t tried all of the different methods available. But honestly, I don’t need to keep trying. I already reached my goal using LoseIt’s approach to simple calorie counting and the LoseIt approach has me maintaining my loss for 19+ months. LoseIt is a new company, built on a century-old concept. It–and many other plans–can work, but only if you are careful, persistent, and focused. (And wow–focus was very difficult while taking Dexadrine.)

Next up tomorrow:  Another good recipe! (I’m just not sure which one yet.)