Best Fat Burner For Women: Dieting: The False Way to Fitness and to Health
One of the ﬁrst inklings that weight might not be a key factor in health came to me a num ber ofyears ago via a student. As part ofone of my classes in exercise physiology, I asked the students to agree to be weigh ed, measured for body fat, and given an exercise stress test. At ﬁve feet ten inches tall, Mike weigh ed 230 pounds and had 32 percent body fat—by medical standards obese. However, he exercised regularly and, as I discovered when he took the stress test, had an impressive oxygen uptake capacity. In fact, he outperform ed more than 95 percent ofhis peers, whom he also outweigh ed. Seventy-four pounds of body fat not- with standing, Mike had an aerobic ﬁtness level that was, by anyone’s standards, superb. No ﬁtness expert in America would have classiﬁed a man with that much body fat as ﬁt, however, because “fat” has been deﬁned as the opposite of “ﬁt.” The truth is that weight has little, if anything, to do with either ﬁtness or health. But th at’s not the story that has been drummed into us over the years.
Americans have been deceived. The overwhelming evidence again st this deception has largely been ignored, not just by those with a staken the more than $30 billion a year weight-loss industry, which was founded on our beliefthat fat is unhealthy, but by a scientiﬁc community similarly biased again st fat and mired in conservatism and inertia. The results of this deception are very serious indeed—not just in wasted money, but in damage to health and even loss of life. Conservative estimates say that 90 percent of dieters ultimately regain the pounds they lose. (Many of them eventually go on another diet as part of an endless cycle of weight lost and regained.) In Chapter 7, I will describe the results of many studies that suggest that the consequences of perpetual dieting and constant weight ﬂuctuation may ultimately be fatal. However, few of the vast numbers of repeat dieters are aware of the risks they are running.
Let’s face it: Millions ofheavier-th an -average men and women have been victimized, and their health jeopardized, by the attack on wh at a distinguished physician once described as one of our body’s “most peaceful, useful, and law-abiding...tissues.”
Take Wanda, for example. Wanda went on her ﬁrst diet when she was ﬁfteen years old, because at ﬁve feet six inches tall and 145 pounds, she thought she was fat. By age forty-two she had gone through ﬁfty- some diets and weighed over 240 pounds. She can ’t remember how many times she was told, “You really should do something about your weight.” And she always did—by dieting. That, alas, was unfortunate because, contrary to what we are led to believe, dieting almost always promotes the very thing it is supposed to cure: obesity. Countless studies show that yo-yo dieting, or what one expert called the “rhythm method of girth control,” is the kind of dieting that most people do, and that it usually culminates not just in weight regained but also in additional weight being put on. Wanda, like Betty and millions of others, has learned this the hard way.
Wan da’s plight represents the essence of this book. I will provide a wealth of scientiﬁc data to debunk the dogma that our body fat is killing us and that dieting is a panacea. Body fat is not intrinsically unhealthy. Dieting, on the other hand, can be. Chances are, dieting is never going to make us either healthier or better looking (at least not for long). One reason for this is that, contrary to the calorie equation that is presented to us in every diet book, whereby 3,500 calories equal one pound of body fat, and if you eat 3,500 calories fewer per week, you will lose one pound, the human body is not inﬁnitely malleable. It’s not a simple input and output machine but a complex, living organism. Thus you cannot redesign your body via a simple calorie-consumption and burn -off equation. All kinds of factors, ranging from gen es to body chemistry to the irreversibility of fat-cell increases, render such an equation meaningless. The proof of this lies in the fact that, despite decades of increasingly intense efforts at weight loss through dieting, the average American is about 15 pounds heavier today than a mere 20 years ago
However, what I referred to above as Wanda’s plight is only half of her story; the other half is also part of the essence ofthis book. At sixty-four, Wanda decided to make physical activity a part ofher life. She also has moved from ceaseless dieting to an acceptance ofher weigh t, which she estimates to be something over 200 pounds. She doesn’t know exactly what it is because she doesn ’t care. “What matters is m y health ,” she says. “I try to exercise regularly, cut out fatty foods, and focus only on things I can do something about—like my blood sugar and choles-terol levels, and blood pressure. I’m sorry that I wasted nearly ﬁfty years of my life trying to do something about what others told me I should do something about.”