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You fat or skinny? dont be...

Ive said it once, Ive said it a thousand times: Stop dieting... and start living thin. Take a look at what you are doing, and then think about what you would be doing if you were already at your ideal weight. Change your behavior to what it would be if you did not have a weight problem. The key to success is change.

"Okay," I hear you say, "but what should I change? I dont know what I am doing wrong."

First, take a look at your pattern of eating. Are you eating breakfast?

"No, I dont eat breakfast. Im not hungry in the morning, so why should I eat?"

You should eat breakfast because eating will stimulate your metabolism. Non-breakfast-eaters tend to have a weight problem, and sooner or later they have health and energy problems also. You need to put fuel in the tank at the beginning of the day, not at the end of the day (after youve put the car back in the garage!)

Let me tell you about some research that was done back in the 60s and 70s. Collectively, its called the QQF research, and it does much to explain why people gain weight, and what they need to change in order to lose weight.

QQF stands for Quality, Quantity, and Frequency, and it refers to food intake and eating patterns. Lets start with quality. Lets compare eating an apple to drinking apple juice. If you eat an apple you have something to chew. You have a food which is high in fiber which will take time to be digested. And because the apple is high in fiber we will spend energy digesting it, and we will not be able to absorb all of the calories. Perhaps only about 80 % of the calories in an apple will be available to us.

Now lets drink a glass of apple juice. It takes almost no time to digest because the fiber is gone. Very little energy is spent on the digestion process. What we have is sugar (glucose and fructose) and water and 100 % of the calories will be absorbed. (We need to remember also that it takes about 3 apples to make a glass of apple juice.)

Another example: Lets compare peanuts, with peanut butter, and then peanut oil. The whole peanut is high in fiber, and must be well chewed to be digested. Typically only about 70% of the calories will be absorbed. Peanut butter is still high in fiber, but because it has been ground it is easier to digest. About 92% of the calories in peanut butter will be absorbed. Peanut oil is highly processed, and totally refined. It has no fiber, and 100 % of the calories will be absorbed.
Next, lets look at quantity.

Most of us understand, intellectually, that quantity matters. It matters whether you have one slice of pizza vs the whole pie. But its not just how much you have in total for the day, but how much you have at one sitting. Suppose you have a meal of 1000 calories. Your body can only burn some of those calories right now for energy, and it has limits as to the amount it can store as glycogen, so any excess calories will be converted to fat. Now take that same 1000 calorie meal, and eat half of it now, and the other half four hours from now. This time your body has a better chance of using the calories youve consumed for energy. It is less apt to have an excess left over that it has to turn into fat for storage.

The moral of this story is that you want that overstuffed sandwich for lunch, youd best have half of it now, and the other half as a snack later in the afternoon.

Ever skimp on lunch so you can go out to a big 7-course dinner? Stop! It will backfire. Eat lunch, and then find a way to cut down on your portions at dinner. (Have fewer courses, or eat little bits of each course.)
Finally, lets look at frequency.

Did you know that the skinniest people around eat about 6 times per day? I dont mean they have spaghetti and meatballs 6 times a day, I just mean that they spread their calories out over 6 meals. And did you know that the fattiest people around eat only once per day? Metabolism slows down to compensate for the lack of fuel, and then when they finally do eat the body tends to overstore what theyve consumed. In effect, the body is stocking up for the next famine.

Time of day is also an issue. Those skinny people I refer to always eat breakfast. Most obese people rarely eat breakfast. They take in most of their calories at night, when the body least needs the energy, and when the calories consumed are most apt to be stored as fat.

Take two groups of people. Give both groups 2000 calories in total. One group spreads the calories out over 6 meals. The second group consumes all of the food at one sitting. The first group either maintains their weight, or loses weight. Everyone in the second group gains weight.

Take two groups of people. Give both groups 2000 calories per day in one meal. The first group gets 2000 calories for breakfast. The second group gets 2000 calories for dinner. The first group maintains their weight. (A few people even lose weight.) Everyone in the second group gains weight.

Now, lets give both groups 1000 calories per day. The first group gets 1000 calories for breakfast, and the second group gets 1000 calories for dinner. Both groups lose weight, but the first group loses 2-3 pounds per week. The second group loses only 1 pound per week. Note: I am not recommending that anyone "go on a diet" consisting of 1000 calories per day. My purpose is to illustrate the relationship between time of day, caloric intake and weight.
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