I find that the key to the Weight Agency Method and Paleo Diet are very similar. But, there are some important differences. The “contemporary” Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet). The Weight Agency Method mainly recommends meats, fish, vegetables and fruit, dairy, and excludes grains, sugar, (ESPECIALLY high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)) rice, potatoes, and corn, mainly during the withdrawal phase. The uniqueness of the Weight Agency Method is that it allows flexibility for the weight-loser to eat other foods with a sort of caveat emptor of what it does to one’s appetite, primarily, and calorie intake, secondly. Nuts are great, containing a lot of nutrition, but are almost pure fat. Once, when hungry, I grabbed 2-3 handfuls of nuts to tide me by, only to discover (from weighing them) that my innocent snack was 1200 calories!!! Ditto with peanut butter– eating a wee bit with celery was one of the first “diet” things I did, only to weigh it and find out I had 320 calories. So, I caution the weight-loser to be very careful with such calorie-laden foods, record the impact on their daily planned intake, and note what happens to their appetite the next meal and the next day. For example, I ate half a boiled potato with some pot roast. It totaled to only 120 calories, with 3 grams of protein and 28 grams of carbohydrate. Yet, my body absorbed it quickly enough that I happened to wake about 4AM the next morning, feeling hungry. I ate normally but felt “starved” a few hours later. That 120 calories’ worth of potato was enough to rekindle my appetite to makes-me-eat-more-than-I-should levels. The potato and its high glycemic-index associates are best to be avoided or their amounts minimized. Eating carbs with fats, proteins, and fiber slows down their absorption, which helps.
What about dairy? I routinely eat whey protein isolate and low-fat cottage cheese, and small amounts of regular cheeses, and am losing weight at 2-3 lbs/week. I don’t use butter, but I use fat-free milk powder as a creamer for my coffee. Given what they feed cows nowadays, it may be best to consume only organic, grass-fed dairy products. Of course, healthy eating habits are a side issue and I focused on weight loss, but in general, I agree completely with the Paleo Diet. I do not knowingly consume partially hydrogenated oils but doing so has little to do with weight loss, but everything to do with artery inflammation. And so on. So, follow the Paleo Diet, if you wish, or the Weight Agency Method– your choice. Both are similar, but the Weight Agency Method is more about managing appetite and losing weight at the maximum healthy rate. It does not go into much nutritionally beyond the basic calories, carbohydrates, and protein consumption. It’s not that nutrition isn’t important, but that it is not the focus of my book– fast weight loss is. And, I wanted to keep the book simple. It is a t0-the-point, 40-page booklet that contains the “meat” of the problem: WHY we’re fat, HOW we got that way, and WHAT to do about it. However, if I were to rigorously follow a “diet”, I think the Paleo Diet makes the most sense. More on nutrition in a forthcoming book.
A lot of “diets” are inherently temporary eating plans. You weigh yourself after the holidays and make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. You try the Atkins, or South Beach, or Cabbage Soup, or any other diet– all of which likely result in weight loss or else they would be non-starters. You suffer through daily if not chronic hunger and finally you lose the 10 lbs or 20 lbs you wanted to lose, and then you celebrate with a cheeseburger and shake, or a birthday cake, and a few months later wonder what happened. But, some “diets” can be endured for life– the Paleo Diet is one. I think the South Beach Diet comes close, too. Others are meant to be very temporary. But, I have yet to find one that really talks about the factors behind weight gain and loss, which is why I wrote the Weight Agency Method.
I was going to save this for another blog, but what would you say if I told you, “I have secret information about what food manufacturers put in your food to MAKE YOU FAT”? I suspect that I would have the attention of more than a few. And, what if I told you, “I have secret information about readily available appetite suppression medicine that really works and is not harmful, like Fen-phen proved to be”? Would you be all ears? Well, here it is, folks– the big secret. High Glycemic-Index Carbohydrates! Eating them is addictive and the “withdrawal” is, essentially, strong hunger and craving. Feeling hungry is normal if we haven’t eaten in a long time, but most obese people experience hunger differently. It isn’t the hunger that most people feel, but a profound growling, gnawing, craving feeling that begins with “hunger” but quickly intensifies to “starving” and soon thereafter, “will kill for food”. A “normal” person will feel “hunger” and if they cannot eat right away, will only get to the “starved” stage or “kill” stage if several hours have passed since the onset of hunger. Why isn’t Weight Watchers, or Jenny Craig, telling you that it’s the refined carbs that are intensifying your hunger? If they did, they would be out of business, at least the way they conduct it now.
Do you read labels? Have you ever looked at the amount of refined carbohydrate, sugar, flour, etc in so-called diet foods? I cannot help but believe this is intentional, because don’t believe they are in the business to make you slim, but are in the business to offer ongoing food/services. I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, since I have no proof of this, but numerous nutritionists have been talking about carbohydrates’ effects on appetite, yet these weight loss organizations don’t talk about it much and weight-loss diet products almost always contain a LOT of sugar, flour, rice, potatoes, corn– the 5 contraband ingredients identified by the Weight Agency Method. These 5 foods should be avoided if not entirely eliminated by people wanting to lose weight. Once the weight is lost, small or occasional amounts are OK. Even during weight loss, I occasionally eat some “contraband”– pizza, cheeseburgers, fries, chips, corn on the cob, or chocolate or other dessert. But, these are RARE occasions and I brace myself for the spike in appetite that follows.
Not everyone who drinks becomes an alcoholic, but some do. Not every sugar, flour, rice, potatoes, and/or corn eater becomes obese, but some do. These five carbs are, to an obese person, what alcohol is to an alcoholic. Just as some alcoholics can have an occasional beer, some obese people can have an occasional high glycemic index carbohydrate, but those that do are playing with fire! They are tempting fate and no one will recommend that they try ANY of their “drugs” to which they were formerly addicted. For this reason, the Weight Agency Method is strict about NONE of these five foods for the first two weeks. None. Nada. Zip! But, unlike alcohol or tobacco or heroin or methamphetamine, humans need SOME carbs. You can’t cold-turkey eating or carbohydrate consumption entirely or indefinitely, which poses a unique problem. We have to eat some of the very things that made us fat. But, in doing so, we ate tempting fat, playing with fire, and risking failure. How do we deal with this? First, by understanding exactly how the addiction begins to return– the premature or increased hunger later, before the next meal or the next day– identifying it and nipping it in the bud immediately.
Obese people, when told to eat steamed vegetables or raw carrots when hungry will often find that completely unappealing. Before the Weight Agency Method, I could eat veggies like that or fruit and it would do NOTHING for my appetite. It didn’t even feel right going down– none of that stick-to-your-ribs sensation, none of the satisfaction that a slice of pizza, a candy bar, an energy bar, etc, provides. Why not? The same reason that giving a chocolate bar to a heroin addict in withdrawal does nothing for them– it is not the “fix” they are looking for. The hungry obese person is looking for carbohydrates, primarily. They are famished because their blood sugar is rapidly falling and only the “contraband-5” will spike the blood sugar back up…. which then makes it subsequently drop rapidly and the cycle repeats, day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year, often for decades!
What happens when we do not eat carbohydrates? After a few days, our bodies undergo chemical changes, creating enzymes that break down stored fats and convert them to ketones, which are further converted into the glucose that our cells ultimately need. Since overweight people have an abundance of fat, this is like carrying around your own snack shop. Unaware of what is happening, our falling blood sugar triggers more of this fat conversion which boosts the blood sugar, correcting the decline. We sail along at an even keel and find our appetite suppressed. In this mode, reducing one’s caloric intake is easy, because we’re not hungry. But, we still need 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. This means that a 220 lb person (100 kg) requires 80 grams (0.8 x 100) of protein daily. If we don’t eat that much, we consume our own muscles, heart muscle included. BAD!!! It’s a real bitch to build muscles and too easy to lose them. Eat enough protein! We also need micronutrients and vitamins– many of these come from fruits and vegetables– carbs! But, these carbs are usually more slowly absorbed due to their inherent fiber content, which slows absorption. So, the Weight Agency Method tracks calories, protein, and carbohydrates, and recommends vitamin and mineral supplements for added assurance. By keeping these carbs to a modest amount (~100g/day) the body remains in fat-burning mode, our appetites remain low, and we are in control of our weight loss. Without hunger/appetite, even the snacks we used to lust for take on a much lower significance and are easy to pass up with the smallest amount of willpower.
You, too, can regain control of your appetite and weight by following the Weight Agency Method.