Permanent Fat Loss: Is It Really That Confusing?

Is this how you feel when you get on the scale?

If not, read on to learn how and why it’s not actually that tricky and that you can, in fact, take control of the situation.

As much as I love reading my favorite part of the NY Times (Wednesday’s Food Section, which I do partly for my own enjoyment as well as to glean recipe ideas and continue to learn about global food stories, another key part of my weekly read of this periodical is the Tuesday Science Times.

Inevitably amongst the more “sciency”-pieces that may range from a recent fossil discovery, to the latest in space travel, nestled smack in the middle of the health section, the Science Times, will be at least one short question, if not smaller article related to do with diet, weight loss, exercise and health in general.

Sometimes it may be related to a recent discovery of a treatment for a rare disease. Other times, perhaps one more piece of concrete evidence proving the definitive link between exercise and anti aging.

And while the topic of weight loss is certainly always a hot one, one which far too many Americans desperately need to engage in, it seems the positioning of some leaves the reader to feel even more confused.

Reader being me, and the confusion is not a result of not knowing how to create a strategic and practical plan for others to implement to reduce body fat, rather, confusion as to why weight loss or lack of ability to lose said weight in general, is being presented as an enigma, one which we simply cannot figure out.

Two in particular stood out over the past month:

 “Why Are We So Fat?” (1) and “Diets and Weight Loss: A Complicated Link”  (2) left the reader (me) quite puzzled.

The former begins with a brief intro reminding us of how, since 1975 the obesity rate in the US has gone from 15% to 40%, followed with the statement that no one really knows how this happened.


It continues along to inform us that it’s only the rare exception that actually follow a plan which does not lead to years of yo-yo dieting, in a ‘ fruitless, frustrating cycle’.

While this may be true, as an estimated percentage 95% (3), of Americans do ‘fail’ when trying to diet’, the single solution suggested in this article as the “one uniformly effective  treatment, which is woefully underused, as only about 1% of 24 million of eligible American adults” take advantage of this method.

And what is this unique answer, this failsafe cure all?

Not cutting out the evil drug that sugar is.

Not going back to basic common sense eating of nixing all the processed, grain-based packaged items.

Not even upping one’s intake of local, in season, organic veggies and getting one’s body to move.


It’s bariatric surgery.

The piece then focuses more on the genetic impact of how fat (or not) we may become, as well as the failure of a treatment aimed to target leptin, launched in the mid 90’s to ‘unlock a complex network of hormones to address weight gain” and culminates with with a ray of hope:  mice and rats are being given this bariatric surgery to help uncover and untangle the ‘web of biochemical changes that follow the procedure” in order to then offer solutions to their human counterparts.

So… is the takeaway that our genetics are what they are, there’s very little we can do to alter our circumstances and that really, our only hope is surgery?

It gets worse.

Just a few weeks back, the second article caught my eye; this one titled, Diets and Weight Loss: It’s a Complicated Link. 

We learn from the conclusions of a recent Obesity Summit (the fact that there exists an obesity summit should sound some alarm bells) that:

  • People vary in terms of how they respond to diets. (OK, fair enough; but still, there are some very basic common threads that are applicable to all, such as, again… no one needs to be eating sugar)
  • There is nothing new in the diet universe
  • Diet studies are insanely difficult
  • Dieting for better health does not necessarily equal dieting for weight loss

Statements which are all fair enough but not weighty (pun intended) to allow us to adopt this doom and gloom mentality that we simply can’t figure out why people are fatter and sicker now more than ever before.

The second to last paragraph offers,  some possible things that just maybe, could have contributed to the state of health (or lack there of) we see today:

  • Ever larger portion sizes
  • Growing tendency to snack all day
  • More meals being eaten out
  • Cultural acceptance of being fat to the point of thinking it’s normal

Hmmm…. do you think?

And sugar?

“Researchers are hesitant to blame a single ingredient for obesity”.

Researchers, even if that ingredient is a drug more addictive than cocaine and heroin? (4)

Yes, losing weight permanently may not be the easiest thing to do, but this messaging of hopelessness with the exception of surgery and confusion leading nowhere it’s not the answer.

And yes, humans are different from one another; some humans who hail from Japan might tolerate a handful of garden-fresh edamame while others whose ancestors lived in Central American may eat a couple of homemade masa tortillas with their fresh fish and veg, but attempting to take that out of context and suggest everyone should eat more soy for a natural, plant- based protein option or snack on popcorn as a fat-free great idea is far from truthful or accurate.

  • We all need water, and plenty of it.
  • We all need real, nutrient dense foods.
  • We all need fresh, local, in season veggies in abundance.
  • We all need wild protein sources in moderation.
  • We all need a variety of natural fat.
  • We all need to sleep.
  • We all need to move.

No one needs to be eating packaged items, so highly processed it would take a team of highly trained CIA agents (CITE) to uncover one iota of nutrient density.

Nor do they need to consume sugar or even a diet high in carbohydrate for that matter; while the percentage of this macronutrient one relies upon for their own eating blueprint can vary based on several factors (activity level, gender, healthy history / history of trauma, autoimmune,  thyroid or inflammation in general and ancestry), when it comes to sugar and all products containing this addictive substance, it’s not a need – it’s a want.

Granted, the impact of learned behavior is not to be overlooked; we model what we’re taught and it takes a leap of confidence, a feeling of truly being sick and tired of being sick and tired or a combination of both to make lasting changes.

But the most important takeaway is not doom and gloom and you’re hopeless and helpless unless you can afford a major study.

If you start by moving, just a little bit each day, take the things out of your diet and therefore out of your mouth that aren’t really food in the truest sense of the word and execute both as part of a sound plan to achieve a realistic timely fat loss goal, you’re creating the foundation to a lifetime of health, no matter how genetically different you might be from your slim co worker, your fit neighbor or your toned gym buddy.

Only one person controls the outcome of how fat and sick, or conversely, fit, lean and healthy you become and it’s the same person who’s choosing what to put in your mouth.

So unless you’re reading this at an unheard of early age of reading, so young that you’re still being fed by your mommy, it’s time to take the proverbial bull by the horns and empower yourself by taking control of your own health and subsequently, your own destiny.

What a better time to decide to do this that right this very moment?