Once regarded as a status symbol in the far east, being fat has become an increasing problem (no pun intended) here in the US. Surrounded by fast food, TV dinners and fad diets ranging from no carbs to all veggies. Secrets like grapefruits or meat or points or pounds or calories or fat (and now different kinds of fat) — all claim to be the path to a thin wonderland. It’s enough to make your head swim. While the dieting industry is making Billions and continuing to swell — unfortunately so are many American’s waist lines.

So how do you know what works and what doesn’t? Well you can do what I did and spend several years learning what ACTUALLY works and WHY or you can read on. I have discovered over the past several years a number of tips, tricks and methods to lose weight and feel great — both physiologically and psychologically. More importantly, I can explain why certain things help so that you can both understand how these tips are effective and customize your own diet program that fits your needs and personal tastes. So come on and learn how I was able to go from an out-of-shape average-Joe to a Triathlete. That’s right, I first lost 30 lbs of fat and then I gained 5 lbs of muscle and now I run in Sprint Trathlons and actually enjoy it.

This piece is the begining of a new section for this site called Dieting & Weight Loss. It is a way for me to tell others about some of these great things that I have learned about losing weight without starving yourself or spending lots of money while I complete my larger work The No Sides Diet (TM). The lawyers, of course, want me to mention that I am not a doctor nor have I had any formal nutritional training. I am simply a friend sharing with other friends the things that have worked for me (and WHY) and that can work for you.

The greatest dieting secret I have discovered (and anyone that wants to achieve real and lasting success with their weight-loss goals must realize) is this: A food’s calorie content, its ability to satisfy hunger, and its nutritional content are three MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVELY THINGS. Stated another way this means that a food’s weight gain/loss impact, its ability to make you full, and the amount of useful vitamins and other nutrients it contains are three completely unrelated attributes of said food item.

Before I jump into examples, let me expound on each of these three attributes to ensure that we are all clear on this principal because it is vital. Each and every food has a calorie content — otherwise it isn’t food. Calories are simply the amount of energy contained in the food. Unless you have an eating disorder, once you ingest a calorie your body can do one of two things with it: 1) it can use it (as energy) 2) it can store it for later (as fat). Losing weight is simple. You simply eat fewer calories than you use each day and you will lose weight. Unfortunately, like most things in life just because it’s simple doesn’t mean its easy. If it was everyone would be thin and we wouldn’t even realize that weight control could be a problem. But before I get to far ahead of myself, let me continue with these attributes. A food’s ability to fill one up can be divided into two degrees. One, the ability to fill one up at all — now anything you put in you stomach will make you slightly more full but I mean above this minimal threshold. Two, the ability to fill one up for an extended period of time. For instance, a large plate of baked fish will fill you up but a large steak will fill you up for a while. Lastly we have nutritional content. These are all the vitamins from A to Zinc to quote the Centrium commercial. The also include trace minerals and depending on your particular bent may include herbs like St John’s Wart. Basically it is all the stuff your mom used to tell you about broccoli when she was trying to get you to eat it. A food may contain a large amount of vitamins, minerals and vital nutrients, it may contain some of these or it may contain none whatsoever.

Now the problem most people have is that they think these three attributes are related or confuse them altogether. For instance they confuse “healthy” with “low calorie”. An example of this would be fruit juices. First of all, most fruit juices have sugar added for “taste”, but assuming one selects a “pure” juice to drink they are still loaded with calories. So yes, OJ is healthy. It gives you a lot of important nutrients like vitamin C, but it is not low in calories. Another misconseption, is that you have to eat only low calorie foods to lose weight. Higher calorie foods can sometimes be a better and less painful option. What matters is your TOTAL calories not how many calories each serving has (especially since serving sizes are mostly arbitrary anyway). For instance if you eat 3 servings of 200 calorie bran-health muffins and then are hungry again in two hours so you eat another 3 servings or you could eat two servings of 250 calories of slab-o-meat steak but that keeps you full for four hours — which is better? Well the 500 calories of meat instead of 600 calories of bran is better from a weight loss perspective. It is important to clearly point out that weight loss is and healthy are two different things….. more on this stuff later. I don’t want to lose people on my first entry — besides, I’m tired. :D