There are two basic rules of weight loss, at least healthy weight loss. Actually, these two rules can be expressed in just two words - exercise and nutrition. These are natural, in more ways than you might imagine.
Certainly, there are a lot of other things that you can do to "help" your weight loss program, but that's pretty much all they are for most people - helpers. Most, however, are NOT natural. Diet pills, fad diets, and extreme measures are not "natural", and can even make the body do unnatural things...even die.
You would think that with approximately two-thirds of the adult population of the U. S. being overweight, that the problem would be much more complicated than it is! However, the truth about weight gain and weight loss is simple. If someone eats more calories than their body can use, they gain weight. If they use more calories than they eat, they lose weight. Weight gain and weight loss can't get any more "natural" than that!
As simple as the equation seems however, the solution can be made difficult by several factors, and the problem is confused by natural factors. Just as using our bodies as nature intended can help with weight loss, our lives today are unnatural, causing the natural processes of the body to go awry.
Originally, our bodies were designed to be very efficient machines in a rather inefficient environment. However, with time, certain aspects of our world became more efficient, and many of our physical systems became outmoded.
One simple example of this is the hormone cortisol, commonly referred to by diet pill pushers as the "stress hormone" and frequently blamed at "the" culprit when it comes to one's failure to lose weight. While it is true that cortisol is associated with times of stress, which is what nature intended it to be associated with. It actually served a function when our ancestors were likely to have to escape from bears or lions, and then walk several miles to get home...hopefully carrying portions of those same lions and bears.
These days, the bear is the boss, the bills, the neighbor's kids, and the traffic in which we find ourselves daily. There is no walk home to help cortisol perform its normal functions, so it goes about its business of helping the body prepare to repair physical damage that never occurred and replace calories that were never burned.
We no longer even have to saddle a horse. We don't even have to manhandle non-power steering equipped cars any more. For years, one of the greatest enemies of weight loss and health has been the television. More recently, the TV's ability to deprive us of healthy activity and exercise has been improved by the invention of the remote control.
I remember my father getting out of his chair several times in an evening, walking across the room, bending to turn the dial, perhaps fiddle with the tuning, and then return to his chair (which the cat had torn to shreds). Last night, I, the fitness guru, used the remote control to change channels several times, never once leaving my wife's side as we both slipped into oblivion in the overstuffed double recliner...which the cat had better leave alone if he knows what's good for him.
Is it any wonder that when I arose this morning, I had to go into that same living room and do a scheduled physical activity...walking on the treadmill as part of my ongoing effort to combat the combined forces of time, gravity, and inertia?
Our ancestors never had to "schedule" exercise. It was an integral part of their lives.
They could not rise up from their seat on a rock by the fire, walk to the fridge in the corner of the cave and return with a multi-caloried snack...several times in one evening. When they could eat, they ate, and when they couldn't, they didn't. If a bear chased them and they had to expend large quantities of energy in hopes of self preservation, that nasty old cortisol told their bodies what to expend and how, and when it was over, evil ol' cortisol again helped them feel a need to replenish their stores of energy for the next bear attack.
As they wandered through the woods, they might come across some berries or nuts, but there was no McRockald's or StoneburgerKing on every corner offering to provide them extra carbs because the tribal leader was threatening to let them go.
They did not have sugar or French fries or white bread or Dairy Queens.
In all honesty, even allowing for their best attempts at health and fitness, we today probably have better opportunities to eat well and be physically fit than our ancestors ever had. It is also true, however, that the same scientific advances which have endowed us so richly with a bright tomorrow full of wonder has, at the same time, had the effect of making healthy weight loss difficult, as simple as it may seem.
While no one should want to return to past periods when what passed as "good" health would be looked at askance by someone alive today, it is well to remember that our bodies were planned and designed to function in those sorts of periods, and, until evolution catches up with reality, any rational attempt at weight loss should be designed with two things in mind...exercise and proper nutrition.