Chapter 1: An Overview of the Basics

You might be tempted to skip to the last section of this book, and that’s okay. Maybe you’re in a situation where you want solutions quickly. But I also think it would be good if you understood what created the Clash. Once you have a better understanding of our biology, and how it is interacting with our current environment, you will be better equipped, at least intellectually, to deal with your weight and better able to support those you love.   Sprinkled throughout this book are myths that we must put to rest. For too long, “they” have been telling us misnomers, myths, and down-right misguided statements of “facts.” These myths have been perpetrated by people who should know better. To move forward, we must address the myths that have been told and begin to see things the way they actually are.

 The first myth we’ll address is from the 14th Century. This myth was created by priests. Subsequent myths were originally created by, and perpetuated by, people who have placed themselves in priestly positions in our society. These are people that we tend to follow without question simply because of their position.  And yet in this area, they are often wrong. And when they are wrong, we suffer.

 This book is divided into three sections: Biology, Environment, and Accommodation. Each section presents information that is important to understanding the Clash and accommodating it. Long-standing myths are debunked. And what you will learn will help you ultimately make choices that will result in a healthy and happy life.

 In the Biology section, you’ll learn about the mechanics of weight gain. You’ll see how Mother Nature carefully designed our bodies to succeed and to pass along successful genes.

 Next, in the Environment section, we address how our modern society has derailed our biology. How big companies have exploited aspects of our biology to drive profits. You’ll also understand why we find ourselves in the situation where our basic biology is now working against our health and survival.

 Finally, when we reach the last section on Accommodations we’ll address several modalities you can implement to counter-act the Clash and thus deal with the environment and our biology. But more important, we’ll set you on a path toward successful weight management and health.

Since you will see the word obesity over and over throughout this book, it would make sense to at least try to define the condition we call obesity.  First of all, we all know that the word means “too much body fat”.  Excess body fat is obvious, we can see it and we can feel it. But the more health significant excess fat is inside your body and not on the surface.  I wish that it was real easy to measure body fat.  It can best be directly measured by doing a full body magnetic resonance imaging procedure or MRI.  With this study we can visualize the important intraabdominal fat and our subcutaneous fat that is easily seen and felt between our skin and our muscles. But this test costs a lot of money and very few health providers will have this machine in their offices.  You definitely will not have one in your home. 

But you can measure your height and body weight in your own home.  Because these two measurements are universally available, the scientists who study obesity came up with a measurement called Body Mass Index or BMI which is a complicated formula based on a relationship between height and weight.  Right away we could see some problems with this measurement.  Body builders could be heavy with muscles and yet have very little fat.  But they would have a “high BMI” despite being healthy. 

But it was the best we could do for the general population and has served as a standard estimate for obesity.  Just measure your height and your weight and go to a web browser and enter “BMI”.  You can immediately know where you stand.  If your BMI is 24.9 or less, you are thought to be normal weight.  Overweight is 25-29.9.  If your BMI is 30-34.9 you have Class I obesity.  A BMI of 35-39.9 will put you in Class II obesity and any BMI over 40 will place you in the Class III obesity category.  You will see later in this book how these categories are used as a guide  to which accommodation tools would be most appropriate for you. 

An Overview of the Basics

You have probably already noted that people become overweight for different reasons. Medically, we struggle to even find the right words to use when describing different eating behaviors. To make it easier to understand, I created the following four categories: 

  • Unsatisfieds
  • Cravers
  • Skippers
  • Unawares

Perhaps the largest portion of overweight people are the Unsatisfieds. For them, one cookie or one cracker is never enough. More is always better.

 Next are those who truly crave food. Cravers have a certain obsession that keeps thoughts of food in their heads all day long.

 Skippers, ironically, are rarely hungry. They often skip breakfast and lunch, and notice that the evening meal is enough for them. Yet they find themselves overweight.

Finally, the Unawares are just careless. They fail to pay attention to their lifestyle and increases in weight are gradual.  This month they’re a pound or two heavier than last month. Every year, they have more pounds than the year before. Next thing they know, Unawares are dangerously overweight.

You may recognize yourself in one or two of these four types.   The point is there is no one-size-fits-all for weight loss. Also, even within one certain category, what works for one person may not work for another. The best we can do is work with our biology, understand where we’re likely to get in trouble, and be diligent in our efforts to be healthy.

 If you have only one take-away from this book, understand that we are all different. Yes, the way our bodies work have similarities, and there are certain things all of us can do to achieve better health, but at the end of the day, you need to discover what works for you and for those you love. 

 You may be frustrated because we don’t have a step by step diet for you, but understand that I want you to be successful for the long term. Losing short-term weight is relatively easy, but living healthfully will require an individualized path.

 So while you may want to read various sections of this book out of order, I believe that to be successful, you’ll need all of this information. To understand why another person’s struggle is different than yours, you’ll want the full perspective that this book provides.