In 2002, the British politician, Ann Widdecombe, took part in a television show called Celebrity Fit Club. It was a follow up programme to Fat Club, which featured ordinary people, weighing up to 30 stone, prepared to be photographed in swimsuits in a desperate bid to have access to people who, they believed, could help them to lose weight. At the end of her experience, Widdecombe said that if she ever wrote a diet book it would be just two pages long. Page one would say “eat less” and page two would say “do more.”
It is an almost universally held belief that the only way to lose weight is to eat less and/or do more. This in turn comes from a misapplication of the Laws of the Universe to the human body.
I have lost count of the number of times I have heard diet advisors say “energy in = energy out”; “you can’t change the laws of the universe”. However, there is no law of the universe that says energy in equals energy out. We have got the most fundamental principle, of what the laws of the universe (thermodynamics) actually do say, wrong. In Chapter 1 we set out what the first law of thermodynamics actually does say and how significant this is as an error in the world of weight loss.
We also consider – even if energy in did equal energy out (which it doesn’t) – surely less energy in would lead to less energy out. We highlight the assumptions that have wrongly been made and how the body can and does adjust internally and how we have not allowed for this fact. You may be interested to know that using 200 calories up in an exercise session is as likely to come out of your body’s planned maintenance (basal metabolic rate) for that day, as it is to come from your love handles.
We explain that weight gain and loss is absolutely NOT about the naively simple notion of calories in and out, but about how the body stores fat and how the body un-stores (releases) fat. You will learn the most important food to avoid to lose weight – oh, and it just happens to be the food that you most likely eat more of now, if you are trying to lose weight ‘the current way’.
Some people seem to have a mental block when it comes to anything science – this chapter is only nine pages long so please give it your best shot. I try to put things as simply as possible, but I can’t oversimplify things, not least because the oversimplification of these laws has got us into such a mess already. Even if you skim through this short chapter – all you need to take away is that energy in does not equal energy out. It is WAY more complicated than that. If you really think energy in equals energy out – put a gallon of diesel in a petrol car and see what you get out! (Don’t really)!
© Dr Zoë Harcombe PhD