Most people blame themselves for weight gain. Sometimes, they also blame other people.
They say, “oh, you bought, so you bought this, or you bought this other thing, and the fridge is full,” but for the most part, they blame themselves. And that is actually not accurate because the big reason why you have a body weight problem is not your willpower or your discipline or your overeating or your big appetite.
Instead, the big reason why you have a weight problem has to do with the environment. The environment makes you fat.
So today I really want to drive this point and I want to help you understand what it is that the environment is doing to you that drives obesity.
In fact, I was just going over the stats and I read on the CDC website that 73.6% of Americans over 20 years old are either overweight or obese. 73.6% have either overweight or obesity! Obesity epidemic or what?
#1. SAD: The Standard American Diet.
OK, the acronym is SAD because indeed this diet is sad. The characteristics of the Standard American Diet, not enough vegetables, not enough fruits, definitely not enough fiber. The average American has maybe 12, 13 grams of fiber a day. The minimum requirement is 25 grams. People in the blue zones? Over 50 grams. OK, just to give you a sense of scale. Also, the Standard American Diet is higher in sugar content, salt and fat, and meat.
Okay, so let me get started by addressing meat. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be eating meat, OK? That’s not where this is going. I’m just saying that nowadays we’re eating more meat than in the past when we were eating more vegetables, fruits, and fiber. OK, now this combination here of sugar, salt, and fat is actually a very interesting combination because it has been shown by science that foods that contain a combination of those, even of two of these, like, for example, salt and fat, what is salt and fat? Chips, chips both have salt and excess fat. Or sugar and fat, what is sugar and fat? Donuts.
OK, what do those processed foods do to us? They make us overeat. You have one and you want to have another one. They’re actually engineered to drive overeating. OK, and we have a lot of these mostly refined carbohydrates (with or without dietary fat) around. OK, so the Standard American Diet has a lower food intake of fruits and vegetables and fiber-rich foods in general, and higher consumption of processed food, and that might end up having a combination of sugar, salt, and fat that also drives overeating, and also higher consumption of meat.
OK, so if we were to take you from living in this day and age in, let’s say, the United States of America and put you, the exact same person a hundred years ago, OK, you would have a different weight. OK, because the environment around you will be completely different. You will be eating different foods. You will be moving differently, which is my second point.
#2. We have lower levels of physical activity.
Most of us have office jobs. Many of us have long commutes. Well, nowadays, many of us work from home. The point is we just sit all day. So if you were to, let’s say, wear a pedometer, a step counter, many, many people would have less than 5000 steps a day, that’s sedentary.
To compare back in the day when they measured, the Mediterranean diet, OK, the average person from Crete, OK, I am from Crete. I grew up in Greece. The original study, the seven countries study that showed the Mediterranean diet as the best for heart disease and the specific population that beats all the other populations was was in Crete. OK, and those people that were studied were in the age of my grandparents. Back then, you know, the average activity a day? 10 kilometers! Now, it’s like less than five thousand steps a day.
So obviously, if you were to be moving more because you need to. It’s not like back in the day, people were not just going out for a walk, they were moving because that was what life required of them.
Many of them were farmers and they were actually walking to their fields and then they were walking around in the field all day doing things. This was driving activity up, which in turn was decreasing fat accumulation. Now, we don’t need to do that, we can just go to the office and sit on a chair and we have no reason to move around, and that is reflected in our weight.
This is actually part of NEAT (Non-exercise Activity Thermogenecis.) It’s a major contributor to our metabolism. You can read more about it in the fast metabolism diet.
#3. Overabundance of hyperpalatable triggers.
I mentioned the high sugar content, salt, and fat earlier, right? These are hyperpalatable foods that act as triggers that drive overeating and fat gain, like muffins and donuts.
You go to work, and somebody brings something to offer. And what is that thing that they bring?
Did they bring oranges? No. Did they bring carrots? No. Oh, muffins. Oh maybe cookies. Yeah. Something along those lines. All this stuff that make the Standard American Diet, a diet that makes you fat, there is an overabundance of those things that are easy to overeat, easy to increase your calorie intake, and easy to ultimately increase your fat stores.
OK, like even if you’re trying to avoid them, either to eat healthy or to support your calorie deficit, they come to you! Because this is how the environment is built up and this is what people do nowadays. So they’re just in front of youm and what did we say about those foods?
We said they are engineered to drive overeating. So even if you’re like, I’m just going to have just one. Yes. I mean, that’s what you’re thinking. But this thing is designed to get into your brain, OK?
And it gets to your brain.
And then stopping is really, really, really, really hard because this thing is actually designed to get into your brain. OK, so it’s not really bad, your willpower and your discipline. OK, there are bigger forces in action when this happens. And that’s how easy it is for your body fat percentage to go up, even if you yourself do not buy those processed foods.
#4. Difficult to find high-fiber whole foods.
This is really, really important, because it ties directly to the mass delusion we’re under about what is really healthy. What is healthy? This is a fascinating topic. OK, let’s say you make dinner, you think your dinner is very healthy with “good calories” in it. And you’re going to find that sometimes in those meal kits, the meal kits that they that they sell and you can get a subscription to, and they say, oh, get our healthy dinner.
OK, let’s say your dinner is 500 calories. OK, so not too high, not too low. 500 calories and half of your plate has, let’s say, green beans, OK. And you’re happy. You’re like “I’m eating my vegetables. Look at this! This is a healthy dinner. Half of my plate has vegetables.” OK, now let’s think about this from a calorie perspective, OK? One pound of green beans has 150 calories.
So how much weight is these half plate of yours? How many green beans do they have there? Maybe one third of this one pound? OK, so one pound of green beans is equal to what you get at the store, let’s say if you were to go to the freezer section, and get one bag, that’s usually one pound. So should we say that you’re eating one third of that? Half? But let’s say you’re eating one third of it and that takes it half of your plate.
You only put in 10% of your calories, OK, which is why we’re under this mass illusion about what is healthy. OK, people come to me, everybody who comes to me, in the Fitness Reloaded Weight Loss Habits Academy, they all eat a lot worse than what they think they are.
Even the people who think they’re eating pretty healthy (good quality carbohydrate sources, healthy fats, lean sources of protein), when they actually start following the goals that I give them, they start going through this process where they realize, “oh, OK, now I see.” Because people tell you, “oh, you should eat vegetables” and then you fill up half of your plate with vegetables and you think you’re doing a good job and yet you’re not.
I mean, you’re doing better than not including those vegetables, but you’re not really doing that well. And it’s not really your fault because there’s no good modeling out there, because the environment is built to give you a low-fiber diet that makes you hungry. OK, because high-fiber diets keep you full in fewer calories. Low-fiber diet makes you want to eat more.
OK, because where do we find high fiber? In fruits, vegetables, legumes, also whole grains. You’re going to find the bulk of your fiber in those other categories.
So this is the mass delusion.
So let’s say when people are traveling, when my clients are traveling, I’m telling them, “listen, it’s going to be extremely difficult to try to meet your goals” Because we, every week in the Fitness Reloaded Habits Academy, we have a Habit Diary that has specific habits that we track. So I tell them “it’s very unlikely you’re going to meet your habit goals when you’re traveling because you just don’t have good options, like what are you going to find?”
No, it’s not like it’s bad, but it’s not like it’s good. Maybe you’re going to find a banana, let’s say some fruit to buy or maybe some yogurt with fruit like let’s say when you go to the airport, but when it comes to actually having a healthy meal, it’s really tough when you go out, when you order food, because even the dishes that would be geared into being healthy, there’s so much fat because then they add oils or butters that they change the calorie composition of that dish and you still end up putting in a very small percentage of your calories into the healthy stuff and quite a big percentage into those other calories that don’t help you stay full with fewer calories like the calorie-dense stuff, which is the the oils and the fats and all of that.
Anyway, I was reading that…
About 5% or 3% of Americans just meet the low, the lowest fiber requirement, which is the 25 grams.
if you were to do Calorie Investing, which is what we’re doing here at Fitness Reloaded you would totally be in the top 3%.
And you will not just be eating the minimum requirement, you will actually be eating well. And what I want you to take out of this video is first, it’s not about willpower and discipline, it’s about how the environment and the system is set up, and the system is set up to make you fat.
OK, there’s no question about it. So if you want to be able to not just lose weight, but also not get fat in the future, if you want to be able to not have weight, be one of your problems, OK, then you need a lifestyle that is really weightproof that is going to shield you from more of the hyperpalatable triggers that are around you, from all the not so good options that are at restaurants, and, you know, when you visit your friends houses, I mean, they’re not going to cook in a way that will help you meet your Calorie Investing goals.
They’re going to cook like, you know, the Standard American Diet, and even if they think they’re cooking healthy, are they really? So you need a lifestyle that’s really, really weightproof. OK, so you need to know what that lifestyle looks like and then you need to create it in your life so that you don’t have weight be one of your problems in your life. OK, because what many people do, not many because most people never succeed with weight loss.
OK, let’s be honest about that. But even the people who manage to succeed, even the people who don’t just succeed, but manage to not gain the weight back. OK, so we’re talking about a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of people, most of this tiny percentage of people, they end up like having, let’s say you go out to drink coffee with they eat, they drink a little bit of black coffee, and they’re going to have like one bite of a cookie, they’re going to be really careful with restriction so that they don’t gain weight. OK, this is not a way, this is not a way to live. Like, in my opinion, this is not a way to live.
OK, it’s it’s so restrictive. So with Calorie Investing, you don’t have to worry, OK? With Calorie Investing, you don’t have to worry, you can go to the coffee shop and you can eat, even the not so good stuff no problem.
And we discuss how that happens in the Academy. So if you have not yet signed up, please go sign up. So I want you to keep that in mind. Mass delusion, it’s very likely you are still under the mass delusion and come on over to Fitness Reloaded so we can burst out that bubble and show you what it means to live healthy, to eat healthy, and also what that would look like for you specifically because eating healthy doesn’t look the same for each individual.
So every person makes a completely personalized plan that matches what they want in their lives, what they want, how they want to live, so they reach a healthy weight and it becomes difficult for them to gain fat.