There are varieties of ignorance when it comes to losing weight. First, there is misinformation. This is like telling someone that the speed limit is 70 when it is actually 35. Not good. Then there are things that we know that we just ignore. This is like sitting next to a guy on an airplane who has a parachute and then asking him for a mint. Very not good. Then there are the things we know we don’t know and the things we don’t know we don’t know. Just plain bad!
90% of the time when I ask a patient how they are going to lose weight, they say that they are going to exercise. But exercise makes you hungry! Exercise alone will not cause permanent weight loss. This is misinformation.
How about this one for obviousness. The problem is not losing weight, it is gaining it. And it is always and forever going to be gaining it. This change in perspective will highlight why you can choose ALMOST any diet and it will work to lose weight, but it still ultimately fails.
We know we don’t know how our brains cause our weight to gravitate to one specific number. We don’t know how long it takes for this number to change once we reach a lower weight. We don’t know if gut bacteria play a role in weight gain or loss.
Now the worst type of ignorance -- not knowing what we don’t know. At one time, it was thought that ulcers were only caused by acid in the stomach. Then one day, a doc from Australia proved it could be caused by a bacterium called H. Pylori. It took 20 years of dirty looks and name-calling before his discovery was acknowledged by the medical community. These sorts of errors are very difficult to correct, even in the face of mounds of evidence.
Stay tuned and next time I will discuss some profound (and obvious) strategies for permanent weight loss. Remember that the problem is GAINING it!