[Disclaimer. This essay gives medical advice which you take at your own risk.]
This essay describes an unusual experiment I made a few years ago. I pass on the data collected before, during and after the experiment. As engineers like there to be a practical result from any work they do, I have added to this essay a "Losing-weight Course", in the hope that any over-weight readers may benefit from my experience and observations. Its deeper interest is as an example of how you can ask yourself a sequence of questions and by answering them logically arrive at a truth which you knew already but had never realized. A sort of Socratic self-questioning.
I was not particularly over-weight, but I had occasion to stay at a hotel and there in the bathroom, where the illumination was different (and brighter) than in my bathroom, I noticed that I had developed an unpleasantly thick waist-line. Otherwise known as a "spare tire" or as the Germans call it a "Rettungsring" – one of those things people put round their waist when they can't swim. It had crept up on me during the years of living in Bavaria, where restaurants sell Farmers' Omelettes and Lumberjacks' Steaks (Computer Operators' Snacks would be more suitable, these days). So I determined to do something about it. Partly out of curiosity; I have listened to lots of conversations on the subject of losing weight and heard lots of what appeared to be nonsense. But also with the practical purpose of making my old suits fit better. Suits go in and out of fashion and engineers hardly have to wear them so they last for ever. You will be pleased to hear that the Course was highly
successful and that you can take it too.
You are in a trap. You a fat, overweight and ugly. Employers are unwilling to give the control of the smallest part of their business to someone who can't control his own body and so you have a boring job. Insurance companies charge you a high premium as they estimate the mortality of being overweight as equivalent to high blood pressure or smoking heavily. You have no sex life as the opposite sex find you unattractive. You see the veiled contempt in the eyes of your own sex as they look at your pallid sweating self-indulgent face. You are lethargic and boring. You have given up games and outdoor activities long ago. Ashamed of your obscene body you cannot even uncover to lie on a beach. So you stay at home, tell people you have some incurable glandular disorder, watch TV and console yourself with yet more food which makes you fatter still. Overweight, unhealthy, cut off from the company of your more lively contemporaries, you live alone steadily digging your grave with knife and fork.
How can you recover a youthful lissom figure and merry wit?
The problem better defined
To solve your problem we must first learn how most living creatures, and in particular human beings, get the energy to drive their bodies.
They do it by oxidizing or burning various complex chemicals, in the same way a car burns petrol. The oxygen is in the air we breath, the complex chemicals are the foods we eat. We live by burning food in air. Now you can actually burn food in air, and in fact this is how the energy content (or calories) of different foodstuffs is measured. But living things cannot do this so directly, if only for the reason that the heat liberated by direct burning would destroy their bodies. So they do it by first converting the food into something else which can be burnt in a more roundabout way at a lower temperature. This "something else" is SUGAR and the end products of burning sugar are water which is excreted in the urine and carbon dioxide which we breathe out. We eat various other types of food: starch and fat, to generalize, but they all must be converted to sugar to be burnt. Now a little thought will show you that some form of fuel storage is required if we are not to have to eat continuously. One solution would be to take on board a load of raw food and convert it into sugar as is required. The disadvantage of this idea is that raw food is bulky and would have to be carried around. (It is called "raw food" because it contains a certain amount of indigestible material). A better idea would be to convert the raw food into sugar immediately and just store the sugar. The food input that could not be converted into sugar would be rejected as unwanted weight.
Unfortunately the incoming food cannot be instantly converted into sugar - it takes you about 2hrs to "digest" a meal. The best strategy would be to start converting the incoming food into sugar as soon as it arrives and start storing any sugar surplus to immediate requirements. So we end up with two short-term energy storage systems:
- the food in the stomach being digested and
- a sugar store. (If it is very cold or you are working very hard the sugar will need to be burnt as soon as it is produced and there will be none left over to store).. But normally sugar is produced faster than it is burnt so a sugar store is built up.
Now this cycle of eating raw food - converting to sugar - burning sugar - refilling with more raw food - .. can only work if there is a regular supply of raw food. In the distant past, when our bodies were evolving, there wasn't such a regular supply as there is today and so we should expect to find that we also have a long-term food store. Now what can we say about this long-term food supply?
- It must be able to last at least a week and perhaps a month with careful management.
- It must not be so bulky that it hinders the movement of its owner.
- It must therefore be a very concentrated form of food. For it to last a week it must be the equivalent of a week's normal food or say 7 large meals. So what is this super-food? The answer lies in expressions such as "Ye shall eat the fat of the land", "fat cat".
It is FAT.
Some of the incoming food eaten during the "fat" years is stored as fat. That which is already fat requires minimal conversion: the other foods need conversion. In the lean years the fat can be converted back to sugar and burnt in the usual way. The fat store is distributed around the body where it is likely to be the least nuisance ie. where there is the least movement. For men this is the waist and then the thighs. Women (sorry about this, ladies) sit on their fat store.
The body as a power-station
Think of the human body as a power-station, inputting raw food at one end and at the other producing power which is mainly used to keep the power station operating, driving the air blowers (lungs), the pump (heart), the computer centre (brain), various fuel treatment mechanisms and of course to move the whole power station around. (Not only is this a mobile power station but it can also play tennis, dance, defend itself, climb mountains etc. etc.)
To see something of how this power station works from day to day, imagine you are the station manager. On the wall hangs a list of your duties which must surely look something like:
1.At all times enough power must be available to run the vital life-support systems.
2 Ensure orders are placed in time for an adequate raw food supply, the quantity depending on actual and anticipated power demands.
3.Provide enough power to the generator to satisfy the instantaneous load.
4.Prevent the generator from being overloaded by unreasonable or unrealistic demands.
5.Ensure the power station temperature remains within certain narrow limits.
In order to perform your duties you have a fairly complete control over the station. You indent for raw food when it is required, determine how much food is converted into sugar and how much into fat. You make sure the generator is never over-loaded, sending out warning signals if this occurs. You are responsible for many "house-keeping" functions, making sure the various food converters operate smoothly, that the temperature of the station is optimum. You must constantly check the level of the sugar store, keeping it topped up as much as possible so as to allow for emergency demands. You must ensure the fat store is built up to and maintained at some optimum level depending on your estimate of how often and how long there will be a complete "food outage".
Providing the raw food intake is regular and plentiful, and the load on the generator reasonably constant and predictable, you have fairly easy job.
So far so good. We have considered the body to operate like a power station, inputting fuel and outputting energy. This analogy is exactly true. Many experiments have been performed in which animals or human volunteers are kept for several days in closed boxes, whilst the energy provided for them in the form of food, and that utilized - as heat output, carbon dioxide production, and work done (for example the riding of stationary bicycles) - are measured. Within the closest obtainable experimental limits, both humans and animals obey the law of conservation of energy, input and output being exactly balanced.
But we have ignored something very important and that is the fact that the power station must produce power or it will stop functioning. And the one certain way to stop the power station producing power is to stop feeding in fuel. There must be a positive incentive to keep feeding in fuel. If you don't eat you will die. Survival is one of the most fundamental drives and manifests itself in many ways. Each vital function of the body has its own alarm system. Looking down from a height produces a sense of danger of falling. Lack of air to breathe produces a feeling of panic. Lack of water produces the warning sensation thirst. Various other dangers are signalled by pain. Lack of food is signalled by "hunger".
Let's look at "hunger" in more detail as it is going to be an important factor in your life. Hunger is a feeling that is produced when the sugar level in the blood drops below the level you are used to. In the developed world we eat so regularly and copiously that the sugar level in our blood is permanently high and we rarely know the feeling of hunger. Hunger is a strange "empty" feeling, hardly ever encountered but often used in conjunction with other needs because of its strong emotional effect - "hungry for love", "hungry for the sun". Sportsmen know that pangs of hunger can strike in the middle of some strenuous activity, such as mountain climbing. They know that what they crave at that moment is not a cheese sandwich but a Mars bar or a piece of chocolate.
Sugar. It works instantly. Some of them even carry tablets of glucose, which is pure sugar. The cheese sandwich will of course also relieve the pangs of hunger but it will take longer as it first has to be converted into sugar. All the sensors in our body are “differential" sensors ie. they can only detect changes, not a steady state. Yes, even the eye, which seems to contradict this statement, is only sensitive to movement. It receives the impression of stable images only because the eyeball itself is permanently making small high-speed movements. If these movements are stopped with a drug you become temporarily blind. The "sugar-level sensor" in our blood is no exception. It will give out strong signals which are interpreted as "hunger" when the sugar concentration drops. But once the sugar level stabilizes at the lower level, the "hunger" signal will disappear.
Like most things in life - "you have got used to it".
The lesson from this is that the hunger pangs will be strong at first but will diminish. But it's not enough to simply send a signal “I am thirsty" or "I feel nervous looking over this balcony". Responding to the signal must be rewarded in some way. And the reward is pleasure. The comfort of stepping back from a cliff edge. Taking a deep breath after a long underwater swim. A glass of water after a hard game of squash. The relief when a toothache stops. Satisfaction of hunger is deep but more complicated because it is allied with two of the 5 senses - taste and smell. (Taste enables us to distinguish between salt, sour, sweet and bitter. Everything else we smell). The combination of these two senses is an input filter on everything we eat. They provide the quality control on the power station fuel input. There are "good" combinations giving pleasure and "bad" combinations giving repugnance. (You can sometimes learn to like combinations which are initially repugnant, like "dry", or sour wines, but that is another subject). If you are hungry your hunger can be stilled with bread or lumps of tasteless Soya and there can even be a certain satisfaction ("hunger is the best sauce"). But the real pleasure comes in eating "tasty" food. In fact you can continue eating even though you are not hungry, providing the food is tasty enough. The limit in this case is saturation of the senses and finally distension of the stomach. Now let's see how things look like from the point of view of the "power station" (you) and the station manager for various scenarios.
Scenario 1 Normal operation.
You have had an energetic but satisfactory day climbing. It was sunny at first but even in the shade you had to remove clothing and you sweated profusely. But now you are descending the mountain, night is falling, it is getting cooler and going downhill is not as energetic as going uphill. You are feeling cold and cannot speed up as much as you would like - you do not have the same drive as you had in the morning. Your stomach is empty, you feel cold and hungry and are looking anxiously down into the valley for the welcoming lights of the restaurant.
The power station (you) has had a busy day. The station manager has been carefully feeding sugar to the furnace, keeping the generator turning and generating quite a high output. It has been a cold day but the burning of so much sugar in the furnace, (never 100% efficient) has left over enough heat to keep the power station warm. In fact, the station has occasionally become so warm that auxiliary cooling has had to be switched in. The early morning raw-food intake was all converted to sugar and put in temporary store, but it has now mostly been burnt. The rule now is "economy". Signals are sent to the generator to reduce output power and further economies are effected by turning down the heating of the various out-buildings. The station manager starts to write out an order for the next raw-food delivery. You enter the warmth of the Gasthof and after stripping off outer clothing, sit down with a sigh of relief. The first requirement is warmth - a hot drink. The load on the generator has dropped, energy is available for warming the outstations. As the Glühwein descends you feel life beginning to return to your arms and legs. After a short time spent relaxing you look around and see other guests eating. You begin to think you should eat too. You are tired rather than hungry, but know you will have to wait a long time before you can eat if you don't eat now. So something is ordered. The food arrives and you start to peck at it. Suddenly you realize you are ravenously hungry! The saliva starts to run. You sink your teeth with pleasure into the hot beef steak and quaff a pint of beer. There is a deep primitive satisfaction in the taste and smell of the warm food and the action of chewing. Fantastic! Someone asks you a question but you ignore him. An economical Nature has given you but one orifice for both eating and talking - right now you are not interested in using it for talking. And as the food rapidly disappears your body temperature starts to rise. Raw food is being converted to sugar and fuel is available to warm up the furthermost recesses of the power station. You feel a profound sense of contentment and well-being. The world is a good place, you feel tolerant. You stretch out your legs, feel drowsy and may sleep. Note these symptoms well - they will be referred to later. Note also that the ultimate long-term fat reserve has neither been added to nor reduced in the above scenario.
Scenario 2 Abnormal operation.
But suppose something goes wrong.
One day the station manager receives orders from above to increase the raw food intake. Expecting extra demands on the generator he enthusiastically receives the food, treats it and starts converting it to sugar, ready to pour on the power. But the load on the generator remains minimal. More food is coming along, the sugar converter is backing-up. Panic. He burns as much sugar as he can, increasing the whole station's temperature wastefully, signals are sent back to stop more food entering, the proportion of food put into the long-term fat store is increased. And finally he starts passing through all the unwanted food and ejects it. The power station "feels" stuffed, overhot and sweating and in the morning will make a voluminous visit to the toilet.
What has happened? One possibility is that you have been invited to some large banquet. Initially you are not particularly hungry and in fact determined not to eat too much as you are watching your waist-line. But one or two drinks weaken your resolve, there is a festive atmosphere and everyone is looking forward to the forthcoming meal. You nibble at some little items set out in saucers and begin to feel definitely hungry. (Yes, they are called "appetizers"). Any last inhibitions you may have are removed when you begin to smell and taste the food being served. You tuck-in with all the others and as one tasty dish follows the others you loosen your belt. And when you feel you cannot eat a mouthful more, the savoury dishes disappear to be followed by sweet dishes, cream, lemon, delicate pastry. With renewed appetite you recommence. After-all Christmas is but once a year.
Now let us assume the above scenario occurs not just once as described above, but regularly. It becomes a routine. Various changes occur in the power station to accommodate this regular influx of not-to-be used food. As to how much is stored in the fat reserve depends very much on the personality and experience of the station manager. A nervous manager will regularly tap a proportion of the food, convert it into fat and salt it away. The power station will need to build more and more storage space to hold this large fat reserve. The fat reserve increases and increases until finally the fears of the station manager that he will one day run out of fuel have been stilled. Let us now freeze the action because we have just described your problem. Your are overweight, eat far too much food, mostly all of which goes straight through you. You have got used to the taste of food and are "hooked" on the need to have a constant high level of sugar in your blood. At every meal you eat too much, you sweat trying to get rid of unwanted energy, and because you are too heavy to do any strenuous physical exercise, you make massive visits to the toilet. Your whole life style has changed. See introduction to this essay. About the only plus point is that you feel secure every time you pat your enormous fat reserve. You may die of an overstrained heart but you won't get an ulcer. (Note that other station managers, sure that the food supply will always be present, merely check that the fat reserve is at some minimum and shunt the unwanted food straight on through and out. Which goes to show that fundamentally your problem is some sort of internal anxiety)
How to lose weight
There is no secret here. You must eat less and exercise more. I'm sure you know this already. You may have already tried dieting, doing some light exercise, but it was so painful and the results so meagre that you have given it up. The solution I am about to propose to you is brutal and painful but takes the shortest possible time and will probably be a permanent cure.
The Course is quite simple. You are going to eat NOTHING and exercise harder and harder for several weeks. I lost 3cm per week around my middle.
The Course is extreme because losing weight is painful and it is essential for you to see results quickly. 4-5mm per day is not much but it soon makes itself felt in the looseness of your clothes. Notice that all the figures given in this Course are dimensions rather that weights. I do this because personally I couldn't care less about my weight: I am much more concerned about its distribution. I assume you are the same. (For a weight comparison - a hardworking manual labourer requires 3000 Calories per day. This is roughly equivalent to 400gm of margarine which is pure fat and is the weight he would lose per day if he didn't eat. The light exercise I am proposing you do during the Course is maybe 1/3 of this so you will lose 130gm per day)
Will it work with you? I don't know what sort of person you are but if you have allowed yourself to get so fat, I am honestly compelled to tell you that you need a lot of will-power to lose weight and you probably don't have it. Will-power is the secret. You must isolate yourself from your body, you must not allow yourself to be ruled by the signals coming from it. You must show it who is master. It may be the first challenge you have had in your life since you had to painfully swot for exam results. Freeing yourself from self-indulgence and instant gratification may well show you that you had powers of self control you never suspected. The ruthless self-control needed to lose weight will give you a self-respect you never dreamed you had. And with self-respect comes respect from others.
Big daunting words. But what is the sort of pain to be expected and for how long? In practice, and I speak from personal experience, the Course I am about to propose is about as painful as a heavy cold for about 3 days and thereafter settles down to the equivalent to some sort of irritating skin disease which itches slightly most of the time but occasionally badly. This stage can go on for a long time, depending on how fat you are. I suppose the worst thing about the pangs of hunger are that they are strange. We so rarely experience them and that for just the time needed to open the food cupboard door.
And now we finally come to the core of this essay.
Stage 1. (preparation)
You first need to make an estimate of how long the course is going to take and that depends on how fat you are. Take your clothes off and measure your waist line carefully with a piece of string. Do it with your stomach slumped, relaxed, and find the position where it is maximum. Use a felt-tip pen to mark the string. Now pull the string tight, as tight as you can, watching it sink into the fat. Pinch it in this position and mark the string again. This last waist-line is the "target waist-line". Subtract the target waist line from your actual waist-line. Divide this distance (in centimeters) by 3. This is the number of weeks the "losing weight" course will last for you.
(Carefully save this piece of string. You are going to be using it a lot in the future).
Example. You are "over-waist" by 20cm. The course is going to last almost 7 weeks for you. Yes, look at that ring of fat. It, plus the rest of the fat distributed over your body, is the equivalent of about 50 large restaurant meals! Your whole life style is going to change for these 7 weeks, so start planning. In some ways you are going to become more sociable, in others (especially at meal times) less. Make sure the next 7 weeks are clear and Christmas or family parties don't occur.
- Tell all your friends you are going to lose weight and not to invite you to meals etc.
- Get rid of all the food in your house. Lay in a stock of tea, coffee and milk.
- Find out where there is a swimming-pool or sport center and enrol. You will be visiting it most days.
- A week before the course is due to start, begin eating irregularly. Breakfast early one day, late the next. The same with other meals. A good time to start the course is when your eating habits are going to be disturbed anyway. House moving, emotional upset, changing jobs, working temporarily somewhere else etc.
- Try to imagine what your new life is going to be like for the next 7 weeks. You are going to have an awful lot of free time.
- Learn the following proverb by heart, write it on a big piece of paper and stick it over your kitchen table:
"Appetite comes with Eating"
(I suppose the survival value of this odd reaction was that the tribe didn't slay a dinosaur every day - when they did you had better make the most of it)
And finally you have your last meal and go to bed.
Stage 2 The Course.
As I have tried to explain above, losing weight would be simple if you didn't feel hungry. (And make no mistake. You should feel hungry during this course). No pain, no gain. To help you support this hunger, some practical tips:
- The first is the worst. After 3 days the urgent need for food will somewhat abate.
- A cup of tea or coffee (especially coffee) will still the pains of hunger for an hour or so.
- Never let your thoughts turn to food. Always give your brain something else to think of.
- Hunger pains are not constant. They will go up and down in a surprising fashion, but peaking usually at what used to be your meal-times. Make sure you are doing something else at these times.
- Time passes wonderfully when you sleep and you won't dream of food. In fact you will sleep much better than you did after a heavy meal.
- Exercise is as important as not eating. If you just fasted and didn't exercise the only load on your body would be that of keeping warm and that isn't much. You would lose weight but very, very slowly. Exercise speeds up the process.
-Exercise burns immediately available sugar in the muscles and lowers the sugar content of the blood. So expect to feel extra hungry during and after exercise. But if you rest a while you will feel the pangs abate as more fat is converted to sugar. As regards the amount of exercise you should do - by the end of the week you should be walking briskly at least an hour per day and swimming 1/2 hour. Remember that to get rid of fat you have to convert it to sugar, breath in oxygen to burn the sugar and breathe out the carbon dioxide. Yes, you have to BREATH OUT your fat. Exercise warms you up and keeps you awake as otherwise the body would try to conserve power by switching off all non-essential systems. Exercise helps time to pass and by making you tired prepares you for sleep. Exercise provides another subtle help by the production of "endorphin". This is a pain-killing drug produced in the brain which raises the pain threshold and reduces the muscle pain of physical exercise. It must have once had a survival value when sudden physical exercise was required. The unfortunate (or fortunate) by-product is that like other drugs, you can get hooked on it. ("Runners' high"). You notice this (for example) with joggers who become impatient and bad-tempered if they have to sit down all day. They crave their "fix". Becoming less hooked on sugar and more on endorphin is an excellent way of losing weight.
- Beware of friends who tell you that you are being stupid and extreme by total fasting. They are envious of your will-power. Your real friends will admire and encourage you.
-Hunger signals can stimulate the brain to produce many ingenious reasons as to why you should give up the fast and tuck-in to a
healthy nourishing meal:
Eg.1. Total fasting is dangerous and unnatural.
This is rubbish. Your body has been designed over millions of years to be perfectly capable of going without food for several days at least. We would not be the dominant life form on this planet if this were not so. Fasting used to be a part of many religions. Grossly fat people have survived for months when shipwrecked, provided they had water. You are a lot more rugged than you think. And lastly, if I can fast without the slightest of ill-effects except a feeling of hunger, you can do it too.
Eg.2. I inherited a tendency to be overweight and so can do nothing about it. You may have inherited a liking for good company and the food that usually goes with it. Whether you have also inherited a fatalistic self-indulgence and a lack of self-discipline will be revealed later. Maybe you really haven't the guts to follow this Course (if that's the right expression).
You will find that after two days you will not need to visit the toilet. This feels strange but after all "nothing in =nothing out". It's quite normal. It should serve as a reminder that you are living off a high quality food which burns with little or no residue. You are eating your own fat. As a reward you will experience a feeling of lightness, of cleanliness, of extra energy, inventiveness and liveliness. This must be what the religious fasters strove for.
Don't eat anything. "Appetite comes with eating". A little careless nibble at a small harmless biscuit will instantly convert you into a ravening monster furiously urging a taxi driver down to the main railway station at two o'clock in the morning to see if there is a snack-bar open so late at night. And that is the end of your fast.
It's as well to take some vitamin C - the only vitamin we can't manufacture ourselves. Buy the powder and give yourself a "pinch" (about 60mg) per day. If you don't, and your fast lasts more than a week, you may start to get "pre-scurvy" symptoms like bleeding gums when you brush your teeth.
Gradually your body will get used to the unusual idea that no easily assimilable food is going to arrive and it will start to reluctantly eat the fat reserves. Once it gets the idea, things become better. Remember you've probably never in your life had to do this so it takes a little while to learn. The longer your fast lasts, the easier you will find it to maintain. For me this was for two reasons:
1. If you give up after 2 days you have suffered for 2 days for nothing - carry on another day. If you give up after 3 days then you have got over the worst - a pity to give up now. And so on.
2. As you get into the fast you will discover that there are no ill effects and in fact if it wasn't for the feeling of hunger, you actually feel better.
And finally the two dots on your piece of string meet. You have shrunk to your target waist-line! Appropriately enough I celebrated this with a break-fast and it tasted fine. Your life style has changed, you can look at yourself with pride, ready to meet the simpler problems of ordinary living. And in the future your food reserve will stay in the food cupboard, not around your waist.
Note. It is far better to use the “string” method which measures fat, rather than weighing yourself. Drinking water or going for a pee can send your weight up or down by hundreds of grams.
How my fast went
I only fasted for two weeks. It was quite supportable and I could have gone on longer. My fast occurred during a fairly warm summer. This made it easier as I could exercise outside, walking or cycling. During the day it was 22 degrees in my office so I didn't feel especially cold. I have fasted a day or so in winter and it's certainly harder. You feel colder, the hunger pains are more intense and it's not so easy to go out walking in snow. But I'm sure you lose "waist" quicker.
I lost 6 cm around my waist in the two weeks. I am 1.80m tall, weigh 68kg and was 97cm around the waist before the fast. I don't know how much weight I lost. I live a sedentary life but every evening I did about 1-2 hours of light exercise. And over both weekends I went on a 2-3 hour hike.
After the fast
I was never a great eater. Cup of tea for breakfast, perhaps two cheese sandwiches for lunch and a restaurant meal with a pint of beer in the evening. Since ending the fast I have resumed my old eating habits and maintained my waist-line. In fact it has slightly decreased even more. The only thing that has changed is that I tend to do slightly more exercise in the evening than I did before. Perhaps I am hooked on Endorphin?
Now you have finally achieved the slim silhouette you have striven for, it would be a pity to let it gradually blur - which it will do of course, if you don't take precautions. Obviously you must not start eating more food than your body needs. Some guide-lines:
- Don't slip into the habit of eating regularly, whether you are hungry or not. When the meal-time arrives, ask yourself "Am I really hungry?". If the answer is "no", then don't begin to eat. If you do, you will inevitably start to feel hungry ("appetite comes with eating") and you will end up consuming a largish meal, feel overstuffed and regret it. Ignore the remarks of your friends - they only wish they had your will-power.
- Avoid saying to yourself things like "I only had a small breakfast and no lunch, I should be hungry, I deserve a good warm meal".
- Above all, avoid eating out of boredom, to give yourself something to do, to give yourself a lift.
- Keep an eye on the volume of your toilet visits. Remember it is mostly unwanted food that has been passed through and is a sign that you are eating too much.
And the reward for all this will be that every meal, however simple, will taste delicious. "Hunger is the best sauce".
And finally, from Scientific American of March 2006, pg. 38 in an article ‘Unlocking the secrets of Longevity Genes’ –
“Restricting an animal’s calorie intake is the most famous intervention known to extend life span. Discovered more than 70 years ago, it is still the only one absolutely proven to work. The restricted regime typically involves reducing an individual’s food consumption by 30 to 40 percent compared to what is considered normal for its species. Animals ranging from rats and mice to dogs and possibly primates that remain on this diet not only live longer but far healthier during their prolonged lives. Most diseases, including cancer, diabetes and even neurodegenerative diseases are forestalled. The organism seems to be supercharged for survival. The only apparent trade-off in some creatures is a loss of fertility.”