OBESITY & OVERWEIGHT – INTRODUCTION
Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH
In my long experience as a health promoter, naturopath and lecturer, which started in 1987, I have personally known many people who used to be obese, suffered from cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, depression and many other diet- and lifestyle-related conditions who desperately tried different medications, therapies, and diets but failed to permanently solve their health problems. However, encouraged by the new promising and often revolutionary to them knowledge I shared with them during the health seminars, radio programs, and private conversations many of them decided to believe and to give it a try. As a result they gained victory over their bad habits and returned to their normal body weight without fasting or suffering from hunger but on a healthy and tasty unrefined diet which doesn’t require counting calories. In addition, since this unique holistic approach, apart from reducing body weight, positively energizes and influences entire human organism including the immune, nervous, circulatory, endocrinal, digestive and all other systems, often those who were willing to follow this plan also managed to reverse coronary heart disease or diabetes, recovered from cancer, depression, arthritis and other chronic diseases.
For example, I remember certain very obese and ill gentleman who together with his wife participated in one of my health seminars. Everything he heard during those five days made sense to him and opened his eyes to the true cause of his obesity and poor health. He instantly decided to switch to a well-balanced easy to follow, healthy and unrefined diet and to practice other important principles of weight control which you will find in the Health Recovery Plan. When 6 months later he came to listen to another series of lectures he was so slim and looked so different that I couldn’t recognize him. He said that on this normal-calorie plant-based diet, without fasting, counting calories, suffering from hunger, or skipping meals he had lost 80 pounds (40 kilos) in 6 months! Every day he just ate 3 regular tasty and high in nutrients and fiber meals always satisfying his hunger. He also said that as a result of practicing this new diet and lifestyle he recovered from other serious health problems such as chronic fatigue, coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and greatly improved his emotional and physical well-being. Apart from enjoying normal body weight he was brimming with positive energy and health.
On the internet you can find thousands of similar experiences written by people who permanently reduced their body weight to normal and recovered from other health problem as a result of switching to the unrefined healthy plant-based diet. One of them was Eric O. from San Jose, CA. Here is his story revealed on the website of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine:
“A whole-foods, plant-based diet changed my life. I lost 103 pounds, reversed type 2 diabetes, lowered my cholesterol and blood pressure to healthy levels, and have remarkably increased energy. I now compete athletically with men half my age and recently qualified for the Boston Marathon. I’m now studying to become a registered dietician so I can help others enjoy the benefits of whole plant-based foods.
I saw an interview with President Bill Clinton in 2010. He looked great and talked about losing weight and reversing heart disease by following a plant based diet. At the time, I was 51 and was taking over $1000 in medications per month. I had Type 2 diabetes, my total cholesterol was 300, my blood pressure was 160/100, I was 280 lbs, my waist was 50 inches, my neck was 18.5 inches, and my shirt size was 3XL. I slept 10 or more hours each day and felt exhausted. My joints felt sore and I couldn’t tie my shoes, let alone walk up a flight of stairs, without getting winded.
At 51, I had been overweight for 25 years, and I couldn’t remember ever having a meal in my life that didn’t include meat or other animal products. I didn’t even know what a plant based diet was. I’d tried every diet I could find. I strictly followed Paleo, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, etc. and lost 40 lbs on each. But I found these diets to be unsustainable. Each time I slipped and quickly regained all the weight I’d lost.
My doctor told me I probably wouldn’t live another five years unless I got my weight and medical problems under control, and suggested weight loss surgery. As a final step before following that drastic advice, I googled “Clinton plant based diet”, bought a copy of the China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., and hired a nutritionist.
Based on weekly meetings with my nutritionist, I learned how to cook for the first time in my life. I stopped eating all processed sugar and learned how to eat a well-balanced diet of organic, whole, plant-based foods. My new diet wasn’t just salads and apples, it included all the foods I like best, such as rice, potatoes, lasagna, Chinese stir fry, and Mexican food.
I also started walking for a half an hour each day. And by doing these things, I ended up losing over 100 lbs in 8 months. In addition to my weight loss, my total cholesterol dropped to 130, my blood pressure is now 100/60, and my glucose and all other medical stats are normal. My waist size is now 32 inches, I have a 16 inch neck, and I wear a size medium shirt. I now only sleep about 7 hours per night, but I feel well rested and filled with energy all day long. My energy and mental clarity are through the roof compared to before, it’s as if I came out of a lifetime fog. And I’m also on zero meds now.”
Unfortunately, the prevalence of obesity and overweight continues to increase nowadays at an alarming rate. Conventional therapies based on prescription medications or weight-loss surgeries (bariatric surgeries) are limited by low effectiveness and unpleasant and sometimes even very dangerous side effects. In addition, they can’t guarantee the obese patients that they will reduce their body weight permanently or that they will be able to get rid of all the excessive adipose tissue. Also the popular low-calorie diets, often recommended against obesity and overweight, are successful only for a short periods of time causing a lot of needless suffering and stress. And although it is true that usually they result in a rapid weight reduction yet the problem is that you can’t follow them for a long time because of possible malnutrition, fatigue, or other complications. Besides, as soon as you give up on these low-calorie diets and start consuming normal amount of calories you quickly gain weight again which usually leads to discouragement, feelings of hopelessness, and resignation.
Fortunately, there is an excellent, safe, and very effective solution to the problem of overweight and even the worst type of obesity. And the good news is that it doesn’t require fasting or counting calories, it is not difficult to implement and doesn’t cause any undesired side-effects. I have elaborated this optimal plan not only on the basis of my own long experience but also after an in-depth study and review of the past and present scientific literature. I have also taken into consideration the key elements of the most successful and very popular weight-loss plans and have analysed and compared all the most effective dietary ideas popularized by the renown experts, physicians, or nutritionists such as Prof. Colin Campbell, Prof. Walter Veith, Dr. Agatha Thrash, Dr. Neil Nedley, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Hans Diehl, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougal, or Dr. Dean Ornish.
Therefore, the uniqueness and exceptional value of the health knowledge presented here is hidden in the fact that it is actually a compilation of what could be the best, most effective and valuable about the prevention and treatment of not only obesity and overweight but also many other health-related and often treatment-resistant problems. All the above mentioned diets and nutritional recommendations given by these renowned experts are very effective and should be regarded as excellent. However, if you desire to get even closer to the optimal level of physical, mental, and also spiritual health and well-being I would humbly suggest that you will be more successful by following the principles of the SaveLife diet and lifestyle described here. I am convinced that this improved approach will give even better results because it incorporates only the best elements from other most effective plans and diets. In addition, this SaveLife approach is unique in a sense that it includes the extremely important and repeatedly neglected spiritual aspect of human health and well-being without which it is impossible to achieve optimal results.
Since 1990, through the means of internet, numerous health lectures, radio interviews, literature, individual counselling and correspondence I’ve been encouraging people to practice this most healthy nutritional approach together with increased physical activity and an appropriate stress control method. And in spite of the fact that in this often indifferent to the true health messages and brainwashed with many false nutritional ideas world it is not easy to find people willing to know and follow the whole truth somehow there were numerous open-minded and sensible individuals who were able to recognize and appreciate the importance of this life-saving message. Many of them decided to follow it and as a result achieved excellent and sometimes even unbelievable results. Some of them had already received the death sentence from their physicians, others were diagnosed with so called ‘incurable diseases’ or were given only months to live, and yet some time later after implementing all the instructions I had managed to share with them, they survived, and with tears of joy in their eyes confessed that according to their recent medical tests they were completely cured.
Well, if they could recover form health conditions which were much more difficult to treat than obesity, then there is no doubt that as a result of practicing the same and described here principles also you will not only regain your proper body weight, reverse diabetes or coronary heart disease but as a bonus you will significantly improve your emotional and physical well-being.
The secret to a fully successful and permanent weight loss treatment as well as to the optimal health should include four key elements: 1. Healthy plant-based and unrefined diet; 2. Regular physical activity; 3. Stress control; and 4. Moral and spiritual empowerment.
First of all, you need to improve or change your diet and start consuming large quantities of foods which are not only tasty but also high in minerals, vitamins, fibre, and phytochemicals. By doing this you will keep on losing weight without counting calories or feeling hungry. It means that even if you consume more calories than your body needs (on condition that they are mixed with the right and unrefined foods which are high in nutrients), you will still be able to reduce your body weight to normal and shouldn’t lose this positive effect as long as you stay on this tasty and not difficult to follow diet. So, please, throw away ideas about counting calories because as long you eat the right type of food you can eat as much as you want and still lose weight.
In a 1991 study conducted by Prof. Shintani and his colleges, overweight participants were allowed to consume as much as they wanted of unrefined (high in fibre) low-fat, plant-based foods. In just three weeks they lost an average of 7.8 kg (seventeen pounds). The chapter revealing the results of the study states that, “some participants indicated that at times they could not finish their snacks. Weight loss was dramatic during the program, with an average weight loss of 7.8 kg in just 3 weeks. Total serum cholesterol concentrations decreased an average of 14.0%. Serum triglyceride levels as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressures fell significantly. There was a striking decrease in average serum glucose.”
Because careful analysis of past and present scientific research such as, for example, the most comprehensive and extensive China Study, inspires every honest seeker of truth to conclude that the consumption of animal foods greatly increases the risk of most dangerous diseases I’ve been always recommending a completely plant-based diet. However, if you feel like it would be too great a sacrifice for you to avoid all meat and dairy products, please don’t give up on all ideas presented in the pages to follow because you will still be able to reduce weight even if your diet will include moderate amounts of wisely chosen animal foods. Nevertheless, I hope that you will be strongly motivated and willing to make more radical changes in your diet and lifestyle, all the more since you don’t have to become a strict vegetarian overnight but you can change your diet gradually. And the most convenient way of doing it is not so much by removing all the unhealthy foods but rather by adding the high in fibre and nutrients plant products. In this way you will be gradually improving your diet and reducing the consumption of the low quality refined and high in fat and sugar processed foods. By following the instructions and recipes included here and in the Health Recovery Plan, you will significantly increase the percentage of high-nutrient foods and as a result you will start losing weight and will greatly improve your health as well as the physical and emotional well-being. At the same time you will reduce chances of developing serious diseases or even significantly increase probability of recovering in case you already suffer from one of them. However, if you, decide to make more radical changes in your diet and lifestyle you will see the positive results much quicker and thus gain stronger motivation to keep on following this excellent and optimal SaveLife plan.
In order to reduce and control your body weight it is also necessary to stop eating between meals and overeating on a regular basis. And the best way to achieve this goal is by getting rid of all the refined and rich in empty calories foods which make you hungry so soon after consuming them and which force your body to crave for more food. As soon as you start increasing the consumption of high-nutrient plant foods, your appetite for the unhealthy and low-nutrient foods will gradually decrease until after some time you will finally be able to make a complete commitment to this SaveLife Diet and lifestyle even for the rest of your life time. So please keep in mind that any refined diet which is low in vitamins and minerals always quickly stimulates our appetite again forcing us to eat between meals in hope that next time we will nourish it with sufficient amount of nutrients. The situation gets even worse if you habitually use stimulants such as caffeine products, tea, cola drinks, or alcohol which tend to farther deprive your body of these few nutrients you supplied it with your refined diet. Unfortunately, many people think that in this case, they can still solve the problem of malnutrition by using vitamin and mineral supplementation. The truth, however, is that according to the numerous studies, many of these supplements can only partially remove the symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency. In addition, artificial supplements are usually poorly absorbed and in some cases may even increase the risk of cancer.
Therefore, if you really want to regain or maintain your health, become fit, reduce your body weight to normal, feel more energetic, prolong your life, prevent or even recover from other health problems, you need to switch to the unrefined well-balanced, and high in nutrients plant-based diet. And as soon as you start consuming healthy, natural, high in vitamins and minerals, delicious, and unrefined foods, you will be free from craving and eating between meals simply because your body will finally get what it needs to be able to function properly.
Apart from that, in order to enable this diet to be more effectively used by your body you need to exercise on a regular basis. It doesn’t mean that without exercising this diet wouldn’t work as you will see the results even if you don’t want or can’t exercise, but if you do include this very important element it will greatly increases the effectiveness of the whole program. Also in case you are very overweight and especially if you suffer from different heart conditions you even shouldn’t start with energetic exercise routine. In this case you need to change the diet first, keep in touch with your physician, continue taking your prescribed medication, and after some time start from short distance and slow walking routine, gradually and carefully increasing the pace and distance every day according to the information included in the chapter dealing with exercise. However, if you are still too heavy to start exercising or if your doctor suggests it’s too early to do it you don’t need to worry anyway because even without exercise the presented here SaveLife Diet will be reducing your body weight and improve your physical as well as emotional health making you able to start exercising after one or two months.
In order to lose weight more effectively and permanently you also need to learn how stress, depression, existential fears and other negative psycho-emotional factors contribute to the development of obesity and how to successfully cope with them.
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