My interest in human nature started early. As a child I can remember thinking, “Why do we do the things we do, and why do we each react so differently to the same thing?" I've been an interested observer of human nature all my life, especially in regards to weight gain and weight loss. Growing up as a skinny and underweight child and teenager, and experiencing all that goes along with that at school (when one doesn't fit the norm), I would eat and eat and eat and not be able to gain a pound. Living on a hobby farm acreage resulted in a high-activity level. I played sports and games with friends and family almost every day after school, in addition to chores, building animal pens and shelters, and exploring the backwoods. I remember looking at an overweight kid and thinking, “It's physically impossible for me to gain weight, but it's probably possible for that kid to lose weight."
In my late teens, a lady mentioned to some of us young fellows, “Just wait until you're in your thirties and forties - you'll gain more weight than you want."
And she was right. Due to inactivity and lots of food, I did become overweight. And then realized that this wasn't what I wanted, after all. I'm tall, and any extra weight goes right to my stomach. So, I looked like a telephone pole holding a basketball! I detested the way I looked, and I hated feeling uncomfortable and sluggish. I remember looking at my stomach and that there was this "thing" becoming attached to me, and I didn't like it.
So by changing my attitude towards food, and by upping my activity level, I learned to control my weight. It's easier for me to do so than for many other people who have slower metabolisms. My wife of thirty-five years has a slow metabolism, and I have learned much about weight loss and weight gain through her, such as what is effective and what is not, and what works for one person may not work for another.
For years I have known what the #1 most important key of weight loss is, but I learned the #2 most important key through research.
As part of the seven years of research for this book, I sent out 2,067 questionnaires which probed people's minds regarding weight loss (and gain), eating and exercise habits, fasting, hormones, willpower, motivation, and human nature. The answers I received have helped form this book.
I found that common everyday knowledge is often incorrect.
My one questionnaire asked: “What do you think is more important for weight loss? Exercise or reducing intake of calories?"
Slightly more than half (51.5%) got it wrong by choosing exercise. Reducing calories is more important than exercise, as you can't out-exercise poor eating. You can easily eat 1000 calories in 5 minutes, while 5 minutes of average exercise may burn 40 calories. But, the response really depends on who is answering the question. For some, exercise has so many motivational and other benefits that it would be equally important.
Diet has a more primary effect on weight loss than exercise, but exercise can be very strong for motivating weight loss.
The questionnaires also confirmed that most people (88%), still believe in what was falsely taught in the 1960's and 1970's, that vegetable oils are better for your heart and your health, than animals fats and butter.