Weight loss and long term weight management seems to be a condition as well as an obsession of our modern world, especially in America. Many formal dietary programs exist and many more are concocted and introduced each day, creating perhaps more confusion than is neccesary or warranted if the wisdom provided by what is in the public record regarding traditional diets as decribed in detail by Weston A. Price and other researchers were taken into account.
Unfortunately, most of us choose weight management - and especially weight loss - approaches which invariably fail over the long term, creating an endless cycle of yo-yo dieting and an increasingly debilitated metabolism. These approaches often include excessive exercise and/or excessive fat and/or calorie restriction, even as they ignore completely the fat-burning attributes of good fats such as superior quality, cold processed coconut oil, cod liver oil, CLA (which is contained in animal fats from healthy, pastured animals), and GLA.
In terms of fat restriction and as Diane Schwarzbein, M.D. explains in her book The Schwarzbein Principle:
You can see initial good results with a low-fat diet. When you exercise and eat a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet, excess carbohydrates will be turned into cholesterol and fats that are then used by the body as energy. During this stage, your cholesterol profile will significantly improve. But a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet burns muscle mass, especially if you are exercising. This causes your metabolism to slow down, which in turn lowers your requirement for energy [i.e. food]. Now any excess carbohydrates you eat will be converted into cholesterol and not used. Over time, your cholesterol will rise.
On the other hand, if you follow a low-fat/high carb, low calorie diet and DON'T exercise, you will set yourself up not only for increasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels but also elevated insulin (due to long term blood sugar/glucose overload)- which primes your body to store fat. This prompts you then to further reduce calories, and the real weight battles begin.
The best weight management and weight loss programs allow for individuality even as they integrate the known principles of nutrition which can help rebuild damaged metabolisms. Long term weight management success requires at a minimum your active particiption in your overall health program since chronic weight problems always involve a depleted biological terrain - everything ranging from hormone irregularities, glandular problems (especially adrenal and thyroid), yeast overgrowth, food allergies, toxic overload and most important of all - nutrient depletion (which inevitably leads to one or more of the other problems). All brought on in no small part by a seriously deficient diet which is often exacerbated by excessive reliance on insulin stimulants.
In fact the National Academy of Sciences has called obesity the commonest form of malnutrition. This is why weight loss acheived through excessive calorie restriction will inevitably lead to problems down the road and can actually be the cause of long term weight gain and obesity.
High quality fats such as coconut oil, along with the other fats and oils mentioned above, are of critical importance, much needed for their anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory effects as well as hormonal/glandular repair. They are absolutely essential to the long term success of any weight loss or weight management program. Remember that CLA is present in pastured animal products, but next to non-existant in commercial animal products. GLA on the other hand, even though it may be present in a good diet, is often rendered unavailable to us because of any number of metabolic disturbances, in which case supplementation can help enormously.
Unfortunately, as Julia Ross says in her book The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weight Gain, and Mood Swings--Naturally, "America is on a killer diet." And judging by the statistics or even simple observation, the war on our waistline is a war we are losing. Primitive cultures, or those cultures which have been in the past - or are yet now - dependent on fresh, whole unprocessed foods did not (and do not) suffer from obesity or obsessions about weight, even when they have consumed large amounts of animal fat in their diets. These cultures do indeed have something to teach us about diet and health.
Dr. Ron Schmid explains well our own perspective in his book Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine: Health & Longevity with the Animal, Sea, & Vegetable Foods of Our Ancestors:
Scores of [weight loss] dietary regimes have become popular. [Some] contain elements and principles that are useful in understanding the effects of food on health. . . .[The best ] contain elements of traditional diets [and] recommend mostly fresh, unrefined foods. [The best also] has helped many people but has drawbacks; individual problems occurring in response to certain foods may cause difficulty in finding appropriate dietary adjustments. A lack of flexibility is often a problem even as health improves, for a diet should change as an individual changes [and sometimes even as the seasons change]. . . While these regimes have been of great value to many individuals [at least in the short term], none incorporates fully the principles behind traditional human diets - principles necessary for designing nutritional programs in accord with our deepest physiolgical and phychological needs.
Our Dynamic Nutrition Pyramid has at its base a diet that helps us to learn ways and methods of incorporating these principles according to our individual needs and capabilities. The "Fat Loss" or "Healing" plate is especially useful for weight loss regimens, although other health issues may need to be addressed as well. These issues might include sub-par thyroid function, burned out adrenals, nutrient depletion, hormonal problems, yeast overgrowth, poor digestive or elimination functions, congested liver, etc.
It is important to recognize however that many of these problems may be caused and exacerbated by long term overconsumption of refined foods and bad fats, which the Healing Plate encourages you to eliminate. In addition, you might find our Feel Good food Check useful in helping you reorganize your protein, fat and carbohydrate intake.
Just as important to understand is that some weight problems may require additional patience and persistence but MOST people should be able to lose and maintain weight (and health) by following the principles laid out on the pages of this site, starting with following a plan similar to our "Fat Loss" or "Healing" Plate.
Thus, for some people, a useful way to kick off a weight loss program, so long as overall health permits, would be to employ an herbal cleanse or other detoxing technique which addresses and supports the glandular and digestive system. For those with more challenging, long term or intractable problems we recommend reading first The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weight Gain, and Mood Swings--Naturally by Julia Ross.
For recipes and even some food-based cleanse ideas try: The Coconut Diet: The Secret Ingredient That Helps You Lose Weight While You Eat Your Favorite Foods by Cherie Calbom and John Calbom. Also good for recipes using coconut oil as the primary weight loss aid (along with tips on health promoting foods): Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon. A pastured meat and fat based raw food diet of the kind outlined by Aajonous VonDerplanitz in his books and is another approach to cleansing and rebuilding you might want to explore.