Friday, December 14, 2007

The Martha's Vineyard Diet Detox

America's Rude Awakening

The United States has the best health care system in the world, yet Americans of all backgrounds are having a hard time staying healthy. At least 20 million Americans are chronically ill with conditions that undermine their quality of life and may ultimately lead to their demise—diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, and kidney and liver failure. Each week, about 80 percent of adults take medication—at least one-third of us down five different drugs—the Institute of Medicine reports. Often, the conditions these medicines treat are caused by our lack of success in maintaining a healthy weight.

Today, over 60 percent of Americans weigh more than their recommended body mass index (BMI), which measures the amount of body fat we carry compared to our height. Sixty-two percent of women and 70 percent of men are overweight, meaning that their BMI is 25 or more (normal is 18.5 to 24.9). Thirty-one percent of men and women are obese. Of course, everyone has different advice for how to slim down. These days, it's almost impossible to figure out whether to eat or avoid carbohydrates; how much protein to consume; whether butter or margarine is better; if fat free also means low calorie; whether foods like red wine, chocolate, and coffee are healthy after all; or if we should sign up for Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, or L.A. Weight Loss. The advice seems to change almost daily.

Most experts tell us that whether we gain or lose weight is determinedby the number of calories we eat compared to the number of calories we burn. If we want to lose weight, we should consume fewer calories, increase our activity level, or, better yet, do both. But while many Americans try to take weight off, experts now know that traditional weight-reduction dieting does not work. Fewer than 5 percent of dieters succeed in keeping the weight they lost off for five years, according to the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. A stunning 90 percent of people gain some or all of their weight back, and one-third end up weighing more.

I certainly believe in eating healthy amounts of food and becoming more active, but my experience as a patient, researcher, and healer makes it clear to me that the explanations and approaches toward weight loss based on this approach are incomplete. Scientists are now learning that losing weight is much more complicated than merely balancing calories eaten and burned. We now know that factors as wide ranging as whether we skip breakfast, eat enough healthy foods, get sufficient sleep, have a metabolic disorder, or suffer from intestinal parasites are also part of the equation. These factors and other emerging research on factors affecting weight gain all speak to the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

The Trouble with Toxins

One of the most significant but least-talked-about factors affecting each individual's weight is the amount of exposure they've had to toxic substances. Noxious materials we encounter in our environment, home, workplace, and food supply are altering our bodies in fundamental and detrimental ways. Of course, everyone knows that certain toxins make us sick. Who isn't aware that cigarette smoke can cause heart disease and cancer—and, as we're now learning, not just in the smoker but also among those who inhale the secondhand fumes? We know that lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and a lower IQ, among other problems. Researchers have recently identified both cigarette smoke and lead as causing one-third of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) cases. Mercury now contaminates large predatory fish like shark, albacore tuna, and mackerel. And toxins like dioxin are not only ubiquitous but a major cause of cancer.

But who knew that poisons like these could mess up our metabolism? Gaining weight is one common but little-known and poorly understood consequence of body processes gone haywire in the presence of poisonous substances. The damage toxins inflict upon us can make it exceedingly difficult—if not impossible—for some people to shed excess pounds. Now don't get me wrong; of course, it's true that many dieters fail because they exercise poor portion control—or don't exercise their bodies at all. But I can't tell you how many people I've worked with who eat surprisingly little, healthy food, yet can barely shed a pound. Lots of people approach weight loss diligently; yet few have long-lasting results. Many repeat dieters sense that something's wrong—for example, they know that their results do not reflect their effort—but since our culture places the responsibility for being overweight on the individual, they wrongly blame themselves for their lack of success. But I'm here to tell you that even if you do sometimes lack self-discipline, and even if you don't always stick to your weight-loss program to the letter, the fact that you're fat may not be your fault! You may be a victim of toxins.

Fortunately, we can all take steps to reduce our body's toxic load. Detoxifying our bodies can help us improve our health—including preventing, controlling, and even healing from chronic and life-altering diseases like high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes. As it detoxifies, the body sheds excess weight. In this book you will learn how to lose weight in a way that helps you keep unwanted pounds off and helps you transition into the healthier lifestyle you may have desired.

Since you're reading this book, I probably don't need to warn you about the dangers of factory smoke or tell you to go inside when the truck spraying insecticide drives through your neighborhood. But not all the toxins we are exposed to are delivered in a way that is so obvious. In fact, most noxious ingredients appear to be so harmless that we have them in our homes, use them on our bodies, and even eat them every day. Ever wonder why you can't stand the smell of bleach? Why you are supposed to paint only in a well-ventilated room? Why you aren't supposed to get weed killer on your hands? Because they contain ingredients that the body can't tolerate.
21 Pounds in 21 Days

Excerpted from

The Martha's Vineyard Diet Detox. Copyright © by Roni DeLuz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Buy this book at Barnes & Noble