Volumetrics: Part 3 by Fred Dimenna, CSCS

Unfortunately, sensationalist weight loss strategies that lack credibility have become all too common in the world of fitness. That is why I was skeptical when I saw a recent U.S. News & World Report cover line ("Eat more, lose weight"). But once I read the article, I realized that the theory being espoused was actually something I had realized many years prior. Simply stated, you can eat a lot of food and still lose weight if you plan your food choices appropriately.

I love to eat. And if you think that's simply because I spent 20 years as a competitive bodybuilder adhering to a strict eating regimen, guess again. If you check out my high school yearbook, you'll see "eating" listed as one of my "likes" (along with cars and whatever rock bands were at the top of my play list at the time).

Yeah, some four years prior to embarking upon a competitive pursuit noted for gastronomic deprivation, I had already decided that chowing down was one of my favorite pastimes. But my impassioned opinion of all things passing the palate goes back even further. I remember my mother explaining how a family friend watched me devour a sandwich as a child and cautioned, "You better watch out or he'll wind up like me!" Needless to say, he was rather rotund!

What do my eating habits have to do with Volumetrics (the research compiled by Pennsylvania State's Barbara Rolls and chronicled in the article)? Plenty! Now that my competitive days are behind me and egg whites, steamed chicken and oatmeal are on the back burner (I still eat all of those things, but I eat them now when I want to, not because I have to), I want to enjoy some fine dining now and again. Fine dining for me means quantity is the order of the day!

No, I'm not a real critical eater: Give me a lot of decent food (as opposed to morsels of extravagant fare) and I'm good to go! But that creates a dilemma, because I'm also acutely aware of how easy it is to add fat to your body when you eat large amounts. It's simply a matter of supply and demand; if you ingest an amount of energy that exceeds the quantity your body expends throughout the day, you'll store the excess away and that's how fat deposits proliferate.

For years, people have been asking me to reveal my preferred dietary strategy. Well, here it is. My eating behaviors are ritualistic and I'm damned proud of it! For example, I love sitting down for a large meal when I watch a ballgame on TV. If all goes according to plan, the meal will span three innings, assuming the game is relatively well pitched. For commercial breaks, I've got the newspaper in front of me to pass those interminable delays. Now, I know what you're thinking. Eating while watching TV and reading are supposed to be two major precipitants of the obesity scourge. Why do I partake in such destructive behavior? That's me, and that's the way I like it!

I have recently heard of new "miracle" weight-loss products that are heralded as the solution to our obesity epidemic. These products are touted as revolutionary simply because they cause a reduction of appetite. So, you ingest some pills or powders that defeat your hunger and you're on your way to a fat-free physique. Of course, on the rare occasion when you do want to catch a bite, you can simply put yourself in as sensory deprived a state as possible while dining (no TV, reading, music or engaging conversation) and you'll be eager to end the ordeal a.s.a.p. Sounds like a can't-miss strategy, right? Not for me!

The last thing I want is to trick my body into not wanting to eat. On the contrary, I want to stimulate my appetite, so I will enjoy eating even more! It is no different from any other of life's pleasurable activities: I want to maximize the time I spend doing it. In my opinion, the solution to obesity is not trying to make your body want to eat less, but discovering ways to eat more without gaining fat. And that's what Volumetrics is all about. If you take the energy density of the foods you eat into account when planning your meals, you can enjoy this pleasurable pursuit without suffering when you step on the scale the next morning.

I am in tune with everything stated in the Volumetrics article, but there is one aspect of eating more and weighing less that I found conspicuous by its casual mention. "She [Rolls] swims every day in a lap pool at her house on a mountaintop near the university, walks on campus, takes the stairs instead of the elevator, and encourages people to use step counters to monitor their activity," the author revealed. And that was it! In my opinion, physical activity deserves a more prominent mention in any expose outlining how to maintain a negative energy balance sans ingestive deprivation.

Fred Dimenna, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant is a two-time Natural Mr. United States and a WNBF drug-free professional bodybuilder. Visit him at www.freddimenna.com or email him: mrnatural@yahoo.com