Choose to Lose Weight Loss Book
Choose to Lose for Men
Choose to Lose Weight Loss Kit
Eater's Choice Low-Fat Cookbook
Eater's Choice Cholesterol Book



What It Is
Info for Health Professionals
Brochure for Health Professionals

Before & After Photos

Sample Recipes

Meet the Authors

Choose to Lose: A Food Lover's Guide to Permanent Weight Loss

The following was excerpted from Choose to Lose (© 1999 Dr. Ron and Nancy Goor, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston). No part of this excerpt may be reproduced without written permission from Dr. Ron and Nancy Goor.


Take a look in the mirror -- a good look. Is the person staring out at you a little pudgier than you would like? Has the muscle turned to flab? Are the seams and buttons on the verge of splitting and popping. Don't turn away in disappointment. Give yourself a smile. Already you are making a big change in you. You are starting Choose to Lose. Soon you will see a trim version of what you see now. The trim version will be beaming. No suffering will have made the pounds melt away. Only good, abundant food - including your all-time favorites. Choose to Lose is not a miracle diet. In fact, it's not even a diet. It's a new way of eating that is easy, healthy, and delicious. And, it works.

The key to Choose to Lose is FAT.


The word is FAT. FAT is what you don't want to be and FAT is what you ate to become FAT. So, the way to become NOT FAT is to reduce fat in your diet. Don't focus on total calories.... or sugar...or starch. Focus on FAT.

Most diet formulators base their weight-loss methods on reducing total calories. Sugar and starch are always forbidden. These approaches pinpoint the wrong culprit. The reason that foods containing sugar make you gain weight is not because they contain sugar. It is because they contain fat and sugar. It is the fat in the cheesecake, not the sugar, that puts dimples in your knees. The reason that foods containing starch make you gain weight is not because they contain starch. It is because they contain fat and starch. It is the fat in the sour cream, not the starch in the potato, that rounds your belly.


It is not how much you eat that gets you into trouble. It is what you eat that makes you fat or prevents you from getting thin. As long as you are eating nutrient dense/fiber-rich carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole-grains), low-fat meats, and nonfat dairy in sensible amounts, eat up and enjoy.

In fact, you must eat lots of nutritious carbohydrates to lose weight. These foods keep up your metabolism so your body burns fat. Eating lots of food keeps you happy and satisfied so you don't feel hungry and binge. It gives you energy so you stay vital all day. That is why Choose to Lose doesn't focus on reducing total calories; it focuses on reducing the nutrient that is making you fat -- FAT.

You may find this recommendation hard to accept. After all, you have probably been trying to cut total calories and limit carbohydrates for years. Please. Don't just accept this advice on faith. Read the following section which explains simply how the fats and carbohydrates you eat affect your weight. The science behind Choose to Lose is fascinating, illuminating - and motivating!


Food fulfills a different need in each person, but for everyone, no matter how thin, fat, young, old, rich, poor--food is energy.

Energy Expenditure

Your body needs a certain amount of energy to function. The amount of energy you use when you are completely at rest is called your basal metabolic rate. This is the energy needed to power your heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, and other organs and keep them in good repair, and, for children, in addition, the energy to grow.

Physical Activity
You also need energy for physical activity - walking, running, moving. This is an expandable amount depending on how active you are.

So, the total amount of energy you expend is equal to the sum of your BMR and your physical activity.

Energy Intake

Food - Source of Energy
Where does your body get this energy? Energy is stored in fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in the foods you eat. More calories are stored in fat than in carbohydrates or proteins. One gram of fat has 9 calories (some scientists say 11). One gram of carbohydrate or protein has 4 calories. Fat is so densely caloric, that when you eat a little, you've eaten a lot of calories.

To release energy stored in fats, carbohydrates, and protein, they must be burned. Picture a stack of logs blazing in a fireplace. The burning of nutrients and the burning of wood in a fireplace are similar chemical processes. In both cases the chemicals are combined with oxygen (burned or oxidized) and the energy stored in them is released. In the case of wood, the energy is released all in one step as heat. In the body, the oxidation goes on at a lower temperature (98.6° F.) in small steps controlled by enzymes. In this way, most of the energy stored in the food is captured for growth, maintenance, repair, and physical activity, and little is wasted as heat.

All Calories Are Not Equal
You may have thought that everything you ate ended up as those rolls of fat rippling down your belly. You may even have been avoiding carbohydrates in the belief that they are fattening. But you were misguided.

Many people believe that all calories contribute equally to weight gain. But, scientific evidence has shown that fats, carbohydrates and proteins are metabolized (burned and stored) differently. Fat calories are stored as fat while carbohydrate and protein calories (consumed in reasonable amounts) are burned off. In fact, eating carbohydrates can help you lose weight. To understand why, read on.


In order to produce the energy it needs, the body burns a mixture of carbohydrate, fat, and protein derived from the foods you eat. The primary fuel is carbohydrate and normally accounts for over 50% of the calories you consume. Carbohydrates provide most of the energy to fuel the muscles and most other bodily functions and are the sole source of energy for the brain. Carbohydrates include both simple sugars (you know a sugar by its sweet taste) and starches (complex carbohydrates) such as potatoes, other vegetables, rice, pasta, and bread.

Each day you consume about 1000 calories of carbohydrate. Most of it is burned within a few hours of intake. Some is stored as glycogen - long chains of the simple sugar glucose - in the muscles and in the liver. Glycogen in the muscle is used for short bursts of intense activity as in competitive sports and in fight or flight responses. Glycogen in the liver provides a constant supply of glucose to the brain. The brain can burn only the simple sugar glucose. The brain is a fuel hog and burns about 30% of the energy you use each day. Without a constant supply of glucose to the brain you would lose consciousness.

The body has a limited capacity to store carbohydrates (about 800 - 1000 calories or approximately one day's intake). When you eat a meal, a small amount of carbohydrate tops up the glycogen stores which have been partially depleted between meals. The rest of the carbohydrate (the majority) is burned within a few hours of consumption and fuels your physical activity and internal functions.

Insulin: You Need It

Don't let anyone tell you that eating carbohydrates is dangerous because it makes your insulin rise. Insulin is essential for good health. Insulin is released from the pancreas to move the carbohydrate out of the blood and into the cells where it is burned or stored. A rise in insulin in response to eating carbohydrates is a normal reaction - not a symptom leading to diabetes. Insulin production in response to eating carbohydrates is as normal as is an increased pulse in response to exertion. In the absence of insulin, carbohydrate (glucose) would remain in your blood and thus be unavailable to your cells for energy. In essence your cells would be starving to death in the midst of plenty.

Running On Empty
What happens if you eat too few carbohydrates? If you are following a low calorie/low carbohydrate and/or high protein diet and consuming too few carbohydrates, your glycogen stores never get filled up. Result: fatigue and loss of stamina and endurance. This may be why you felt so tired and cranky on every other diet you tried.

Natural Regulation of Carbohydrates
What prevents you from consuming too much carbohydrate?

If you are truly eating nutrient-dense/fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains, it is almost impossible to overeat them. They are so filling, they limit themselves. Imagine eating 5 potatoes at one sitting. You couldn't do it. Selecting nutrient-dense/fiber-rich foods is the best protection from overeating carbohydrates.

What happens to the carbohydrate you consume in excess of your needs?

If you eat more carbohydrate (within reasonable limits) than necessary for your immediate needs - BMR + physical activity - it is burned and the energy is converted to heat. Under normal circumstances, none is converted to fat. This process of producing heat from burning carbohydrate is called the thermogenic effect of food. When you feel warm during or after a meal, you're feeling the thermogenic effect.

Won't I Gain Weight If I Overdose on Carbohydrates?
Within normal limits, the body burns off almost all the carbohydrate you eat. Only if you were to eat more than 2200 calories of pure carbohydrate over your normal daily total caloric intake for 5 to 6 days in a row might the excess carbohydrates possibly turn to fat. This is called glycogen loading and it isn't easy to do. If the sources of carbohydrates you are eating are mainly fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains, it is difficult, even impossible, to overeat carbohydrates.

So you can scratch the idea that carbohydrates turn to fat. It doesn't happen. But you can push the system and affect your weight loss progress.

Empty Carbohydrates Provide No Brakes
When man evolved there were no fat-free, processed foods. The bulk inherent in the natural foods available - vegetables, fruits, and whole grains - limited their consumption. Today we are subjected to a cornucopia of fiber-free/nutrient-free processed foods. You can gobble up fat-free cookies, ice cream, and cakes. You can inhale nonfat chips and crackers. These foods have no bulk so you can easily consume hundreds and hundreds of empty calories without feeling in the least bit full.

Overloading on Empty Carbohydrate Calories Stalls Weight Loss
Overeating nonfat high sugar, high calorie foods will not make you gain weight because as we explained earlier carbohydrates do not turn to fat under normal circumstances. But, because the body can't store carbohydrates, it must get rid of them and so it burns them. But instead of a limited number of carbohydrate calories, there are hundreds or even thousands of empty carbohydrate calories to be burned. Consuming fiber-free foods slows down and even stops weight loss because the body prefers to burn these hundreds of empty calories instead of stored fat.

The Gray Area
Of course, it is always possible to push an eating plan beyond its limits. There are processed foods such as pasta, bagels, breads, and some cereals which you can certainly include in a healthy diet, but, since they are not high in fiber, it is easy to overeat them. Just like overdosing on empty calories, accumulating too many calories from these processed foods will slow down or stall your weight loss. In other words, we are not recommending that you stuff yourself with a half a loaf of whole-wheat bread or 3 cups of pasta, or 4 cups of cereal. You have to use sense.

Don't Blame Carbohydrates
We hear people complain that they are eating only carbohydrates, yet they say they are gaining weight. There are three reasons for this.

    1. They don't know what carbohydrates are and/or the carbohydrates they are eating are laced with fat. Do they call croissants carbohydrates? or Fettucini Alfredo? They look a lot like fat to us.

    2. If they are not writing down and analyzing everything they eat, do they really know what and how much they are eating? They may think they are only eating carbohydrates or they may think they eat little or no fat.

    3. The carbohydrates they are eating may be high-sugar nonfat sweets and snacks with little or no bulk to prevent overconsumption. Eating too many empty calories will stall fat loss because the body will burn them in preference to burning stored fat. Under normal circumstances overeating carbohydrates will not cause weight gain.


In contrast to carbohydrates, the fat that you eat is not burned right away, but is immediately added to the fat stores where it promptly become the soft, squishy blubber that pads your body. It's as if you wadded the ice cream, pizza, cheeseburger, French fries, cookies directly onto your hips, belly - you know where - except it is happening from the inside.

The adipose tissue contains enormous stores of fat. A normal lean person stores about 140,000 calories but there is no upper limit. Thus a person who weighs 300 pounds may be storing 200 pounds of fat.

Unlike carbohydrate consumption, eating fat neither causes the body to burn it quickly - or burn it at all, for that matter. Since there are no mechanisms to limit fat consumption and since high-fat foods have little bulk, it is easy to overeat fat day after day. And since almost all the fat is stored, when you overeat fat day after day you become fatter and fatter. Given the high-fat food system in the U.S., that is exactly what we Americans do.

The Secret to Weight Loss: Raiding the Fat Stores
Now you know why the carbohydrates you eat don't become fat on your body and the fats you eat do. But what can you do about the fat that already rounds your edges? How can you make your body mobilize the fat out of the fat stores so you can lose weight?

Each day fat from the foods you eat is added to the fat stores. Some is removed for burning to furnish energy not supplied by the carbohydrate and protein you eat. Your weight is determined by how much fat you add to the fat depots versus how much you remove.

If you eat just the amount of fat needed to furnish the energy not supplied by the carbohydrate and protein, your weight will remain the same. If you eat more fat than is needed, the excess will go into the fat stores and you will gain weight. If you eat less fat than is required to satisfy your energy needs, then the body will have to make up the deficit by burning additional fat. And where does this fat come from? The fat is removed from the fat stores and you lose weight.

It all makes sense. You became fat because you ate more fat than you burned. To lose weight, you have to eat less fat than you burn so that your body will use up the excess fat luxuriating in your adipose tissues to help supply your energy needs.


Strategy #1: Low-fat Diet - Put Less Fat Into the Fat Stores.
Obviously the less fat you add to the fat stores, the less you will need to take out later. The way to do this is to eat a low-fat diet. Choose to Lose provides a powerful tool, the Fat Budget, and an effective method (see Chapter 2) to help you follow a low-fat diet.

Maximizing Fat Loss. Eating less fat is essential for weight loss, but you can't stop there. To shrink the fat stores faster, you must not only add less to them, you need to remove fat that is already there. Choose to Lose has two strategies aimed at removing stored fat. Strategy #2 you are not going to believe.

Strategy #2: Adequate Intake of Nutrient-Dense/Fiber-Rich Calories - You Have to Eat to Lose Weight.
Can you imagine a weight-loss program insisting that you eat an abundance of food to lose weight? It's not a dream - only a dream program! You need to eat enough calories to keep your BMR chugging along at a maximum rate so you will burn fat at a maximum rate and thus help reduce your fat stores. Of course, you must eat a lot of the right foods. This does not mean a bowl of fat-laden peanuts or a box of fat-free cookies. It does mean replacing much of the fat in your diet with nutritious low-fat food - fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, non-fat dairy, poultry, fish, seafood, etc.

The Benefits of Eating Nutrient-Dense/Fiber-Rich Foods:

    1. maximizing your metabolic rate;

    2. ensuring an adequate intake of vitamins, minerals, and fiber for long-term good health;

    3. keeping you full, satisfied, and content;

    4. increasing your energy and stamina.

Strategy #3: Aerobic Exercise - Build Muscle to Burn Fat.
This third strategy to maximize fat-removal may not be your favorite. But it is absolutely essential and you may learn to enjoy, even love, it. The third strategy is daily aerobic exercise. Plain, old-fashioned walking is just fine. You don't have to strain and sweat to make it work. The main value of aerobic exercise is to build and preserve muscle. Muscle burns fat. The more muscle you have the more fat-burning capacity you have. Muscle is metabolically active (burns energy at a high rate) and the more you have of it, the higher your BMR and the faster you burn everything, including fat. Not only will aerobic exercise help you lose weight, it will help you keep it off. That doesn't mean you have to exercise until you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thirty minutes of walking each day is fine. It doesn't even have to be fast, just non-stop. See Chapter 11 for more information on exercise. 

Preserving Muscle: Another Good Reason to Exercise. You think of your muscle as being permanent, but it isn't. When you don't use your muscle, it breaks down and the protein is burned. (Have you ever had your leg in a cast for 5 or 6 weeks? When the cast comes off, the muscle is withered and wasted from disuse. Much of the protein has been burned for energy. But as soon as you start walking again, the muscle begins rebuilding and within a short time your leg looks normal.) When you use your muscles, some of the protein you eat is used to build them up again.

When you are in energy deficit, that is, you are using more energy than you are taking in (as in a semi-starvation or calorie-restricted diet), you must make up for the deficit by using energy stored in the body. The two major sources of stored energy are fat in the adipose tissues and protein in the muscle. Wouldn’t it be great if the body automatically burned fat from the fat stores? No such luck. Unfortunately, fat is the stored energy of last resort. The body prefers to burn protein from the muscle – if you are not exercising. YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR BODY TO BURN PROTEIN INSTEAD OF FAT. To protect your muscle from being broken down and burned for energy and to force your body to burn stored fat instead, you must exercise aerobically (not in intensive bursts and spurts but steadily and continuously).

. And you will be able to follow Choose to Lose forever.

Telling It Like It Is
That's it. You are overweight

not because you eat too much food, but because you are eat too much fat (more than you are burning) and the excess is going directly into your fat stores;

not because you eat too much carbohydrate, but because you eat too many empty carbohydrates and too little nutrient-dense/fiber-rich carbohydrates;

not because you are not a marathon runner, but because you are not exercising regularly to preserve and build new muscle and force your body to burn fat from the fat stores.

So, to lose weight, you must eat less fat and more nutrient-dense/fiber-rich carbohydrates, and also exercise aerobically every day, which includes walking.


A New Outlook on Food
Choose to Lose is not restrictive. It is an eating plan you can follow for a lifetime because it is palatable, practical, and flexible. You can choose to eat anything you want as long as it fits into your Fat Budget.

You're the boss. No one can tell you what you can or cannot eat. But, knowing that you can eat high-fat favorites gives you the freedom not to eat them. You don't have to be frantic. Do you regard every high-fat goodie as a last-chance opportunity? When you see a piece of cheesecake do you view it as the last cheesecake on earth? You know you shouldn't eat it, but you can't pass up the opportunity. You might even eat it because you want to get it out of the way so you won't eat it. Is this logical behavior? This is a gut reaction.

However, knowing that the cheesecake has 160 fat calories and that you can fit it into your Fat Budget (albeit you will have to eat low, low fat for a few days to compensate), frees you. You can relax about it. Maybe you'll have it another day.

A Healthier You
Overweight people have all sorts of health problems which they might have avoided had they followed Choose to Lose. By eating a diet low in fat and high in carbohydrates and fiber you can reduce your risks of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, cancer of the breast, prostate, and colon, bone and joint disorders, female sterility and pregnancy problems, and premature death. You will also improve your regularity.

People following Choose to Lose have reported major reductions in blood cholesterol (some as much as 100 points), significant reductions in blood pressure, and normalization of blood sugar. Some have told us they no longer suffer from swollen ankles. These short-term changes are just the tip of the iceberg. They predict vastly improved health in the future.

Enough Talking - Let's Get Started.
Read the next chapter to see how to make Choose to Lose work for you.

Back To Top

Return to Choose to Lose: A Food Lover's Guide to Permanent Weight Loss