Obesity. Twenty five years ago obesity was not an issue in the united states. In fact, there were no states with an incidence of obesity over 20 percent and only 8 states with a rate over 15 percent. Over the last 25 years though, the rate of obesity has shot up to the point where only one state (Colorado) has a rate lower than twenty percent and six states where more than 30 percent of the population is obese. This has occurred in spite of the fact that treating obesity is now a 100 million dollar a day business.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who are struggling with weight you may be wondering why in spite of all the diets, pills, potions and fads, it seems to be so difficult to lose weight. On the surface the solution would seem simple. All you have to do is eat less and exercise more. And while I believe this is fundamentally true, in my work with patients helping them become healthier I have observed that there are often several factors at work.
These factors fall into several categories:
1. problems with the way people combine their foods
2. problems with the types of food people eat
3. Problems arising from toxicity in the body
4. problems with stress and anxiety
5. Problems with people's relationship to food.
6. Problems with the amount of food people eat.
The last of these (calorie intake vs outgo) is the most simple and the topic of this short article today. I have had many patients come in over the years with the same story. No matter how much they diet and exercise they can't seem to lose weight. For some there really is a metabolic problem but for the vast majority of those who say this, the truth is they are either vastly underestimating the amount calories they take in or drastically underestimating the amount of exercise they do. I can make this claim with confidence based on simple observation of groups of people who experience calorie deprivation situations. Television is a popular American pastime and two recent popular programs illustrate this very well. For several years now contestant have been appearing on The Survivor series and on The Biggest Loser Series. Every single contestant without exception loses weight rapidly when calories are restricted and activity level rises.
The problem with this idea is cutting calories is never easy. Eating is fun and feels good. Unfortunately to results of to much eating are painfully evident. Statistically the average American eats 300 to 500 calories per day more now than they did 20 years ago. It takes approximately 3200 extra calories to produce a pound of fat and conversely you have to use up about 3200 calories more than you take in to burn up a pound of fat. The good news is doing nothing other than simply cutting 300 to 400 calories a day consistently from your diet should result in about a pound of fat loss per week. 300 calories is about one snickers bar and a glass of milk. Its not really a lot of food. A large part of success with weight loss is simply making decisions to take certain actions. The first step most people need to take is to simply record everything they eat or drink for several days. This gives you the knowledge of where you are currently at and for most people is extremely revealing. From there you can begin to make change.