If you stop and look around you, no matter where you are, you will most likely see some people who are overweight. We are a nation obsessed with food. It's your birthday, cake time! It's Christmas, cookies and candy canes. It's Halloween, candy, candy, candy. It's Thanksgiving! Let's eat until we're so full our stomachs are in extreme pain. What's going on? How is it that we've evolved to be so obsessed with food that we gorge until we feel sick? Why is it so hard to stop eating before we have to get to that point?
Eating until you feel uncomfortable and in pain, is not good for you.
Very few people are born blessed with incredibly fast metabolisms. Those people you hate because they seem to be able to eat anything and stay thin? Or worse, those that have to eat just to keep weight on? I wish there were a magic pill we could take to eat whatever we wanted and magically stay thin. But for some reason, there isn't and most of us, have to watch what we eat and exercise.
Unfortunately, it's not exercise alone that will keep you fit.
- Exercise alone is almost useless when it comes to losing weight. Researchers tracked people who added more workouts to their training schedules but kept their diets the same and found they lost only a few pounds. Our energy system is a lot more complicated than calories in versus calories out, so it's hard to create a calorie deficit just with exercise.
- Exercise accounts for a small percentage of our daily calorie burn. Fewer than 30 percent of the energy we expend comes from exercise. We burn more calories doing everyday things like breathing and digesting.
- Exercise can undermine weight loss. We've all told ourselves that we deserve that margarita or slice of pizza because we went to spin class earlier. In other words, working out can make you eat more, either because you think you burned off a bunch of calories or because you're actually hungrier. Your body may even conserve energy after exercising to try to hang onto fat for future energy needs. (Wow! Thanks, body.)
- More exercise doesn't mean more calories burned. This theory is still being tested, but scientists found evidence that after a certain amount of exercise, you stop burning energy at the same rate. So logging double the steps on your Fitbit doesn't necessarily mean you burned double the calories.
If you take a look at the amount of food we consumed just in the 1980's to now, it's astounding. A Turkey sandwich then, 320 calories typically. Today, 820! French fries, 210 calories, now 610 calories. A bagel? 140 calories then, 350 now. A slice of pizza 500 calories, today? 850 calories. No wonder nearly 40% of American adults between the ages of 40 to 59 are obese according to stats in 2015. The difference between the 1950's to now is staggering.
So the most important thing you can do is learn portion control. Here's a simple chart to help you. You'll be surprised at the difference it will make.
Don't forget to check out our other Tuesday health tips here