Look online or in any fitness magazine. Carbs are bad! Fat is bad! Soft drinks will kill you! McDonalds is to blame for our obesity epidemic! Never eat this, Always eat that…so on, and so on.
Everyday more and more articles, blogs (*hangs head in shame), books, tv shows, and other media outlets are pushing a new diet or a new super food or supplement. At any given time on tv, one can find a show talking about inspirational weight loss wonders…yet America’s waistlines are getting bigger and bigger.
Preventing weight gain or promoting weight loss is not as simple as singling out a single culprit (carbs, fat, soda, etc.). Banning 64 oz. sodas won’t stop Americans from getting their fix or fat, just like making street drugs illegal isn’t stopping Americans from getting high. Cutting out carbs or fat completely might lead to weight loss, but is it healthy? No. Will it be something your body can tolerate for a life time? No.
What about weight loss supplements? Those little magic pills gotta do something! Well, sorry, but taking a pill loaded with caffeine won’t make you lose weight alone overnight.
Always remember, it took time (and “work” in the form of unhealthy eating and lack of exercise) for you to gain all that unwanted weight, it is gonna take time and work to lose it.
So what is the TRUE villan behind America’s obesity epidemic?
There is no simple answer (sorry) but I will go with 1)Eating too much of the wrong stuff and 2) Lack of movement throughout the day.
1) Eating too much of the wrong stuff
Portions are bigger, calorie dense food is abundant, and we are eating more and more of both. It’s not as simple as just saying carbs or fat is the worst thing you can put in your body. It comes down to the quality of those nutrients, the amount that we eat and the frequency and balance we find between portions and traditionally unhealthy foods. I think it is safe to say that it is common knowledge that eating greasy cheeseburgers isn’t the healthiest choice we can make. However, if we eat one or even dare I say 2 cheeseburgers a week…I dont think that alone will lead to weight gain. It comes down to this… Eat foods that you know are healthy most of the time. Eat smaller than your standard American portions. Eat only when you are hungry, stop before your belt it bursting. Don’t be afraid to indulge for your own sanity once in a while (one meal or snack once in a while, not a whole day of gluttony).
2) Lack of movement throughout the day
We are a nation of convenience. Phones that do everything, remote controls, elevators, escalators, etc. We need to move more! I’m not saying we need to start running 10 miles everyday, or working out for 4 hours a day, but just move more! The recommendation for GENERAL HEALTH is 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise! This isn’t even for weight loss! The average “step” recommendation is 10,000 steps a day. I can bet that most of us don’t come close, unless you work a job where you are constantly on your feet.
For example, for me to walk 10,000 steps that equals about 5.5 miles of walking. No way do I get close to that.
Classic forms of working out aren’t for everyone. Find something you enjoy! Hiking, zumba, boxing, dance, bootcamps, etc. If you do enjoy running or lifting, then keep doing that. Just do something!
So don’t fixate on such specific things if you are just starting down the pathway to health or weight loss. Sure, once you progress you can get more detail oriented toward your goals. But for starters:
- Eat smart (portion sizes, eat when physically hungry)
- Eat healthy, most of the time
- Move more
Now reading all this or anything else about getting healthy might be inspirational and all, but you still need to actually do it! So Just Do It!