In the last 20 years, the number of overweight children and adolescents has tripled. Adults have fared just as poorly.
According to the International Journal of Obesity, the prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing at an alarming rate in developed and developing countries throughout the world. Studies indicate that overweight and obesity are important risk factors for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and premature death. The high prevalence of overweight and obesity, combined with their concomitant health risks, makes it a particularly relevant worldwide public health challenge.
But the major cause of overweight and obesity has very little to do with how much or the types of food we put in our mouths. That is, if you listen to the sweets and snack food manufacturers, beverage companies, processed food industry and the fast food restaurants. According to these groups, the reasons why people are so fat and obese is because they are just lazy and sedentary, simply put, people don't exercise enough.
To be honest, most of us should be more active. But that is not the reason more and more people are so fat and obese. In fact, studies show that exercise is quite ineffective when it comes to weight loss. Studies have shown that physical activity has not declined significantly in the last thirty years. We may sit in front of the computer more or be lying down and playing with our phones more today, but before that it was the television. And the numbers of people who have gym memberships and participate in workout programs are near all-time highs.
Beyond that, the role of exercise in weight loss has been wildly overstated. In fact, studies clearly show that exercise is quite ineffective when it comes to weight loss. But it's even worse than that. If you exercise the way most weight loss specialists and medical organizations tell you to, you will probably gain weight!
This is in no way downplaying the benefits of exercise. The health and emotional benefits of regular exercise are undeniable. Countless studies show that exercise (even low-level exercise) will dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It helps to alleviate chronic pain. It will improve your mental health and cognitive ability. It improves your energy, stamina and longevity. And the list goes on. So you should exercise!
Just don't expect it to work wonders when it comes to fat or weight loss.
Too much exercise can create other unintended consequences. For example, the problem with long-duration exercise or cardio, in particular, is that while it burns calories, it can also make you super hungry. And not only does cardio exercise make us hungrier. It also makes us feel as if we are entitled to make bad food choices.
Another issue to consider is that it can take only minutes to consume far more calories than you burn during exercise. It takes about 5 minutes to eat a few slices of pizza and wash it down with a tall glass of soda, for example. That's about 1,000 calories. Now consider what it would take to burn off those calories.
The table below shows how many calories a 58kg person and an 86kg person would burn while engaged in various physical activities.
Calories Burned Per Hour for Various Activities
|Judo / Karate / Kick boxing||590||863|
|Full court basketball||472||690|
|Running (12 minute mile)||472||690|
|Stationary Bicycle (moderate)||413||604|
|Golf, carrying clubs||325||474|
|Walking (moderate pace)||207||302|
As you can see, even the most strenuous activity levels are no match for poor food choices and an overactive appetite. When you consider that you would have to burn 3,500 calories to lose just one kilogram of fat, it becomes clear that exercise is not the most important part of the equation.
Take a look again at the table above, and consider what you would have to do to burn off the energy consumed in these foods:
It really puts into perspective the claims of fast food and junk food manufacturers that we are fat simply because we don't exercise enough.
Again, none of this is meant to suggest that exercise is not important to your health. It is extremely effective and beneficial for improving just about every measurable risk factor for disease.
And in fact, the right kind of exercise can help a great deal with fat loss and body composition. So what is the "right kind" of exercise? It is the same kind of exercise our biological ancestors engaged in for thousands of years.
That would include lots of moving around at a low level of exertion, lifting heavy things and occasionally exerting ourselves near your maximum capacity for short periods of time.
The way to model this in today’s world is to walk frequently and often. Sprint occasionally. And lift weights or engage in other resistance and weight-bearing exercises several times per week.
But the bottom line is that exercise is only part of the equation, when it comes to weight loss - probably no more than 80% of it. It is what you eat - not how hard you try to work it off - that matters.
So what should you eat?
The recommend diet is one that is rich in protein and healthy fats. These foods keep you full and satisfied for longer, they stimulate muscle growth, and they do very little to boost blood sugar and insulin (the fat storage hormone). Your carbs should come from low-glycemic sources like whole fruits and vegetables.
The mainstream mantra for weight loss is: Eat less and exercise more.
Your mantra should be: Eat better and exercise smarter
To summarize, below are 7 tips you should follow for weight loss:
1. Drink water a half hour before meals. One study showed that drinking water a half hour before meals increased weight loss by 44% over 3 months.
2. Eat a high-protein breakfast. Eating a high-protein breakfast has been shown to reduce cravings and calorie intake throughout the day.
3. Avoid sugary drinks and fruit juice. These are the most fattening things you can put into your body, and avoiding them can help you lose weight.
4. Use smaller plates. Studies show that people automatically eat less when they use smaller plates. Strange, but it works.
5. Eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods. Base most of your diet on whole foods. They are healthier, more filling and much less likely to cause overeating.
6. Eat your food slowly. Fast eaters gain more weight over time. Eating slowly makes you feel more full and boosts weight-reducing hormones.
7. Get a good night’s sleep, every night. Poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for weight gain, so taking care of your sleep is important.
After losing fat or excess weight, if it doesn’t stay lost, you will be back to square one. You need to know how to both lose weight and keep the weight from coming back. And there’s an uncommon way to do that.
Weight gain doesn’t happen all at once, nor is it a slow continuous process. Research has shown that people usually gain weight during very select time periods. Generally, people pile on the pounds over holiday periods or during vacation. Often people lose some of this weight shortly afterwards – only to regain it.
Research shows that weighing yourself every day is very effective at preventing weight gain in the first place. These researchers carried out human research at the Department of Foods & Nutrition, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA.
The researchers wanted to know whether simply being aware of weight gain could help people get control over it. So the researchers asked people to weigh themselves over the festive holiday period. The participants used digital scales.
The scales sent reports to the participants’ cell phones so they could see in real time what was happening with their weight.
The researchers recruited over 100 adults and assigned them to two different groups. They gave one group the digital weighing scales with the cell phone app. These people weighed themselves daily over the course of the study.
The other group did not weigh themselves over the holiday period.
The participants visited the research center at the start of the trial. And they returned a few weeks later when the daily weighing experiment was over. The participants returned again 14 weeks after they had stopped weighing themselves.
Without daily use of weighing scales, participants gained an average of 2.6 kg over the holiday period.
People who weighed themselves every day did not gain weight over the holiday period. In fact, overweight or obese participants lost weight when they weighed themselves daily during the holiday period.
Many people diet or hit the gym after the holiday period is over. And during this time they can lose some of the weight.
And in the study, people who did not weigh themselves over the holiday period lost some of the excess weight afterwards.
But they lost far less weight than they had gained over the holiday period. By the end of the follow-up period, people who did not weigh themselves had gained an average of 1.5 kg.
The study shows that simply weighing yourself every day could prevent weight gain.
So, if you want to keep from becoming overweight, you should strive to weigh yourself frequently. But before weighing yourself daily or frequently, you should know what your ideal or optimal weight should be. This you can do by using our Rich Health Calculator.
You can use our Rich Health Calculator which aggregates data from studies and research from organizations like WHO (World Health Organization), Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University, University of Ibadan College of Medicine etc. to determine your ideal weight, BMI, heart rate, blood volume level, ovulation, period time and so much more!
Let us show you how to use our Rich Health Calculator to determine your ideal or optimal weight:
Click on the Health Calculator drop-down menu and select Ideal Weight
Enter your age, height (in centimeters) and sex (male or female) then click calculate
Your ideal weight in kilogram will be displayed
This information will give you the basis of what should be your target weight while you eat right, exercise and monitor your weight.
You can also use our Rich Health calculator to determine your target body mass index (BMI), daily water intake, blood volume levels, pregnancy due date etc.
Start today by using our Rich Health calculator to determine your ideal weight now.