Your Ideal Weight
Our country as a whole is overweight. The American lifestyle has evolved into a sedentary pattern, with virtually no physical activity. Most Americans drive to work and sit at computers, then drive home and sit at the television. Kids get driven to school, where they sit all day, until they come home and sit at their desks or at their video games.
Meanwhile, technology improves, and the markets are packed with cheap, good-tasting, high-calorie foods. Coffee shops wait at every corner to help us with a boost of artificial energy and a cookie on the side.
The fast food companies are conveniently located in our markets, shopping malls, and airports. They even supply our schools with lunches. It’s no wonder two-thirds of Americans are overweight.
The technology of underdeveloped countries is not at our level, but neither is their rate of obesity. When people from these parts of the world immigrate to the West, their rate of weight gain quickly catches up to ours.
How did people get so fat in the first place?
The human body was designed to enjoy and consume as much high-calorie food as possible. Humans are built to store extra calories until winter, or a time of famine, in pockets of fat. Unfortunately, human physiology has not compensated for technological advances.
Consequences of Being Overweight
Overweight people run higher risks for heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, infertility, stroke, diabetes, and numerous forms of cancer. Obesity is about to pass tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death. In 1998 Americans spent nearly $80 billion in obesity-related health care.
Regardless of how your weight compares to a table or chart, you know if you and your family need to pay more attention to nutrition. An ideal weight is one that you can maintain, that allows you to be active, provides energy throughout the day, and lets you sleep at night.
What works for some does not necessarily work for all. You are an individual, and it’s your unique lifestyle that determines your overall weight and health.
Where do you and your family fit in to this scenario? Are you active? Are you at a healthy weight? There are specific measurements you can make to determine exactly where you stand, but you probably have a pretty good idea already.
Battle of the Bulge
If you determine that you need to lose weight, there is only one way to do it. You must burn more calories than you consume. There are dozens of diet plans, programs, pills, and shakes vying for your dollar. But you can only lose the pounds by controlling portion sizes, understanding which foods your body needs, and incorporating exercise into your daily routine.
Cutting the calories takes attention, and burning them takes effort. There is no getting around it.
You can lose about a pound a week if you eliminate or burn 500 calories a day. To help you gauge this, an eight-ounce container of low-fat, plain yogurt has about 150 calories. People who run regularly burn about 100 calories per mile. Eat less, exercise more. Sounds simple enough, right?