Considering the US Center for Disease Control's advice is a very good idea. Fat, although systematically proven useful to the human body, is not only a waste of food. When you're fat, if very fat, you're obese, and you do indeed have a disease. It can sneak right up on you like a homicidal lunatic. In spite of how you feel about yourself emotionally, you should really do your utmost to keep your weight from assuming immense proportions-or you'll only be dooming yourself.
The USCDC estimates that six out of ten Americans are overweight to the extent that they can be considered to be nearly obese, and the obesity rate has doubled from 15% in the year 1980 to 30% in 2000. And one in 50 people being severely obese is only a conservative estimate. Now you know.
"Fat" may be in as far as emotionality goes, but it's still a very effective method of accidental suicide. If the point is that you're still a good person when you're fat, why are you leaving your loved ones behind? Excess fat has been scientifically proven to lose you both your job and your life. Therefore, if you want to proceed for many more years to come, and if you love your own people enough, you should try to accommodate them to the extent that you and they want to go on living.
Obesity leads to death from diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer, osteoarthritis and physical injuries from the very fact that a fat person has more trouble getting around than a skinny or normally thin person does. Try bending over to pick up a pencil from the floor, and you will see what we mean by this. If you can't even pick up that pencil from the floor, you're in serious trouble. And if it's very difficult to do it, what does that mean?
It means obesity has indeed reached epidemic proportions. We know this sounds like a pun and so funny, but it isn't. Americans are growing larger according to a simple index which measures actual weight versus percentage of body fat. Scientists use a Body Mass Index, or BMI, to take lean body as well as fat body mass into account. A BMI of 25 or more is considered overweight and one of 30 or more reflects obesity. Having a BMI of 40 or greater is equivalent to having approximately 100 extra pounds of fat. Are you that overweight, or headed there? If so, it's time to make that serious commitment to either stop "growing" -- to actually lose some of that body fat. Not overnight, but slowly.
DON'T KEEL OVER-TAKE YOU DOWN EASY
Why slowly? It has been shown time and time again that going on a "fad" diet, or looking for "overnight success" is like weekend warrior syndrome. There is a tendency for trying too hard too fast to either put excess weight on you, causing you to lose lean body fat and other needed body tissues, and/or leading you right back to the major health problems you are trying to avoid. So you don't want to use any "quickie" methods at all. Not unless what you're really planning on doing is giving up.
There is no such thing as a "quick fix" when it comes to obesity. You're only handing out money to people to pretend to fix your problem, when there are real solutions that can be found through proper diet and exercise, namely maintenance programs that involve a gradual loss of weight combined with a gentle and building exercise program that will cause you to become thinner and more healthy through slow, scientifically researched and progressively easier exercise. You don't need to show off; you need to win!
Further about what not to do: some researchers point to high fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive, way too commonly used sweetener, as a major culprit in the obesity epidemic. A terrific first step, if you're a soda pop addict, is to see if you can cut back to about half the sodas you ordinarily drink. If you're used to, say, downing an entire liter of soda per day, consider cutting that to half that amount and replacing the rest with good, pure water, bought from the store or gleaned from your own purifying system. You want to drink clean water, not the stuff that's probably loaded with minerals that aren't good for you from your tap water. Either buy water or find a purification method, and start replacing your soda pop with water.
Research shows that the more water you drink, the less hungry you feel. The US Department of Agriculture has performed studies that show you can almost get rid of that feeling of hunger when you are eating less food by drinking water. And further research has shown that the water, clean and pure as it is, will flush toxins and waste out of your body while you are losing weight. Isn't feeling good while you're losing weight the best possible way to go? Don't you want to live on, for your family's and friends' sakes, and to feel completely better about yourself? Replace some of that soda pop and some of your food with water. It is a proven dietary tool.
A PROBLEM CALLED NOWADAYS
We have become an increasingly sedentary society, we Americans. More people work sit-down jobs and are car-dependent, which means less walking, and there's a tendency when coming home from a hard day at a stress-ridden job to plop down mindlessly in front of the TV. It's like giving up-it's so seductive, and so easy to do. And now we have personal computers, which are so addictive it's tempting to just sit there and "grow."
It has been shown that habits like those outlined above, especially computer addiction, lead to patterns of behavior established early on in life. You need to get your kids away from the computer if they're spending four or more hours per day on it, studies have shown. And it they're slowly getting plumper and plumper while surfing, you need to get them to play outside. Have them join up for soccer practice before they become the "fat kid" and get picked on by the other kids, and not allowed to play with them.
YOUR OWN DIET AND WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM
Most diets work for as long as the individual sticks to the diet. That's why "diet" refers both to your food intake and to "going on one." It's what you need to eat for the rest of your life. And to lose weight, you must reduce the total calorie intake to a level below the number of calories that you burn, each and every day. There is considerably more to designing a good diet than simply reducing calories, however.
A total program, therefore, is one that would incorporate diet and exercise with supplements that will help improve metabolic control. When choosing a weight loss plan, it's important to seek out diets that preserve muscle mass. Crash dieting that induces "quick" weight loss generally promotes muscle and water loss and less fat loss. That's why you should be unafraid to drink water; its loss is unimportant unless you grow seriously dehydrated, and you don't really want too much water loss.
Fad dieting results in the "yo-yo" syndrome. When patients have gained their weight back, doctors have seen that they gained it as fat--not muscle. The best plan to follow is one that targets the change in body composition and preferentially enhances the lost of body fat rather than muscle mass. To some, this means low-carbohydrate diets, but unfortunately there is a tendency to start to treat "carbs" as something evil and think that you must avoid them at all cost. This is similar to the idea that fat in foods is evil and must be avoided at all costs. Neither case is true at all.
You need carbohydrates, proteins and fats in your diet in a correct proportion, with no one or any amount of the three of them out of balance. That's right; you need to eat a balanced diet. Although you do need slightly less fat than the other two types of basic foods, depending on the nature of your lifestyle and exercise program, you don't have to overemphasize one food group over another. This has been proven in case after case throughout all of human history. Generally, a rule of thumb is to cut back on all simple carbohydrates, such as table sugars and sweets, and eat more complex carbs such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Eat your ice cream, but only about two cups worth at a time. You need minimal fat whether you're trying to lose weight or not, but just cut the fat off your meat and eat lean meats. You don't have to "go overboard" and remove all fats from your diet. Fat is absolutely necessary for the brain growth of children, and you may need it in your diet for very similar brain metabolism purposes. Also, a tip: avoid drinking soda pop in aluminum cans. Regarding your brain, this can be very bad for it, as the pop contains a lot of aluminum, and this has been shown in studies to be a potential cause of Alzheimer's disease, way too early in life for it to be a mere coincidence.
And relax. You don't need to "beat yourself up" for what you eat and don't eat, or if you accidentally didn't exercise for one single day.
SUPPLEMENTS ACCELERATE WEIGHT LOSS
What's important to remember while going on your weight loss plan, using both dieting and exercising, is that muscle dictates your metabolism and high body fat slows metabolism. Preserving or even building a little more muscle can have dramatic effects on metabolism. There are many dietary supplements which can help enhance weight loss when a low-calorie diet and a decent, slowly accelerated exercise plan are both followed. Also, these supplements can help improve blood sugar control, metabolism and body composition. They may also help prevent long periods of no weight loss, or the "plateau effect," that can be quite frustrating to you and can cause you to "fall off the wagon."
Believe it or not, we're almost religiously talking "temptation" here. You need to watch what you're eating as often as humanly possible. Take little breaks, eat your "bad foods," but only about once per week. Do it to reward yourself for a long week of sticking to your diet and exercise program, and if you do fall of the bandwagon, don't give yourself such "fun food" rewards at all. They're harmless if you just consume them in very low quantities or even moderately, and can be a great reward if you're sticking with your exercise plan and taking it well.
READY FOR SOME FANCY FOOTWORK?
According to current ongoing medical research in both the US and China, supplements may also help prevent weight gain with occasional "cheats"-- and that means occasional! The thermogenic effect of green tea (Camellia sinensis) was originally attributed to its caffeine content. However, green tea stimulates brown fat thermogenesis far greater than a comparable amount of pure caffeine. It appears that the catechin-polyphenols, in particular epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), and caffeine that naturally occur in green tea work synergistically to stimulate thermogenesis and augment and prolong sympathetic stimulation of thermogenesis. It has been shown to increase 24-hour energy expenditure and fat oxidation (caffeine only increases metabolism during the time you take it).
Drinking one or two cups of green tea each day also has well documented anti-cancer effects, particularly with respect to the prostate, breast, uterus and ovary. Green tea is generally taken as a standardized extract in capsule or tablet form to provide 50 mg of caffeine and 90 mg of epigallocatechin gallate to be taken three times daily before meals. Although green tea contains a small amount of caffeine, it is generally not enough to create any adverse side effects. Drinking several glasses of green tea each day may yield a similar thermogenic effect to the supplement, although this has not been studied thus far.
Coleus Forskohlii Coleus has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. One of its active compounds is forskolin, which has been studied as a weight loss aid. Animal studies have shown that forskolin has anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Human studies have shown that forskolin may be effective for glaucoma (as eye drops) and may have other therapeutic effects. And finally, green tea is a great way to flush out your system, similar to simply drinking water. It's a clean and effective tonic, and you can even drink it at night in a small amount before you go to bed. It will take away your "cravings" and promote a healthful night's sleep.
LASTLY, A CRASH COURSE IN THE ETIOLOGY OF FAT
From Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of The Total Health Program:
Obesity is a chronic condition that develops as a result of an interaction between a person's genetic makeup and their environment. How and why obesity occurs is not well understood; however, social, behavioral, cultural, psychological, metabolic, and genetic factors are involved. And yet, most of why a person is fat is up to that person.
Among possible hormones involved, leptin, discovered in 1994, has received the most attention. Leptin appears to regulate adipose proliferation and modulate eating behavior. A 1999 study showed that subcutaneous therapy with recombinant leptin produced weight loss in both obese and lean subjects. Isn't that exciting? Perhaps science will someday find an actual cure for the disease that is obesity!
Heritability studies indicate that genetic factors may be responsible for up to 70% of the variation in people's weight. However, this is not technically proven as yet to be a genetic trait. Families which overeat tend to produce children who then overeat, and it may be socially caused. So consider your friends. You might want to join a club.
Weight gain, in short, is almost entirely dependent on a person's energy intake being greater than his or her energy expenditure. One pound (0.45 kg) is equal to 3,500 calories. Therefore, a person consuming 500 calories more than he or she expends daily over a brief period of time will gain one pound per week. And the same is true the other way around. You can lose weight simply by reversing the process, but do take it easy as you keep going. You might want to consider cutting only 200 calories per day from your diet.
A person's body weight tends to range within 10% of a set value. Weight alterations in either direction cause changes in energy expenditure that favor a return to the set point. You may have heard of this before; it's what your body "wants" to weigh, and it may not be quite what you want to weight. This mechanism helps explain the terrible problem of recidivism following attempted weight loss. Recidivism means, once again, falling off the wagon.
Now that you see why you need to lose weight and that it is a tricky but doable uphill battle, are you ready to have a go at it for your own sweet sake, and that of your social network, your friends and family, your pets, and American happiness in general? Remember, fat can be "contagious." People who look at fat people who are doing fine tend to think that they will be fine as fat people too, and such is not the case. For all we know, we eventually can't do without any of us.
What if your life is like Jimmy Stewart's in "It's a Wonderful Life"? What if you died suddenly, and many people around you suddenly found you to be a significant loss? Not just your income, but because they truly and honestly love you? Obesity can lead to this exact problem. And the worst part is that it can come in the form of a long, slow, obnoxious, and nasty death, ruining your relationships even as you're trying to make them, and eating away at the more guilt-ridden parts of you.
Join the good fight. Start that easy lifelong diet and nice, slowly building exercise program, and start it today-not tomorrow, but today!