Is your scale “creeping” upwards? You’re not alone. Unwanted weight gain is common and can be devastating to health and happiness. 80% of Americans are now overweight, with more people joining the ranks each year. Calories from food end up as fat (what we DON’T want), instead of energy (what we DO want). Calories have become a “bad guy”!
Look at common efforts to avoid calories:
- Low-calorie snacks cost more if they have FEWER calories.
- Dieters are obsessed with AVOIDING calories.
- Menus and labels list calories so we can LIMIT calories.
Why would a necessary thing like calories (energy) become an enemy? The answer lies in our epidemic of SLOW calorie burning (a sluggish metabolism). Calories are no longer increasing energy levels, just waistlines!
Nearly 80% of Americans are now overweight. Consider these facts:
Fact # 1. Women, since the 1970’s, have gained over 1 lb per year on average!
The typical woman in the 1970’s weighed 135 lbs at age 25. Thirty years later, at age 55, that same woman weighs 170 and has gained 35 lbs! Ugh! That much weight gain can be devastating when clothes don’t fit, knees hurt, and self-confidence dwindles. Current weight trends for men and women are not what we want!
Fact #2. An imbalance of just 13 extra calories per day causes over 1 pound of fat gain per year!
The average adult burns about 2,100 calories each day. The weight gain epidemic is the result of storing an extra 1% or 13 calories per day EXTRA per year over 30 years. (JAMA, Jan 6, 2010. Vol 303, No. 1, p. 65)
Note: Adding 13 calories to your day’s diet is simple, just eat an extra ¼ of a small cookie or just 1 potato chip.
Unfortunately, food intake tends to “creep” upward over time! Research shows we tend to eat a little more year after year… and sometimes we eat A LOT more… if that’s the case, the situation can get scary! On the other side of the calorie equation, our bodies tend to burn fewer calories each year. Read on…
Fact #3. There are 3 MANDATORY keys for achieving lasting weight loss.
It is quite easy to be a victim of “the calorie storage disease”. For most people, it simply means “do nothing”, simply eat what sounds good and get a year older. The weight gain is automatic.
To lose weight and maintain a healthy weight long term, there are 3 key areas that must be managed.
Key #1: Appetite control
Appetite is any desire to put calories in your mouth. Stomach “growling” hunger is obvious. The tempting smell of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies is another. TV commercials, candy bars at the check out counter, or watching a friend eat a favorite snack can all be temptations. Enjoying high calorie comfort foods after a tiring, stressful day are a reminder that we “love” our food! Common cravings and desires for favorite foods and drinks can sabotage dieters. Fortunately, with modern medical science, we now know more about controlling appetite and cravings than ever before! And each person’s appetite is different. Your personal appetite must be understood and controlled!
Key #2: Metabolism Support
Many factors slow the metabolism and decrease calorie burning. For example, Americans are a bit less active each year. Over time, there are fewer sports activities, less manual labor, and more opportunities to sit rather than walk. To add to the problem, age, hormone deficiencies, some medications, nutrient deficiencies, stress, certain diseases, fatigue, and lack of sleep all slow the metabolism. If you have low energy or have had unwanted weight gain, you likely have had a slowing of your metabolism. An unhealthy metabolism must be addressed from a biochemistry standpoint for successful weight loss. Your metabolism is unique to you and is different from your friends. I consider thoughtful evaluation of metabolism tendencies essential when I design personalized weight loss plans for my patients. Metabolism matters!
Key #3: Nutrition Strategies
All calories are NOT the same. “Junk food” is called that for a reason! Nutritional deficiencies are a common reason for weight gain. Determining your personal nutrition needs and then designing an individualized plan with high quality foods and supplements will give you the best chance of becoming trim, fit and healthy. Many diets cause worsening of malnutrition. Your nutrition needs are unique to you. Knowing your nutritional needs is a first step in determining a successful plan.
If you are like many of our patients, life is great… except in the area of weight! If you are struggling with unwanted, progressive weight gain, consider how an excessive appetite, a sluggish metabolism, and poor quality nutrition have played a role. These factors must be understood and managed for success. Being trim, fit and healthy are keys to living a great life! Don’t settle for less! It is ALWAYS worth the effort.
For Optimum Health,
Rick Tague, M.D., M.P.H.