The basics of weight

About two-thirds of adults in the US are overweight and nearly one-third of those are considered obese.  This means that only one-third of Americans are at a healthy weight.  That’s a scary fact.  Especially considering being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea and osteoarthritis.

What causes a person to be overweight?

The simple answer is consuming more calories than they use.

Calories are the fuel source for our body.  Our body uses calories for the heart to beat, to blink our eyes, and to move our arms.  So at rest, our bodies use calories to internally operate and keep us alive.  When we move, our bodies use even more calories to create and maintain movement.

If we eat more calories than our body uses as fuel, then we will gain weight.  One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories.  To gain one pound of fat, we need to consume 3,500 calories more than our body uses.

calories in and out

That may sound like a lot of calories, but really it isn’t.  The average person uses around 2000-2500 calories a day.  According to a study conducted by the University of Toronto, the average restaurant meal is 1,128 calories.  And that’s just one meal of 3 plus snacks in a day.

calorie counts

In order to lose weight, we need to create a 3,500 calorie deficit.  When the body reaches this 3,500 calorie deficit, it will lose one pound of fat.

The easiest and best way to do this is by changing your eating habits.  Making smarter nutrition choices, such as preparing food at home, eating lots of low-calorie fruits and vegetables, baking or broiling lean cuts of meat, and eating whole grains is a great start to eating better and losing weight.  Also, managing portion sizes is a great way to lose weight.

Exercise can also aid in weight loss by adding to your daily calorie usage.  Calorie burn with exercise is very individual, but on average a person can burn around 250 calories with 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise.

Throughout the month of January, we will go in more depth as to how to best lose weight through proper nutrition and exercise.

You can also check out these articles to get you started on your weight loss journey:

Personalized Daily Food Plans: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate/index.aspx

Tips for starting an exercise program:
http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/active.htm#what

Tips to eat healthfully while dining out:
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/eat/tips_dine_out.htm

 

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