Food-related conditions have increased in number nowadays. There are several syndromes that our grandparents did…
We are a nation obsessed. Obsessed with beauty and the stars and starlets who have it. Obsessed with image, from cars we drive to the diamonds we wear to the country clubs we mortgage our homes to get into. More than anything else, though, we are obsessed with body image. We are a nation that is constantly on a diet, cruising for the next great weight loss breakthrough, constantly shifting from one conventional wisdom to the next. We’ve gone from Jack LaLanne to Richard Simmons to The Rock. We’ve gone from no-fat to low-fat, from no-carb to low-carb to complex carbs only, from jogging to aerobics to elliptical training to interval training and back again. We’ve spawned a $30 billion industry to ram it all down our throats, from diet foods and beverages to diet management plans to national gym chains to an entire landscape of media devoted exclusively to the religion of fitness, health and ego.
And yet, we are fatter than ever before. In the 1990s, when the current vogue of low fat collided with carb reduction in the face of an explosion in the fitness industry, the American public gained a whopping 40 percent incidence of obesity, all in the face of the highest level of awareness of its dangers in history. As Jerry Seinfeld might say, what’s up with that?
Misinformation is what’s up with that. We have been dieting and exercising under yesterday’s science, which has received an update of major proportions. Because the focus is no longer on the calorie content of food or the calorie consumption rate per activity – both are still factors, just not the be-all-end-all we thought they were – but rather, on the controlling mechanism that determines whether our personal choices of how we combine these two things results in fitness or fatness. Because two people can eat the same thing and do precisely the same amount of exercise, and one will lose weight while the other doesn’t. In fact, that unfortunate other might just gain weight. The reason for this is the aforementioned controlling mechanism. It’s called our metabolism, and our best hope to finally win the battle of the bulge – indeed, perhaps our only hope – is to find a way to improve it to the point where we no longer gain weight while eating and exercising reasonably.
The key to everything about weight management is our calorie burn rate. And while there are two major strategies that are designed to improve the metabolic processes that control it – gaining more lean muscle mass and changing our eating patterns – we can also improve our metabolism simply by looking for ways, no matter how small, to make our daily lives more active. Activity translates to calories burned, and every few calories count.
This means we need to start paying attention to how we move around outside of the gym. How many elevators we skip in favor of the stairs. How long we stand instead of sit. How we choose-in on activities we might otherwise sit out. If we’re moving then we’re jacking our metabolism, and even a marginal 25 to 100 burned calories per day – which you can get simply by parking further away than usual – can be the thing that pushes our metabolism across the line to make us one of those people who no longer have to watch what we eat.