When I think about the battle that I have had with my weight my entire life, it tends to feel like a lonely journey. But it’s not - unfortunately. The statistics are actually quite startling. These statistics are for people in the US, but as other countries have caught up to us in this realm, I suspect the numbers wouldn’t be that dramatically different.
At any one time in the United States, 51% of adults say that they are trying to lose weight. Over half the population! A full 70.7% of Americans are considered overweight and 37.9% are obese!!! Holy crap, right?
An article I read today based on a study done appears to contradict what we have been told lately and what I have been talking about saying things like “You can’t outrun your fork”. You can read the article here:
It indicates that the worldwide epidemic of obesity and all the related diseases can be largely combated by EXERCISE, not DIET.
The article points out that only 20% - 20 FREAKING PERCENT - of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise per week and even more incredibly, 64% never get any physical activity AT ALL.
No wonder so many people are dying from diseases - at younger and younger ages - like diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Although many news outlets are headlining this as “Exercise is the key to losing weight” - if you read the article, I don’t think that this is what is says at all. If you are a sedentary person who starts to exercise, it obviously would lead to weight loss. BUT the authors of the study seem to focus more on the health benefits of exercise beyond weight loss.
It is the difference between health and aesthetics. I’ve talked before about people who are “skinny fat” - people whose weight is normal or even low normal, but who are terrible health - weak, no cardio stamina, eating like crap - these people are not healthy and often - percentage wise - have a high amount of body fat.
But then you take someone on the opposite side of the coin who is overweight by BMI standards but who is strong with good heart health.
I tend to be obsessed, at my detriment - with how I look. I see rolls of fat that I pull on and think how terrible I look. And there is no doubt that I could stand to lose weight. But if I look at myself purely from a health standpoint, I’m in good shape. My heart is extremely healthy, my resting heart rate is 47, my blood pressure is low normal, I have good muscle tone and bone health, my sugar levels are excellent, my kidney function tests show no problems. Overall I have a very healthy diet.
I try to keep this in mind when I’m really getting down on myself.
Once again, there is no magic bullet. Diet is not THE answer. Exercise is not THE answer. If you want to be healthy, live a longer life and not just longer but have a higher QUALITY to your life, it is a combination of eating, diet, stress levels, environmental exposure - I could go on.
The good news is - as the study points out - to make extreme improvements to your health, you don’t have to be incredibly obsessive with your exercise. (Don’t be like me, people!) You don’t have to run miles and miles - although if you can, it’s really good for you. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym lifting weights - although lifting some weights or at least doing body weight exercises is super good for you as well. You don’t have to spend hours a day working out.
You also don’t have to give up all treats and sweets and eat kale for every meal. You can instead eat healthy more days than not.
So - this message is to ME as well as you! Get some exercise every day - exercise that raises your heart rate. Walking briskly for 30 minutes - even if you are marching up and down while watching tv - works. Do some squats and some push-ups once and a while. Eat salads and other vegetables. Stick to lean meats and complex carbs Stay mostly away from processed food but then have a cookie sometimes. Be an example to others. Focus less on the scale and more on your health.
Are any of you guys really good at this already? I’d love to hear about it!