Maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish when it comes living a healthy life. This is because there are so many factors that contribute to weight gain, some of which are completely out of our control. These include things like metabolism, how active of a lifestyle we lead, lack of sleep, anxiety and other factors that affect how our body maintains homeostasis. Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day so we are limited to how much time we can devote to things like physical activity and sleep. We also for the most part are stuck with how our body works, how fast it metabolizes food and how much fat we accumulate which is affected by hormones. Things like external stresses such as workplace problems in addition to these hormonal problems make this effect much worse, almost to the point where losing weight and being healthy seems like an unachievable pipe dream.
With all of that being said, luckily for the average person all the aforementioned processes are not the overwhelming contributing factor to maintaining a healthy weight and losing weight. Our diets are by far and away the main causative factor to whether or not we maintain a healthy body. In fact, diet is much more important to where its effects are about four fold more than the effects of our biochemistry on weight. It is also worth noting that our bodies need calories just to function at rest and that the vast majority of calories we consume daily are done at rest. Swimmers, long distance runners, cyclists and other athletes that perform these activities in excess of 3 hours a day do not fall in to this category however the vast majority of people do. There are also disorders that exist which will overwhelmingly influence a person’s health and body type more so than diet. Luckily these disorders are relatively rare and only affect about 7% of the population. This means that for most people out there, their diet will be the main reason behind what body type they currently are.
One thing to keep in mind when maintaining a healthy diet is that we were designed to eat to live, and not to live to eat. Focus on making your meals with the main goal being to satisfy your body’s nutritional needs. This means not revolving social events around foods, so that you don’t associate foods with these positive emotions. Believe it or not but you can “trick” yourself in to chemically associating these foods with that feel good moment, leading you to eat more in hopes of getting the same emotional high that you did from the social event. Another similar way to combat this would be to bring and associate healthy foods with these events, unfortunately they tend to involve unhealthy foods such as cakes, ice cream and other high caloric foods with low nutritional value compounding the issue.
A major misconception many people make when trying to maintain a healthy diet is that they can make up the difference by incorporating an exercise program in to their daily routines. Again these people are not aware of how much their diet affects their body type, and overestimate how much of a dent so to speak that the exercises will make. On average a person going to the gym or performing some kind of routine exercise will not burn more than 500 calories in one session. There are of course exceptions to the rule, if you are an endurance athlete this doesn’t really apply to you however the average person is going to use probably 1/4th or less calories during their routine as opposed to the endurance athlete. For example your average brownie is around 350 calories, which is about the same amount a person would burn in half an hour through moderate exercise. Considering that most people do not indulge in only one cupcake and most do not exercise more than an hour daily, it is easy to see how quickly those extra calories add up, and in turn how easy it is to pack on pounds of fat in doing so.
Why is additional fat bad for your body?
Everyone needs to acquire some fat within their diet, fats are essential for many biological processes, they cover and insolate our nerve cells allowing them to function properly and allow processes to function as well. With that being said like virtually everything else we ingest, moderation is key. Firstly any additional tissue whether it be fat, muscle etc puts additional strain on your heart and circulatory system. This is because these tissues must be supplied with blood and nutrients in order for them to grow and stay alive. This requires additional resources and puts strain on the heart because it now has to pump blood over a wider range, through more vessels. Fat is especially problematic as opposed to say muscle tissue because fat has more energy per gram of weight than other tissues, more than twice as many calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein. This makes fat a very good energy source however at the same time it means that getting rid of this fat takes more than twice the effort, relative to the differences in energy. In addition to this, more fat is stored by the body when we eat other foods in excess. The extra sugar in the blood as a result of the digestion of these foods is converted in to more fat if this sugar is not used up by the body through the production of insulin . In doing so this signals the body to produce more fat, compounding the issue.
Fat is also unique in that many various types of cancers develop in these fatty tissues and are associated with them as well. This poses additional health problems in addition to the ones that affect the heart and circulatory system. There seems to be a limitless supply of reasons why one should reduce body fat for health benefits. Considering the minimal effort required in maintaining a healthy distribution of fat, we can summarize that the effort needed to do so greatly outweighs the negatives that are associated with neglecting the issue.