You’ve heard the saying, “the battle of the bulge,” right? Well that battle has turned into an all-out war against weight.
Iowa was named the 21st most obese state in the country and Nebraska the 24th, according to the eighth annual “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011,” a report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Iowa’s adult obesity rate is 28.1 percent and Nebraska’s is 27.6 percent.
Additionally, a new study reports that Americans eat roughly 570 calories more per day than they did in the 1970’s.
What’s going on? We are under snack attack, or more aptly put by one nutrition expert, "we're a generation of constant eaters" and apparently, that’s not good.
Matthew Bott, M.D., a primary care physician with Alegent Health Clinic at Lakeside, says there is no easy fix, but take heart – you can control your weight instead of letting it control you. All it takes is knowledge, a little science and, I’m sorry to say, some math.
First the science: Our bodies have three main sources of energy – carbs, fat and protein.
1 pound of fat = 4090.86 calories
- Each gram of carbohydrate contains 3.75 calories
- Each gram of fat contains 9 calories
- Each gram of protein contains 4 calories
- Each gram of alcohol contains 7 calories
Now the math: A person weighing 200 pounds eats, on average, 2,000 calories per day.
If your calories in = calories out, then your weight will stay the same.
- 14,000 calories per week
- 60,000 calories per month
- 720,000 calories per year
To decrease your weight by 10 pounds of fat in a year, someone weighing 200 pounds would have to cut 40,900 calories from their diet. But if they tried to lose 10 pounds in one month, they would only be eating 19,100 calories per month, or 4,775 calories per week, which is only 682 calories per day. Dr. Bott says that’s not healthy, not sustainable and certainly not reasonable.
Our bodies, being the highly functioning machines that they are, sense when food is in short supply and slows down to conserve energy. Keeping that energy (or metabolism) high is an important element to losing weight and keeping it off.
Here are 6 ways to boost your metabolism:
A winning strategy
- Build muscle mass – burns the most calories at rest
- Do not skip meals or drastically reduce your caloric intake – that slows metabolism
- Increase the amount of protein in your diet – controls the release of insulin
- Increase movement in daily lifestyle – park away from building, take the stairs
- Walk the dog every day even if you don’t have one (or, go for a daily walk) – move more
- Get adequate sleep – Human growth hormone is released during sleep and that controls metabolism
The best strategy is to throw out those diet pills, cut your caloric intake by no more than 500 calories per day and never eat less than 1,200 calories total each day. On average this will lead to a 1 to 2 pound weight loss per week. Once you determine your daily calorie goal, divide it into six different small meals/snacks throughout the day. Then focus on increasing exercise to gain additional weight loss.
Remember: Alot of factors play into metabolism (or the “calories out” part of the equation). The level of activity you maintain, the types of food you eat, the stress you may be under, the amount of sleep you get, etc., all directly affect your ability to burn calories.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t expect perfection and celebrate your success.