Weight loss is a complex business that is actually simpler than advertised…when we learn a few simple rules. Living at a healthy weight and achieving optimal health should include exercise. It does not require a specific piece of exercise equipment, only your body and determination. However, weight control and optimal health cannot be achieved with pills, shots, or the latest fad diets. Real, long-term health will always include balanced nutrition and healthy eating and lifestyle habits.
Fueling our bodies has changed tremendously over the past few decades, mostly because of our time constraints and demands for convenience. People are not like gas tanks! For instance, our bodies do not tell us to stop when we have consumed 375 calories. The size of portions we choose and the nutrients of our food influence how much we eat.
It is not difficult to understand that we consume more food at a buffet-style table. This obviously does not cater to weight control, let alone weight loss. Numerous studies have shown that it is not only the amount of food placed in front of us that determines our consumption. The company we eat with, the foods we consume, environmental factors such as light and temperature, and even the size of plate we use can determine how much we eat. The human stomach is approximately the size of a closed fist…when empty. It can be filled with approximately 3 pints of food, which would be about the size of a football! How many of us would want a football stuffed into our stomachs a couple of times each day?
Janet Polivy, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, Canada, who studies the connections between food and feeling stated: “Eating is much less determined by biology than by psychology. The size of the portions you eat and whom you eat them with have a direct effect on your intake. Eat with friends or coworkers, and chances are you will model the amount you eat based on their plates. As long as you have a big eater in the room, our research suggests people then feel free to eat a little less than whoever sets the pace.”
Our food culture has changed due to our need for convenience. Americas’ waist line has changed just as quickly as our food culture. The convenient food that we consume are much higher in fats and sugars, which are far less filling than natural foods that usually require some preparation. These foods are proven to also excite the mind and produce faster consumption. When we fill the stomach too quickly, our bodies do not have time to recognize messages from the hormones that help regulate appetite, such as insulin, leptin, cortisol, and ghrelin. Beside the fact that our foods are less filling today, it takes our bodies about 20 minutes for food to be digested enough that glucose gets into the bloodstream and the hormones start working.
What do we need to change? And, how do we get it done?
– Include foods with adequate amounts of protein, fiber, and water that create improved satiety (fullness).
– Consume complex carbohydrates (lower glycemic) such as whole grain, fruits, and vegetables.
– Avoid simple, refined sugar products.
– Eat slowly to allow your body to recognize actual fullness, and avoid overeating.
We can restore health to America. The obesity rate more than doubled from 15% to 34% between 1980 and 2008! It will take a conscious decision and determination to restore health, but we must do it to avoid bankrupting our nation as the result of healthcare alone. (Diabetes costs $174 Billion per/year – more than AIDS and all cancers combined!)