The world seems to be growing “heavier” by the day – developed countries and developing ones all seem to have been hit by this canker and surprisingly though we talk a lot about how even children are putting on fat, there is very little that we are doing to curb this trend.
I have heard about many summits on Malaria, HIV, Climate Change et cetera but someone please remind me about the conference on “keeping fat off” ??? One would think that since excess fat predisposes us to so many diseases that eventually put a strain on our health systems, we would not take it for granted.
So dear readers we will start our own war on excess fat.
I have intentionally avoided the use of weight loss and focused on fat loss.
We will reserve that for a later discussion.
Let’s take a simplistic look at how we accumulate fat.
In general (calories in) – (calories out) = X.
X could represent fat gain or fat loss.
When we put in more calories (food, drinks etc) than we take out through e.
exercise then the excess calories is converted into fat.
Can you imagine what happens when you do this long enough? Yes you put on a lot of fat.
On the other hand, if you take out more calories than you put in and you do it long enough you will definitely lose fat.
Aside of the calories in –calories out explanation, what factors cause us to gain fat: 1.
Age – as we grow older, our metabolism slows down so if we continue to eat or drink as much as we did when we were much younger, your guess is as good as mine.
Do remember though that beyond a certain age many people tend to lose fat and look smaller 2.
Gender – women generally have a lower metabolism than men.
So lady do not be surprised when you eat less than your male counterparts but they seem not to be struggling with fat issues.
Genetics – yes some families generally have bigger people but be wary, for most of us we live together for years and thus have similar eating habits and that may be contributing to our fat gain 4.
Environmental factors – Yes though our genes may be programmed to make us fat, we can modify our size positively by doing the right things.
Proper choice of meals, good timing, frequency and exercising will go a long way to make a huge difference.
Physical Activity- A lack of physical activity means the calories out component is handicapped and the effect is often as expected.
Psychological Factors – Oh Yes!! Humans love food.
We eat and drink when we are happy and some of us also eat and drink more when we are sad.
Others do exactly the opposite of this.
So our emotions also play a significant role – some people will starve when sad and lose fat and others will pack the calories for comfort 7.
Illnesses – Certain illnesses definitely affect our size.
Some just change the distribution of fat, while other have a more generalized approach.
Thyroid diseases play a major role in this area.
Medication – Yes sometimes the medicines we use to manage some conditions may be the culprits but that is no reason to skip these medicines.
Remember you can modify this by creating the right “environment”.
Put in fewer calories and take out more.
So it appears the question of gaining or losing fat is not as straight forward as it appears.
You may be putting in a lot of effort but not making any obvious progress.
That is no reason to give up.
Learn the right things and keep at it and you will surely benefit in several ways.
I am going to adopt the following lifestyle modifications and I hope you will do the same too, so when we attend our conference next year, we will all have a great story to tell.
Don’t Panic – if you have excess fat, it may not always be your doing.
Adopt the points below and stick with them.
Don’t stop after three (3) months because you can’t see any positive results.
You will only realize a year later that you need to start all over again.
This yo-yo method may not benefit you at all.
It may eventually bring in a psychological component that will even further complicate our state.
Hang in there!! 2.
Eat Right – Watch what you put in, it can be your greatest enemy.
No miracle diets.
You did not get to this stage by taking any miracle stuff so why do you want to reverse it along that path b.
Never skip breakfast.
It is the fuel that jump-starts your metabolism c.
Reduce the polished/refined food in your menu.
Better still cut out all the food substitutes d.
Eat slowly – ever realize we often do not give our brains time to tell us we are full.
Take it slow and quite often you will eat much less and not feel uncomfortable.
Eat at least three small balanced meals a day with healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables in between f.
Eat in smaller plates – your brain “sees” a full plate and often you feel satisfied 3.
Drink water often instead of coloured water with sugar.
Make physical activity your bedrock.
Exercise at least forty-five minutes a day, five days a week.
The duration here is a bit longer because we are trying to lose fat and not just keep healthy.
I do not expect that we start from zero minutes a day and hit one hour of exercise the next.
No! Patience is a virtue.
Take it slowly.
Together we will get there.
Definitely find a way to grow some muscle.
Put some excitement into your life – join a club, learn a new game, read books.
Love yourself some more and it is only a matter of time.
We often set unrealistic goals and when we are unable to achieve them we start blaming ourselves.
Our goal in the first place should be on improving our health and all others will be added onto it.
Reward yourself when you reach a milestone.
Finally remember that “the most efficient way to reach your realistic health goal is to make small healthy choices daily”.
We do know what those healthy choices are don’t we?.