Thursday, June 18, 2009

What's wrong with America's diet?

The old saying goes "You are what you eat." Well, if that is true there is something very wrong with what we are eating as Americans. According to The National Center for Health statistics 63% of Americans are overweight and 30% of them are obese, meaning they are over their ideal body weight by 20%. Some other disturbing statistics are that from 1962 to 2000 the obesity rate of America jumped from 13% to 31%, and the rates of childhood obseity have more than tripled. Unfortunately, many people are looking in the wrong places for a fix. The solution to obesity is not in a pill, it comes by simple, slow changes to the diet.

Somewhere along the way the idea that "diets don't work" has become accepted as fact. This is most likely because people go from eating what they usually eat one day and then try to rapidly change to their diet of choice overnight. This is just unrealistic and going to cause your diet to fail. Rather than trying to change everything you eat in a day, the best idea is to go slow. Maybe the first change could be exchanging sodas for water. Depending on how much soda you drink, just this change alone could cut anywhere from 300-1000 or more calories from your daily intake. Or maybe even that is too fast, so if you drink soda all day every day, start with saving your sodas for meals and drink water during the other times. Just do what you are comfortable with and make it a slow, gradual change rather than try to force it and then give in because you don't have the willpower. Changing your lifestyle isn't so much about willpower and forcing yourself to do things as it is about changing your mindset so that you WANT to do it.

Another good small diet idea is if you eat a lot of snacks or desserts. A simple switch of almonds or walnuts for a bag of chips, or a bannana or an orange for a cupcake is going to go make a big difference in your body. And most likely your energy level. I'll write another blog about this later, but I know a lot of people suffer from lack of energy, and this is directly related to diet. For right now, all I've got to say is if you're tired all the time, try adding fruits to your diet, from my experience eating an orange first thing in the morning is a great way to start off the day with some energy.

Now that I've written about energy, I think I should go ahead and write something about exercise. I know people have been trying to find a way around it for a long time, but it is true, the key to being healthy and losing weight is diet and exercise. I'm not going to tell you to go out and get a gym membership, or tell you that you have to run 5 miles every day. Like with changing your diet, starting to excercise should be a slow gradual change. There are over 3.8 million people who weigh over 300 pounds in this country, and I am pretty confident in saying that a big contributing factor in this is a complete lack of exercise. For most people to start out with, all they really need to do is pick one commercial break a night while they are watching tv and do some excercise during it. It doesn't have to be anything too strenuous, just do what you can. Two simple starter exercise are squats, demonstated here: and planks demonstrated here:

I have some more to write about this subject, but I think I'll save that for another day. If you are struggling with your weight, I think following the advice I've given here could really help you. Just remember you didn't get overweight overnight and you can't expect to get fit overnight either. Take it as a slow, gradual change and you will start finding the results you want. Good luck!

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