The biggest factor in losing weight probably has more to do with what you eat than any other factor. I just got back from the gym and burned 200 calories in an hour. In effect I burned a 16 oz. Grande from the coffee stand! That is a pretty steep price for an hour of my life. And how many of us are hitting the gym to burn a latte every day?
The resting or basal rate of metabolism is how most of our calories are burned–70-80% of a 2000 calorie diet for a woman or 2500 for a man. These are the calories burned by thinking, by cell divisions and processes. Hence it is referred to as resting metabolism. Another 10-15% is tied to digestion, just processing what we ate. And the last 10-20% is tied to movement of some sort. For sure, exercise is a part of it, but so is vacuuming, walking, or answering the phone. Of course, there are always a few outliers, and you can massage the percentages a few here or there, but most of us fall into these categories.
I pick up my kiddos from school a few times a week, and the size of middle schoolers ranges from skinny to “normal” to heavy. American kiddos are trending towards heavier, much like the adult population. The trend towards heavier is not a good trend. What is the solution? Have the kids exercise, make them run around a track??? Yes, it is important to get their heart rate up and get fitter, but to reverse the heavier trend for American kiddos (and, dare I say adults) it would make more sense to change what they eat while they are at school rather than hope that exercise will solve the dilemma.
If it is accurate to say that we burn roughly 70% of our calories doing nothing physical, it would stand to reason the biggest gains in losing weight will probably come from eating less and not from exercising more. But eating less is only a part of the solution. We also need to eat the right kinds of foods and eat them in the right quantities. This is not a popular opinion in the food manufacturing world or with their congressional lobbyists. Their mantra is: All calories are equal. If you are overweight, that is your problem–exercise more.
That thinking gets under my skin! America has a calorie problem–too many and the wrong kinds! If we want to win with food and win on the scale and win at the doctor’s office, we will have to eat fewer calories and better calories. Of course, that would put a serious dent in Coca Cola or Pepsi or Nabisco or Hershey’s or Starbucks profits, but I don’t care and for this father, farmer and health advocate that would be fine by me.
Turns out your Mom was right. Eat your vegetables, just don’t boil them to death (please). Eating more vegetables, fruits, quality proteins and fats would go a long way towards reversing the American health crisis. As usual the solutions are simple, but the commitment to changing is where the rubber meets the road. Change is up to us.
Klesick’s is here to support your healthy food choices.
Health Advocate and Farmer,