Why are we overweight?
For anybody that has tried to lose weight before, successfully or otherwise, you don’t need me telling you just how hard it is.
Weight loss is complex and individual, yet we perceive it to be straight forward and simple.
“Eat less, move more” “Just be in a calorie deficit”
These are not incorrect statements, but they are also not very helpful statements to a lot of the population who struggle with being overweight and obese.
To not be overweight or obese in today’s society is extremely difficult. The trend will only continue to go upwards if we are not educated on the subject and become aware of the health implications that are associated with being overweight and obese.
Weight gain 101:
You as an individual need energy to live, to breathe to move, to think.
You can only get this energy from foods and drinks.
When you exercise or move a lot in your daily activities you require a little more than if you are sedentary (Not moving a lot daily).
When you consume foods and drinks for energy, they all contain a different amount of energy this is there caloric value.
Some have high amounts of energy and some low. Some a lot of energy for a small amount of the food, that you can easily consume in high amounts (calorie dense) ie; chocolate, crisps, cakes etc; and some a small amount of energy for a lot of food (Calorie sparing) ie; Fruits and vegetables.
Your body needs a certain amount of energy to live and to do the activities we ask of it daily. It doesn’t need more. However, if we keep feeding it more than it needs, then thanks to evolution, our bodies will do what it is meant to do and store the excess energy as adipose tissue (Body fat).
You continue to over consume; your body will just continue to store excess body fat.
Do this slowly and overtime (which is what most do) and fat gain continues until we realise it is an issue to our health or we don’t feel comfortable in our clothes and decide it’s time to try and lose that fat gained over 10-15 years in 6 weeks.
That’s not how it works I’m afraid but fat loss is for another day.
So, that is overly simplified in how fat gain occurs a lot of other things to consider but for the purpose of this blog that is the “how” in fat gain.
Understanding the how can help us be aware of when it is occurring, but it is the why that we need to tackle.
Why are we gaining so much body fat, that it is causing problems too our health?
Yes, it is because we are eating too much and not moving enough but what do we expect?
Just look around us. Look at the environment we live in right now.
Our environment plays a huge role in who we are and how we act.
Food culture has only grown more and more as the years have gone on.
We are surrounded by food every day. We are surrounded by food marketing every day. Restaurants on every corner.
Weekends now consisting of Breakfast out with the partner. Brunches with the girls. Dinner with friends, a few drinks after and a takeaway to cure the next day.
Even our weekdays are meeting for coffees, lunches and eating out and grabbing calorie dense snack foods from the garage on the go.
Add into the mix that we are sitting down at an office desk for 8-10 hours per day. Driving home and sitting down bingeing on the latest Netflix for 2 hrs and finishing the day scrolling Instagram looking at the best bits of peoples lives and then into bed for 6-8 hours.
Our bodies simply do not need as much energy to survive and thrive, yet we are pumping more and more in.
We now live in an obesogenic (tending to cause obesity) environment.
We have created the perfect storm.
Hyper palatable foods (Foods that taste really, really good). Calorie dense foods that are hard to stop eating. Moving as little as we ever have before and a complete lack of understanding and awareness to do anything about it.
Yet, we expect people to just be able to hop on a diet and change every habit they have built up over 20 years and stick to that to be successful?
I don’t see that as a solution.
What do I see as a solution? Acceptance. Accepting that it is extremely hard to not be overweight, to not become obese in today’s society.
Accepting the environment we live in and people are not and should not have to stop socialising completely.
Accepting that there is one fundamental law of energy balance we cannot escape.
Your body needs a certain amount of energy each day and if you continuously over feed your body, then it will do what it is meant to do and that is store fat in case it needs it later.
Evolution is a slow process and we simply have not caught up to cope with the world we have built.
Being overweight and obese has consistently been proven to have implications to your physical health.
Finding the best strategy that allows you to maintain a healthy body weight is the key, whatever works for you.
There is no best diet, it is you becoming aware of the energy in foods. It is you becoming aware of the world you live in, your environment.
It is knowing and accepting that if you want to maintain weight or lose weight, you have to look at more than just exercise, more than a diet. Look at your daily habits, look at your environment and educate yourself on how food works. It will give you more control and freedom to not be on a diet for the rest of your life.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Losing weight, therefore is not an act but a habit”
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