Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Secret To Losing Weight and Keeping It Off

I may well have chosen the title "the open secret to losing weight and keeping it off" because the secret is in the open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for everyone to see, yet we go about our daily activities pretending not to see it.

Unfortunately, we've not been able to protect ourselves from the effects of turning a blind eye to the secret of losing weight and keeping it off, and they show everywhere we look. 

For evidence that 70% of the people in the United States, Canada and Western Europe are overweight, just go to a bus or train terminal, or to a major sporting event. You will see many more overweight people than people with healthy weight.

Overweight comes not only with major health problems like obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, related to these are also the high cost of healthcare and unaffordable health insurance premiums.

If things remain the same, in ten years the cost of healthcare and health insurance will go through the roof, leaving about 75% of the US populace unable to afford adequate healthcare without public assistance.

To change this gloomy future requires nothing more than paying attention to the air we breath, the foods and drinks we consume, and the quality and consistency of the physical exercise we do.

The air we breath transports chemical pollution in the environment including cigarette smoke into our bodies. Once in the body, these harmful pollutants trigger the production of "free radicals" which precipitate the onset of throat, lung and other cancers.

As for the foods and drinks we consume they are broken down into 5 main categories namely: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, as well as vitamins and minerals which serve as catalyst for the metabolic processes in the body.

Carbohydrates provides glucose which is the main energy source for the body. Proteins provides amino acids which are the building blocks of tissues and fluids. Healthy fats like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, provide essential fatty acids needed for proper functioning of the brain, nervous system and thyroid glands.

With so many people becoming overweight from food and drinks, it's time to talk to your doctor about how to reduce your intake of salt, sugar and fats, as these are the main culprits in weight-gain. They give foods and drinks the flavor and taste we crave for, and often we find ourselves eating more than we should.

However, on the issue of over-eating, we are not entirely to blame. The body is genetically hardwired to take in more calories than it needs for immediate use when food is plentiful. 

The effect of this genetic adaptation is that under normal conditions, the body carries excess calories which are stored as fat to be converted to energy when needed by the body to perform its metabolic functions during periods when food is scarce.

Proof of the benefit of the body's ability to store fat is found in the story of Bhagat Singh who in 1928 went on a hunger strike for 116 days to protest against the maltreatment of prisoners in India. 

Bhagat Singh survived on the stored fat in his body, converted to cellular energy to fuel the metabolic processes that kept his heart beating and his brain functioning. Without stored body fat his internal organs would have stopped working in a matter of hours, quickly followed by death.

Clearly, the storing of body fat was a beneficial adaptation during the hunting and gathering period in human history, but with the abundance of foods and drinks in modern times, it has become a curse rather than a cure. 

Since we are genetically predisposed to eating more calories than our bodies need within a 24 hours day, by the end of the day there will be excess calories in the body, and with nowhere to go, are stored as body fat. As the fat accumulates it causes weight-gain.

A sign of good health only a century ago, weight-gain has now become a modern day curse. It takes away not only our confidence and happiness, when unchecked it also brings us fatal diseases, and increases our risks of an early death.

On the other hand, the secret to losing weight and keeping it off are a healthy diet and regular physical exercise. Go to choosemyplate.gov for your healthy diet, and do 40 to 60 minutes physical exercise, 6 days a week. This is especially important for those over 30 at which age the body's ability to burn fat on its own slows down.

As with physical exercise, it need not be strenuous and burdensome. You may choose dancing, swimming, walking, running, light weight lifting, or standing jogging. To be effective though, physical exercise should be regular, with a duration of 40 to 60 minutes.

Now you have the secret to losing weight and keeping it off, feel free to send me your questions and comment.

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