If you tuned into the HBO special last night, The Weight Of A Nation: Confronting America's Obesity Epidemic, you probably noticed 2 major themes. The first, and most crucial, is that obesity is killing more people and ruining America's Healthcare system faster than any other health issue... and it's not even close. The money it takes to take care of obesity related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease is disturbing to say the least. No other health related issue has the ability to drain our healthcare system to the extent that obesity does. And as the special clearly laid out, if we don't do anything to curb the appetites of America's youth our healthcare system will be all but useless in the near future. But this is information we've all known for the past ten or so years... it's not pretty but most health experts have known for quite some time that obesity is more harmful to america than any other health issue.
The second major theme that came out of the special was the fact that most health authorities haven't known what to do about the obesity epidemic. And as the show stated repeatedly, exercise is not the answer. Let's repeat that one. Exercise is NOT the answer to the obesity question. As a former personal trainer it took me years to understand this so I can only imagine how difficult it will be for most Americans. And do we all know what is the answer? Wait for it... wait for it... it's nutrition! The answer to obesity is proper nutrition! Shocking I know!
Another interesting part of the special was when they explained about the amount of calories burned during exercise, and how we have an inflated notion of how many we're actually burning. For example, they said that running 1 mile burns about 100 calories. It's something I knew back when I was a personal trainer but hadn't given much thought to for quite some time. Let's see what else contains 100 calories. 1 light beer, 1 soda, 1/2 bag of M&M's, 1/2 a bagel, 1 very large banana, 1 small handful of peanuts, and many many more. 100 calories is almost nothing! So the point here is that exercising 45 minutes a day may only burn 300 calories, but a change in your diet may make a difference of up to 1,000 calories! So the quickest, and most effective, way of losing weight is with your fork... not your running shoes.
Think about it this way. If you never worked out but you ate properly what would happen to your weight? You'd stay nice and skinny right? I mean how couldn't you? Now what would happen if you ate like crap but worked out a lot? Which is what most people do. Well you'd be skinny, for a while at least. And this is why you see people start to pack on the pounds as they age. The body isn't able to process all those extra calories, plus the fact that people get more sedentary as they age, and the weight just piles up. The easiest, healthiest, and most efficient way to lose weight and stay thin is by eating real food.
That's the last point the documentary made, which has been echoed in just about any nutrition best seller you can think of within the past 10 years. Eat Real Food. If you can't find it growing out in a field then don't eat it. That means no bagels, pasta, bread, crackers, soda, candy, etc, etc, etc. It seems strange to have to tell our nation to eat "real food" but that's how crazy our view of food has become. People look at macaroni and cheese as if it were real food. But if we all just followed that one rule, to eat real food, nobody would be overweight. It's not about your metabolism or your grandmother or the pull of the moon... it's all about eating real food.
Doctors Note: The point here is this; we all have to stop relying on exercise for weight loss. We've got to start eating real food again. Try eating only real food for one month and you'll be amazed at how much weight you lose and how much better you actually feel... and you may just help solve our health care crisis... so don't just do it for yourself... do it for America! :)