Gaining weight is easy; you simply have to take into your body more calories than you burn. Calories are units of energy and we all need them to survive. However, we do not all need the same amount of calories as each other. A 7 foot tall, 27 year old basketball player, for example, needs a lot more calories to sustain his active lifestyle, than an 80 year old 5 foot 3 inch woman who sits in a chair all day knitting!
Our bodies need a minimum number of calories simply to function correctly, for our heart to beat, our limbs to move etc. The calories that we burn doing absolutely nothing, amount to approximately 70 per hour, although this, of course, varies by person. To find out a very rough approximation of how many calories you burn when you are resting, called your basic metabolic rate, multiply your body weight by a factor of 11. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your basic metabolic rate is 2200. So if you eat the daily-recommended calorie amount, approximately 2000-2500, again depending on various factors, you should have a healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately, too many of us have bad habits and we take on board far more calories than we burn, the result of this is weight gain. This problem is amplified by the things that we eat of course. These days, Americans obtain about 11% of their daily calories from fast food. This is bad because most of this type of food is high in calories and low in nutrition, so called empty calories.
Sugary drinks are also a massive problem. On average we take in more than 300 calories a day from these products, more empty calories. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 400 calories per week from these beverages.
To stop ourselves from gaining weight, we have to burn more calories than we take on board. So, to counteract 300 calories from sugary drinks, we have to walk for about two hours, and of course most of us do not want to, or have time to do that. So we must eliminate, or drastically reduce these products.
I began by stating that gaining weight is easy. Losing weight is also, theoretically, easy. Simply burn more calories than you ingest. But, as we all know, this is usually easier said than done.
As we drift into bad habits, breaking them can often be much more difficult. We have the mental ability, but often lack the resolve to give up the things that we enjoy. A list of the worst things we can eat, because they are the highest in empty calories, includes:
- Hot dogs
- Ice cream
- Candy bars
- Energy drinks
- Soft drinks
Add to the list alcoholic beverages and you may start thinking that life isn’t worth living without these items. But the truth is that your life could be cut short dramatically, if you continue to consume these products.
Losing weight is largely a question of attitude, you have to want to do it, be prepared for the inevitable sacrifices and be determined.