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Wellness

Why Your Weight Is The Issue

We don’t know what the cause is for obesity, but we do know that those who are overweight are very, very unhappy about how they look. And it’s not just the physical appearance. There’s also the health issues. A huge burden on the health care system, the financial and emotional cost that accompanies obesity in general is enormous. And yet we all know that there are many ways to lose weight, just by eating better and exercising a little less.

It may be that the issue here is not the calories, but how we choose to use them. We know that fat-rich foods are full of calories. But is a single muffin really the answer we think it is? Or is it more like a combination of muffin and salad? Or maybe it’s even a combination of both, but with a little peanut butter, a little banana, and maybe a bit of yogurt on top.

We eat more calories than we need most of the time . . . But we don’t think what we eat is bad for us. If we don’t have enough calories in the house at the time, we can grab a few snack cakes or some cookies and cheese, rather than grabbing a bigger plate and adding a dessert.

There’s this concept in some religions where if you put water in a cup, you can be certain that it’s the same as if you filled it to the brim with wine. We tend to think it’s the same thing when we consider our food choices, although we wouldn’t use the words wine and water to describe them. But if the quantity of calories you are eating is much higher than it is required, is that the same as drinking a bottle of wine or a bottle of soda with every bite?

I once attended an event where a nutritionist explained to the attendees how much energy we consume every day in eating. It turned out to be about 40 Calories per lb of body weight . . . or about 1.45 Calories for every pound of fat you are carrying. So, even if a 200-pound person is carrying 300 lbs of fat, she is consuming about 300 Calories of energy every day in food. If you add in the energy used by your brain, by your heart, by your kidneys, by your skin, and the rest in the cells of your body, we end up with around 600 Calories a day to carry our extra weight.

A little bit of extra food in your diet isn’t going to change this.

In order to get this amount you have to eat more food than you should be eating. But if you know that you’re not getting the recommended amount just out of habit, you’re not going to be able to stop. And most of us don’t know any better than that, although when you think about a hundred-pound person eating a Big Mac, the question arises: Why is she eating such a full meal? Why not just say, “Okay, I’m not sure I’m getting the right amount but here is a large pizza to eat with it.”

This isn’t just an issue that affects just the obese; it can be more than just that. There are all of the other conditions associated with obesity, too. Some of us simply don’t have enough energy, even though we know that obesity is more about energy intake than energy expenditure. Sometimes people eat better in the morning , a time when they’re supposed to slow down and not consume all the food their bodies were intended to store until dinner, especially if they’ve been having a lot of coffee and just don’t have enough time to sleep. And people suffering from sleep disorders often eat more.

There are countless reasons why obesity doesn’t automatically equate to poor health. Maybe, just maybe, there are other factors at play that we’re not noticing that would ultimately lead us to live a healthier longer.

I’m a writer, so I love looking at the science around obesity.