Overweight? There are 5 Diet Tricks You MUST Know
When I was growing up my dad told me he had a balanced diet. “One chocolate chip cookie in one hand and one chocolate chip cookie in the other hand. That’s a balanced diet!” That was my introduction into nutrition and how to eat right. Since then I’ve learned many things about nutrition and diet. But there are five simple truths about diet and I want to share it with you to help you reach your health goals. First, let’s recap some of the problems in the US with diet and nutrition and address some ideas and myths about eating.
How Many People Are Overweight In The Us?
As of 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 73.6% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Specifically, about 42.4% of adults are classified as obese and 31.2% are classified as overweight. This is a significant public health concern, as being overweight or obese increases the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
How Many Children Are Overweight In The Us?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2017-2018, approximately 19.3% of children aged 2-19 years in the United States were overweight, and 18.4% were obese. Overall, nearly 40% of children were either overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is a significant public health concern, as it can lead to various health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems.
What Is BMI?
BMI stands for Body Mass Index, which is a measure of body fat based on a person’s weight and height. It is a commonly used method to assess whether a person has a healthy weight or is underweight, overweight, or obese.
BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared (BMI = weight in kg / (height in meters)²). For example, if someone weighs 68 kilograms and is 1.65 meters tall, their BMI would be calculated as follows:
BMI = 68 / (1.65)²
BMI = 24.98
Based on the resulting BMI, a person can be classified as underweight (BMI < 18.5), normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9), overweight (BMI 25-29.9), or obese (BMI > 30). However, it’s important to note that BMI is not always an accurate indicator of health, as it doesn’t take into account factors such as muscle mass, bone density, or overall body composition.
Why Should I Use BMI vs Body Weight?
BMI is a useful tool to assess whether an individual’s weight is within a healthy range, as it takes into account both weight and height. This can be more accurate than just looking at body weight alone, as two people of the same weight may have different BMIs depending on their height and body composition.
Using BMI as a screening tool can help identify individuals who may be at risk for health problems related to being underweight, overweight, or obese. While BMI is a useful tool to assess weight status, it should be used in conjunction with other health indicators and medical assessments to provide a more comprehensive picture of an individual’s health status.
What Health Risks Are Associated With A High BMI?
A high BMI (body mass index) is associated with an increased risk of many health problems, including:
- Cardiovascular disease: High BMI is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
- Type 2 diabetes: Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and even being overweight can increase the risk of developing the disease.
- Certain cancers: Several types of cancer, including breast, colon, and prostate cancer, are more common in people with a high BMI.
- Sleep apnea: Obesity is a major risk factor for sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing stops and starts during sleep.
- Osteoarthritis: Excess weight can put stress on the joints, leading to joint pain and osteoarthritis.
- Mental health problems: Obesity has been linked to depression and other mental health problems.
- Respiratory problems: Obesity can make it harder to breathe and increase the risk of asthma and other respiratory problems.
- Liver disease: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is more common in people with a high BMI.
- Reproductive problems: Obesity can lead to fertility problems in both men and women and increase the risk of pregnancy complications.
It’s important to note that the risks associated with high BMI can be reduced through lifestyle changes, such as regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and weight loss if necessary.
What Age Is The Ideal Age To Lose Body Fat?
There is no one ideal age to lose body fat, as the best time to do so can depend on various factors, such as an individual’s current weight, health status, lifestyle, and personal goals. However, it’s generally recommended to maintain a healthy weight and body composition throughout the lifespan to reduce the risk of health problems associated with being overweight or obese.
It’s important to note that losing body fat in a healthy and sustainable way can require lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet, which can be more challenging for some individuals depending on their age, health status, and other factors. Therefore, it’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to determine the best approach to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and body composition at any age.
Does Exercise Help To Reduce Your BMI?
Yes, exercise can help to reduce BMI, especially when combined with a healthy diet. Regular physical activity can help to burn calories, build muscle mass, and improve overall body composition, all of which can contribute to a healthy BMI.
The amount and type of exercise required to reduce BMI can vary depending on the individual’s current weight, fitness level, and other factors. However, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week, to promote overall health and weight management.
It’s important to note that while exercise can be an effective tool to reduce BMI, it should be used in conjunction with other healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as a balanced diet and adequate sleep, to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and body composition. Additionally, it’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider or a certified fitness professional to determine the best exercise program for individual needs and goals.
How Many Calories Should I Eat Per Day?
The number of calories a person needs per day depends on several factors, including age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. In general, the average sedentary adult female needs about 1600-2000 calories per day, while the average sedentary adult male needs about 2000-2400 calories per day to maintain their weight. However, these are just estimates and individual calorie needs can vary.
To determine a more specific calorie goal, it’s recommended to use a calorie calculator or consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare provider who can take into account individual factors and provide personalized recommendations.
It’s important to note that eating too many or too few calories can have negative health consequences. Consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Eating too few calories can lead to malnutrition, low energy levels, and a weakened immune system.
In addition to considering calorie intake, it’s also important to focus on the quality of the food being consumed. A balanced and varied diet that includes nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats is important for overall health and well-being.
What is the Best Type of Calorie to Eat to Stay Healthy?
It’s important to note that all calories contain the same amount of energy, regardless of their source. However, the quality of the calorie can vary depending on the food or beverage it comes from, which can affect overall health and well-being.
A healthy diet should include a variety of nutrient-dense foods that provide a range of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Some examples of nutrient-dense foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables: These are important sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
- Whole grains: These are rich in fiber, B vitamins, and other nutrients.
- Lean proteins: These include sources such as poultry, fish, beans, and nuts, which are important sources of protein and other essential nutrients.
- Healthy fats: These include sources such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish, which are important sources of omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients.
- Low-fat dairy: These are important sources of calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients.
It’s also important to limit or avoid foods that are high in added sugars, saturated and trans fats, and sodium, as these can increase the risk of health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
In general, focusing on a varied and balanced diet that includes nutrient-dense foods while limiting processed and unhealthy foods can help to support overall health and well-being.
How Much Junk Food is Consumed per Capita in the Us?
According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American consumes around 11% of their daily calories from fast food. However, this figure does not take into account other forms of junk food such as candy, chips, soda, and other processed snacks.
There is no precise data on how much junk food is consumed per capita in the US, as consumption can vary widely depending on individual habits and preferences. However, studies have shown that consumption of junk food and sugary drinks has been on the rise in the US, contributing to the high rates of obesity and other health problems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends limiting the intake of added sugars, saturated and trans fats, and sodium, which are commonly found in junk food and processed snacks, to reduce the risk of health problems. Instead, they recommend focusing on a diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
What Does It Mean “Eat To Live; Don’t Live To Eat”
“Eat to live, don’t live to eat” is a common saying that emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy and balanced diet to support overall health and well-being. The phrase suggests that we should view food primarily as a means to sustain our bodies, rather than as a source of pleasure or comfort.
Eating a balanced and varied diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help to support overall health and prevent chronic diseases. By prioritizing these types of foods, we can fuel our bodies with the nutrients they need to function properly and support our physical and mental health.
On the other hand, if we prioritize foods that are high in calories, saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium, we can increase the risk of chronic diseases. In summary, the saying “Eat to live, don’t live to eat” encourages us to prioritize our health and well-being by choosing foods that provide necessary nutrients and avoiding those that are high in empty calories and unhealthy ingredients.
Can People Be Addicted To Food?
Yes, food addiction is a recognized condition that involves compulsive and often uncontrollable cravings for certain types of food. People with food addiction may find it difficult to stop eating, even when they are not hungry, and may continue to eat even when they feel physically uncomfortable or experience negative health consequences as a result.
Like other types of addiction, food addiction can have a range of physical, emotional, and social impacts, and can be difficult to overcome without professional help. Research suggests that food addiction may be linked to changes in brain chemistry and reward pathways, which can lead to a cycle of craving, consumption, and guilt.
Some common signs of food addiction include:
- Eating large amounts of food in a short period of time (binging)
- Feeling out of control around food
- Continuing to eat despite feeling full or uncomfortable
- Hiding or sneaking food
- Feeling guilty or ashamed after eating
- Using food to cope with stress or emotions
If you think you may be struggling with food addiction, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare professional or mental health provider who can provide support and guidance. Treatment may involve a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes to help manage cravings and promote healthier eating habits.
Do We Learn To Eat Food That Is Bad For Us?
Yes, we can learn to eat food that is bad for us. Our food preferences and eating habits are influenced by a range of factors, including cultural norms, social pressures, advertising, and personal experiences.
For example, many people grow up in cultures or households where certain types of unhealthy foods are common and may come to associate these foods with positive emotions or memories. In addition, food advertising and marketing often promotes unhealthy foods as desirable and can create a sense of craving or desire for these types of foods.
Over time, repeated exposure to unhealthy foods can also lead to changes in our taste preferences and brain chemistry, making it more difficult to resist cravings for these types of foods.
However, it’s important to note that our food choices are not entirely determined by external factors, and we have the ability to make conscious choices about what we eat. By educating ourselves about healthy eating habits and making small changes to our diets over time, we can learn to enjoy a wider range of healthy foods and reduce our consumption of foods that are bad for us.
Why Is It Pleasurable To Eat Food?
Eating food is pleasurable for several reasons. First and foremost, eating is essential for our survival and provides us with the necessary nutrients, energy, and hydration to maintain bodily functions and support our overall health.
Additionally, the act of eating triggers the release of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins in the brain, which can create a sense of pleasure and reward. This natural reward system is thought to have evolved to encourage us to seek out and consume foods that are high in energy and nutrients, which would have been important for survival in our early evolutionary history.
In addition to the biological reasons, eating is also often a social and cultural activity that can provide a sense of community, comfort, and enjoyment. Sharing meals with others, trying new foods, and experiencing different flavors and textures can all contribute to the pleasure of eating.
However, it’s important to note that while food can be pleasurable, it’s also important to maintain a balanced and healthy diet to support overall health and prevent chronic diseases. Eating too much or consuming unhealthy foods can have negative impacts on both physical and mental health, so it’s important to find a balance that works for your individual needs and preferences.
How Long Does It Take To Unlearn Eating Unhealthy Food?
The time it takes to unlearn unhealthy eating habits and develop healthier ones can vary depending on a range of factors, including the individual’s current habits, level of commitment to change, and support systems.
Research suggests that it can take anywhere from 21 to 66 days to form a new habit, depending on the complexity of the behavior and the individual’s level of consistency in practicing it. However, changing deeply ingrained eating habits can take longer and may require ongoing effort and support.
To successfully unlearn unhealthy eating habits and develop healthier ones, it’s important to approach the process with patience, persistence, and a willingness to make gradual changes over time. Some strategies that may help include:
- Setting clear goals and creating a plan for achieving them
- Tracking food intake and identifying patterns or triggers for unhealthy eating
- Gradually reducing intake of unhealthy foods and increasing intake of healthier options
- Seeking support from friends, family, or a healthcare provider
- Practicing mindful eating and paying attention to hunger and fullness cues
- Experimenting with new recipes and flavors to find healthy foods that are enjoyable and satisfying
It’s also important to recognize that setbacks and slip-ups are a normal part of the process and not a sign of failure. By staying committed to the process and being patient with yourself, you can gradually unlearn unhealthy eating habits and develop a healthier relationship with food.
What is the Truth About Diet, Eating, and Nutrition?
As you can see there’s quite a bit to know about diet and nutrition. There are different ways to lose weight, to measure your health and there is no certain time to change your food habits. We know some food habits are good and what we should eat and also what we shouldn’t eat. But then again you can eat poorly sometimes but not all the time. You should have the mantra of “Eat to Live” not “Live to Eat” but why does the brain give us a pleasure boost for eating unhealthy food as well as healthy food? Eating is fuel for the body, and pleasure for the brain. Sometimes it feels like there is so much going on you can’t even think about nutrition, dieting and eating healthy so I just DON’T. I give up. If this is happening to you, make your eating habits simple.
Live by these 5 RULES, be DISCIPLINED, LOSE WEIGHT and have better HEALTH.
- WHAT YOU EAT IS YOUR CHOICE
- FOOD IS FUEL
- STOP POISONING YOUR BODY WITH POOR FOOD
- UNLEARN UNHEALTHY HABITS AND LEARN NEW HEALTHY FOOD HABITS
- VALUE YOUR HEALTH MORE THAN THE 3 SECONDS OF PLEASURE FROM THE FOOD
What Are The Best References To Learn How To Eat Right?
There are many references available to help you learn how to eat right. Here are some options:
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans: The Dietary Guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations for healthy eating patterns and are updated every five years. You can access the latest version of the Dietary Guidelines at www.dietaryguidelines.gov.
- MyPlate: MyPlate is a visual representation of the five food groups that make up a healthy diet, as well as the recommended proportions of each group. You can access MyPlate and related resources at www.choosemyplate.gov.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the largest organization of food and nutrition professionals in the world. Their website, www.eatright.org, provides a range of resources and information on healthy eating.
- American Heart Association: The American Heart Association provides resources and information on healthy eating for heart health, including recipes, tips, and meal planning tools. You can access their resources at www.heart.org.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The CDC provides information and resources on healthy eating for disease prevention and overall health. You can access their resources at www.cdc.gov/nutrition.
- Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists: Registered dietitians and nutritionists are trained professionals who can provide personalized advice and guidance on healthy eating. You can find a registered dietitian near you at www.eatright.org/find-an-expert.
These are just a few options to get you started. It’s important to remember that everyone’s nutritional needs and preferences are different, so it’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized guidance on healthy eating.