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Exercise and High Quality Diet Are Keys to Weight Loss

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Sixty six percent of all adults ages 20 to 74 years old are either overweight or obese according to the last National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2005-2006. Thirty four percent of all adults are actually obese and 16 percent of all children are obese.

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of health complications including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides, stroke, liver and gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, osteoarthritis, and gynecological problems including abnormal menses and infertility. As a result, obesity has been found to lower life expectancy.

As obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide and with rates of adult and childhood obesity increasing, it is one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century.

Obesity and being overweight is treated in most cases through dietary changes and exercise. If this fails, in some cases obesity is treated through medical drugs or bariatric surgery.

There are a variety of factors contributing to overweight and obesity making it a complex issue to address. Becoming overweight or obese is the result of an energy imbalance. This imbalance involves eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity. Body weight is the result of genes, metabolism, behavior, environment, culture and socioeconomic status. Behavior and environment play a large role and are the greatest areas for prevention and treatment.

When I work with clients who are overweight or obese, I try to help them understand that it is equally important to address both the amount and quality of food that they are eating as well as the amount and quality of exercise that they are engaging in. It is extremely important to address both caloric intake and output, as treating one without treating the other will be nowhere near as effective as treating both.

Body weight is an energy balance equation of input (food calories) vs. output (basal metabolic rate and caloric expenditure through exercise and activity).  If there are more calories consumed than used then all the extra calories will be stored as fat. Likewise, with less calorie consumption than use, the body will lose weight. This equation is overly simplistic, however, because our diet’s composition affects the body’s ability to burn and store calories effectively.

One myth we accept as a wise solution is to reduce calories, oftentimes choosing  healthy food choices along with increasing energy expenditure through quality exercise and activity. Long term weight loss through caloric restriction has less than a 20 percent chance of success since caloric restriction can actually decrease your resting metabolism. Rather, aerobic and resistive exercises alter the body’s composition by increasing lean tissue or fat free mass. Fat free mass is metabolically more active than body fat increasing the body’s resting metabolism, average daily metabolic rate, and fat oxidation during rest. Exercise facilitates lipid (fat) mobilization and oxidation especially from where it is dangerously stored on or in the organs.

If you are trying to lose weight, I suggest starting by nourishing your body with nutrient dense whole foods, grass-fed and hormone free meat and dairy, organic produce, high-quality fats, and plenty of water.  In addition to a quality diet, it is important to engage in some form of exercise most days of the week. The ideal exercise for weight loss is continuous, large muscle activities with moderate to high caloric cost such as power walking, running, stair stepping, cycling, swimming, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or hiking for 45-60 minutes most days of the week in addition to strength training 3-5 x week. For more information or assistance please contact Kristine Battey PT, (208) 946-7072.

Kristine Battey is a licensed physical therapist, a certified athletic trainer, a certified strength and conditioning specialist (personal trainer) and a holistic lifestyle coach.  She owns Divine Health & Fitness, www.divinehf.com, and can be reached at (208) 946-7072.  She is also a member of The Sandpoint Wellness Council.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

admin February 4, 2009 at 9:58 am

Pierre,

Thanks for your comment. We are attempting to get people to step outside their traditional box concerning their health. Your support is appreciated.

Owen

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Pierre trudel February 4, 2009 at 8:35 am

Great article.You hit the nail right on the head.You and I keep repeating these things over and over again yet the population still get bigger and bigger.What is it that we are doing wrong?Why can’t we stem the tide on obesity?My wife & I have gone outside the box and found that the #1 de-motivator is exercise.As soon as you mention the word exercise you get all the excuses.
When we agree to take it out of the equation people listen.I think we need to focus on getting rid of the weight first,and as people see dramatic improvement then,and only then can you bring exercise into play.
If as experts,we do not change the approach we are heading to the greatest crisis of the 21 st century.Thanks for listening.Pierre Trudel Montreal Canada

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Kristine Battey February 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Unfortunately the sentence that reads “One myth we accept as a wise solution is to reduce calories, oftentimes choosing healthy food choices along with increasing energy expenditure through quality exercise and activity” was edited incorrectly. I believe it is ineffective to reduce calories alone. It will help the situation but the risk of caloric reduction without exercise is decreased basal metabolism. It is emperative that people both reduce their calories through conscious healthy food choices in addition to increasing energy expenditure through exercise. I agree with Pierre that many people are not willing to commit to a lifetime of exercise. Many people are also not willing to commit to healthy food choices either. Thanks for your comment!

Kristine

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