Last week, I met a good friend of mine. As we talked about various topics, our conversation slowly transitioned to the topic of being overweight, and how to not reach that point of being overweight. As we did so, we walked into Starbucks to get ourselves a coffee. As we sat there talking, I observed how a pretty much obese woman next to me literally stuffed herself with 2 huge cakes within only a few minutes, while she was drinking a grande hot chocolate with a lot of cream on top… and when I say a lot, I mean a lot.
I just had to write a post about that… not about the situation, but rather what can be done to avoid coming to the point of being obese. I consider myself quite slim, but why is that?
The body needs energy in order to burn it to stay alive; it’s much like a vehicle, which needs petrol in order to burn it for it to move. This is obtained by eating and drinking and is measured in food calories (kcal), or simply referred to as calories. How many calories you need on a daily basis depends on your gender, height, weight, age, and daily physical activity. Myself, I would need 2510 calories on a daily basis. It is a logical equation: if I eat more than I need, I will gain weight, and if I eat less, I will lose weight.
I consider myself quite slim, although I could lose 2 or 3 kilos. However, I do have a set of unconscious ‘rules’ which I apply each time when I eat something. Here they are, and I hope they will help some readers becoming conscious of their eating habits also:
1. I know how many calories I need per day, I have calculated it. I also know how many calories are in some typical foods and beverages. Calorie Counting offers an overview of the most common foods and beverages. Or you might refer to your favorite site, there is a lot about this topic on the internet. If you are not familiar with calorie counting, please do. You do not have to count each and every calorie and every single snack… but if you are in the habit of having 2 tall White Chocolate Mocha each day, it comes in handy to know that it includes 688 calories. That is one-third of my daily needs.
2. I tend to have only one big meal per day, either at lunch or in the evening. If I had a big and warm meal during lunch, I might only eat a salad in the evening.
3. I not only look at fat but also sugar. If I have to drink a Coke, I might rather opt for the low sugar variant.
4. I do not believe in commercials and marketing. If something is marketed as ‘low fat’, chances are that there are loads of sugar in it. I want to make my own choice as much as possible, and I recognize that marketing is a tool for generating higher profits, not for making people eat more healthily.
5. I will not let myself be driven crazy by calories and counting them. If I have the sudden urge to eat a king-size burger with fat dripping out of it as soon as it is squeezed, with a hot chocolate with cream on the side, I will. But I know I can not do this every day, and I will compensate for it.
6. If I eat less than the body needs, the body will start using available energy reserves to compensate for it. Many people think, that in this case, the body starts using up the fat in our bodies. This is untrue: the body will first focus on the most accessible energy reserves: our muscles. Therefore, I recognize that doing sports is very important. Additionally, the website Health Status has a neat calculator, showing which activity burns how much energy.
7. I recognize, that being overweight has an impact on other areas of life:
- Overweight people are usually not as self-confident
- Overweight people have smaller social circles
- On average, overweight people earn less than those within the same position
- Overweight people spend on average more money on food and beverages
- Some airlines charge extra fees for overweight people, making travel more expensive
- Overweight people are more likely to become ill
I would like to state at this point, that I do not want to criticize overweight men and women. The above text merely reflects my own opinion, and what I do to control my weight in order to create the life I want.