Obesity The Complex Causes | Personal Training in Kirkland and Bellevue

It’s all too easy to do, and I know we are all (myself included!), guilty of having passed judgement on someone who is 40# or more pounds overweight. We’ve all thought (or even said) “You know, if they would just move more ~ get some exercise and eat better, they would loose that weight.”  For many of us, who have not had the experience of being obese, the answer is more clear cut, with a ‘calories in/calories out’ methodology that works.  However, when one is obese the answer is no longer a simple equation.  In fact, many complex factors determine whether a person develops obesity, and whether or not they are able to successfully lose the weight and keep it off. 

Calories In:  Quite simply, many obese people may be at the mercy of their pocketbooks, as junk food is inexpensive, while healthy food is expensive, by comparison.  It’s easy to load up on junk food, and even easier to put on the pounds this way.  Additionally, children are heavily marketed to by food companies, influencing parent purchases, which contributes to childhood obesity.

Calories Out:  More people than ever work in sedentary jobs, and many also sit an extra  1 -2 hours a day in a commute.  Sitting rarely consumes more than 60 calories an hour, and if you combine that with what little time is left when one gets home, time in front of the computer and TV, AND add poor eating to that, well, you can do the math.  Factor in those that may work multiple jobs or even live in neighborhoods that are unsafe for walking, no matter the time of day.  A person’s Metabolic Rate (the rate at which you burn incoming calories) is further impacted if there is a genetic pre-disposition for obesity.

The Role of Hormones:  For many years scientist thought that fat cells were simply inactive. Period.  Over the past several decades new research has lent credence to the fact that fat cells are highly active, and the fat cells we accumulate when young never truly go away.  In addition, the belly fat (also called ‘visceral fat’, as it surrounds the internal organs) is particularly active, causing grave health concerns.  We now know that large amounts of visceral fat will likely lead to cancers of all kinds, as the fat cells are active in this area and have ‘markers’ on each cell that are cancer predictors.  

The message:  Calorie restricted diets and heavy exercise programs are NOT the answer!  When an obese person loses large amounts of weight in this fashion, the body attempts to retain the ‘set point’ of body weight, and dials down metabolic rate, increases hunger hormones, and decreases the hormones that boost energy

What to do: Working with a dietician/nutritionist to develop balanced meals to keep energy high, glycemic level stable, and preserve lean body mass is paramount.  Resistance training with a pro, accompanied by a walking program, will slowwwwly, over time, lower the body weight.  Remember, a 10% weight loss will provide untold health benefits, without causing the rebound effect that many experience with crash diets, 9 – 12 months later.  

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