You’ve seen the statistics. Americans are more overweight than ever and the trend is expected to continue. The lifespan of our children will likely be shorter than ours for the first time in the history of mankind, due to chronic diseases related to obesity. In this day and age, weight loss doesn’t happen by accident, but weight gain does.
Why? Consider the following:
The majority of Americans do not get the minimum physical activity needed
The average American takes approximately 3,000-5,000 steps per day, which means they’re sitting most of the day
Portion sizes are significantly larger than before
Food is available in endless quantities, anytime of day, and high-calorie foods are often cheaper
The bottom line is our environment encourages sitting and eating 24/7. Sitting while commuting to work, sitting at a desk to make a living, sitting for entertainment (phones, movies, video games, TV), and of course sitting while eating. To make matters worse, humans are programmed to eat and take the path of least resistance — a survival mechanism that helped our hunting and gathering ancestors survive, but is now killing us. Literally.
Here are more facts to ponder:
1 out of 10 people do not know how many calories they need to maintain their weight
Most people think they eat less than they actually do (20-50 percent less on average)
Translation — we’re not very good at consuming the right amount of food and beverages to maintain a healthy body weight. If you want to change something, like your clothing size, body fat percentage, or the number on the scale, the first step is to become aware of your body’s needs and the choices you’re making. In other words, awareness opens the door to change. Otherwise, you’re clueless and you don’t even know it. You end up becoming a victim of creeping obesity — that 1-3 pounds a year the average American gains during adulthood because they’re not paying attention. That may not sound like much but over 20 years of adulthood, the years 25 to age 45, that extra weight should be as much as 60 pounds and the average person doesn’t even realize how they gained it.
Perhaps you are paying attention, maybe even counting calories, and you’re wondering, is it worth it? Here’s what the research shows:
People who track what they eat at least 5 days a week lose twice as much weight as those who don’t
People who track what they eat regularly maintain weight loss better
People who use a body sensing device (a fitness tracker) that tracks activity and calories burned lose 2-3 times more weight than those who don’t
This makes sense. After all, how do you manage something, whether it’s your checkbook, your blood pressure or your waistline, if you’re not tracking it? Well…you don’t. You end up with bounced checks, uncontrolled blood pressure and having to buy bigger clothes.