dr david bull

Fatties fatties everywhere!

In Medical Topics on July 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm

America is the land where everything is big.  The buildings. The emotions. The portions and the waistlines!

In fact as a Brit in LA, I feel tiny! Ridiculously tiny. So tiny in fact that I’m worried one of these mountainous people will eat me as a snack!

But take the time to ask one of them why they are so large and you are hit with a barrage of excuses all wrapped up in a dollop of guilt.

But there is no time for guilt as it’s a completely wasted emotion, (but it is a useful lever to get you to do something about it) . It’s also no good blaming someone else for your misfortune. Instead YOU and YOU ALONE have to do something about it. And that something is nothing more than making the decision to no longer be fat.

I am constantly amazed at the bucket loads of books and articles extolling the virtues of crazy diets and how various unhinged celebrities lose weight. The more ridiculous the diets are, the more we buy into them. Hence, the “seaweed diet”, the “morning banana diet” and the “pregnant women urine diet”. One of my favourites is the aptly named “cookie diet” where you eat six special cookies and one meal a day and the weight falls off. Well it would because you are only eating 800 cals a day which is about enough to keep a hamster alive!
No one likes a dieter and no-one likes someone who preaches to everyone else about how their new diet has changed their life.

So what’s the secret? Well sad to say, if you want to shed weight there is no magic bullet and no short cut. But there is a simple equation.
Calories in minus calories expended equals calories stored.
CALS IN – CALS EXPENDED = CALORIES STORED
So if you force food down your throat as if there is no tomorrow and sit on your butt watching re-runs of Beautiful people you will put on weight. Equally if you moderate your calorie intake and do some regular exercise you will lose weight. Simple. Well sort of… It is more complex than this and does depend on your genetic make-up but on the whole, observing the above will certainly make a difference. There are a small number of people, however, who have an underlying condition that can contribute to obesity such as a genetic syndrome, an underactive thyroid or excessive use of steroids. However, for most people it is all about the simple equation and control.
There are some other things I think it’s important to remember too.
• There is no such thing as a bad food – just bad diets.
• A little bit of what you fancy does you good.

Think about what you eat though. Make sure you have a balanced diet containing protein, carbohydrate and some fat. And make sure it’s rich in fruit and vegetables. Treat yourself with the odd snack too. If you ban certain foods all that will happen is that you start to crave them and then you end up binging on them. Alcohol is horrendously calorific so reducing your consumption is an easy way to cut calories. Also alcohol is an appetite stimulant so if you have three or four pints you are more likely to have a calorie laden sneaky kebab/burger/

The reason this is so important is that there is a really serious message behind all this. We are in the midst of an obesity pandemic. We measure how fat people are by measuring their weight in kg and height in metres. We can then calculate their body mass index which is WT/HT squared. The normal range is 20-25. Anyone with a BMI 25-30 is overweight and anyone with a BMI greater than 30 is obese
And here are the facts
• 60% of adults are overweight and 26% are obese
• 28% children are overweight and 15% are obese
• Surgery for obesity has rocketed by 40%
• By 2050 if nothing is done to stop this, 60% of men, 50% women and 25% of kids will be fat.

Being overweight isn’t just a vanity issue. It brings serious health risks too and causes

1. heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes
2. breathing difficulty
3. Diabetes
4. Varicose Veins
5. Gallstones
6. Bone and Joint problems
7. Psychological problems
The more overweight you are, the more complications you get and the shorter your life. People with lower BMIs live longest. If you are 10% overweight as a man, you have a 13% increased risk of death. If you are 20% overweight it rockets to 25%.

So thinking about what you’re eating and enjoying what you are eating is very important. But it’s also vital to make exercise fun and not a boring chore. Raising your heart rate burns calories so quick walking, running, football, rollerblading etc are all good. Sex also burns a lot of calories!

You can treat yourself too but you will have to make up for it. Life is too short not to eat chocolate occasionally.

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