Friday, September 21, 2012


Since I couldn't think of any of my photos that go with the topic this week - I have interspersed the text with some of my favorite N. Cal Ocean photos...

When you see me you would not say that I am overweight – but all my adult life I have had to be careful with what and how much I eat.  I enjoy food!  But in times of stress or boredom I eat even when I’m not hungry. Like my Czech friend Vladimir said “ Sometimes we eat not for the hunger but for the taste!”  According to the Body Mass Index scale I am currently just over the line into “overweight”- I need to lose 5 pounds to be in the “normal” range. 

The BMI scale is generally accepted as the medical standard for determining one’s ideal weight.   You will find it in many locations:

What is your BMI number?

This issue came to my attention this week because of the new report on the growing epidemic of obese people in America. If obesity rates continue on their current rates, by 2030, 13 states could have adult obesity rates above 60 percent, 39 states could have rates above 50 percent, and all 50 states could have rates above 44 percent.  

Please open for additional information:

If obesity rates continue as they are, the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010 and 2020—and double again by 2030. Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are currently obese ( in different parts of the US).  Their future will be even more difficult.  In addition to the personal tragedies that these individuals experience is the huge additional financial burden that they add to the national health service.

Why so there so many obese people?  For many people it is only eating slightly more than what is used.  As long as a moderately active man takes in 2500 calories a day, he will use that amount of energy each day and have no weight gain. If he consistently takes in 2600 calories a day and still uses about 2500 day – the surplus energy is stored as fat.  If he does this for  35 days he now has 3500 surplus calories stored away.  A pound of human fat requires about 3500 calories. Over a years time that adds up to about 10 pounds of extra weight. So he has two choices – either exercise more to burn more calories or eat less... 

There are other ways to gain weight – Binge eating, genetically determined metabolism and body chemistry, stress level, availability of healthy foods, education, and many other factors.

Foods and weight loss seems to bring the faddists and the charlatans out of the woodwork – they bring so much confusion to our understanding! – Just remember:  as far as weight gain – a calorie is a calorie regardless of food source. Quick fixes don’t change behavior patterns – real change is all about long term life style changes.

How did I begin to get control of my food intake?

In my own  life I have learned that there are three major dietary evils that I have to deal with...
1.  The first is sugar and corn “sweetener” (a frequent food additive)  - not only are these foods high in caloric energy but they attract us to eating other high calorie foods. When I got used to artificial sweetener, I dropped a multitude of calories.  I have learned to give up sugary beverages ( soda and juice ) and replace the with healthy alternatives

2.  Fats and oils are seductive and so appearing –butter on your toast, well marbled beef, full fat milk, ice cream... I am training myself to forgo butter, eat beef rarely, and use 0% fat milk products.  If these foods seemed strange to me at first, after eating the new foods for a couple of  weeks I have come to prefer them.

3.  Excess salt gives the impression of enhancing flavor – but also induces me to eat more high calorie foods.  It also plays havoc with blood pressure.

4.  I have learned to increase vegetables and fruits to your diet – raw and cooked.
5.  Add daily exercise – run, walk, swim, bike, work out in a gym – An hour a day of good exercise will do wonders for body and mind!  I alternate an hour of walking on certain days with an hour of bike riding every other day.

For me its a constant struggle- I always scorned Weight Watchers
 – but I joined their on-line program – which offers a much simpler method for tracking energy content than traditional calorie counting.  The secret is to record every bite that I eat in a day, and the exercise that I have completed.  And live within the limits that they suggest for me.

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