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During a recent holiday break I spent quite a bit of time reading various health and fitness magazines and watching a few health “gurus” on You Tube. It struck me that there is a plethora of information out there on how to live a healthier live that is actually quite consistent in its message. Although there are lots of variations on the theme, there are some basic things that all the experts agree to. In fact, you could say the “secret” to good health and avoiding the lifestyle diseases is not a secret at all. You probably have to bury your head in the sand to avoid hearing the message in some form on some media forum.
This is quite paradoxical because earlier this year the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare came out saying almost one quarter of all children and two thirds of adults are overweight or obese. The consequence of this in health, quality of life, length of life and financial terms is massive beyond belief. The irony is that these numbers have grown even though we now know more about the consequences, know more about how to avoidance and the information about both is much more readily available.
The reality is quite simple. As a society we simply eat and drink too much (and too much of the wrong sorts of foods and drinks) and we are not active enough.
Food is really fuel for our body, but we treat it as so much more. We use it to socialise, to comfort and for simple pleasure. You body needs fuel, and loves fuel and it loves it so much that if you over fuel, the body tucks it away on your belly and thighs and butt for later on.
Of course, the converse is also true. If you under fuel your body, it will use what you have stored away for energy resulting in weight loss.
The average human needs approximately 2500 calories per day to survive whilst maintaining a normal bodyweight (more if you are taller or less if you are shorter). Regularly eating more than this will result in weight gain eating less will result in weight loss.
It takes an excess of 7000 calories to gain a kilo and a deficit of 7000 calories to lose a kilo in very rough terms. This is where food choice becomes important.
It is very hard to eat an extra 7000 calories eating fruit, vegetables, lean meats and grains.
It is very easy to eat an extra 7000 calories eating burgers, pizza, fries, ice cream, pies, fried food etc etc etc.
The reality is that nobody is going to eat 80 too many apples over a week or two, but two pizzas over the same time frame is possible.
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