Overweight is one of the main health problems of many countries. A combination of our lifestyle, sedentarism and terrible food choices has caused lots of people to gain more weight than it is recommended for staying healthy. Overweight and obesity cause many problems, and even conditions such as diabetes and joint damage. Having too much fat in our bodies can make our blood vessels stiffen and even get obstructed, which can cause a heart attack or a stroke. It also worsens the situation of people with respiratory conditions and many other of the like.
Every day, millions and millions of people struggle to get rid of those extra pounds that undermine both their health and their appearance. This isn't easy, because our civilization is built around unhealthy lifestyles and food. We must make a great effort, and find time we usually don't have, to make a change for our own sake. What few people know is that the reasons why it is so difficult to loose weight go far beyond that our modern lifestyle: they root in millions and millions of years of evolution. In other words, the same biological mechanisms that helped human beings and other animals survive all this time are ones that backfire today and make us tend to overweight.
If we understand these mechanisms, we will know how to stay in a healthy weight. Here is some extra info: responsible weight loss tips can be viewed here.
People nowadays tend to demonize calories as that awful and evil something that hides in food and make us fat. This tends to lead to the misconception that calories are bad and they should be avoided at all costs. What we want to emphasize is that this is 100% wrong. Our bodies need energy to function, and calories are a measure of energy that is found in food. If we don't consume calories, we have no power to run our body, and therefore we die.
Calories are all around us in modern times, but they are really difficult to find in nature. For this reason, our brains are programmed to seek for calories and consume them as soon as we find them. This is why sweets and junk food are so tempting to us: carbohydrates and fat are the main source of calories. We will always want to eat as much as we can, even if there's more than we need: our bodies will store them for later, because God knows when we will be so lucky again. We store calories in the form of fat.
From this point of view, it would seem to be that reducing our intake of calories and increasing how many we consume - by spending energy through physical exercise - should cut down our reservoirs and so make us loose weight. However, this isn't 100% true. On one hand, eating less will trigger a response in our bodies that makes us accumulate more fat, because we are saving it in case this "period of hunger" lasts for long. In other words, diets must be intelligently designed, with a decreased intake of calories but a sustained routine of meals and high proportion of fiber and protein. You can take care of how many calories you take every day using this calorie counting website. On the other hand, recent studies show that physical exercise isn't as good to loose weight as we thought, and the key still remains eating better. How is this so?
A recent article shows that exercise doesn't actually help you loose those extra pounds that bother you; in fact, it can even make you gain some. Physical exercise will make you feel more hungry, and thus you will eat more. Even worse, many people mistakenly believe that they can eat some extra calories because "they have exercised, so it's okay". The truth is that exercise itself doesn't burn as many calories as we eat in our regular diet, and we even tend to underestimate how many calories are in our everyday meals. If you are interested in finding out more about this, see this article for the full story.
We are not saying that physical exercise isn't good in itself, we just want to make it clear that the best way to loose weight is to reduce the caloric intake rather than exercise. Physical fitness is very good for health, but in other aspects. You can see this previous study to learn more about this. Excesise will increase your strenght, oxigenation and overall blood vessel development. The right routine can in fact improve your posture and help you with your mood.
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