In plenty of situations it is appropriate to focus on exact numbers. But evidence is starting to confirm something I’ve long believed: For the purposes of weight management, longevity, and quality of life, we likely overestimate the importance of calculating calories. What is more important then? I suggest, looking at the larger picture.
What is more likely to cause overeating – a quick bite on the run or a sit-down meal in a relaxed atmosphere? Surprisingly, it’s the rushed eating event that most often seduces us to overindulge. Why? For a number of reasons, most of which we are completely unaware of, according to scientists who study our eating behavior.
Obesity is much like drowning. Our food supply is willfully manipulated to maximize our food consumption and, of course, the money we are willing to spend along the way. But how much sense does it make to acknowledge the calamitous effects of childhood obesity, yet continue to peddle multi-colored marshmallows to 6-year-olds as “part of a complete breakfast”? That’s analogous to holding people accountable for their own swimming, yet actively encouraging them to try out riptides. It is, in a word, hypocritical. With regards to weight and health, America runs on constant hypocrisy.
Losing weight, increasing your energy and feeling healthier still comes down to putting the right food in your body, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. While technology can’t do all these things for you, a number of smartphone apps can make it easier to monitor your behavior, recommend improvements, and provide guidance along the way.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), no other current health threats spread as fast as so-called ‘non-communicable diseases’ (NCDs) like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. What distinguishes these from infectious illnesses is that humans bring them mostly upon themselves through poor diet and lifestyle choices. Nevertheless, the impact is very real and there is no letting up in sight.
Historically, doctors have either neglected the topic of weight management or wagged an admonishing finger. That admonishing finger is useless at best. At worst, it is overtly harmful. Studies have shown that especially among younger women exposure to anti-obesity bias actually fosters unhealthy eating habits in the short term.