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Count Your Calories To Better Health

Aug 17, 2007
Obesity is steadily growing to be major lifestyle problem for most Americans. In fact, studies have shown that with the influx of new fat-rich, fast food diets, Americans have begun to get larger and heavier. Also, in an alarming development, more and more people are getting overweight at a younger age.

Being overweight means that one has an excess amount of weight - which does not limit itself to fat. There are ranges in weight that is acceptable for people of different age and height groups. If you weigh more than recommended for your height and age group, then you should seriously consider shedding off some pounds.

Health professionals use the Body Mass Index (BMI), to ascertain whether a person is overweight or not. This measurement seeks to find out how heavy a person is per amount of body space he or she has. The BMI is a handy tool in assessing whether a person is healthy or overweight.

Being able to know your BMI and watch your weight is essential to good health. While most people just think that being overweight is something that is painful to look at - with repercussions to one's overall self-esteem, there are other, graver reasons why one should be concerned about his or her weight.

The truth is that obesity is a major factor in many debilitating diseases that have gone up in frequency of late. Heart disease, Stroke, Diabetes, and other major diseases can be traced to obesity and ultimately to one's diet and lifestyle.

Therefore, to be able to avoid these lifestyle diseases, it becomes imperative that one is able to keep from becoming obese. There are two major ways to do this - a proper diet, and exercise (or a more active lifestyle). Because of the increase in daily conveniences in today's world, people are becoming increasingly sedentary and fail to work their bodies into health.

The only way to regain this health is to return to a more active type of lifestyle coupled with a return to healthier, less-fatty foods.

Losing Calories is as Easy as Counting Them
But how do people get fat? While genetics can be a big factor, the overriding principle here is that everything that you eat has varying amounts of calories that your body needs for energy. If you consume more than you need, your body ends up storing it for later use. This is when your calories become fat tissue.

The problem here is that it could lead to a vicious cycle where you keep consuming more energy than you need, this will lead to more fatty deposits that will accumulate throughout the years unabated. This underscores the need for more restraint and discipline with our diet.

To lose fat, one must consume just enough calories so that the body does not have to store the energy as fat. It will instead burn the energy up. If you eat just a little less than your body needs, your body will turn to its fat stores for energy.

However, it does not mean that if you stop eating at all, you will lose fat. In fact it would be quite the contrary. If you stop eating altogether and pig out once in a while, it would lead to increased fat deposits because your body would have adjusted to so little energy in the body.

So what is the solution?
The solution to this debacle is to eat just the right amount of calories throughout the day in small but frequent meals. Couple this with exercise, and you have a surefire way of burning the fat nothingness.

However, when going for exercise, it has to be the aerobic kind, meaning it has to be a regular sustained exercise that for more than 20 minutes. This type of exercise uses oxygen and fat to generate energy. Weight lifting on the other hand is anaerobic and uses glycogen instead for energy.

How do you tell the two apart
If you are able to talk a bit while performing an exercise, then it is most probably aerobic. Your heart rate for such exercises should span the 130 bpm range.

Going back to calories, you should remember that to keep your calories in the range for your weight. Look at the nutritional information to make your decisions. Also you should consult with a nutritionist for further advice on your recommended calorie intake and reduction plan.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for http://calories.health-webzone.com where you can learn more about calories , how to count them and how to use them to lose weight.
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