Guest Post: The Truth about Eating and Fitness

Photo by Stephen D on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons attribution license.

Today we have a guest post from our very own WFCC nutritionist, Maria Pawlicka, who works hard with our members to develop amazing recipes and nutrition plans to help them look and feel their best! If you’d like to work with Maria, please feel free to get in touch with her by email or by calling 416-727-0431.

We know that physical activity is really good for us. But why we still can’t shed those pounds?

Research review on calories and body weight
The Women’s Health Study in the US observed over 34,000 women for about 13 years. The researchers analyzed three indicators such as weight, diet and exercise. They found that “87% gained weight over the course of the study and no amount of exercise was found to help women in that study lose weight”.

On the other hand, the media are constantly reminding us that one reason many Canadians or Americans are overweight or obese is due to their sedentary lifestyle. This is confusing, right?

Another study reported that American women are burning about 120 less calories a day at their current jobs than women doing exactly the same job in the 1960s. And yet another study reported that “the amount of energy North Americans were burning overall did not change between the 1980s and the 2000s.” This is a period when obesity rates increased dramatically.

Finally, one last study noted that Americans were consuming 500 more calories per day in the 2000s than in the 1970s. Canadians increased our caloric intake by 18% between 1976 and 2003!

What is happening? We are eating more!

Why is food reduction so difficult?

Eating too much or more is easy to do and decreasing the portion sizes is hard. Adopting a new exercise regimen can be difficult too, but at least it has a social aspect.

I have read about the common usage of Facebook. I thought this was a perfect fit in this post. We use Facebook to impress others or announce something important. For example, many of us post on Facebook about completing our first 5K or 10K run and we usually receive supportive responses from friends. How many people would post: “My eating habits improved! For lunch I ate lean chicken breast with no sauce, broccoli and sweet potato”? Completing a sweaty workout is seen as an achievement of physical ability; eating fewer calories is seen as a sacrifice. We have to stop thinking along these lines.

My view
Although research gives us many mixed results on the efficacy of fitness versus eating habits, it is crucial to exercise daily and eat metabolically balanced food. In fact, food has much higher impact on our body composition than exercise alone.

If you’re looking to improve your health or lose weight, then it’s absolutely imperative to support your eating habits with some intensity and dedication. Remember, it only takes an hour on the weekend to prepare your weekly meals, or alternatively, a few minutes each evening or morning. The time is well spent, and guess what – you can keep off those pounds you always wanted. Be proud of this achievement!
To your health and stay lean!