You Already Know All you Need to Know!

by : Amanda Julynn

Weight loss. Its what's on most adults minds at this very moment, and if it isn't now it will be later. And for those people who never have to worry about their weight... we all hate you! ;-) We live in the era of the trendy diets like "The Zone" and "Atkins". We live in the pill-for-everything nation with drugs like hoodia, ephedra, cortisol, caffeine pills and appetite suppressants. But no matter what your drug or diet of choice is... it will never rid your mind of your weight loss worries.

America. We are the fattest nation in the world! We are the nation of the quick fix, the quick meal, and most importantly... fast food. For those of you who have seen "Super Size Me" you saw a man in peak physical health start eating a diet of only McDonalds for a month. At the end of the month, he was fatter, looked physically disgusting and sick, got out of breathe while climbing up 6 steps, and he had doctors begging him to stop. Did this proof stop America's fast food obsession..... nope! We are still the nation with sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and with people on disability because they are too overweight function normally in society.

But wait! The drug companies have given us solutions! I actually had a coworker say to me as if she had some bad news, "Well, my doctor had to put me back on Lipitor." And then two minutes later, "So let's do Burger King for lunch?!" This just aggravates me so much . All I want to say to these people is, "This isn't like cancer. You weren't just stricken with these diseases at no fault of your own. It's your horrible, horrible diet... JUST STOP IT!"

However, I'd have to say that the blame isn't totally on these people. We are conditioned from childhood, with the happy meal toys, and the in-restaurant jungle-gyms that fast food is fun. As we grow up we learn its easy and socially acceptable. In our fast-paced society of mothers that are too tired to cook for their family, teens to busy with school activities, and college kids that are too bogged down with work (and partying) to even learn how to cook... where do you think the concept of "fast food" came from?

On the other side of the scale (no pun intended), we have the weight loss industry. One of the most profitable industries in America. We are constantly bombarded with the latest pills, supplements, diets, programs, gyms, trainers, and exercise equipment which leaves our heads spinning! Now when you think of it in the cynical, suspicious way that I do... the fast food industry is making us fat, then the weight loss industry jumps in to save the day... coincidence?... conspiracy?... we'll save that for another article. What's more important is that we are all being manipulated by these industries because we are lost! We don't trust ourselves to know how to lose weight because we are the ones who let ourselves put it on in the first place. So we read all the books, go to all the web sites, watch all the infomercials trying to see who's got "it". Who's right, who's got the secret, who is the weight loss god that will fix us for good and as quickly as possible. We're looking to all of these other people when all we really have to do is listen to ourselves, our bodies, and just plain logic.

Think back to grade school. We learned in gym class that we need exercise and it can be fun and make us feel good. We learned about the food pyramid which, though it has recently been updated, still tells us that we need a balanced diet. I specifically remember in 8th grade biology class, learning about fats (lipids), carbs (starches, and sugars), and proteins (big chains of amino acids.) We learned that each of these substances has a certain amount of calories and that your body uses these calories as energy to keep your body working. We're burning a couple hundred calories just sitting in a chair for and hour. This is just all basic stuff that most people have been taught already.... DID WE ALL FORGET THIS!? Or do we all just want the miracle "cure" for gaining weight?

In the 90's it was all about "nonfat" and "reduced-fat". We all thought, "hey, if what I'm eating has no fat in it, I can't get fat from eating it!" WRONG! All they did was up the carb count and in some cases the calorie count too. But we didn't want to see that. In the new millennium we copied the super skinny celeb actors (who, by the way, aren't just getting skinny for the sake of vanity, but to keep their jobs.) And the no-carb, low-carb revolution began! We all stopped eating starches, dropped a whole bunch of water weight in the first two weeks because we had no carbs in our systems to hold onto it anymore... leaving us constipated and crying at the sight of the bread basket at the restaurant table because we "couldn't have any." Don't get me wrong, I agree that sugar (as in candy) and other simple sugars should not be a regular part of your diet and my dentist would agree too. However, to deny yourself of a whole food group for God knows how long, is just plain stupid!

So what does that leave us with? Everything that we learned when we were young! What it all comes down to is the amount of calories you are ingesting should be in close proximity to the amount that your body naturally burns off on its own everyday. If you wanna burn off a little more and lose some weight... stick to a balanced diet and throw some exercise in there. And this doesn't mean that you should start waking up at 6 am to run 5 miles, or to join a gym and go 4 times a week for 2 hours at a time. Because I know from experience that if you do that, you'll burn yourself out and never want to exercise again! Exercise just means to up your level of activity from the level your body is used to on a normal day. Don't have much free time? So, park your car further away from the store's entrance in the parking lot than you normally would. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, even just for one flight. Walk your dog down the block and back instead of just letting him out the back door (trust me, it doesn't take as long as you think and your pup will love you for it!)

Be smart. Be logical. Don't rationalize eating McDonald's for lunch everyday just because you ran a mile that morning. (You'll be screwing with your heart in more ways than one.) And I'm sorry, there just aren't any miracles that will make you lose 20lbs. in 2 days. Suck it up! Realize that it took you awhile to put your weight on... its gonna take awhile to take it off... as it should. However impatient we are, our bodies still need time to adjust to any change in activity, stress, and weight. And unless you're a successful model or and actor (which I doubt your are if you're reading this), you're not getting paid for how good you look on camera. So put down the copy of People magazine, stop telling yourself you need to look like that and give yourself a friggin' break! Give your body a break. And more importantly, give your mind a break because this isn't brain surgery. Everything we need to know about weight loss, we learned in grade school.