The thought on most people’s minds when summers hits, or perhaps fear, is the ever-looming swimsuit season. How did it arrive so fast this year? Was not it just January? Surely you had more time to change your habits to include exercise and eating healthy. So goes the idiom – there’s no time like the present.
The BBC recently published an article based on a study, on a dieter’s two worst enemies: snacking and super sizing. In the US, where the study was carried out, a third of all adults - more than 72 million people - are now categorized as obese. The health editor remarks, “The average daily calorie intake in the US has increase by almost a third in 30 years, reaching 2,374 kilocalories.” For those of us who are not well versed in conversion, there is 1.00023890296 kcal in 1 calorie [nutritional]. That is still 2,374 calories a day. In terms of nutrition, values are often given for the number of kilocalories in a food but referred to simply as calories.
Think back to your grammar school days when you learned about the food pyramid and how many calories were needed to maintain energy balance based on gender, age and level of physical activity. The peak for a moderately active person was something like 2,000 calories. Today, the recommended daily calorie intake is approximately 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men. Of course, height and weight also come into play. See the chart below for more specifics to you personally.
With schedules as chaotic as they are today, making time to exercise or be relatively physical, often seems out of grasp. Most lead a sedentary lifestyle that includes only light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life. Focusing on reducing how much and the frequency with which you eat do could help tackle obesity.
A team from the University of North Carolina suggests that an effort to reduce the number of snacks and meals a day as well as portion size should prevent obesity. “Commenting on the paper, Dr Áine O'Connor, a scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation said: "Many factors influence total energy intake that can lead to [being] overweight and obesity but it is possible that having more eating occasions through the day, for example by frequent snacking, would increase calorie consumption and so lead to weight gain.”
So, if you cannot make it to the gym or yoga class, pay attention to the amount of food you consume. It just may have a positive effect this summer and overall well-being.