Some things that we would never expect can be factors in weight gain.
Here are a few of them:
Air conditioning. Our
bodies use a lot of energy just keeping us cool on hot days or warm
on cold ones, but when we use the a/c or central heating, our bodies
don't have to work nearly as hard. Here in the south, air
conditioning is a necessity, but it's worth noting that the southeast
leads the nation in obesity.
Working moms. Several
studies have shown that the kids from families where the mother works
are overweight more often than those from families with stay-at-home
moms. The reasons vary, but one reason is that on average, kids who
come home to empty houses tend to stay in the house while other kids
are more likely to play outside.
Lack of proper sleep. Not
getting enough sleep can cause hormonal changes in the body that
might result in long term weight gain. In addition, being tired from
sleep deprivation results in decreased activity during the day
meaning fewer calories are burned than would be the case if we
A night light. A recent
study showed that mice exposed to a dim light at night gained 50%
more weight than mice that slept in total darkness. This is probably
because those in total darkness get a deeper and more restful sleep
and therefore are more active the next day.
Your genes. Scientists
have identified 18 genetic markers that play a role in obesity and l3
that determine where we carry our excess fat.
medications may affect weight gain. Among the most common are those
for birth control, depression, diabetes, and blood pressure
What state has the highest rate of obesity in the U.S.? Which state
has the lowest? Answers: Louisiana has the highest obesity rate at
34.7%. Colorado the lowest at 20.5%.
Thirteen states have rates of 30% or higher. They are all in the
Midwest and South: Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia,
Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi,
Alabama, and, yes, South Carolina.
The states with obesity rates at 25% or less are Hawaii, Montana,
Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and
Massachusetts. All the other states are somewhere between 25 and 30%.
These numbers are compiled by the CDC and are based on trends tracked
via the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, or BRFSS.
The obesity rates are highest in Blacks with 44.1%. Hispanics are
next with 37.9%, and Whites are at 32.6%.
No matter which group you're in or, for that matter, which state, the
numbers are way too high and they've been climbing each year even
with the added emphasis on healthy eating and exercise.
I don't think I've ever written an article about skin cancer before, but
since I recently had three basal cell skin cancers removed and I now
have a hole in my scalp the size and depth of a quarter, maybe it's
worth a paragraph or two.
We all know that too much sun can cause skin cancer and we should
take certain precautions against prolonged exposure to the sun's
harmful rays. But too often, vanity supersedes good sense. I know
that's been the case with me.
So here's the thing, wear sunscreen when you're out in the sun or
better yet, wear protective clothing including a hat that protects
your face. Stay in the shade as much as possible and don't go out in
the sun during the heat of the day. And stay out of tanning beds. At
least I never did that.
Skin cancer is not usually dangerous, but melanomas are more frequent
now than they have ever been, and that is a very serious type of
cancer. But even the more common squamous and basal cell carcinomas
need to be treated, and the treatment can leave scarring as I can
attest too with this hole in my head. I'll be wearing a hat to cover
the wound until it heals in a couple of months, and even after it
heals, I won't be able to grow hair where the scar is. Just a word to
the wise. Take it or leave it, but don't complain when you're my age
and making frequent trips to the dermatologist.
A client of mine works in an office where several people are
currently on diets. She told me that one of her co-workers said her
goal was to lose 10 pounds in the first week of her diet. That got me
to thinking about just what it would take to lose 10 pounds in a
Since you need a 3500 calorie deficit to lose a pound of fat, in
order to lose 10 pounds of fat, you need a 35,000 calorie deficit. In
other words, you would need to burn 35,000 calories more in a week
than you take in. That's a daily deficit of 5000 calories. So if you
burn 5000 calories a day and don't eat anything, you could do it. But
in order to burn 5000 calories a day, you would need to run about 7
hours a day at a 9 minute per mile pace. And remember, no eating.
Weight loss programs that offer amazing results in a hurry are based
on water loss, not fat loss. Water makes up about 50 to 60% of your
body weight. So if you weigh 200 pounds, as much as 120 pounds of
that weight is water. It makes sense then that if you lose water, you
lose weight. However, dehydration is not real weight loss, because
you've got to replace that water loss sooner or later, preferably
sooner. If you don't, weight loss will not be your primary problem.
If you want to lose weight, please learn this if you don't learn
anything else: A healthy weight loss goal is one to two pounds a week
or about 1% of your total weight. It is possible to lose more than
that over a short time, but not without severely restricting your
calories, and there are a host of reasons why very low calorie diets
are not healthy and not advisable. With weight loss, be patient. If
you combine healthy eating with proper exercise, the weight will come
off, and better yet, you'll be able to keep it off.
Just in case you didn't see it when it was in this newsletter the
first time, here's a joke I made up a few years ago:
Question: What does a schizophrenic alligator have?
Answer: A reptile dysfunction.