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Weighty Issues

Mountain Rose Herbs
Mountain Rose Herbs offers a wide range of dried herbs and spices.

We all like to try and look our best and to that end most people, especially women, have tried to diet at some time in their life. Today when obesity levels in the developed world are at an all time high we are confronted on all sides by diet gurus who are either concerned with our weight and figures from a fashion point of view or who want us to change our lifestyle and diet as a panacea for all bodily ills.

Obesity, mainly, is a by product of success. In times gone by rich parents would bask in the glory of a plump child as a reflection of their financial achievements. Nowadays cheap food and lifestyles with no physical requirements whatsoever puts obesity within the reach of all. 

It has to be said that the scientific evidence seems to be overwhelming. Keep your weight to below a certain level and blood pressure, joints, fertility and general health all benefit. Being slim obviously also has the advantages of allowing you to wear more fashionable clothes and to feel nearer to the slender "norm" which in spite of various ad campaigns is what we are in truth pressurised to aspire to. It is worth pointing out that our life expectancy, not withstanding any reduction brought about by being overweight, is vastly greater than it was even a century ago.

The problem on a day to day basis is how to achieve control over food intake and thus eventually the holy grail of slimness. There are those who appear to be effortlessly thin. Studies have been done to prove that in fact slim people limit their food intake with little conscious effort. When we see our size 12 colleague munching on her chocolate bar at lunch time we reserve judgement. It is an absolute scientific fact however that if calories eaten equals calories expended there is no weight gain, whereas deviation in either direction from this balance has to result in weight loss or weight gain.

Food control is difficult because we are all in such a hurry. We buy convenience food which is too moreish and too calorie dense and we go everywhere by car. Modern day lifestyles tend not to have any exercise built in naturally. Many people turn to diet clubs such as Weight Watchers, Rosemary Connolly and Slimming World. The ethos and slimming methods of these clubs is put forward in magazines bearing the same names and by locally run clubs. Many companies have also happily embraced the internet in the form of online slimming clubs. Their methods of food control are based on counting food by means of points, calories and fat content or by eating certain foods freely whilst counting the intake of others. Some of the clubs also offer exercise sessions. Of course membership does cost but if by lucky chance you choose one of these plans that happens to appeal to your taste then it is quite a simple matter to slot it into your lifestyle and you are set for dieting success.

For some it could be better to try to moderate their normal lifestyle in order to shed excess weight. Learning the calorie values and fat content of the food which you eat on a regular basis, discovering how much you can personally eat without gaining weight and then adjusting what you do anyway can be relatively painless. In order to do this successfully you need to be aware that certain foods are necessary for health and that for example it is not a good idea long term to eat three chocolate bars a day and nothing else in order to stay within your daily calorie allowance. Try experimenting with substitution, e.g. by eating fresh fruit instead of a chocolate bar and filling up on low calorie salad and vegetables. Although these are somewhat hackneyed solutions they can actually work!

Happiness probably does depend on good health, and this has to in turn depend on not being seriously overweight and not getting into the vicious circle where exercise is impossible and high calorie food becomes the only consolation. It makes sense on all counts to limit the intake of calorie dense foods such as fats and sugars and to treat all food with respect. To be a size at which you can live a full and happy life is the key and the goal to which we should all probably aspire.