Taking Off Those Extra Pounds
OK so you over ate during the holidays and you probably gained a few pounds. Now what to do? Most of you will begin the latest fad diet. Many of you will head to the nearest gym. While others of you will stop and evaluate your eating and exercise habits and develop a plan to bring your nutritional health back in line.
In North Carolina 65% of our adults and 32% of our children ages 10-17, are overweight or obese. Overweight children often become obese adults, which have placed our youth on a course to potentially being the first generation to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents. Being overweight puts us all at an increase risk for high blood pressure; stroke; high blood cholesterol; diabetes; cancer of the colon, rectum, prostate, gallbladder, breasts, uterus, ovaries; sleep apnea and respiratory problems; and a shorter life. With the New Year most of us will pledge to shed those extra pounds that “somehow just crept up”.
Obesity and overweight are a result of an imbalance between food consumed and physical activity. We increased our calorie intake and made no changes in our physical activity. Obesity is a complex issue related to lifestyle, environment, and genes. Many factors have been linked to the increase in obesity, such as increasing portion sizes; eating out more often; increased consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks; increasing television, computer, electronic gaming time; changing labor markets; and fear of crime, which prevents outdoor exercise.
If you stop and think about it, we already know the magic formula for weight control. When energy IN is more than energy OUT, you gain weight; when energy IN is less than energy OUT you lose weight. So, if during the holiday season, you ate more foods higher in calories than usual and did little exercise, I suspect you gained a few pounds.
So what can you do if you find yourself a little stressed out about your weight? Begin by reducing your caloric intake by 500 calories a day and increasing your physical activity by thirty minutes a day, every day. Doing this, you should see some improvement in your overall health. If you are like most of us and have a few pounds to loose, are finding it hard to get started, and know you need to starting eating healthier, then help is available.
Cooperative Extension will begin its yearly weight management Eat Smart Move More, Weigh Less starting Tuesday, January 27 at 5:30pm. The class is a twelve-week weight management program and will be held at the McSwain Extension Education and Agriculture Center. The program is designed to be a support group of individuals who are fighting the “losing” battle together. There are no gimmicks or special items to buy. Through weekly lessons, participants will learn to select sensible foods, be mindful of what they are consuming and increase their physical activity in order to lose weight. Cost of the class is $30.00. Registration is limited and must be paid prior to the class.
For more information on Eat Smart Move More, Weigh Less or for reliable information on nutrition and weight control, call Cooperative Extension at 775‑5624. Make the call and take responsibility for your own health in 2014. Let’s do it together!
Susan Condlin is the County Extension Director for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.