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Exercise Improves Eating Habits
We all have great excuses for why we don't exercise. In fact, a recent article in "Time" magazine reports on research that suggests that exercise will not help you lose weight. Yes, the biology of caloric management is not fully understood; however, researchers are beginning to show that exercise does have an effect on eating, and their results are encouraging.
The First Step to Success: Committing to More than Yourself
A lack of motivation to exercise regularly is the number one reason why most of us begin an exercise program that simply does not last. With efficient 10-30 minute workout routines, most of us can honestly find the time to exercise. However, many of us have difficulty sticking with this small commitment because of a lack of motivation, which must come from both environmental and internal factors.
Walk Your Way to Better Health
Walking is a simple, low-impact exercise that you can do to improve your health and fitness. No instruction manual is needed, and a walking coach will not be necessary. Walking is one of the first natural exercises that you learn to do from a young age. Therefore, you should be a walking professional at this point in your life.
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12,000 Americans participated in a telephone survey between January and March, 2006. Conducted by Thomson Medstat, a healthcare information solution company (Thomson Medstat Research Brief, "Lifestyle and Obesity"; July 2006), the respondents were asked their height and weight, then a number of lifestyle questions, including how often they exercised vigorously, ate fast food or snacked on sweets, and whether they thought their overall eating habits were healthy.
For the results of the survey, Thomson Medstat calculated each respondent's Body Mass Index and categorized that respondent as "underweight", "normal", "overweight", "obese", or "morbidly obese", then compared the survey answers from each of those five groups.
Of those who were normal weight, 45% said that they did not usually eat fast food at all, and only 19% ate fast food twice a week or more. 40% of overweight people, however, did not eat fast food, while a slightly larger percentage (20.1%) ate fast food twice or more per week. Almost one-third (28.7%) of morbidly obese people, however, ate fast food at least twice a week.
Survey respondents were also asked if they had participated in "vigorous physical activity" for 20 minutes or more and at least three times per week in the past month. 55.3% of the normal weight group said that they had, while slightly fewer (53.3%) of the overweight group had done so, and only 24.8% of the morbidly obese group.
Despite this self-reported evidence to the contrary, people still believed they were doing the right things: Over three-fourths of obese people (77.7%) characterized their eating habits as "very healthy" or "somewhat healthy", and 64.9% of the morbidly obese agreed. Only slightly more than one-third of the morbidly obese considered their eating habits "a little healthy" or "not healthy."
It's easy to tell yourself that you're eating pretty well, but the numbers on the scale don't lie. Get your Body Mass Index, then keep a Food Diary (PDF format) and see where you fit in this survey. Then visit the Dr. Gourmet website for tips and resources to help you eat well and eat healthy.
First posted: August 8, 2006