ABOUT LOOSING WEIGHT

What is a Calorie it is a scientific measurement of energy. Have you ever wondered how we know how many calories are in a given food? Do they feed it to someone and see how much weight they gain? No, they burn it under controlled conditions and see how much heat energy is produced.

We need energy to live. Everything we do uses energy and almost everything we eat has energy. If you use more energy than you consume, you lose weight. Different people have different energy needs. There are three ways energy is used by the body. The energy used to pump blood, breath and maintain one's normal body functions is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR) and is fairly constant among people of the same height and weight. Specific dynamic energy (SDE) is the energy we require to digest our food. SDE is why some foods with the same caloric value put on less weight. It takes more energy to digest the 140 calories in an apple than the 140 calories in a soft drink. The other energy out-put is voluntary activity (VA). This includes everything from getting out of bed in the morning (which sometimes seems to take a lot of energy), to reading this newsletter. Some activities burn more calories than others and are frequently used to control weight and maintain fitness.

In one hour, a 135 pound woman burns:

356 Cal Aerobic dance

756 Cal Rowing machine

590 Cal Running 5.5mph

852 Cal Running 7.5mph

432 Cal Singles tennis

260 Cal Walking

So how many calories do you have to burn off to lose one pound?

3,500 Cal = 1 pound. That's a lot of walking.

The key to weight control is making the equation, calories in < calories out. Just 500 calories a day is a pound a week, up or down. A few hints to weight control are:

1. Eat better food; as we discussed. Less simple sugars that just slip into the body without any energy expended to digest it. Avoid fatty foods, fat has more than twice the calories of starches.

2. Don't eat in bed, and for that matter, avoid eating in the evening hours. You only burn a calorie a minute while sleeping and the extra calories go straight into fat. Lunch is probably the best time to eat half of our daily calorie intake.

3. Avoid eating on the run. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you've eaten enough. Eat slowly and you will eat less.

4. Eating can be a social activity. You don't have to eat as much as the person you are eating with. Your restraint will improve your health and maybe theirs too.

5. Don't eat out of habit (i.e. bed time) or boredom. Ask yourself if you are really hungry when you eat.

6. When snacking, put a limited portion in a bowl and take it away, don't just eat out of the box, bag or bottle.

7. To raise your energy out put you can use more stairs, buy your paper at the corner store, put up your TV remote, park farther from your office or get off the bus one stop sooner.

Unfortunately, some people do not burn calories easily and weight control is frustrating daily battle. Some other people maintain their weight with fad diets or drugs. I have diet plans, at my office, that are nutritionally well balanced and workable. I'd be happy to share them with you, but, alas, there is no magic.

FRED CREUTZMANN, M.D. CARROLLTON

972-394-7277 or www.DrCmd.com