Lifestyle obese man

Published on October 11th, 2013 | by Joe Starks


Athletic Science: Obesity

Obesity is a term that tortures more and more of us every day. We either see it in our loved ones or on ourselves, that extra weight that weighs down on us in more ways than one. People around us grow fatter and fatter every year and chances are you are one of those people too. Battling this state with diet and exercise is of course the right way to go, but this will only help if one is properly educated about the nature of obesity in general, including both its physical and psychological side. This is why in this article we’ll discuss about the science of obesity and not the ways you should prevent and get rid of it. How do we get fat? Do we all get fat the same way? Why is it getting worse in the last decades? These and many question we’ll answer below.

What is obesity?

The simple answer is that obesity is the situation a person is in when he or she has too much fat in their bodies. This body fat is actually a very good thing when it exists in a normal amount in the body. Everybody needs some body fat for our health and beauty. It is the excess of it that causes all the problems.

The reason why people become obese is that they consume a large amount of calories, of which they can only burn a small fraction of. This means that a large part of the ingested energy will remain inside the body, stored as fat tissue. The only way that this energy can be released is when the body ingests less energy than it expends. This makes it quite obvious that there are three ways to lose weight:

  • Exercise so much that you burn more than you eat.
  • Eat so little that you burn more than you ingest.
  • Exercise so much and eat so little than you burn more energy than you eat.

Usually the third solution is the best one, as it tackles many facets of obesity at once.

When we see obesity in a person, it is not enough just to realise that this person needs to eat less and exercise more. A very important question to ask is this: Why did this person get obese in the first place? Our bodies have a decent satiation alarm and do warn us when our body fat has become a hindrance rather than a boon.

The most common reasons people do get obese is because:

  • They were taught very bad eating habits from their parents. Children of obese parents are more likely to be obese themselves in comparison to children from slender parents.
  • They have a serious emotional problem. Great sadness and/or shock can cause a person to seek solace in the pleasure food can offer. Often when this emotional baggage is dealt with, then the person will find the willpower to improve their eating habits as well.
  • They were never acquainted with proper exercise. In our modern times where both parents usually work and school has no time for P.E. classes anymore, children often never learn to exercise at all. There are more and more children out there that never run or play active games anymore.
  • Some ethnicities and socioeconomic groups are more affected than others, clearly indicating that culture, money and social status can affect your body weight drastically.

What to do?

The problem of obesity might be a huge one at the moment, but human ingenuity has defeated worse foes before. If you are a person that desires to get to a healthy, normal weight, you need to address the reason why you got obese in the first place, find professional help and educate yourself on how you’d eat and move if you were thin all along. Only by imitating the life of a healthy person can you become one and if you follow that lifestyle long enough you can eventually, with a lot of hard work, adopt it as your own and leave your obesity behind both in body and mind.


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