While camping recently, I couldn’t help but notice my boisterous neighbors overflowing from the site next door.
It was a double site and they filled it up—it must have been at least two families, and the kids were everywhere: a blur of energy running back and forth between swims in the nearby river, galloping around the campsite and banging in and out of two big RVs. These folks weren’t obnoxious or rude; they were just a loud and happy group buzzing with activity.
Well, at least the kids were busy buzzing. Upon closer attention, the adults were mostly not moving all that much. Most of them were “busy” lounging around the campsite, or sometimes sunning by the river. Their buzz was mostly from a beer or a sugary soda, not activity.
Of course, like the majority of adult Americans, most of them were carrying some extra weight—according to the CDC, over 70% of us are overweight or obese. (1) The kids for the most part were also representative of other American kids: thinner than their parents.
How is it that so many of us used to be thinner when we were younger, but now we’re not? We’ve gained weight slowly and consistently over the years. Studies note that on average most adults gain from 1-1.5 pounds a year. (2) That’s not a lot for a whole year, but it sure adds up.
How do we stop that trend of weight gain, or even better, how do we reverse it?
In our book, Healed, the section on the UnDiet lists the Dozen QEDs (Quick, Easy and Doables) of cutting weight without suffering through a diet plan. Honestly, if the adults next door simply did only 2 of them, they would be well on their way to living healthier, fitter lives:
1. Move more!
Unlike their kids, the adults spent the majority of their time not moving much. True, they were on vacation and so perhaps more likely to be relaxing—but your body doesn’t know you’re on vacation and still gains weight, especially when the bulk of your day is devoted to sitting and ingesting calories.
A recent analysis published in the journal Psychology and Behavior found vacationing adults gain about a pound in a week, and it tends to stay on! (3) Like my camping neighbors, most would need to move a lot more to burn off all the extra calories they consume on a vacation.
A general guideline from the experts at health.gov recommends 30 minutes every day of moderate physical activity in episodes of at least 10 minutes each. (On vacation, we ought to be able to find the time for doing even more.) For more details on daily exercise recommendations: https://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/adults.aspx
2. Don’t drink your calories!
According to the National Health Service, an average male needs about 2,500 a day, while an average female needs about 2,000. (4)
A typical beer: 150 calories. So a six-pack consumed over the course of a lazy, loungy day is an extra 900 you don’t need. (5) The above-mentioned study on vacation weight-gain found extra alcohol was a central culprit, with the average consumption of alcoholic drinks doubling during vacation time. No wonder we come back heavier!
Soda? Worse. Not because soda has so many more calories than beer (per ounce, it’s actually slightly less caloric), but because people tend to drink so much of it. The small bottle of Coke (not even the 1-liter): 240 calories. The extra unnecessary calories are staggering. As the Harvard School of Public Health notes, “Sugary drinks are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.” (6)
There’s a QED solution: Drink water! It’s free, refreshing and has zero calories.
I’ll be honest: a bunch of loud people right next to my campsite is about as welcome as carrying a bunch of extra weight all summer. The good news is that with patience, both are guaranteed to go away.
For the rest of our QEDs and for more information on living a happy and healthy life, read Healed, and visit us at http://www.wellhealed.net/.
5. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-truth- about-beer- and-your-belly#1
6. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sugary-drinks- fact-sheet/