Dietary Guidelines For Adults
By David McCarthy
Based upon response to previous weight control articles the need for this dietary guideline for adults became apparent. We have always taken the approach that the more you understand why weight is gained the less likely you are to make the mistakes that so many weight watchers make. This article highlights workplace health but it also applies to each one of us who may be overweight.
The real secret to health is to eat adequate servings of nutritious foods and increase the amount of activity in your lifestyle. The thing to remember is that as we age we change, we become less active and therefore require fewer calories to drive our bodies. The problem is that the majority of us work hard when young, prove our worth and are soon rewarded with a supervisory or management role at work. Great, that takes care of income needs, but take a look at what it means to our health needs:
- Most management/supervisory roles require more time being spent behind a desk, chasing paper and sitting on our butts at various meetings. We become less physically active.
- Because we are less active we should reduce our daily calorie intake but few of us even think of this until we notice our stomachs are increasing in size and the waistband gets tighter.
- Another thing about management is that it carries extra responsibilities. As a worker you were responsible for what you did, as a manager you become responsible for what everybody does and this creates stress. The most common habit for relieving stress is to eat. - Unfortunately it is also the worst thing we can do in terms of overall health. (Tip: If you eat when stressed try chewing gum instead, it will achieve the same result without the calories.)
- We also find ourselves working longer hours and this makes us too tired to play tennis or visit the gym a couple of times each week. Many also find that they are developing a digestive problem.
There is little point of thinking about the extra retirement benefits management will give you if you are likely to die soon after retirement. You must start measuring your intake of food compared to your level of physical activity now. Put simply; "less movement, less calories is a good way to judge your dietary needs for a long and healthy life.
In the western world we eat an average of 3,500 calories each day when our body requires only 2,000 calories a day to function properly. We need to reduce our calorie intake by 500 each day and this will reduce our weight by 1 pound (450 grams) each week, which happens to be the optimum weight loss target if you wish to lose it and keep it off. (I know there are hundreds of diets out there that promise to reduce your weight by far greater amounts than one pound each week. They don't work because you will put it all back on again.)
This article is copyright © David McCarthy 2006.