The Official Newsletter of
May 10, 2002

Strategies to Prevent Obesity

by Ron Brown, author of The Body Fat Guide

    "Ron Brown is a certified fitness trainer who doesn't
    have an inch of flab on his body. He'll tell you what you can
    do to become fit and trim too."
Washington DC

HOW ironic. Within a week of International No-Diet Day, the Canadian government reports that obesity is on the rise in Canada. Health Minister Anne McLellan says more needs to be done to educate the public about preventive strategies. But, which strategies work, and which fail?

Obviously, according to the results shown in the data released by Statistics Canada, the strategy of just telling people to eat less and exercise more is not working. Who hasn’t already heard that advice? As important as diet and exercise are as part of a healthy lifestyle, there are other factors that must be addressed if Canadians are to reverse the trend toward obesity.

Despite secondary causes that may influence one’s weight, such as genetics, hormones and social factors like our abundant food supply and labor-saving devices, there is still only one primary cause of obesity. One can only gain bodyweight when one’s calorie intake exceeds one’s calorie expenditures.

No matter how much you exercise or how carefully you watch what you eat, unless the total amount of calories you eat each day is less than the total number of calories your 

body burns each day, you will never lose weight. More importantly, unless the total amount of calories you eat is exactly the same as the number of calories your body burns each day, you will never keep the weight off. Therefore, strategies to prevent obesity must allow people to properly balance the amount of calories they eat and burn each day. How is this done?

Most people struggle to balance their calorie intake and expenditures by feel alone. Perhaps they try to cutback their favorite foods and attempt some exercise. But, eventually they find themselves feeling too tired and hungry, and so they quit. If people could successfully manage their weight by feel alone, they wouldn’t have a weight problem in the first place.

There is a saying in the scientific community, "You can’t manage what you don’t measure." This applies equally as well to balancing and managing one’s calorie intake and expenditures. Studies have shown that people who do not measure their calorie intake and expenditures are poor at correcting guessing these amounts. Imagine the disastrous results if you attempted to manage your bank account by incorrectly guessing your account deposits and withdrawals. Why attempt to manage your weight this way?

Unfortunately, the multi-billion dollar diet industry discourages people from adopting the procedures to properly measure and modify their calorie intake and expenditures. Quick fixes such as unhealthy diets, drugs, supplements, surgery and strenuous exercise programs are offered as substitutes for legitimate weight management skills. But, these quick fixes only produce temporary effects because they do not result in permanent lifestyle changes. One immediately returns to old habits as soon as one’s quick-fix diet is over.

Properly measuring and balancing your calorie intake and expenditures allows you to modify your lifestyle at a comfortably manageable rate until your modifications become new lifestyle habits. You can include all of your favorite foods as part of a well-balanced calorie-controlled diet. You can engage in any activity you enjoy, no matter how insignificant the amount or intensity—the calorie expenditures all add up. Finally, you can trim down body fat at a safe and comfortable rate, and keep it within an acceptable range. Following the correct numbers gives you the ultimate power and flexibility when managing your weight.

Summing up, if Canadians are to prevent the spread of obesity they will need to access and employ the measuring tools that will allow them to make proper lifestyle modifications. Some suggested sources to locate tools to measure and balance your calorie intake and expenditures are through Universities and community services that offer personal development courses in nutrition, as well as online through web sites that specialize in reliable weight management information, like .

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