**This is a long read. I'm gonna sticky it for a week and then unsticky it** This the paper I'm turning in for my final essay for my advanced composition class. We were to pick something to write about that we find interesting, have knowledge of, and affects the community around us. I chose to write mine over the obesity epidemic and how individuals can make the changes needed to chisel that physique out. No, there's no mention of cardio because cardio sucks. JK...I had actually already gone over the parameters defined by the paper on length and after working on this for about six hours I'm done. The citations are done in-text but will be finalized with MLA documentation. Anyway, thought you guys would enjoy this and maybe a couple of you might get some new information. So, without further stupidly long explanations... It seems everywhere I look I see a problem that concerns me. I see it everywhere and all the time. The problem I’m speaking of is obesity or people that are over-weight. This is such a problem that it has been labeled as an epidemic by the media. I, myself, was over-weight about two years ago and I made a decision to change this. I know that if I can do it then others can too. I know that when I was over-weight I was unhappy with how I looked and felt. I hear others speak about how they want to change and they are unhappy with their appearance. When an individual doesn’t feel good, they don’t perform well. As a future teacher, this concerns me because it will effect how they do in the classroom. Although the change isn’t easy, the willingness has to be first and foremost. I believe that counting calories and incorporating exercise can fix the epidemic problem. Counting calories seems like such a chore. No, it’s not easy, but like all habits, it takes time to make or break one. In order for an individual to lose weight, they must consume fewer calories than they expend (a hypo-caloric diet). Your breakdown of calories per macronutrient is: protein=4 calories, carbohydrates=4 calories, and lipids (fats) =9 calories. Obviously it seems simply cutting fat out of the diet would be the easiest way to lose weight since fat carries with it the most calories consumed. This has led to those dreaded “no fat to lose fat” diets. But fats are important and should not be avoided for the following reasons: Fatty acids are the basic building blocks for fat functions in the body. Fatty acids perform a variety of specific and necessary functions. First and foremost, fatty acids are an integral component of the plasma membrane of every cell in the body . . . This function is crucial since cellular responses to hormones, uptake of nutrients, and discharges of waste all require activity at the membrane . . . Another function of fat is as a source of energy. Fatty acids are very calorically dense with 9 calories per gram of fat . . . Fat is a major component that forms the barrier to water in the skin. Fat is also a critical component of nerves which are coated with fat. This coating serves to speed up conduction down the nerve. This is a critical function and requires much fat and much time. A final function of fat is to serve as the substrate for a whole set of hormones known as eicosanoids. Although less well known than other hormones like insulin or growth hormone, eicosanoids are critical for many diverse functions that regulate things like blood pressure, inflammation, blood clotting, and labor” (http://www.netrition.com/fats-article.html). So, it’s not fat that’s the culprit as was thought so and fat should not be avoided, as avoiding fats only compromise our ability to function. There are two causes for related weight gains—either an individual is eating to many calories or they are not eating enough calories. Both can be tricky to fix, but the latter is the more difficult of the two. Some individuals have fallen into the thinking that less is better or if they just eat a minimal amount they will lose weight. So, these individuals go on what looks like a starvation diet where they barely eat enough to maintain basic metabolic functioning. When we compromise our metabolism, we compromise energy levels and the body’s ability to burn fat. Instead, the body starts to go into a survival or hibernation mode and stores the majority of our caloric intake as fat. Obviously for the individual that is over-weight the last thing they want is to be storing fat especially when they are practically starving themselves to begin with. Another point to take into consideration when on a severely low calorie diet is the body will start to cannibalize itself. The body will start to use protein as a fuel source, which means the body is losing muscle or using muscle as a fuel source and this means the individual is now losing muscle. Since the amount of muscle an individual is carrying is directly related to how many calories they burn and by reducing our calories significantly we get little protein intake, this can definitely be problematic. So, what makes protein so important? “Unlike carbohydrates and fats, proteins also contain nitrogen. Amino means nitrogen-containing, and amino acids are the molecules that, when joined in groups of a few dozen to hundreds, form the thousands of proteins that occur in nature . . . nine of the amino acids are essential because the body cannot manufacture them and must be obtained through the diet . . .Muscle tissue is often the first bodily structure that comes to mind when considering protein’s existence in the body, and indeed, the majority of the body’s protein exists as skeletal muscle, organs, and bone tissue . . . protein makes up 20% of the weight of the heart, skeletal muscles, liver, and glands and 10% of the brain tissue . . . they are profoundly powerful and negatively affected by poor nutritional status” (Baechle 232-233). As one can see, without proper protein consumption, let alone nutritional intake, the body’s ability to function is compromised. The issue with protein goes deeper when you consider “the need for dietary protein/amino acids in sedentary, healthy adults results from the constant turnover of cells. During cell turnover (the constant breakdown and regeneration of cells), the immediate supplier of amino acids is the body’s free amino acid pool. The pool is replenished from dietary protein digestion. Substantially more protein is turned over daily than is consumed” (Baechle 233). There is an important factor with protein and hypo-caloric diets. When an individual’s caloric intake declines, their protein intake must increase. The reason for this is that when one is in a hypo-caloric diet, the protein consumed cannot be used for amino acid pooling purposes and so protein intake must be increased to ensure proper functioning of the human body. For the purpose of a starting point, the RDA (recommended daily allowance) from the USDA (U.S. Dept. Agriculture) is “0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight for both men and women” (National Research—234 NSCA), and that’s taking into consideration that the protein choices for consumption are of a high biological value. Figuring out ones daily protein intake is a matter of simply dividing their weight by 2.2; the number we get from this is our weight in kilograms and we multiply this by .8 to get the grams of protein an individual should be consuming daily. It would be beneficial for individuals to up their protein to 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. This may seem like a lot of protein and looks like quite a bit more than the USDA recommends but it should be noted that the USDA recommendation is really lower than it should be. Dr. Berardi, who has done a lot of research on protein states “. . . if this recommendation seems excessive, it's because you have a narrow view of how protein fits into one's dietary strategy. You're looking at protein in the same narrow way that people used to look at vitamin C; essential at a specific dose but conferring no additional benefits with a higher intake. With vitamin C, we all know it's important to consume enough of it (at least 10mg/day) to prevent scurvy. However, it's also commonly known there are a host of health benefits associated with much higher doses (200mg/day or more) including a reduced risk of cancer, increased HDL cholesterol, reduced risk of coronary artery disease, and a reduced duration of cold episodes and severity of symptoms” (http://www.johnberardi.com/articles/nutrition/proprejudice.htm). Berardi also further states that “Like vitamin C, instead of thinking of protein as a macronutrient that provides no benefit beyond preventing protein deficiency, we need to recognize the benefits of eating protein (at any dose). *Increased Thermic Effect of Feeding — While all macronutrients require metabolic processing for digestion, absorption, and storage or oxidation, the thermic effect of protein is roughly double that of carbohydrates and fat. Therefore, eating protein is actually thermogenic and can lead to a higher metabolic rate. This means greater fat loss when dieting and less fat gain during overfeeding. *Increased Glucagon — Protein consumption increases plasma concentrations of the hormone glucagon. Glucagon is responsible for antagonizing the effects of insulin in adipose tissue, leading to greater fat mobilization. In addition, glucagon also decreases the amounts and activities of the enzymes responsible for making and storing fat in adipose and liver cells. Again, this leads to greater fat loss during dieting and less fat gain during overfeeding. *Increased IGF-1 — Protein and amino-acid supplementation has been shown to increase the IGF-1 response to both exercise and feeding. Since IGF-1 is an anabolic hormone that's related to muscle growth, another advantage associated with consuming more protein is more muscle growth when overfeeding and/or muscle sparing when dieting. *Reduction in Cardiovascular Risk — several studies have shown that increasing the percentage of protein in the diet (from 11% to 23%) while decreasing the percentage of carbohydrate (from 63% to 48%) lowers LDL cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations with concomitant increases in HDL cholesterol concentrations. *Improved Weight-Loss Profile —new research by Layman and colleagues has demonstrated that reducing the carbohydrate ratio from 3.5 - 1 to 1.4 - 1 increases body fat loss, spares muscle mass, reduces triglyceride concentrations, improves satiety, and improves blood glucose management” (Layman et al 2003) (http://www.johnberardi.com/articles/nutrition/proprejudice.htm) The emphasis on protein shouldn’t detour anyone away from the fact of how important lipids (fats) and carbohydrates are. In order to get an estimate on how much to consume of the other macronutrients, an individual should figure out their kcal or caloric needs. Tom Venuto points out that “. . ..A much more accurate method for calculating TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) is to determine basal metabolic rate (BMR) using multiple factors, including height, weight, age and sex, then multiply the BMR by an activity factor to determine TDEE. BMR is the total number of calories your body requires for normal bodily functions (excluding activity factors). This includes keeping your heart beating, inhaling and exhaling air, digesting food, making new blood cells, maintaining your body temperature and every other metabolic process in your body. In other words, your BMR is all the energy used for the basic processes of life itself. BMR usually accounts for about two-thirds of total daily energy expenditure” (Venuto). So, if we take our BMR and plug it into the energy costs of activities then we have a pretty good idea of how many calories we burn in a day and how many calories to consume to gain or lose weight. TDEE is calculated best by using the Harris Benedict equation. Men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 X wt in kg) + (5 X ht in cm) - (6.8 X age in years) Women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 X wt in kg) + (1.8 X ht in cm) - (4.7 X age in years) Note: 1 inch = 2.54 cm. 1 kilogram = 2.2 lbs Example: BMR=66+1137 (I am 183 pounds or 83 kg) +865(I’m 5’8” or 68 inches)-190 (I’m 28). Once I have this figured out, I simply do the math. My BMR is 1878. Now that you know your BMR, you can calculate TDEE by multiplying your BMR by your activity multiplier from the chart below: Activity Multiplier *Sedentary = BMR X 1.2 (little or no exercise, desk job) *Lightly active = BMR X 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk) *Moderately active = BMR X 1.55 (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk) *Very active = BMR X 1.725 (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/wk) *Extremely active = BMR X 1.9 (hard daily exercise/sports & physical job or 2X day training, i.e. marathon, contest etc.) Example: My BMR is 1878 calories per day My activity level is moderately active My activity factor is 1.55 My TDEE = 1.55 X 1878 = 2911 calories/day. This is my maintenance calories or what I would eat to neither gain weight nor lose weight. It should be noted that nothing is completely accurate without knowing your LBM (lean body mass); however, this will give you a very good number to start with. If you are losing weight a bit to fast or to slow, simply multiply your calories needs by 10% and add in or take away this number of calories weekly. After an individual figures out their caloric needs, they can start counting the calories they consume. Obviously, by taking in fewer calories than we require, we will start to lose weight. It takes 3500 calories cut from our diet to lose one pound. Typically one pound to one-and-a-half pounds of weight loss per week is the highest an individual wants to go. If one chooses to lose more than that, they run into the possibility of consuming too few calories. I prefer to subtract 3500 calories from the entire weeks caloric allowances and make adjustments daily. So, if my maintenance caloric intake is 2911 calories a day, then I would consume 21000 calories over the course of the week. I would now subtract 3500 from 21000 and this would equal the number of calories I can have over the course of the week. The alternative (and probably the easiest choice) is to simply subtract 500 calories from the 3000 calories I should be eating to equal 2500 calories each day. Typically, twenty percent of calories needed should come from fat, especially those wanting to shed some pounds. So, if my caloric intake is going to be 2500 calories a day, then 500 calories would come from fat. Fat is 9 grams per calorie. We would divide 723 by 9 to come up with about eighty grams a day. At this point, we know how much protein to consume, how many calories to take in, and how much fat we’re going to consume. Simply multiply 1.4 per kilogram of bodyweight (BW/2.2); take this number and multiply it by four (protein=4 kcals). This number will give you how many calories you are consuming with protein. Example My total weight is 183 pounds or 83 kilograms. I have an allowance of 2411 calories (2911-500) 2411X30% (fat intake) =723 kcals 2 grams of protein X 83 kgs=166 grams of protein 166 grams of protein X 4kcals=664 kcals 723 kcals+664kcals=1387 calories 2411 calories-1387 calories=1024 calories. So, I have 1024 calories left to consume during the day. 1024 / 4=256 1024 calories are the remaining calories to come from carbohydrates. Since carbs are 4 calories per gram, we divide these numbers and come up with 256 calories to consume from carbs. Carbohydrates have been given a bad name lately. I’ve heard numerous times that carbs will make you fat. This is true but it’s also true of the other macronutrients—anything in excess will be stored as fat. However, a tried and true way to lose weight is to reduce the carbohydrate intake. What happens is water is shed and this is what reflects our weight loss. Low carb or lowered carb intakes can be used as a short term tool for weight loss. An important aspect of carbohydrates is to supply energy. If we compromise our carbohydrate consumption, we can compromise energy levels. Making wise food choices and counting calories is paramount when increasing aesthetics of the body. There are sites like www.fitday.com where you can enter the foods you eat and it will give you your calories consumed or there is software that you can install that will do the same. It takes approximately 10 minutes to figure out your BMR and a minute or two to figure out your calories per day; this is not a lot of time required to achieve a goal. If we know how many calories to intake, there can be no excuses or blame placed on fast food establishments. McDonalds is being sued again by several obese teens who “. . . claim the fast-food company McDonald's is responsible for making them fat. The lawsuit, filed by lawyer Samuel Hirsch in a Manhattan federal court, alleges that McDonald's violated New York state's consumer fraud statutes by deliberately misleading consumers into thinking their cheeseburgers and other products were healthy and nutritious” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2502431.stm). Then Morgan Spurlock came out with a documentary detailing his journey in becoming overweight due to eating McDonalds for three meals a day for thirty days. Of course he started his caloric intake at 5000 calories a day. Three things are important here: eating excessive calories leads to weight gain, it is up to the individual whether they lose weight or not, and you can lose weight even eating fast food, if you know your caloric goals. Interestingly, a woman took the ‘McDonald’s challenge’ in which she ate McDonalds for thirty days. Not only did she not gain weight but she “dropped 37 pounds in the process. It was a vastly different outcome than what happened in the documentary to filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, who put on 30 pounds and saw his health deteriorate after 5,000 calories a day of nothing but McDonald’s food. People are responsible for what they eat, she said, not restaurants. The problem with a McDonald’s-only diet isn’t what’s on the menu, but the choices made from it, she said . . . Morgan used nutritional information downloaded from McDonald’s Web site to create meal plans of no more than 1,400 calories a day. She only ate French fries twice, usually choosing burgers and salads. Those choices are a stark contrast with those made by Spurlock, who ate every menu item at least once. At the end of the 90 days, she had dropped from 227 to 190 pounds” (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8916080/). Another woman, by the name of Soso Whaley, created her own independent film where she “spends three 30-day periods on the diet. She dropped from 175 to 139 pounds, eating 2,000 calories-a-day at McDonald’s. “I had to think about what I was eating,” Whaley said. “I couldn’t just walk in there and say 'I’ll take a cinnamon bun and a Diet Coke’ . . . I know a lot of people are really turned off by the whole thought of monitoring what they are eating, but that’s part of the problem” (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8916080/). It’s been said that 80% of one’s success in physique issues is dealt with by our diet. That leaves the other 20% to deal with. If lean body mass has an impact on how many calories we burn or how metabolically active we are, then increasing lean body mass is important. LBM, or lean body mass, is defined as fat-free mass or “Lean Body Mass is the tissue in the body that is most vital for life. It includes the body's organs, muscles and a small percentage of "active" connective tissue. It is responsible for generating the vast majority of the body's function. What it is not, is fat . . . Lean Body Mass (LBM), which is sometimes referred to as Body Cell Mass (BCM) is the direct reservoir of your body's overall energy. In other words, it keeps things moving in a healthy direction. Because it is so effective at maintaining positive and healthy levels of energy, it has a direct correlation to the strengthening of your immune system” (http://www.serono-canada.com/english/solution/aids/LBM.html). Increasing LBM is accomplished through resistance training and becomes increasingly important as individuals age. McArdle, et. al. tells us that “people do tend to get fatter with age. College-age men average 15% body fat and older men are usually about 25%. Women in their youth carry body fat about 25% and move up to 35% or more by age 50. The doctors hasten to add, however, that these "average" values should not be accepted as normal. "We believe that one criterion for what is considered 'too fat' should be that established for younger men and women - above 20% for men and above 30% for women. There is probably no biologic reason for men and women to get fatter as they grow older." Increases in body fat, they explain, are more a function of activity than age. Inactivity results in loss of muscle. And loss of muscle, not an aging metabolism, is the primary cause of creeping obesity. The muscle that remains is as metabolically active as ever” (http://www.cbass.com/METABOLI.HTM). Jill Weisenberger also explains that “. . . you burn calories all day and night—even if you do nothing but stare at the wall or count sheep. The speed at which you burn them is your metabolic rate. Most of the calories spent each day are for breathing, circulation of blood, maintenance of body temperature and other things your body does to keep you alive. This is your resting metabolic rate (RMR), and it accounts for 60 to 75 percent of the total calories you burn. Physical activity and the digestion, absorption and storage of food, called "diet-induced thermogenesis," make up the rest” (http://www.hersports.com/articles/articles.php?id=0910053). Critics have said that building muscle or LBM for the goal of burning more fat isn’t effective. However, Ted Lambrinides, PhD points out that, “. . . when one actually examines the energy cost or calories burned during the post-exercise period it is relatively small. Some researchers have commented that the post-exercise effect is sufficiently small that it does not have a major role in the control of weight loss. These same researchers data suggest that the extra oxygen consumption following each of a typical monthly series of 15 exercise sessions (50 minutes at 50% of maximal oxygen uptake) could lead to a cumulative loss of 1 kg of adipose tissue; if such a rate of loss were sustained for 12 months, the individual concerned could have trimmed a not so insignificant 12 kg of fat from his or her waistline” (http://www.naturalstrength.com/research/detail.asp?ArticleID=203). The key to increasing LBM is through resistance/weight/strength training. Strength training has important implications when it comes to weight loss and health. We’ve covered the fact that more muscle is beneficial but it’s important to know why this is so. “There are three ways strength training can alter metabolism 1) the workout session itself; 2) the post-training oxygen consumption following exercise; and 3) the addition of muscle mass. *The Workout Session: Muscles contracting under heavy loads require energy. They also produce heat which is a by-product of muscular contraction. How much strength training increases metabolism will vary depending upon the amount of muscle mass involved in an exercise and the level of resistance used. Obviously a squat or leg press exercise (large muscle group) will utilize a greater amount of muscle mass than a biceps curl (small muscle group) exercise and consequently have a greater energy cost. The metabolic rate or energy expenditure has been estimated to vary from five to ten calories per minute, depending on whether large or small muscle groups were involved in the exercise. Hunter et al (2) investigated the influence of the resistance load on metabolic rate. Seventeen subjects performed a bench press, intensities range from 20% to 80% of one repetition maximum (the maximum weight that an individual can lift one time). They found that the economy of the weight training exercise decreased as the resistance load increased. This indicates less muscular efficiency at the heavier weights, and/or that stabilizing muscles participated more, which in turn will increases the energy utilization during exercise. *The Post-Workout Oxygen Consumption: There are several factors which influence the excess post exercise oxygen consumption (resynthesis of creatine phosphate in muscle, lactate removal, restoration of muscle and blood oxygen stores, elevated body temperature, post exercise elevation of heart rate and breathing, elevated hormones). Elliot et al (4) examined the post-exercise oxygen consumption of strength training exercise. Metabolic rate was measured for nine subjects after 40 minutes of cycling (80 percent of maximal heart rate), 40 minutes of circuit training (50% of individuals' 1 RM x 15 repetitions for 4 sets), 40 minutes of heavy resistance lifting (80-90% of 1 RM x 3-8 repetitions x 3 sets), and a control interval. All forms of exercise increased the metabolic rate immediately after exertion. The other factor to consider with the post-exercise is the fuel which is utilized. Strength training exercise tends to burn/utilize carbohydrate during the actual training session. However, after a workout more fat is burned to meet the energy demands of your body. The more carbohydrate burned during an exercise period, the more fat burned after exercise. Research performed by Brooks and Gaesser (5) as well as Bahr and Sejersted (6) confirm that the higher the exercise intensity, proportionately more fat will be burned during the recovery phase. Recent research at Colorado State University (7) examining the effect of a resistance training on post-exercise energy expenditure and resting metabolic rate, concluded that strenuous strength training can elevate metabolic rate for extended periods, and that this enhanced metabolism is due to oxidation of body fat. *The Addition of New Muscle: It is well established the properly performed high intensity strength training stimulates the development of muscle mass. The additional muscle mass will alter metabolism in two ways. First, resting metabolic rate is increased when one gains muscle mass. While the energy expenditure per pound of lean body mass does not change, the addition of more muscle mass means a larger energy expenditure or higher metabolism at rest. Second, the more muscle mass one has the greater the post exercise oxygen consumption. When strength trained individuals were compared to non-trained individuals, there was no difference in post exercise oxygen consumption per pound of muscle. However, since the strength training individuals have more muscle mass, they burn more calories during the post exercise period” (http://www.naturalstrength.com/research/detail.asp?ArticleID=203). I’ll hear the cry “but I just don’t have time to lift weights!” This is simply not true. The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) recommends one set of 8-12 repetitions of 8-10 movements or exercises that work the muscle groups twice a week. We’re looking at around three two to three hours of resistance training a week. If the idea of going to the gym doesn’t appeal to a person, then dumbbells and used weights are cheap and can be done at home. If nothing else, there are plenty of Pilates books and videos that can be checked out at the library or bought at the book store. In conclusion, the issue of obesity and being over-weight boils down to excessive caloric intake and a lack of exercise/resistance training/strength training. Making these two changes in one’s life will significantly change their health for the better and create a better looking physique.