As the technology advances and comes a change in lifestyle, folks today experience a rampant issue of obesity. Health-conscious men and some overly conscious teenage girls can be easily found fretting over their weight and the problems it would bring along. Whilst their concern stands legitimate, their approach to tackle it lies driven by mist of misconceptions.
“Why can’t I lose weight?”, asks a man.
For India proudly ranks third in the list of the most obese countries, as states a study in the medical journal Lancet; this question is echoed by a thunderous throng. To the same, a doctor named Dr. Rob Val – leading a weight loss group has provided a sensible answer. He cites the most basic of laws and lets the beans spill – once and for all. “The Law of Conservation of Mass, also known as the Law of Thermodynamics states that matter cannot be created or destroyed, although it may be rearranged.” That means that for you to lose weight, someone else has to gain it – since, fat cannot be destroyed only rearranged. Wanna get slimmer? Cool, pass on your weight to someone else. Conspire and make other people fat. *Evil_But_True* :p
Of course, that was all in fun and the law of thermodynamics doesn’t really work that way. Those of you, who didn’t doze off during Chemistry lecture might know it. But, given the disappointing strength of such attentive students – allow me to explain.
Did you catch it?
As is often the case when science is dummied down into sound bytes, it becomes wrong. Such is the case in the distortion of the Law of Thermodynamics which has been simplified into the popular wisdom: “Calories in = calories out.” This simplistic truth has become something “everyone knows” to be true. It’s behind widely held beliefs that managing our weight is simply a matter of balancing calories eaten and exercise. While that’s been used to sell a lot of calorie-reduced diets and calorie-burning exercise programs for weight loss; sadly, it’s also been used to support beliefs that fat people “most certainly must be lying” about their diets and activity levels, because otherwise their failure to lose weight would seem to “defy the Law of Thermodynamics.”
The human body is not a machine. There are countless, wildly varying, variables (external and internal) involved and that affect the efficiency of a system and which we have no control over. Understanding this helps to explain why calories cannot be balanced like a cheque book, and why people never seem to gain or lose precisely as calculated.
Balance in an open system, like the human body, is established when energy going into the system equals the sum of the energy leaving the system and the energy being stored within the system. In a human body, various energies which co-exist are, kinetic energy, potential energy, internal energy, and flow energy, as well as heat and work processes.
In other words, balancing energy includes a lot more than just the balance of calories. It takes more than one’s exercise chart. Brain focus: The energy parts of the equation include: calories consumed, calories converted to energy and used in involuntary movement, those used for heat generation and in response to external environmental exposures and temperatures, those used with inflammatory and infectious processes; those used in growth, tissue restoration and numerous metabolic processes and more. In a nutshell, each variable affects the others – varies with mass and age, involves complex hormonal and enzyme regulatory influences, and differs in efficiency.
Calories eaten and calories used in voluntary movement are only two small parts of energy balance and are meaningless by themselves, unless all of the other variables are controlled for, as per our metabolism… which they can never be as they aren’t under our control.
So, stop torturing yourself with all the exercises, and diets and plans. Eat healthy and your body shall automatically be in shape.