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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The 100 calorie principal

A few months ago I read a great post and I wish I could remember who wrote it so I could credit it here.  It was a thought provoking discussion on how easy it is to become overweight and obese.  Basically the blogger explained that a person must consume an extra 3,500 calories above and beyond what their body needs to gain a pound.  To gain one pound in a month, that works out to just over 100 calories a day (116.6 to be precise).

This has really stuck with me.  I have started calling it the 100 calorie principal. 

Think about it...If you gained a pound a month for a year, you'd be 12 pounds overweight.  In five years, you'd be 60 lbs. overweight and possibly obese depending on your height.  In a decade you'd be more than 100 lbs. overweight.

All this from just an extra 116.6 calories per day.  As women we probably need 1,500 - 1,800 calories per day, depending on our activity level.  That means that 1,616.6 to 1,916.6 calories per day could be a weight-gaining diet that would put us on track to obesity in less than ten years.  That's less than three extra café mochas per week.  Or an extra regular soda and a regular McDonald's cheeseburger per week.  An extra 116.6 calories per day is NOTHING, really.

For many people simply getting older and the associated metabolism slow-down is all it takes.  They eat the way they've always eaten, but find what used to be a weight-maintenance diet is now a weight-gaining diet.  Or an injury may cause them to become less active than they've been in the past and they do not adjust their caloric intake accordingly.

The 100 calorie principal.

I find this significant because it demonstrates just how easy it can be to end up overweight and obese.  Society assumes that fat people are gluttons, but would anyone consider it gluttony to have a couple of coffee drinks every week? 

I didn't become fat stuffing my face with crap all the time.  I actually ate pretty healthfully, but I ate too much.  Both of my pregnancies left me about 40 lbs. overweight and the rest crept on over a few years.  Yes, I did sometimes eat food that wasn't especially nutritious, but everybody does that at times.

It is easy to become overweight and obese.  People need to understand that.  The stigma associated with obesity doesn't help anyone and hurts all of us, fat or thin.         

17 comments:

MandaPanda said...

Great post! Not only is it easy for someone to become obese, it illustrates how easy it is to gain it back once you've lost it. It's easy to see why "dieting" doesn't work. As you add calories back in, it only takes a little extra to push you over the top.

Rachel said...

This post has a lot of wisdom...even when I losses are slow, I just think of how much loss I'll have cumulatively over time as long as I stick with it.

Samanatha said...

agreed. This is a great post. And worth thinking about and sharing. It makes it seem so easy to understand how people end up overweight.

FritoBandito said...

The math is amazing...and when you really sit down and start tracking what you eat, it is easy to see how you might get those extra calories, especially if you eat out a lot. The awareness has REALLY affected my willingness to eat out at all. I can't believe the number of calories in restaurant meals!

Heather said...

What a thought provoking post. It really puts everything in perspective! Thanks for sharing

Lee Ann said...

Great post Amanda. It definitely drives home the point that it doesn't take much. One banana has 100 calories. I mostly became obese from eating the "right" foods but too much is too much. When you're hungrier than you should be (my problem) then even eating oatmeal, greek yogurt, lean proteins, etc will catch up to you over time. Even skinless boneless chicken breasts have 120 calories a pop...(this is what I tried telling doctors even when I was only 150 lbs---I begged them to help me....they didn't listen--only lectured--and I got bigger and bigger). Do you sense the bitterness? :)

Cat said...

What a great post. Seriously as the others have said, it's really not hard to get a few extra 100 calories a week. It's no wonder we gain it all back and then some when we stop dieting.

Linda said...

This is so scary, but true. Will still need to really watch our treats because they add up.

~Lisa~ said...

Excellent post!! I loved this!! I thank you for teaching me soooo much - giving me food for thought!!

DiZneDiVa said...

Amen.... It is much easier to consume 3500 extra calories than it is to burn 3500 extra calories. The truth hurts...

Maria said...

Great post! I've been logging again, and I can see those little things that add up.

Amanda said...

Fantastic post! This is why I log. Doesn't mean I will never flub up or have treats but it keeps me in check!

Pie said...

Agreed, this is an excellent post. I was in the same boat as you - I ate healthy, but damn did I eat a lot of it! It's amazing how easily you can polish off an extra 100 calories a day. That's like...two cookies. Or a grande versus a regular coffee. Or two scoops of brown rice instead of one! Very scary actually.

Shannon said...

wow great post, thanks for sharing that. It's weird to think just how easy it is to over eat and not even realise it.

o.c. bandster said...

Great post. I never thought of it that way. I know that many "experts" say the opposite is true (eat 100 cal less a day to lose) but it never seemed to work out mathematically for me or I wouldn't be a new post-op.

Lady Lap Band said...

Love this, thank you for posting it!!!

Breanne
www.ladylapband.com

To Band or not To Band? said...

Interesting. And totally debunks the "just one won't hurt" myth!