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.