Friday, September 18, 2009

Intuitive nutrition-- the universal key to healthy weight for life. Part 1. Formula of obesity.

18 September 2009

Hi there! It's me Svetlana! This new section will be about intuitive nutrition--something I love to talk about and practice... because it works!

First of all, we will be operating with numbers of calories.
The calorie is a pre-SI metric unit of energy. The unit was first defined by Professor Nicolas Clément in 1824 as a unit of heat. This definition entered French and English dictionaries between 1841 and 1867. In most fields its use is archaic, having been replaced by the SI unit of energy, the joule. However, in many countries it remains in common use as a unit of food energy.

Definitions vary but are all based on the specific heat capacity of water.
 The gram calorie, approximately 4.2 J, is based on one gram of water. The kilogram calorie, equal to one thousand gram calories, is based on one kilogram of water. In the context of nutrition, and especially food labelling, a larger unit is used and refered to interchangeably by the terms calorie (or Calorie) and kilocalorie.

Historically, the calorie has had two major alternative definitions differing by a factor of one thousand. In addition to these two major alternative definitions, minor variants of the definition of this unit also exist differing in the exact experimental conditions used, most notably the start temperature of the water.

The original definition by Clément was based on the kilogram. Other definitions based on the gram have since been made. We thus have the two major variants: the kilogram calorie and the gram calorie. One thousand gram calories equal one kilogram calorie.

In the context of food energy the term calorie generally refers to the kilogram calorie. However, the term kilocalorie (kcal), referring to one thousand gram calories, is also in widespread use especially by professional nutritionists (when speaking in terms of calories rather than joules). To avoid confusion, the prefix kilo- is not used with the kilogram calorie.

Kilogram calorie
The kilogram calorie, large calorie, food calorie, Calorie (capital C) or just calorie (lowercase c) is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.

Gram calorie
The gram calorie, small calorie or calorie (cal) is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by 1 °C. The gram calorie was once commonly used in chemistry and physics.

For practical purposes, instead of saying "food calorie", "kilogram calorie", or "large calorie"  I will use the simple term "calorie" or "cal" each time I talk about the nutritional value of food of amount of energy consumed or burned. The above explanations were taken from the following source:

This is the formula of obesity:
Weight gain:
Calories consumed> Calories burned

Weight Loss:
Calories consumed < Calories burned

Weight maintenance:
Calories consumed = Calories burned

Remember the numbers: There are 3,500 calories in a pound.
Obesity = overeating+/- under burning

Let's talk about these two components of obesity and understand why they are so prevalent in our lives.
So why don't we exercise enough? The most common reasons are:
1. Sleep deprivation, too much work, fatigue, aches and pains, cold weather, failure to lose weight in the past = no motivation.
2. Gym membership, equipment cost = no money.
3. Family obligations, kids, time to commute = no time.
4. Cars, elevators, escalators, TV/ remote control, phones and emails, passive beach vacations, desk jobs.

Some people try to fight the"desk job factor" like this.

The other factor in the obesity formula is overeating. If you exercise regularly and still gain weight, you eat more than your body requires for fuel. I want you to read this phrase carefully. It says "requires for FUEL". Not for joy, not for pleasure, not for the rain day needs. In order to maintain healthy weight one has to eat for FUEL, and fuel only. Otherwise allextra calories will go into a storage: FAT!

There are many reasons for overeating. Sometimes they are purely physical, meaning related to physiologic conditions, or diseases and medications. Physiologic causes: exercise, pregnancy, menstrual cycle. Psychiatric diseases: depression, mania , bipolar - overeating and excessive appetite when in the manic phase. Eating disorders: bulimia, binge eating. Hypothalamus disorder (very rare). Excessive hunger: diabetes, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), overactive thyroid, tapeworms. Medications - mainly because some medications stimulate appetite: antihistamines, steroids, marijuana, large amounts of alcohol. Cocaine or amphetamine withdrawal.
Another reasong for overeating is this: restaurant portions. Instead of being like this

they look more like this

In the nexp post we will talk about why the traditional diets do not work.
Keep reading!

Recommended reading and web sites to vist:
Brooke Castillo "If I am So Smart Why Can’t I Lose Weight".
American Diabetes Association. “Portion Sizes: A Key to Weight Loss.” February 2006. PDF brochure downloaded from, accessed 8/7/07.

USDA. “How Much Are You Eating?” PDF brochure downloaded from, accessed 8/7/07.

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Serving Size Card. Downloaded from, accessed 8/9/07.

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