Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

Our obsession with calorie counting, macronutrients and dieting over the past 30 years has resulted in increased body-fat levels. So what’s the deal? Let’s take a quick look at why fat loss is important and steps you can take in beating the battle of the bulge.


As a group, people in most industrialized societies are likely to be overweight.

This isn’t just a superficial thing. Excess body fat can negatively affect nearly every aspect of life, including:

■ increased risk of stress fractures
■ increased risk of organ failure
■ poor circulatory health
■ increased risk of heart disease
■ increased risk of strokes
■ increased risk of cancers
■ poor emotional health and self-esteem
■ decreased sexual and reproductive health



1. Exercise at least five hours per week.
2. Eat whole/unprocessed foods at regular intervals, while being aware of physical hunger/fullness cues.
3. Substitute trigger foods with foods that are similar tasting and texture but align with your goals (e.g. substitute cauliflower rice for instant rice).
4. Use a journal/planner and create simple, weekly meal plans that are practical.
5. Sleep 7-9 hours per night.
6. Don’t engage in extreme diets.
7. Stay consistent with your habits.
8. Incorporate daily, non-exercise physical activity.
9. Ignore food advertising.

Here’s the problem: As a whole, we’re not very good at losing fat either. Even the most advanced obesity treatments (e.g. bariatric surgery, medication) have success rates of less than 10 percent for permanent weight reduction/management.

About 95 percent of those who are overweight go on repeated diets, only to gain most or all of the weight back within one year. Nearly 70 percent of people in the United States are overweight or obese. The percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds who are overweight has doubled since 1980.

So what can we do to stop this trend and end this cycle? Start with taking it one day at a time. It’s about progress, not perfection. When you stumble, don’t beat yourself up for going astray. Just get back on track and continue applying the steps listed below.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, is owner of Longevity Athletics.

This column appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.


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