Sixty percent of men are overweight, and most will remain that way because they don’t have the willpower or knowledge needed to lose bodyweight. That’s understandable, because we live in a no-fault society that makes it easy not to take responsibility for anything. It’s painless to blame an expanding midsection and gigantic butt on genetics, time restraints, and hectic schedules with no time to exercise and eat right. Also, guys hear so much conflicting information about diet and exercise that it’s difficult to know what to do. The fact is, however, is that obesity is not inevitable— millions of people face challenges, yet manage to stay lean and fit.
Some experts think the obesity epidemic is unsolvable, and that America is destined to drown in its own fat. That’s a copout. We have not always been a nation of fatties, and people in many countries around the world are still largely lean and fit. A new spectator sport in some countries is to go to the airport and count the number of fat Americans getting off airplanes. Don’t be imprisoned by excess fat. Exercise vigorously and watch what you eat, and in six months you can have a lean, ripped physique.
How Much Exercise for Weight Loss?
In 1996, the U.S. Surgeon General’s office recommended that people exercise moderately for 30 minutes, preferably every day of the week. Acceptable activities included mowing the lawn, waxing the car, walking from the car to the supermarket and gardening. This was a far cry from past recommendations that asked people to exercise 20-60 minutes, three to five times a week, at 60-85 percent of maximum effort!
Why did the Surgeon General’s report recommend less intense exercise than before? They sold out! Only 12 percent of Americans followed vigorous exercise programs. Rather than tell the truth about how much exercise people really need, they reduced the exercise recommendations so more people would exercise. They reasoned that getting many people in the country to do some moderate-intensity exercise was better than a small group of people exercising intensely.
What’s happened since the 1996 Surgeon General’s exercise report? Obesity rates skyrocketed and people are no more active than they were then. In some states, obesity rates have climbed more than 100 percent in only three years. To make matters worse, people no longer had to feel guilty about not exercising vigorously because the Surgeon General’s office told them it was OK not to. In separate reports, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization recognized that exercising moderately for 30 minutes a day will not help people lose weight, let alone make them look lean and fit. So, each group recommended that people exercise 60 minutes or more per day.
Americans do not want to be fat. The mega sales of books such as The South Beach Diet and the success of television shows such as “The Biggest Loser” shows that Americans want to be healthy looking and have nice-looking bodies. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t willing to work hard enough to achieve these goals.
So here’s the defining question: If you are overweight, do you want to stay that way, or are you willing to do the work it takes to create a new you?