I have heard this refrain hundreds of times - "I have only got to breathe air to gain weight" or "I go to the gym but havent lost any weight" or just simply "Why dont I lose weight?"
Let me tell you why.
No this is not going to be a brutal dissemination of your terrible eating habits. Just some plain fact about calories and how we gain them and lose them.
How much calorie to lose/gain 1 kg
It takes approximately 7700 calories to lose 1 kg of fat.
Suppose one goes about one's normal work eating normal everyday food. A 65-68 kgs person would need approximately 1800 calories in a day. The regular food we consume will total upto more or less that. By regular food I mean a bowl of cereal for breakfast with juice, some carbohydrates, protein and vegetables for lunch, some snacks and a regular supper. Nothing high carbohydrate or junk included.
How we consume extra food without knowing
Suppose one consumes a pastry or a bag of chips extra - that would easily make 250 cal extra daily. Having an extra something and most often more than an extra something like one rich meal (atleast 500 cal extra), a couple of extra beer (again +500) calories - one would easily rack up a total of 7500 in a matter of 30 days.
People gradually put on weight forgetting about the little somethings they eat. They think "Ok, I will exercise it off" - and never get around to it. And what about the exercise?
Does a little exercise help? Lets do some calculations.
Lets say I have had a 4-5 beers in the week, had biriyani twice, consumed some crunchies with my drinks - and havent counted my calories. Lets count the extra calories.
4-5 beers - 1000 cal at least
Biriyani (or something equally rich) - 1000 cal at least - and more if Mutton Biriyani
Cunchies - 300 cal - lets say
I have not included any sweets here and already I am overcaloried by 2300!
Does the above calculations of overindulging sound plausible? I would say so. If its not the drink - then its the pastries or sweetened juice or fried wantons or something.
How periodic, unplanned exercise is not enough
So I plan to work it off on the weekend.
I walk /jog 5 kms twice a week. At approximately 60 calories per km (unless one is walking uphill) - I manage to lose around 600 calories. With more exertion I manage to shed 1000 calories. Believe me, if one is not a fitness freak and goes overboard - that is what one is likely to shed with diligent exercise twice or thrice a week.
Lets go back to the calculations again.
I have taken 2300 calories and lost 1000 calories in a week. I have an extra of 1300 calories. No heavy obvious bingeing, no drinking spree, no living off junk food - and I have gained 1300 calories extra in a week. In 6 weeks I will likely put on 1 kg, in one year 8 kgs or more. (52 wks X 1300 cal/7700cal = 8.8 kgs).
And it goes on for years. One puts on weight kg by kg, pound by pound, relentlessly, and before one knows it one is overweight!
I still dont know how I am gaining weight. I feel I am an occasional drinker. I dont party or overeat all the time, I do regular exercise in my opinion. But I am still gaining weight!
So do you see how its so much easier to gain weight than to lose weight!
What does one do about it?
You have diagnosed the problem. In my opinion - knowing why one is gaining weight is the biggest step in the direction of weightloss and an eventual healthy life.
How to shed that weight? Now that will be another article. Or a long process!