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You can’t out-jog a bad diet



Obesity and being overweight are slowly becoming a pandemic in our country. We can see the evidence of these two in the scores and increasing number of joggers gracing our freeways every morning and evening. This good-intentioned practice has become our daily ritual which we follow religiously for an obvious reason – to lose weight. Are we on the right road to losing weight? My argument, unfortunately, is a resounding no! We can never out-jog a bad diet. First, we should understand that obesity is now a global concern, a problem faced by developed, developing and less developed countries alike. Why is this? You may ask. Famine or starvation if you like, is now becoming a thing of the past as food has become cheaper to produce, and readily available for most people. While in the past, you could have a certain kind fruit strictly in one season, these days you can have any fruit all year round. It is all thanks to our modern grocery stores that could sell you these food-stock fresh, dried or frozen. The choices are limitless. This goes out to all the types of other foods, such as vegetables. It is, however, the abundance of food that is slowly turning us into walking balloons, leaving us with all sorts of metabolic diseases such as sugar diabetes (type 2), heart disease, obesity, high-blood pressure, to name but a few. We are eating too much of all sorts of wrong food so much that our bodies are constantly bombarded all day long, every day. We should remember that if you want to lose weight, the first thing that should come to mind is whether your diet will help you achieve your goal, or whether it will work against you. Sadly, many people place in their mouths, and eventually in their bodies, foods that help them gain weight instead of losing it. We have a God-given ability to either store or burn fat. It is through the burning of stored fat that we are able to shed some weight, and we conversely get obese by storing the fat. There are hormones that help us store and burn fat. But first, let us look at the fat-storing hormone called insulin and how to regulate it in order to help our bodies lose fat. Let us take a look at the three types of macronutrients that you consume on a daily basis: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Foods that contain carbohydrates are converted into glucose during digestion. This glucose is sent into your bloodstream, causing a rise in blood glucose levels. This increase in blood glucose signals your pancreas to produce insulin and therefore any excess glucose is stored as fat in your body with a premise to use it later as energy. Fats and proteins do not have much glucose in them and therefore do not spike or raise your blood glucose to a point where access could be stored as fat. It is therefore, sensible to cut back on carbohydrates as they trigger fat-storing hormones and rather focus on proteins and fats as your larger part of your diet. Morning and evening jogs are actually good for your overall health and beat a couch-potato hands down in a healthy lifestyle. However, jogging will not contribute to any substantial amount in your quest to lose weight. If you jog to lose weight, you will unfortunately fail dismally to even shed a kilogram. Instead, focus on improving your diet, cut back on carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates such as sugar and flour. Your plate should at least have a larger portion of non-processed proteins, healthy oils such as avocados, coconut oil instead of hydrogenated oils such as margarine and seed oils. Diet is not a one-size-fits all mantra, it is rather personalised and could be tailor-made to suit each individual according to their body type and their genetic make-up; but highly processed foods, typically found in many forms of carbohydrates, will only lead to many of the metabolic diseases we are facing currently, obesity being one of them. Jogging alone will not help you fight weight, but with the right diet, your body will lose some weight and keep it off. Moreover, your health will significantly improve with your improved diet. l Tšepang Ledia is a Public Relations Officer at Lesotho Electricity Company. He writes in his own capacity. For feedback, send to: Tšepang Ledia

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