Measuring Tape Over Waist - Black and White

While some things in life are beyond our control, healthy living is something we can control. You can decide to take steps to be as healthy for as long as possible so that you can enjoy and live life to the fullest instead of letting disease control your life and even your identity. The choice is yours.

Let’s look at just one factor of health and disease, obesity, and decide what destiny we want for ourselves. According to the CDC ( in 2017:

  • 36.5% of Americans were obese
  • Heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers are all highly associated with obesity (this accounts for over 1,000,000 deaths/year!)
  • Annual costs of being obese is $147 billion in 2008
  • The annual medical costs for obesity per person were an extra $1,429 per person/year.

For the vast majority of people, being obese is not due to an underlying medical condition. Simply put, being obese is due to eating too many calories and not exercising enough. While the diet industry makes millions selling all kinds of programs to lose weight, it doesn’t have to be all that complicated, expensive, or hard. A simple equation exists between how many calories go in and how many calories go out.

I had a good friend in college who was 5’8” and weighed over 300 lbs. I went to medical school and a year later saw him again. He had lost over 75lbs in one year. I was amazed and asked how he did it. And wait for it, his answer will shock and amaze:

His recipe for success was:

  1. Stop drinking soda and instead drink water (he used to drink two 2 liters of soda day.)
  2. Decrease how much cheese he ate to one serving a day.
  3. After he lost over 30 lbs in one month he was so encouraged that he started moderate exercise a couple times a week.
  4. That’s it! All he did was stop drinking the poison we call soda (did you know that diet soda actually helps you put on more weight?) and start having a reasonable portion of cheese every day.

For the skeptics out there let’s look at the facts:

  1. One 2 liter bottle of soda has about 840 calories. 2 of these a day is 1680 calories/day. This equals about 230 grams of sugar per 2 liters. 2 of these a day is about 460 grams of sugar and sugar not only causes weight gain but is one of the root causes of inflammation which is itself a root cause of many of our ailments and deadliest diseases!!!!!
  2. While it varies with the type of cheese, there are about 100 calories per ounce of cheese. He was having about 5-8 ounces a day = 500-800 calories per day of cheese.
  3. If you add up his calories from soda and from cheese, he was consuming between 2,100 – 2,400 calories a day from just these two sources. 2100-2400 calories per day would be his total caloric allotment per day to maintain healthy weight. But of course, he consumed more than just cheese and diet soda every day.
  4. If a person cuts 3,500 calories per WEEK, they will lose about 1 lb per week. Let’s be conservative and say my friend only consumed 2,100 calories/day from soda and cheese. By cutting these out he was eliminating 14,700 calories/week = 4 pound weight lose per week! That is amazing.

My point is that losing weight is easy once you decide to do it and figure out the 2 foods that you consume every week that are not healthful choices. Figure out the calories of everything you eat, ask yourself if the food is healthful or not, and then decide to substitute the 2 unhealthful foods with something healthful. Please note that my friend loves cheese and so he did not eliminate it, he just ate it in a reasonable dose.

So what are some popular but unhealthy foods that contribute nothing but sugar and weight (all of these are easily found by doing a Google search):

  1. One serving of potato chips (like you can only have one serving…) – about 130 calories!
  2. Starbucks Frappuccino with whipped cream – about 500 calories!
  3. One glazed donut – about 220 calories!
  4. One Snickers (1.56 oz.) – 215 calories!
  5. One Big Mac from McDonalds – about 563 calories!

Ok, you get the idea. I do not think many people could successfully argue that there is much nutritional value in the above items. They are calories that are not attached to many healthful gains but are attached to unhealthy living and degraded health.

Veggies Spread Out

All you have to do is make a decision that you are worth it to be as healthy as possible and then to make one small decision to eliminate one or two foods that are not doing anything but dragging you down. That’s it! Once you start to feel better, look better, think better, and function better, then you can decide what healthful habit to adopt next.

Remember, health is a day by day decision. Either you direct the course of your life or you wind up at a destination that will look more like a nightmare than a purposeful life.

About the author

Dr. Anderson with Doctors Quarterly Magazine - Cropped
Dr. Reagan Anderson

Dr. Anderson is a Board Certified Dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic Surgeon. He serves as a Clinical Professor of Dermatology and is actively involved in patient and healthcare provider education on dermatology conditions and treatment.

Colorado Dermatology Institute
8580 Scarborough Drive / 1220 Lake Plaza Drive
Colorado Springs, Colorado