colorado hikers

Weight loss research continues to point the fact that it really is just a game of calories in vs. calories out (despite the fact that calories aren’t that accurate). But a couple of weight loss researchers from Colorado—the thinnest state in the U.S. with the lowest obesity rates—have determined that it’s really more about calories out than calories in.

Obesity researchers James Hill and Holly Wyatt have written a new book, “State of Slim: Fix Your Metabolism and Drop 20 Pounds in 8 Weeks on the Colorado Diet,” based on their research at the state-of-the-art Anschutz Health and Wellness Center just outside Denver. 

The basis of their plan revolves around the state of your metabolism. According to the book, “When you have an inflexible (unhealthy) metabolism, your body doesn’t switch very rapidly between types of fuel (carbohydrates, fats, protein), and it’s during these periods when it doesn’t switch quickly that your body accumulates fat,” Hill told USA Today.

A flexible, or healthy metabolism on the other hand, will use whatever you eat as fuel, reducing the chance that your body will store it as fat.

And how do you get a healthy metabolism? Exercise. And lots of it. 

Hill and Wyatt’s plan calls for most people to get 70 minutes of planned physical activity, six days a week; or 35 minutes of planned activity combined with a more active lifestyle, measured with a pedometer. 

Some people believe you can increase your metabolism, making your body burn more fuel, but that’s not what Hill and Wyatt are saying. Their research shows that if you are obese and sedentary, you likely have a metabolism that’s burning the wrong kind of fuel (and storing the rest as fat), and the only way to fix that is with consistent exercise. 

That doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want, either. Restricting calories in is still the best way to lose weight; but increasing calories out is just about the only way to keep the weight off, according to Hill and Wyatt’s research.

They called the plan the Colorado diet both because it’s where they live and work, but also because Colorado is known for attracting people who enjoy an active, outdoor-oriented lifestyle. Those preferences are reflected in the numbers; Colorado has an obesity rate of around 20 percent, the lowest in the country. 

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