Does this study make me look fat?

There's been a whack of studies over the past couple of months looking at the state of our waistlines — and our (mis)perceptions of them.

The only good news is most of us understand that obesity is a big problem that’s only getting bigger.

In Britain, a government study predicted that by 2010, nearly one in five girls between age two and 10 will be obese — and that a third of adult men will be, too. Right now, one in four British men is considered obese.

Earlier this month, the Canadian Medical Association found that nine per cent of Canadian parents thought their kids were overweight or obese. StatsCanada Figures show that 26 per cent of children are obese or overweight. Obesity, the agency says “results when people consume far more calories than they work off each day.”

Back in April, the Pew Research Center released its survey, Americans see weight problems everywhere but in the mirror. It found that 90 per cent of Americans agreed that most Americans are too fat – but only 40 per cent believed themselves to be overweight. U.S. government figures suggest that 60 per cent of Americans could use to shed some weight — and that half were obese.

The Pew study also found that Americans tend to perceive themselves as taller and thinner than they are.
It’s this perception thing that’s got me wondering. Most of us have no idea how many calories we take in — and how many we burn during the course of a day.

Most of us overestimate what we burn during exercise and underestimate how many calories we consume. Yeah, sampling the sauce while you’re cooking counts. Making sure it’s just right while it simmers away can really add up.

A middle-aged guy like me who weighs 183 pounds and spends much of the day at a computer only needs about 2,600 calories a day to keep the machinery of life going according to this calculator. Toss in an hour run at a 7:30 per mile pace, and I’ve earned the right to consume another 1,267 guilt-free calories.

What’s that – maybe three slices of pizza?

Trouble is, I’ll eat four.