Whether obesity is considered a disease or a health epidemic, it is a reality that can have devastating consequences. A recent article in USA Today, highlighted the fact that while this is certainly the case, there is also no magic solution for those who suffer from obesity. In fact, Americans spend nearly $60 billion a year on the latest diet trends, books, and pills with only modest results: “two-thirds of U.S. adults remain overweight or obese. And those who lose weight often just lose just a few pounds. Many then regain the weight.” The real message here? Only through a lifestyle change can wellness be found.
There is no arguing the countless risks associated with obesity:
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- heart disease
- gallbladder disease
- sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
However, these risks also affect one’s quality of life and the life of those they love. In order to help change this scenario, one needs to change their perceptions of weight loss and the idea that there is exists a miracle product that will shift the responsibility from them to something else. As much as we’d like to believe that the solution lies outside of us, the reality is that it lies within. It always has. Barring a medical condition, we are what we eat and what we do. If we choose poor eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle, and high stress careers, we can’t be too surprised by the side effects. We gave ourselves subpar fuel, we skimped on daily maintenance in favor of convenience and the fast -track. We voluntarily tipped the scales to “get it all done” each day. But there is always a price to be paid when we do that, especially as we get older.
Lifestyle changes are necessary to reverse obesity. Lifestyle changes such as:
- Learning the value of proper nutrition, where to find it, how it affects your body.
- Changing eating habits from snack times to the food items we snack on.
- Protecting our sleep to ensure we get enough each night.
- Taking inventory of our recreational activities and perhaps, looking for new, healthier options.
- Investing time to raise our heart rate every day at least 20-30 minutes with activities like walking, cycling, swimming, tennis, or hiking.
- Lowering our expectations of weight loss with regards to how much we can lose and how fast.
- Being satisfied in the daily choices we make for a healthier lifestyle and patiently waiting for the changes to manifest themselves in us.
- Finding a place such as a wellness or fitness center to be your accountability partner, because let’s face it, there will be bumps on our journey to better health.
The obesity trend can be reversed. Investing in ourselves is investing in our future. We can improve the quality of our life one step, one choice, and one change at a time. The power is literally right inside us.