Last week’s blog tackled weight loss tips that work. Now this article focuses on the why aspect, as in why you should be concerned about your weight and why you should take steps to lose those excess pounds. This also aims to shed a light on society’s growing obsession with losing weight.
Obsessed with weight
For both men and women, being overweight or obese is not just a health issue, but also an aesthetic problem! Studies reveal that for many people, health is not the main motivation for losing weight. It is actually the desire to belong, to fit in, or to look normal, if not attractive. People want to avoid becoming a victim of weight-based discrimination.
Heavy, obese people are often subjected to ridicule. There are also negative perceptions surrounding obesity. Obese people are often viewed as lazy, ugly, weak and unclean.
It is therefore not surprising that weight loss programs inundate the health and fitness industry year after year to respond this persistent concern. Just try searching for weight loss tips online and you will find an overwhelming number of resources outlining diet or exercise programs, promoting diet drugs or surgical procedures for weight loss. An ABC News report revealed in 2012 that the weight loss industry in the U.S. alone was already worth $20 billion.
Despite society’s obsession with weight loss and being thin in general, overweight and obesity figures have not improved in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69 percent of adults 20 years of age or older were either overweight or obese as of 2012. Worldwide, over 1.4 billion adults (35 percent of adults in the world) were overweight as of 2008 according to World Health Organization. Ten percent of the adult population in the world were obese.
The more alarming statistics are the deaths linked to obesity each year. WHO estimates that 3.4 million adults lose their lives each year due to excess weight or obesity problems.
The consequences of being overweight and obese
Being overweight and obese has been tied to serious health issues including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, reproductive problems, gallstones and osteoarthritis. Heart disease and stroke have been identified by WHO as the leading causes of death in 2012.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a person’s risk for coronary heart disease increase concomitantly with rising BMI. This is a condition where plaque builds up inside the arteries, blocking them and partially or completely preventing oxygen-rich blood from flowing to the heart. This can cause a heart attack. Stroke risk also increases when there’s a build-up of plaque in the arteries.
It’s important to note that atherosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries is a slow disease that begins from childhood and carries on until the person gets older. This is why is it important to have healthy eating habits and promote an active lifestyle early on.
Find the right weight loss solution
While there is no single weight loss solution that works for everyone, the process of losing weight starts with knowing yourself, your habits and motivations. Interpret those figures on your weighing scale. Your weight, together with your height, is used to compute your body mass index (BMI). The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website has a BMI calculator that accurately computes a person’s BMI for free. WHO says a body mass index (BMI) that is over or equal to 25 is considered overweight. Having a BMI of 30 or over indicates obesity.
Know your body, your lifestyle and diet habits. Do you indulge in food to cope with stress? Do you aim to lose weight to be more attractive? Do you have underlying medical conditions that cause weight gain? Knowing these things will reveal possible factors that lead you to gain excess weight.
Here’s our advice before you try any weight loss program: don’t let promises of instant results fool you and don’t make weight loss a goal. Instead, begin making sound choices when it comes to health. Exercise more and eat healthy. Have a doctor evaluate you for hormonal imbalance and other medical conditions that can lead to weight gain. Craft a weight loss solution that addresses the problem by eliminating the cause.
Overeating and unhealthy diet are not the only causes of weight gain. Many people find that no matter how hard they exercise or control what they eat, they are still not shedding off excess pounds. The truth is, other major factors play a role in controlling a person’s weight such as genetics, metabolism, some medications and certain diseases. While genetics can’t be controlled, the rest of the identified weight gain causes can be managed.
Here are seven weight loss tips that work:
1. Follow a healthy balanced diet plan, not diet fads.
The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion released dietary guidelines for Americans which take into account a person’s age, gender, and level of physical activity. Diet fads don’t work because they are difficult to sustain and they often lack important food groups that the body needs for optimal health. Also, it’s not just about calories, but nutrients too! Don’t stop at counting the calories. Take into consideration the nutrients that go into your body through the food you eat.
2. Balance your hormones.
Hormones influence important body functions, including its ability to process and burn fat. Consider taking hormone replacement therapy to complement your weight loss efforts and get your body working for you.
3. Eat foods that boost metabolism.
Metabolism, the process that converts food to energy, slows down with age. It typically starts slowing down once a woman reaches her 30s. Some foods that have been found to boost metabolism are chilli peppers, low-fat yogurt, lean proteins such as fish and chicken, green tea, citrus fruits, berries and high-fiber cereals among others.
4. Stay hydrated, limit sugar and salt, and relish your meals.
Drink 10 glasses of water each day. Dehydration causes bloating which can lead to weight gain. Water also helps make you feel fuller longer, which helps supress appetite.
Another cause for bloating is foods that are high in sodium, which like sugar, can also intensify cravings. Watch out for foods that are high in sugar and salt.
Chewing more, whether while you’re finishing your meal or having a sugar-free gum, can also help decrease appetite. This works by lessening the secretion of hormone ghrelin, which is also known as a “hunger hormone.” Also, don’t wait to feel hunger before you eat. Eating when you are hungry increases the likelihood of going for unhealthy food and eating more than you should.
5. Have the right mindset about food.
Why do you eat? Do find yourself reaching out for a bag of chips when you’re bored or a bar of chocolate when you’re sad? Do you eat mindlessly when you’re with friends? Know your eating habits. While you can combine eating with pleasure, it is not a healthy habit to constantly turn to find comfort, ease anxiety or kill boredom. Eat to stay healthy and fit. It’s not about what you shouldn’t consume, but more of what you should eat to maintain your health.
6. Exercise regularly.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity and 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity weekly. Ideally, a person should exercise at least 30 minutes per day.
Don’t know where to start? If you are obese or over 65, it would be best to consult a healthcare provider and get medical screening before starting your exercise regimen. Healthy adults should begin by building their exercise programs gradually. For example, if you are planning on starting a running program, you can begin with brisk walking for 10 minutes each day for the first week. The key here is challenging yourself a bit each day without overexertion to avoid injuries and exhaustion, which can both lead to quit exercising altogether. Also, if you are bored with a single routine, diversify it so it will be easier to sustain your active lifestyle.
7. Get enough sleep.
Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain. It increases your appetite and slows down your metabolism as it disrupts your hormones. It’s a surefire way to add inches to your waistline. Get seven to nine hours of sleep per night.