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Battling the Bulge; a Heavyweight Issue

Justice for My Jewel ♕ ● Aug 15, 2023 ● 6 min read

Battling the Bulge; a Heavyweight Issue

Obesity has become a heavyweight issue in the United States, and the fast-food culture of unhealthy foods and super-sized portions is a huge contributor to that scenario. According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity in adults was 42.4% in 2017-2018. Obesity has become an epidemic that increases the risk of several debilitating and deadly diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, gallbladder disease, and some cancers. People who have obesity are also more likely to suffer with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which make stroke and heart disease more likely. Obesity is also a costly disease. According to the CDC, “The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was nearly $173 billion in 2019 dollars. Medical costs for adults who had obesity were $1,861 higher than medical costs for people with healthy weight.” But it is not just adults affected by obesity – children are too, and an obese child will probably become an obese adult.

So why, in the midst of a national pandemic, does there seem to be so little concern about the dangers of obesity? Knowing that a healthy lifestyle and exercise can help win the battle of the bulge, why does apathy seem to surround the subject of obesity and severe obesity? Is it true that people really don’t care? Perhaps you have heard someone say or said yourself, “You only live once so I will eat whatever I want!” That’s a mindset that can lead to disaster. But there are so many questions that go beyond overeating and lack of exercise. Mindset must also be considered because emotional eating is real. People eat to relieve stress, to find comfort, or because they’re feeling lonely. People “selfishly” overeat (whether consciously or unconsciously) for gratification in the moment with little or no thought of their own longevity or the lives of loved ones that will be negatively impacted should anything catastrophic happen to their health. Some people have even attempted everything they know to lose weight unsuccessfully and given up hope. Without hope everything can become meaningless.

Perhaps it is time to change your thinking about obesity. Instead of focusing on the scales and how much weight you have gained or lost, consider what you will gain from a healthier lifestyle. Drinking an extra glass of water, eating some green leafy vegetables, or taking a walk around the block will not change things overnight. The state of your health today is the direct result of years of your past decisions and actions. The next time you fail at something, or someone disappoints you, or you get hurt, instead of eating a gallon of ice cream and binge-watching Netflix, do something that you enjoy that requires you to move your body. Put on your favorite song and dance to the music; pull your bicycle out of the garage and take it for a spin; do chair yoga; or laugh just because. At the end of the day, you are responsible for yourself, and there is someone in your life who wants you to be around for another 20+ years. Since overeating or a sedentary lifestyle will not change the situation you find yourself in, examine some of the consequences of the choices you make that result in obesity.

Factors that can contribute to excess weight gain include eating patterns, physical activity levels, and sleep routines. Other factors that can play a role in excess weight gain are genetics, physical health, and medications used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, seizures, mood disorders, and even migraines. Identify the factors that relate to you and create a plan of action to change what you can control.

The Reality of "YOLO" (You Only Live Once)

Consider the infamous "You only live once, so I will eat whatever I want!" mantra. Living once doesn't mean you have to embrace every calorie-laden temptation like it's your last supper. The health dangers of obesity are real. It's not just about needing a bigger pair of jeans – it’s about a laundry list of health issues that accompany obesity. Indulging in that third serving of cheesy fries might be satisfying in the moment but your arteries will suffer in the long run. So, what are some practical ways of battling the bulge?

  • Park far enough from the front door to get a brisk walk in

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator

  • Put on your dancing shoes and dance like nobody's watching

  • Add a splash of raw organic apple cider vinegar with the mother to your water

  • Embrace broccoli not the sofa

  • Say goodbye to sugary sodas and hello to the refreshing elixir of life – water

  • Practice squeezing into your old jeans every other day (Sounds strange, but when you’re finally able to fit those old jeans, it will be exhilarating!)

By consistently nurturing and moving your body the day will come when you can zip those jeans up without a hitch, and snap the waistband closed. Hear that snap? That’s the sound of your success…the sound of “You did it!” That’s the sound of “There was never a doubt you could do it!” Who knew shedding pounds could be this simple and as much fun as getting your groove on? Tackling obesity takes determination, a pinch of discipline, and a dash of humor to lighten the load. Just remember, your body is designed to serve you well. Be kind to your body. It’s the only one you’ve got.

Other Daily Routine Considerations:

Below are five effective things recommended by various health and nutrition experts to incorporate into your daily life to promote a healthier lifestyle and weight loss.

  • Mindful Eating: Slow down and savor your meals. Pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Avoid eating in front of screens, as it can lead to overeating. Mindful eating allows you to enjoy your food more, prevent overconsumption, and make healthier food choices.

  • Balanced Meals: Aim for balanced meals that include lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. This combination provides essential nutrients, helps you feel full, and stabilizes blood sugar levels, thus reducing cravings.

  • Portion Control: Practice portion control by using smaller plates and bowls. This simple trick can help you eat less without feeling deprived. Remember, it is about enjoying everything in moderation and not about denying yourself.

  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Sometimes our bodies confuse thirst with hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking. Having a glass of water before meals can also help control your appetite and prevent overeating.

  • Regular Physical Activity: Incorporate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise into your daily routine. It could be brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or even dancing. Find an activity you enjoy so it does not feel like a chore. Bonus tip: If you are able, try walking short distances instead of driving.

These changes don't need to happen overnight. By gradually incorporating them into your daily routine, a healthier lifestyle and sustainable weight loss are possible. Be sure to celebrate the small victories – inches lost, pounds shed, a more energized body... And if you mess up, remember that life is a journey, and climb back into the saddle.◼

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