Obesity & Weight Loss
In America, bigger is better. Pool
table-sized flat-screen TVs show reality programs with larger-than-life
personalities living in McMansions, and we watch while mindlessly eating our
super-sized meals and diving into a gallon of cookie dough ice cream. According
to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 70 percent of U.S.
adults are either overweight or obese.
When it comes to weight, bigger is
decidedly not better.
The Obesity “Epidemic”
Being overweight or obese has
dangerous, and often deadly, consequences. These include high blood pressure,
type 2 diabetes, joint pain, cancer, heart disease, and reduced life
expectancy. And it’s not just adults. According to the CDC,
nearly 20 percent of American children are obese, and the numbers are worse in
African-American and Hispanic communities.
As our waistlines grow larger, so
too does our diet and weight loss industry. The Internet, TV, and magazines
bombard us with ads for weight loss supplements, diet plans, and surgeries. Store
shelves burst with all things fat free, low carb, and reduced calorie. At any
given time, it seems, the majority of Americans are trying to lose weight,
trying to maintain weight loss, or at least thinking about a diet or weight
loss plan. According to the American
Heart Association, 154.7 million Americans are
overweight or obese.
The truth is that there’s no magic
pill, diet, or exercise that will take off the weight. What matters is calories in and calories out.
You will lose weight if you reduce your intake of calories below what calories
you expend during the day through activity. You can do it via smart dietary changes
and portion control.
Exercise is one way to increase
calorie expenditure and is also an important component in the overall path to
weight loss. In the process, you’ll find your health will improve. Problems like
joint pain and depression may even disappear. Everyday activities like playing
with your kids, taking the stairs at work, or simply walking around the block
will become easier and far more enjoyable.
Weight loss comes through a determined
effort of portion control versus activity. No fad diet or supplement can take
the place of a sound and balanced weight loss plan. While these methods may
provide quick results, they come with side effects and often unsustainable
Healthy weight loss is sustainable
weight loss. According to the Mayo Clinic,
losing 1 to 2 pounds each week is the right pace for dieters to strive for.
This involves lifestyle changes like:
- eating less fast food
- reducing portion sizes
- exercising several times a week
- eating plenty of fresh fruits and
- including whole grains for fiber
- staying hydrated with water and
reducing or eliminating consumption of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
Through reasonable goal setting and
a steady, focused pursuit toward health, we can begin to slow or even stop the
climbing rates of obesity in this country. But this begins with individuals
making meaningful changes in their own lives.