OVERVIEW: THE MASS EPIDEMIC OF OBESITY
To say you are obese means you have too much body fat for your own good. The degree of fat can lead to having diabetes, various forms of cardiovascular disease, and sleep apnea. This makes it important to lose weight and otherwise change lifestyle habits to accomplish that. This requires commitment and a plan.
You can determine if you are obese by using what is called the body mass index, or BMI. The BMI is a combination of your height and weight. A BMI of 30 or higher puts your health at risk. If you are Asian, the BMI threshold is 27.5 or higher.
Where you carry your body fat is also important. People who carry too much fat around the middle, rather than around the hips, are more likely to have health problems. In women, a waist size of 35 in. (88 cm) or more raises the chance for disease; in men, 40 in. (101 cm) or more . In Asian women, a waist size of 32 in. (80 cm) or more raises the chance for disease; in Asian men, 36 in. (90 cm) or more.
CAUSE FOR OBESITY
The immediate and superficial cause for obesity is the one most commonly cited. It puts the blame on you. Essentially when you take in more calories than you burn, you gain fat! That’s pretty simple to fathom. Therefore how active you decide to be and how much and what you eat will affect how you use calories to gain weight.
If your family members are obese, you may have inherited tendencies as your family helps form eating and lifestyle habits. This puts the blame on your genes.
Also, our busy lives make it harder to plan and cook healthy meals. For many of us, it’s easier to reach for prepared fast foods – often high in fat and calories. Portions may be excessive. Work schedules, long commutes, and other commitments also cut into the time we have for physical activity. This puts the blame on your life circumstances.
Ultimately we are told there is no quick fix to being overweight. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in. All of the above is not entirely true. For hundreds of years people were the were they were without an epidemic of obesity. What’s changed?
Since the middle of the 20th century, we have developed a highly commercial culture that has been buttressed by new powerful media such as TV advertising. It has sold us on ways of eating that are highly processed, appetite stimulating and addictive. To break out of these patterns means that we need to go up against highly powerful influences in our culture – Big Food and Big Pharma who won’t give us a straight story. They will blame us for the epidemic of obesity.
Here is the conventional advice to overcome obesity. Focus on overall lifestyle changes, not just diet changes alone, that will improve your health – to burn more calories than you take in on an ongoing basis.
Plan & Commit - It is hard to change such habits. You have to be psychologically committed to a plan Are you ready to do so and stay with it? Have you gathered the support of your family, friends and advisors? Do you know what first steps to take? So it is recommended to do the following:
Small changes - Start with small lifestyle changes you can manage to give yourself a feeling of success. Most people have such success when they first make small changes, one tiny step at a time. For example, you might just eat one extra piece of fruit, walk just 10 minutes more, or add a little more vegetables to your meals.
Note Book & Calorie Counter – Studies show that people who keep written track of whatever they eat are more successful at losing weight. In the notebook write down everything you eat and drink each day. You may be surprised to see how much you are eating. Use a calorie counter to add up your calories.
Track Calories - As you keep track of calories, look at whether you skip meals or do meal replacements. Keep track of when and where you eat, what and how often you eat, and how many fruits and vegetables are included. This will help you see patterns that need to be addressed.
Track Physical Activity - Next write down the amount of physical activity you’ve had each day and compare the calories you burned to those you took in.
The truth is that going on weight loosing diets and making such minor changes tends to fail in most instances. See thus our prescription for the obesity epidemic.