Obesity is an epidemic that is quickly sweeping our nation. According to the American Obesity Association, obesity is defined as “a complex, multi-factorial chronic disease involving environmental (social and cultural), genetic, physiologic, metabolic, behavioral and psychological components.” Approximately 127 million Americans are overweight; with 60 million obese and 9 million severely obese. This frightening, yet true, statistic is “the 2nd leading cause of preventable death in the United States.”
While obesity rates continue to sky rocket, what are we doing to change this pattern of behavior? Why does obesity continue to be one of the most neglected heath issues, not only in our society, but amongst ourselves? Obesity leads to numerous health problems such as: type II diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, infertility, low back pain, gallbladder disease, gout, and an increased risk for certain types of cancer. And if that doesn’t alarm you enough, being overweight can take 4 years off your life expectancy, while being obese can take off 8 years.
Now before you panic and buy into the latest fad diet…”Lose 10 pounds in 10 days” or “One pill a day will curb your hunger”…remember that weight loss done right is a gradual process. These popular “quick fix” headlines are not only misleading, but can be discouraging. Dumping 10 or 20 years of bad health habits isn’t easy, but you CAN do it! Fitness isn’t just something you will obtain…it’s a life style change!
If you are ready to start your new healthy life style here are the 5 steps you can take…No gimmicks or false promises, just your commitment and determination needed.
1) Focus on nutrition: Even if you do nothing else getting your nutrition on point will help you to lose weight. 70% of weight loss success is nutrition. You want to eat balanced, and you want to eat often. You should be eating 4-5 small meals a day, or every 3-4 hours.
2) Get regular cardiovascular exercise: Start burning calories by going for a walk, or doing jumping jacks during the commercial breaks of your favorite show. What ever it is you do, the point is to get moving! The key to weight loss is to burn more calories than you eat. For weight loss purposes 4-5 days of cardio training is recommended
3) Hydrate: It is recommended to drink 96 fl oz of water per day, however for every 5 lbs you are over your ideal weight you should drink an extra 8 ounces.
4) Start a resistance training routine: Resistance training, or more commonly referred to as weight lifting, is another key component to weight loss. While most people shy away from this part of the weight loss process, keep in mind that muscle burns 3 times as many more calories as fat. The more muscle you put on the more calories you can eat…good calories of course. If you are just starting out, doing a total body resistance routine twice a week is recommended.
5) Ask for help: As humbling as it may be to admit you need to make a change, sometimes the biggest key to weight loss success is accountability. Whether it be in the form of a friend, a spouse, or a personal trainer make sure you have a support system in place.