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The basic human condition is that we come into the world crying, develop diseases over time and then die.
That might sounds depressing, but it doesn’t have to be.
Along the way we make many lifestyle choices… and depending on those choices we can beat the disease odds and foster good health — all with the goal of wellness and a longer life in mind.
If those choices aren’t so good, well, you know how that ends…
While many things people do can create better health, there is one thing that, above others, elevates risk of disease and early death: being overweight and obesity.
In fact, studies show that losing a few pounds has positive effects on disease prevention and better quality of life…
Overweight and obese: A distinction
We often think of being overweight as a stepping stone for obesity; but it is not. Being overweight and being obese are measured differently, which may surprise you. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
Overweight refers to an excess amount of body weight that may come from muscles, bone, fat, and water.
Obesity refers to an excess amount of body fat.
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010 about overweight and obesity provides these numbers:
- More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese.
- More than 1 in 3 adults are considered to be obese.
- More than 1 in 20 adults are considered to have extreme obesity.
- About one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese.
- More than 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be obese.
In other words…
More than 130 million Americans are overweight. That’s nearly 42% of the U.S. population and more than double the entire population of France.
Even worse, 40 million Americans are clinically obese or “seriously” overweight. That’s almost double the entire population of Australia. Three million Americans suffer from life-threatening obesity, otherwise known as morbid obesity. That’s 60 times the number of soldiers who died in Vietnam.
Obesity is a life-threatening epidemic. Today’s fast food restaurants, processed foods and soft drinks, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, lack of sleep and chronic elevated levels of stress have contributed to American’s abundance of body fat. According to former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, “overweight and obesity may soon cause as much preventable disease and death as cigarette smoking.”
Please note that he said “preventable disease and death.” Obesity is not a disease; it is a self-induced health problem that causes disease and death. And because is it self-induced, it is reversible, preventable and, therefore, curable.
Here are some of the causes of obesity:
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Hormonal Imbalance
Create a lifestyle that chooses wellness first
Our lifestyle choices play the major role in obesity. You see, how much we choose to eat, when we choose to eat, what we choose to eat, how much exercise we choose to engage in or we choose to avoid… often determine how much weight we gain, carry and maintain.
With this in mind, here are some tips you can follow to shed some weight, or maintain a healthy weight, to help prevent disease and early death:
- Find ways to reduce stress at home at work, including: meditation, yoga, quiet walks, painting, reading or any activity that increases joy.
- Engage in some form of cardiovascular exercises for at least 20 minutes a day, 4 days per week. Fun options include jumping on a rebounder, aerobic exercise, bike riding, Zumba, martial arts, swimming.
- Develop muscle strength and endurance through weight training, yoga, Pilates, hiking, bodyweight exercises and even tai chi.
- Drink more water. You need to consume two quarts (a half-gallon) of clean, fresh water every day for weight loss and optimal health. Iced teas, sodas, beer and so on do not count toward this quantity!
- Where diet is concerned, the answer to what NOT to eat should be obvious by now. However, there are foods you shouldeat more of that not only make you healthier and livelier, but also assist in weight loss.
- Cooked green leafy vegetables are nutritionally dense and also help restore an alkaline body. They are high in iron and fiber (which helps weight loss), so they help strengthen the blood and eliminate toxins through the bowels.
- Cherries, grapes, raspberries and beets are all good sources of vitamins and minerals, and don’t spike blood sugar levels.
- Ginger is a great in tea and food as it aids digestive function and is also a diaphoretic, which means it induces sweating and breaks up phlegm and mucus.
- Garlic is also great, as it works on the stomach, blood and small and large intestines and strengthens the immune system.
- Eliminate weight-gain foods like sugar, dairy, fatty and processed foods.
Editor’s note: For more tips on maintaining a healthy weight without extreme diets, dangerous pills or brutal workouts, check out Dr. Michael Cutler’s guide, The Part-Time Health Nut.