Obesity is an underlying factor for a number of lifestyle conditions and chronic diseases that can be life-altering or even life-threatening. Failure to address the problems of obesity could leave your loved ones without you. But it’s not too late to make a change. The key to fighting and reducing obesity is to maintain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI), which in turn dramatically lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes and strokes.
Sometimes, though, maintaining a healthy BMI is easier said than done. Living well takes time and effort, and often, people feel overwhelmed and aren’t quite sure where to start. So here are some practical ways of preventing obesity, brought to you by the healthy living experts at StayFIT Systems.
Find an Enjoyable Workout Routine
Unsurprisingly, scientific evidence proves that exercising regularly is a sure way to lose excess weight or maintain a healthy weight. Experts recommend at least 300 minutes of exercise every week to be able to lose weight. Research has also shown that integrating cardio and resistance-training exercises promotes faster weight loss.
As you might imagine, there are a wide variety of exercises you can choose from. The key to a successful workout routine is to incorporate exercise that you enjoy and choose an option that works well for you. For instance, you could sign up at a local gym or create a home gym.
If you choose the latter, you could even make space in your backyard for an outdoor gym — just search Angi for “yard leveling near me” to get started, add some mulch, gravel or concrete, then install some fitness stations so that you can get a workout and fresh air at the same time. Being in the great outdoors offers benefits of its own, so it’s a multi-pronged approach to improving your health.
Get Plenty of Rest
Studies indicate lack of enough sleep promotes hedonic brain stimulus that results in increased appetite. Lack of sleep also increases cortisol levels and reduces leptin levels, which lead to increased appetite, therefore, hindering the efficacy of dietary interventions in obesity management. Aim for eight hours of sleep daily.
Eat a Healthy Balanced Diet and Create a Calorie Deficit
One of the major factors contributing to the increased prevalence of obesity in the world is high consumption of fast foods. That’s because fast foods contain high amounts of sugars, salts, refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. They are calorically dense, and as a result, many people end up exceeding their daily recommended calorie intake without even realizing it.
While many factors lead to weight gain and obesity, caloric surplus is a core factor. Simply put, a caloric surplus results when your calorie consumption is higher than your calorie expended. Therefore, creating a calorie deficit is one of the strategies of preventing obesity.
Adapting to a healthy nutrient-dense diet is the key to managing obesity. Replace the fast foods with nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. Substitute highly processed carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and legumes. Use cooking methods such as boiling, baking and grilling in place of deep-frying, which adds more calories and unhealthy fats in your food. Go for lean meats that are rich in proteins and low in saturated fats.
Consume adequate amounts of water. Water plays multiple roles in maintaining a healthy body. That comes as no surprise, since water comprises up to 70 percent of body cells and is a vital component in the transportation of nutrients in the body, and also acts as an appetite suppressant.
Don’t Try to Change Overnight
While it’s important to push yourself to succeed, it’s also crucial that you remember that when it comes to wellness, you and your body are on the same side. So be kind to yourself. Give yourself simple, realistic goals and follow through to the best of your ability. Push yourself to improve but don’t expect yourself to be perfect.
Another vital component of healthy living is recognizing that it doesn’t just happen in the kitchen. There are plenty of other things that you can do that will help put you in the right mindset to improve yourself. Try to let go of anger and old arguments. Leave as much of your stress as possible at work, instead of taking it home with you. That’s a challenge, of course, but do your best. And be patient with your loved ones (not to mention strangers).
Also, avoid other dangerous or unhealthy behaviors. That means things like texting while driving (your phone can provide GPS guidance and music, but otherwise, hands-off), and don’t drink in excess. You’ll quickly find that all of your positive actions work in unison to make healthier living a little easier.
Address Mental Health Disorders
Mental disorders such as bipolar, depression and anxiety disorders — not to mention everyday stress — have been linked to increased risk for obesity, according to Clinical Advisor. For instance, people with depression record significantly low levels of serotonin hormone, which regulates appetite. If you have any mental illness, seek professional intervention for it, as it may be contributing to your weight gain or hindering your efforts to lose weight. Also, in addition to counseling and medication, do your best to practice mindfulness — that is, be present in the moment, and as previously mentioned, do your best to let go of the day to day stresses that can weigh us down and exacerbate the already significant impact of mental health disorders.
While obesity is multifactorial, taking the above wellness-focused actions will play a significant role in preventing or managing it. Combining exercise, nutrition and addressing mental health issues are steps forward toward a healthy and fulfilling life. So are doing your best to make sure you’re living well both in and outside of the kitchen. Last but not least, be patient with yourself; give yourself time to change.
Article by Penny Martin