There are over 180 million Americans who are overweight and almost 90 million of them are severely overweight, or obese. That means 30% of adults in the United States are so overweight that they are at an increased risk for at least 30 medical conditions, some deadly, including heart disease, cancer of the breast, colon, uterus and esophagus, hypertension, glaucoma, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. And there’s a significant chance that any random American citizen reading this article also wishes they could shed a few pounds.
Obesity has recently been dubbed a serious, chronic medical condition by the medical and scientific community. Only in the past few decades have experts taken notice of the problem, but that’s not because it isn’t a legitimate problem. It’s simply a matter of it being new to them! Over the last twenty years, obesity rates in America have doubled. (For children and adolescents, rates of being overweight have tripled!)
And if you are obese (i.e., you have a body mass index that exceeds 30), you are not alone. And you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed about it. While obesity is a problem, there is plenty of treatment available and your genes may figure into why you struggle with weight.
The key is determine why it is you have a weight problem in the first place and then to take the necessary steps to ridding yourself of those unhealthy, life-threatening pounds. Being just overweight may not be an issue for you, and in some cases it ought not be, but if you are severely overweight, it’s time to wake up and make life changes that will increase the quality and not to mention, length, of your life.
But how can you do this? Unfortunately, thanks to messages sent out from magazines and television, you may feel very depressed about your self-image – as underweight supermodels typically resemble beauty in the American media – and instead of these messages encouraging you to get outdoors and exercise and eat healthy, you probably just find yourself answering more cravings for unhealthy food. This is because a height of five feet and eleven inches, accompanied with a weight of 117 pounds (these are the average dimensions of a female model) is a completely unrealistic body type for most people. And when faced with such an impossible ideal of beauty, one can only feel overwhelmed and ultimately discouraged, retreating to food for comfort.
One gains weight by simply consuming more calories than he or she burns. But if you work at an office job, have kids to take care of, and are constantly dealing with a social stigma about your weight, it can be enormously challenging to find time to be physically active and to cook healthy meals. Similarly, you may be unaware that you suffer from problems like food addiction and thus you may feel you don’t know how to get the will power to make even the smallest lifestyle changes.
But there is help. Whether you are dangerously obese and need prescription diet pills and/or surgery or you are only mildly overweight and you need guidance over what to eat and how to exercise, there are so many resources. And you can access almost all of them over the World Wide Web. In the 1980’s, it would’ve been very difficult to find help for obesity. But today, even though there is progress to be made and most health insurance providers don’t cover obesity treatment, it’s a lot easier.
But what are some specific options for you if you are struggling with obesity? Well, first know that if you simply decrease your body fat by a mere 10%, you can be on the road to a healthier lifestyle and reduce your risk for a bunch of health complications that previously haunted you. So don’t panic and overexert yourself at the gym or go on a starvation diet. Instead, aim to lose a half to two pounds a week.
And if engaging in a strict work out schedule is intimidating, why not just incorporate physical activity into your daily routine? For example, pick up a new hobby like gardening. And of course – watch what you eat! Or, rather, what how many calories you consume.
All of this may seem like common sense and yet it still may be too elusive for you. Maybe you find that no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to avoid eating that extra slice of cake or you just can’t get motivated to go for a walk around the park after supper.
That’s okay. The United States Department of Health and Human Services has lots of resources for you on the national level, but your state and local community likely has counseling services too, that can get you into shape fast. Sometimes just having a game plan and a little accountability about how much you exercise and how much you eat can make all the difference. And some of that conventional wisdom like “don’t eat if you’re full” will suddenly ring true if you have an expert giving it to you.
However, if you are indeed struggling with a food addiction you can’t seem to control, there are even more intensive treatments that may come in the form of a diet pill or even surgery. Just make sure to properly research these treatment options, as it’s always advisable to lose weight naturally.
Truthfully, it’s not all that difficult to lose weight. What’s really challenging is to maintain that weight loss – that’s why joining a weight loss program that will keep you committed to a healthy diet of exercise and food can be very beneficial.
For those with severe obesity, there are many surgeries available. They include the popular gastric bypass surgery. Sit down and have a long talk with your doctor if you are considering surgery – the risks and side effects may not be worth the weight loss, especially if you can achieve that same weight loss through mere diet and exercise.
If you are suffering from obesity, don’t let it get the best of you. It is a complicated problem, not one that you are overreacting to by being concerned. Luckily, there are many ways out and you don’t have to go through the process alone.