How to Prevent Obesity
Aren’t we all trying to lose a little weight or improve our figure? Life has a way of literally weighing us down over time. Especially when we live in the developed Western world where processed and fast foods reign. In the United States most, seriously most, of us are overweight. There is something about our lifestyle that leads to obesity.
According to the National Institute of Health:
- 2/3 of us are overweight or obese
- 1/3 are obese
- 5% of Americans are considered “Extremely Obese”
- 1/6 children are considered obese
At this point, in our world, we’re facing an epidemic of obesity. Maintaining a healthy and normal weight takes an active effort. For these reasons, it is especially important for us to focus on preventing obesity before it has a chance to get us. If we don’t take the time now to learn more about obesity prevention, we should expect those numbers to keep rising.
Understanding Obesity: What Does it Mean?
The way that we define obesity today is by using the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a system of estimating how much body fat someone is carrying in relation to bone, muscles, and other tissues. You can calculate your own BMI with these steps:
1. Convert your weight in pounds to kilograms by multiplying by .45
__ lb. x .45= __ Kg
2. Convert your height from inches to meters by multiplying by .025
__ Inches x .025= __ meters
3. Square your height in meters
__ meters x __ meters
4. Divide your weight in Kg by your height squared to get to your BMI value
__ Kg ÷ __ meters² = BMI
If math isn’t your thing, you can enter your height and weight into this online tool provided by the Center for Disease Control.
Obesity Prevention Tip: Check in on your weight and BMI frequently. Those who are the most aware of their weight changes over time are the most successful with their weight goals. By checking in every week or so, you can learn more about what behaviors cause gains or losses. Perhaps you’ll notice that every time you visit your mother and eat all those home cooked comfort foods you gain a pound or two. This knowledge, though kind of sad, will help you to remember your healthy eating goals next time you visit mom.
Compare your results to the chart to see where you stand.
BMI < 18.5 is underweight | 18.5 to 24.9 is healthy | 25 to 29.9 is overweight
30 to 34.9 is obese | over 35 is extreme obesity
The cause of obesity is a simple energy imbalance. There is an excessive intake of energy, in the form of calories, combined with an inadequate expenditure of energy through exercise. In other words, we have more energy coming in than we have going out. This sounds simple enough, yet many of us still continue to struggle with our weight.
What obesity boils down to, in most cases, is a behavioral problem. We over-eat for many reasons and skip out on exercise for many more reasons. Pay attention to your eating habits, where do those extra calories sneak in? Do you know what makes you over-eat? These questions are not always very easy to answer. Eating is very habitual and it’s tied to our deeply rooted emotions, which makes our eating difficult to analyze. Sometimes we need help identifying the reasons we over-eat. I’ve collected a few examples of over-eating behaviors; perhaps you will relate to one of them.
This is when we use food as our emotional safety blanket. At some point, food became a source of comfort that we go to whenever a bad emotion pops up. As times get harder, we tend to see our weight go up. Eating is an emotional escape from persistent problems. To change this pattern, we will need to find new coping methods and address what’s going on inside.
Another feature of emotional eating is the habit of eating to celebrate. This is tricky because celebratory meals and desserts are so deeply ingrained in our culture. Birthday cakes, graduation dinners, restaurant dates… it can seem impossible to celebrate and still meet your goals. To address this facet of emotional eating, you will have to get more comfortable with portion control and finding new ways to celebrate.
You might not always notice that you’re over-eating. Over time, eating has sneakily turned into a bad habit you can’t kick. Perhaps, you often find yourself grabbing a snack multiple times a day or looking down to see that you’ve eaten way more food than you intended. Habitual eaters tend to eat even when they’re not hungry, rather just because. This type of eating means you will have to focus on breaking those sneaky habits, which can be quite difficult.
Food commercials are your weakness. As soon as you see something delicious, you end up eating it. This is exactly why advertising works. Seeing the delicious food, makes us want to go by it. Everyone can experience this to a degree, but it is especially hard for you to resist those cravings. Focus on avoiding triggers like commercial breaks or the route that takes you past the fast food joint you love. Be aware of your sensitivity to ads, it will help you remember your goals.
Black & White Eating:
In this situation, you’re either good (eating healthy foods), or bad (pigging out). The way that you think about food is black and white, all or nothing. There are periods where you consistently adhere to your eating plans. However, there are times you “just quit” and abandon your goals for a while to eat a bunch of junk. Years go by, and these episodes leave you heavier and heavier. Focus on relaxing your diet rules and making your goals more achievable. Come up with a plan that feels more doable, so you are less likely to give up.
Quite simply, you just love and adore food. Deliciousness just calls out your name, and you can’t resist. Unfortunately, your beloved recipes take a toll on those plans to lose or maintain weight. Focus on portion control so you can still enjoy this passion of yours while still respecting your goals.
Obesity has turned into an epidemic because we are all vulnerable to weight gain in today’s world. Many of us are struggling, even if we don’t mention it. Please reach out to us at Breath Life Healing Centers if your weight seems impossible to control.