Let’s face it. America has an obesity problem and we know it. Many of the rising healthcare costs can be attributed to the fact that, over all, the nation is obese. Every where you look, there is always some new exercise equipment, weight loss program or diet. Liposuction is the number one cosmetic surgery procedure done in America, with tummy tucks being number four! Though liposuction and tummy tucks do a lot for self -esteem and appearance, it does very little to benefit you from a health standpoint. This is especially true if you have not altered the behavior that caused you to consider such procedures. Do we need to take such drastic measures to combat obesity? The answer, of course, is “no”.
Discipline and restraint are the operative words of the day. What is needed is a change in attitude and conditioning. This is not a “one size fits all” solution but it is a “one size fits most” solution. Suffice it to say, there are those among us whose mass has more to do with physiological make up and medical issues such as thyroid problems. However, for most of us, this is not the case.
One of the things that we do not realize is that eating too much is the same as drinking too much alcohol. Certain alcohol, such as red wine, in moderation actually has a health benefit. Nevertheless, these same beverages can wreak havoc on the body when taken in excess over a sustained period of time. This is also the case with over indulging in the consumption of food.
Most of us need not go on some crash diet. We need only make minor lifestyle adjustments. These changes should include:
1. Drink water. Dehydration intensifies hunger. The body’s chemical make up is around 75% water. As a result, maintaining an appropriate level of hydration is very beneficial to both your health and diet.
2. Consume smaller portions. It is better to eat six small meals than 3 large ones. This is due to the fact that these smaller meals will condition the digestive system to work on a more frequent basis which, in turn, will increase your metabolism.
3. When you BEGIN to feel full, STOP EATING! Yes, we have heard all of our lives that we should clean our plates. However, if our eyes overestimated our appetite, “cleaning your plate” is not the best option. Cleaning your plate would be comparable to getting a buzz while drinking and continuing to drink. In short, eat and drink responsibly. Either save the rest for later or throw it away.
4. Be cognizant of snack choices. Fruits and snacks that are high in fiber and protein are preferable to snacks that are high in sugar and fat.
5. Exercise. Strenuous exercise speeds up the metabolism for about 36- 48 hours. You do not need a membership at a gym to get a good work out. Walking, jogging, jump rope, burpees, air squats, pushups, pull-ups/chin-ups, crunches and dips can all be done without the aid of fancy gym equipment. In addition, these exercises hit every major muscle group and provide cardio options as well. You just need to provide the discipline and will power.
6. Have a cheat day. Since you have worked diligently to be discipline and restrained in the pursuit of better health, reward yourself. Set aside one day, and only ONE day, out of the week to binge. Eat however much of whatever it is you crave.
As you can see, these are very simple steps to altering your life and health for the better. As always with exercise, you may want to consult a physician before you start. However, with this common sense approach, over time you will notice a change in how you look and feel.