Being overweight or obese has many adverse effects on a person’s health. People struggling with a high body fat percentage are more at risk for conditions including heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, infertility, and depression among other diseases and complications. Furthermore, obese men and women have a more difficult time receiving proper care because of their weight. 67 percent of overweight people report being shamed or bullied in the doctor's office. And if you think those numbers are conflated by perceptions created in their head, not that 50 percent of doctors reported overweight patients are "awkward, ugly, weak-willed and unlikely to comply with treatment" while 24 percent of nurses said they were repulsed by their obese patients.
Fortunately, losing weight can significantly reduce these risks and improve the overall quality of life. Unfortunately, losing weight can be an arduous and time-consuming process. There isn’t just one thing a person can do to start losing weight. It involves a complete overhaul and lifestyle change. These changes may be difficult at first, but eventually they become enjoyable and eventually they turn into second nature.
A Healthy Diet
The food we eat is a huge contributor to body weight. In the United States, the average person’s diet is full of excess salt, saturated fat, and sugar and do line fall in line with recommended dietary guidelines. To curate a better diet, try the following.
- Avoid sugars and starches. These foods stimulate insulin production in the body which makes your body hold onto fat.
- Eat plenty of protein, but try and avoid excess saturated fats and instead opt for lean cuts. High protein diets fill you up and reduce obsessive thoughts about food.
- Eat as many vegetables low in carbohydrates as you want. These veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, bell peppers, mushrooms, and more.
- Incorporate healthy fats like coconut, olive, and avocado oil into your diet.
- Don’t drink your calories. Opt for water and cut out sugary drinks like juice and soda.
- The caffeine in coffee and tea can boost your metabolism, but don’t put sugar or milk in them if you want to lose weight.
- Cook more! Eating processed or restaurant foods contributes excess salt, fat, and sugar into your diet. Cooking gives you the control you need to eat healthy.
All the conveniences of the modern world have lead to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. However, a lack of physical activity leads to higher risks of cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, and cancer. If you want to be more active, it’s important to find exercise you actually enjoy. You don’t have to run a marathon-- try walking or jogging with your dog every evening after dinner to start. You could also take a trek to a nearby dog park to give you both some exercise in an open, dog-friendly space. Refer to a site like Rover.com to find the nearest location - a quick sampling shows you dog parks are in most cities: Indianapolis, Albuquerque, Saint Paul, Miami, San Jose, Portland, Knoxville, Madison, Calgary, and Raleigh. Remember, just 30 minutes of cardio exercise five times a week can significantly improve your overall health and if Fido is alongside, you have a built-in workout buddy to keep you motivated.
In addition to cardio, you should also begin incorporating strength training into your routine. Strength training helps your body in many ways including increasing bone density, managing chronic disease, and boosting both energy and mood. Furthermore, the muscle you build with strength training burns more calories throughout the day even when you are at rest. With strength training in your arsenal, you’ll meet your weight loss goals in a shorter amount of time.
Other Tips for Weight Loss
- Get plenty of sleep every night. Doctors recommend at least seven and up to nine hours of rest. People who sleep enough have better control over their diets, exercise more and better, and generally lose more weight.
- Address your struggles with stress, anxiety, or mental illness. Nothing can knock you off your routine quite like a depressive episode. Talk to your doctor about your struggles with mental illness and consider talk therapy with a psychologist.
- Have a friend join your in your fitness and weight loss goals. Together you can encourage, inspire, and hold each other accountable for your actions.
Obesity poses several risks to a person’s overall health. While losing weight is time consuming and difficult, it can be done with lifestyle changes that eventually become enjoyable. Change your eating habits by cooking more and using healthy ingredients. Add gentle cardio and strength training into your daily schedule. Finally, sleeping well, taking care of your mental health, and having a friend join you are all extra variable that can contribute towards meeting your weight loss goals.
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