The national obesity problem affects all generations—20 percent of adolescents and 40 percent of adult Americans are obese. In most cases, obesity starts with genetics and is exacerbated by poor diet, little or no exercise, and poor sleep habits. We can tackle obesity, but it won’t happen overnight. Obesity isn’t just about your weight. It’s the foundation for your overall health. Obesity can lead to disease, a shorter lifespan, higher healthcare premiums, and is even linked to mental health disorders.
A healthy body needs exercise and a balanced diet, which can be difficult—but not impossible—to maintain in today’s hectic world. At Bariatric Centers of America, we are dedicated to helping people tackle obesity in order to live a better life. Here, we offer some simple, natural ways you can take small steps to tackle obesity and improve your health.
1. Get Physical
There are many benefits to living an active lifestyle. Activity gives us purpose, makes us feel good, and burns excess calories. But exercise is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some people despise going to the gym, while others need a structured setting to feel motivated.
Experts suggest starting small by identifying fun exercises and activities that grab your interest. Once your personal workout preferences are determined, work on turning them into a habit that leads to other lifestyle changes.
For instance, exercise may encourage you to drink more water, smoke fewer cigarettes and strive for more fitness goals. If it’s in your budget, consider working with an exercise wellness consultant. This professional will be able to customize workouts that can help you reach your health goals. And as time goes on, they can also revisit your workouts and adjust them for new goals.
2. Eat for Life
Gradual change isn’t just a good strategy for forming an exercise habit; it can also be applied to a healthy diet. While fad diets often create quick results, they also often ultimately fail. That’s because they frequently require us to make sudden, drastic changes, which are often unsustainable.
One way to make healthy eating stick is to change your relationship with food. This includes how we purchase, prepare and eat our meals. Skip the fast food line by taking the time to prepare healthy meals before your week starts. That way, when you are in a rush, you have grab-and-go fresh foods to choose from.
Meal prep is a healthy approach to preparing bulk foods. You take time on the weekend to spend a few hours cooking and storing meals for the week. Make it fun by exploring exotic cuisines, building meals around themes or getting together with friends to cook and prep.
3. Prioritize Happiness
For many of us, food is a source of comfort. Food can feel like a companion when we are alone, depressed or isolated. That’s why having a plan in place to address mental health issues is critical in the fight against obesity.
Try to stay social; when you want to turn to food for comfort, turn instead to a friend. Whether you meet up for a walk or talk on the phone, spend your time with someone who brings positivity into your life. If you are using food to fill a void or emptiness, talk with someone to help you understand what you are really missing in your life. That person can be a friend, a doctor, your pastor or a mental health professional. There are also lots of books on the topic; check out a few at your local library to see if any of their solutions resonate with you.
Art therapy is another great way to express your emotions and divert your attention from unhealthy comfort food. There are many different options to explore, such as painting, textiles, pottery, and photography. Not only does art therapy provide an outlet that helps you avoid emotional eating, but it could spark a whole new chapter in your life.
Making changes for your health is the most effective weapon against obesity, but it takes more time than crash dieting or workout fads. It may seem hard at first, but after a few weeks, you’ll start to see the physical and mental health benefits of these healthy habits. Get active, plan your meals accordingly, and find healthier forms of comfort. With these simple changes, you’ll already be well on your way to overcoming obesity.
If you’re considering bariatric surgery or medical weight loss, Bariatric Centers of America is here to help you on your weight-loss journey. We use science-based practices to help our patients achieve optimal lifestyle changes. Reach out today to see how you can begin your journey to lifelong health and happiness.