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Wellness-Focused Actions to Fight Obesity

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What is Obesity?

“Obesity” is a medical term thrown around fast and loose nowadays. We hear that Americans are obese, our children are obese... even our pets are obese! It’s certainly a word that garners clicks to websites, but do you know what it really means to be obese?

According to the Obesity Action Coalition, obesity is “a condition that is associated with having an excess of body fat, defined by genetic and environmental factors that are difficult to control when dieting.” People with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater are considered medically obese. However, while BMI is a quick and easy way we can measure body fat, it is really not a good indicator of health. Just as having an appropriate BMI doesn’t make a person healthy, having a high BMI does not make a person unhealthy. For instance, using BMI calculations, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is technically obese. To be more accurate, doctors also use a person’s waist circumference when determining obesity as belly fat is a good indicator of disease risk.

Obesity and Illness

Obesity and high body fat percentage put a person at risk for:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Several kinds of cancer
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Depression
  • Infertility
  • Respiratory disease including asthma and obstructive sleep apnea
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Exercise & Working Out

Exercise helps reduce disease risk, lowers body fat, builds muscle, and improves overall mood and brain function. The key to exercise is making it effortless. Once you find a workout you like that is also easily accessible, it becomes an enjoyable part of your day, rather than a chore to complete.

For a lot of people, the idea of going to a gym and working out in front of a bunch of strangers is their number one deterrent. Buying simple gym equipment for the home rather than investing in a membership helps reduce gym-going anxiety and removes that excuse altogether. Ideally, you can dedicate an entire room or the garage to your home gym. However, as long as there is proper ventilation and plenty of light, you can set your stuff up just anywhere. Make sure to buy equipment that meets all your needs-- an elliptical or treadmill is enough for your cardio work, but you also need things like weights, a balance ball, and resistance bands to work on your strength, core balance, and flexibility.

Sleep

You may not think lying down in bed is conducive to weight loss, but think again. Getting enough sleep is paramount for both fitness and overall wellness. The body needs that time to recharge and re-calibrate in order to function at its highest during the day. Adults need to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you find yourself tossing and turning unable to reach that quota, try these tips for getting more sleep as help.

Healthy Diet

In the United States, we really care about two things when it comes to food: taste and convenience. The trick to eating a balanced diet is to look for ways to fit healthy food into our work-heavy, drive-happy lifestyles. Here are some tips that can help you out:

  • Always opt for a salad when choosing a side at a restaurant.
  • Cut out the tortillas and bread and get your burrito or sandwich in a bowl.
  • Stock up on frozen vegetables you can microwave in minutes.
  • Make a big batch of soup on Sunday and eat it throughout the week.
  • When you buy fresh vegetables and fruit, wash them, chop them, and store them ready to be eaten as soon as you get home from the store-- or buy them pre-chopped to save time.
  • Turn those fruits and vegetables into a smoothie, a quick and easy option to obtain nutrients. Find a blender that’s powerful enough to handle ice when making your smoothies, by comparing top models and reading their reviews.

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Obesity correlates with a high risk for several illnesses and diseases-- some of them terminal. It’s important to make wellness-focused choices that improve your overall quality of life rather than focus on weight loss solely. Fitting exercise, quality sleep, and a healthy diet into your lifestyle can improve your health and happiness regardless of a number on the scale. If the pounds fall off, as well, all the better!

THE AUTHOR:

Brad Krause graduated from college in 2010 and went straight to the corporate world at the headquarters of a popular retail company. But what started as a dream job soured quickly. After four years of working 15-hour days and neglecting his health, he decided enough was enough. Through aiding a friend during a tough time, Brad discovered his real calling-helping people implement self-care practices that improve their overall wellbeing. He created SelfCaring.info to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he finds on his self-care journey.

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