Through Wellness-Focused Actions
By Dana Brown
The United States is a chronically unhealthy country. According to recent data, more than 1 in 3 American adults is considered to be obese. Perhaps more shocking, about 1 in 6 children (between the ages of 2-19) is considered obese, as well. The health concerns associated with obesity include osteoarthritis, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. For people who are obese, slimming down may seem daunting, but following these tips should help shed the pounds and keep them off.
Eating a Balanced Diet
If you talk to nutrition experts, they’ll likely give you these tips to maintain a healthy diet: Keep an eye on the portion size of your meals. Refrain from sugar and trans fats, which cause you to gain weight. Consume a variety of foods (especially nuts, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and omega-3 fish). Other pro tips include drinking more water, eating smaller meals more often, and cutting out soda (which is basically liquid sugar). One mark of a healthy meal is that you have more energy after eating it than you did before you sat down. So if you get up from the table feeling sluggish or torpid, chances are you’ve just loaded yourself with empty calories.
Finding an Enjoyable Workout Routine
Exercise is vital to staying fit. But many people find that the effort of getting out of the house and going to the gym is the most difficult part of working out. One solution is a home gym. First, find the right space to put it. Usually, this will be an out-of-the-way space, like the attic, the basement, or a room upstairs no one uses. Then spruce up your home gym. Hang mirrors and pad the floor with interlocking rubber tiles. Paint the walls white to keep the space light and airy. Finally, stock it with the equipment you want. Worried about the expense? Kettlebells go for as low as $11.99, you can get a resistance band for under $20, and a Swiss ball at Walmart won’t put you back more than $25.
Getting Plenty of Rest
Counterintuitive as this may sound, a good way to lose weight is just to sleep. Want to lower stress, boost memory, overcome an infection, reduce blood pressure, or recover from an injury? Then sleep. And, yes, sleep also helps maintain your weight. Be sure not to confuse “sleeping more” with watching TV or snoozing on the couch. To whittle down your waistline, you’ll need to eat well and stick to a fitness plan. But, after you’ve put in your work for the day, definitely get a soothing eight hours of sleep.
Addressing Mental Health Disorders
If you have a mental health disorder, you’re not alone. Nearly 1 in 5 American adults suffers from a mental health condition. One of the most challenging wellness-focused actions you can take is to address mental health problems you have, such as depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. Denser fat tissue is often linked to higher retention of cortisol, the “stress hormone” that is generally linked to depression. So some clinicians have argued that mental illness and obesity constitute a “double epidemic” (and, individually, a single condition). If you suffer from a mental illness, whether because of recent weight gain or not, seek professional counseling.
Obesity is not just a national concern, but a worldwide problem. Globally, the obesity rate has tripled since 1975. In 2016, over 1.9 billion adults across the globe were overweight, and 650 million were obese. Battling obesity takes time and discipline. But the practical steps you can take are to eat right, do exercises you love, and reward yourself with deep, restful sleep. You deserve it.