Yes, you read the title correctly.
According to the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA), there are 78.6 million obese people in the United States, a full 34.9% of our population. Sadly, the numbers are nearly just as bad for our children ages 2-19 years old – 12.7 million or 17% of all U.S. kids are classified as obese.
Staggering…but that’s not all!
The average obese person spends an EXTRA $1,400 above what normal weight people spend on medical care – as if we all aren’t paying enough already?!
And it gets worse: there are a laundry list of obesity-related conditions – similar to diabetes, usually if you have one, you have at least one other – like:
- Type-2 diabetes
- Heart Disease
- Certain types of cancer
- Depression and anxiety
- Digestive issues
- Sleep disorders
- Higher risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Joint and back pain
- Skin issues, rashes, etc.
With all that we know about health and wellness, it baffles the mind why these numbers are so high, and people continue to suffer. It’s baffling until you consider people:
- Have no idea how their bodies actually work
- Believe weight loss is simply about burning as many calories as they eat (this is outdated thinking)
- Have been hoodwinked by celebrities and fancy marketing to believe that counting calories and tracking points teaches you what to eat for your particular body. It doesn’t. It teaches you to eat their products and gives you anxiety about what to eat when you’re no longer on their program.
- Want a quick fix (e.g. a pill, juice or tea) to a problem that didn’t occur overnight! We spend months and years putting on the weight and expect it to be gone in 60 days?! How is that even remotely logical?
- Are confused with the many contradicting theories about food we’ve been told over the years including:
- Low-fat foods are good for you (they aren’t)
- Saturated fat is bad for you (in moderation they are quite good for you)
- Eating vegetarian or vegan diets are the only way to really lose weight – NOPE! I eat meat all the time and lost all of the 20+ pounds I needed to drop.
- Juicing is healthy and is the key to weight loss. Actually, if not done correctly, it can cause more harm than good including ADDING on more weight
What I teach my clients is how our bodies work in general. Then I help them find what works for their bodies and lifestyle specifically. We are all different, and those differences need to be appreciated to obtain optimal weight without diets, deprivation and anxiety!
I’m sure by now you can guess how sugar and excess carbs play a role in driving up weight and causing obesity – think depleted gut flora, chronic inflammation and often a severe lack of nutrients that are necessary to keep our metabolisms functioning properly.
But we can’t JUST remove refined sugar and carbs and believe that fixes everything.
Some of these diets like Atkins will have you believe that’s all that’s needed when it isn’t. Yes, you’ll likely see some improvement by doing this, but I find more often than not, you’ll hit a wall at some point and will no longer drop the pounds because you’re simply not tending to all of the areas that require your attention.
Don’t forget depression and anxiety are closely tied to our weight and for good reason. Some of it is due to the depleted gut flora and how those friendly bugs impact the brain and thus our moods. And some of it is due to the fact when people are overweight (especially when they’ve tried diets and have “failed” – they haven’t failed the diet, the diet failed them!) they often lack confidence and motivation and often feel helpless, so they simply give up. Not to mention, when you’re overweight or obese you have some other ailment at the same time…it’s hard to work out when your knees hurt, or your lungs burn from a brisk walk.
You’ve got to start somewhere!
NOTHING CHANGES UNLESS YOU DO!
Ready for some good news? You can lose weight AND often get rid of the other illnesses you’ve contracted along the way! It is possible.
Here’s the secret, though:
YOU MUST FIRST GET HEALTHY TO LOSE WEIGHT
People often think it’s the other way around…I’ll lose weight and then get healthy. Well logically speaking, how does that work? How does a sick body lose weight? Not easily or at all, that’s for damn sure.
Instead, focus on getting healthy –
- Change your diet by removing foods like refined sugar, carbs (except veggies, eat lots of non-starchy veggies like leafy greens)
- Address the chronic inflammation that you can assume is present
- Get 7.5-9hrs of sleep per night
- Start slow on exercise and work your way up
- Have patience and be kind to yourself – beating yourself up raises cortisol, which will only hinder your weight loss efforts
- Seek help from a knowledgeable professional (like me! ☺) that isn’t going to sell you some pre-packaged plan and send you off on your way to deal with the ups and downs of this journey all on your own
I can’t wait to bring you last installment in this blog series next week. It was by far the most eye-opening topic I’ve learned so far. We all think of our brains are isolated from what’s going on in our bodies. Science is now PROVING that is FAR from the truth! Tune in next week to find out how the food you eat is directly impacting how you think, store and retrieve memories, and how you feel! It’s fascinating stuff!