How to live a Healthy LifestyleObesity in the United States is at an epidemic level with over one third of the adult population being overweight.  Health problems such as type 2 diabetes, various forms of cancer, stroke and heart disease are directly related to being obese.  Obesity has now been classified as a real disease by the American Medical Association. It needs to be treated as such.

This is not just a problem in the United States (although we lead the world in obesity-as of 2009, a whopping 69 percent of Americans 20 years of age and older were either overweight or obese!).  We all have to open our eyes before we drain our health care systems due to this debilitating DISEASE.  Worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, here’s the truth:

  • Worldwide obesity has nearly doubled since 1980.

  • In 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight. Of these over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese.

  • 35% of adults aged 20 and over were overweight in 2008, and 11% were obese.

  • 65% of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.

  • More than 40 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2011.

  • Obesity is preventable.

To gain a healthy body, your mind has to be relaxed, reset and replenished.  Calming your mind down can be accomplished by turning off the television (a huge cause of obesity-A STAGNANT BODY), silencing the cell phone for a bit and just relaxing in a quiet environment.  Training the brain with exercises much like we exercise our bodies can have a direct impact on many aspects of life including our weight.  A strong mind is always followed by a strong body. See your doctor or a therapist and let’s figure out why you are using food as a replacement for something that may be missing in your life. Food is medicine and nourishment, let’s give it the respect it deserves.  And in turn, let’s treat our bodies like the temple it truly is. You truly are what you eat.

Training the brain is not as simple as doing math problems or buying a variety puzzle book.  Hydration plays a large role in brain health, much like exercising the rest of the body.  Forgetting the days’ problems may be hard but at least putting them off to be able to focus on new things thirty minutes thrice a week should be a goal for everyone.  Sleep is also something that can enhance brain health and exercise while learning a new skill can expand mental horizons.

What motivates someone to exercise, even when they may not have the “drive” or time to do anything?  Centre4ActiveLiving.ca has stated that there are five sources of motivation people use in life.  Intrinsic motivation is when someone decides to exercise because they enjoy working out.  Integrated motivation is a drive derived from personal or professional goals in life.   Identified motivation is what happens when internal or external values are the driving force for exercise.  Introjected motivation is more or less our value of what others think of us and the shame we get from not improving that image.  External motivation is pretty self-explanatory; this is where an outside force is driving the exercise, such as a reward of some sort.  Pick one or two of these for yourself and let’s get going!

Getting the proper amount of exercise can be tough.  Many people are self-conscious about their physical appearance. There are many exercises that can be done that do not require a gym, though gyms are designed for maximum yield in results.  To maximize your workout each exercise should begin and end with stretching.  Organizing a neighborhood workout may be ideal for people that do not like the gym (and will give you a chance to catch up with your neighbors!).  Working out alone can be demotivating and may not give the desired results.

How to live a Healthy LifestyleAs the old saying goes, we are what we eat.  Eating proper, healthy, foods such as fruits and vegetables can improve your mental health and lower your weight.  Eating lighter salad dressing on salads (or ordering dressing on the side instead of on the salad) and drinking low-fat or fat-free dairy can improve results of any exercise activity.  Following nutritional information on foods that you eat every day can also cut down on unnecessary empty calories and sugars that can cause weight gain.

If you are a smoker, quitting can drastically affect your waistline.  Controlling your blood sugar levels with tools available for diabetics is a good way of staving off the pounds while maintaining a healthy blood pressure level and watching your cholesterol levels also directly relate to weight gain/loss.  Eating foods that have lower glycemic indexes is a magical way to get more energy and more from your food.  I will be writing a future article on foods with these properties, so look for that!

Getting healthier is as simple as starting with simple changes in your lifestyle.  Nothing drastic has to happen; just simple choices that take little effort can lower weight and improve overall health.  Being active is a good starting point for people that do not have active jobs.  Changing little things in your diet and doing simple exercises can have the weight falling off safely and permanently.