Over the past fifty years or so America’s obsession with weight loss has steadily grown, and sadly so has American waistlines. As of 2006 Americans had made diet and weight-loss products a $35 billion dollar a year industry, according to CBS News correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi. By 2012 weight-loss product sales had increased to an estimated $65 billion dollars according to a Marketdata Enterprises press release.
So one would think, with all that attention and money being spent on weight loss products that Americans must be losing weight, right? WRONG! Obesity rates in America and around the world continue to climb at alarming rates, so much so in fact that it became a focus of the Obama administration. The president enlisted his wife to help, and childhood obesity quickly became a cause for first lady Michele Obama, in an effort to bring attention to the problem and offer solutions.
The First Lady’s approach has been geared towards children with emphasis on healthy eating choices (school lunches & snacks) and daily exercise, which wide spread statistics indicate children today do not get enough of. The concept of attacking the problem in childhood is a smart approach towards changing the path of what the national health picture will look like in the future.
Teaching children to make healthy food choices and that exercise can be fun is also a way of reaching the adults (the parents). Why, because children often have a lot of influence on what is being put on the table by their parents. And with exercise as well, what parent can resist a game of hoops with their kid, or bicycling through the park together, just to name a few activities that will get us away from the computer screens and video games and off the couch. Encouraging kids to “have fun” with their family is a great way to get everyone exercising.
It’s far too soon to know if the Obama’s approach is having much of an impact on the eating and exercise habits of America, only time will tell the score on that one, but as a nation we have seen a trend developing of late. With all the “recent” (last 5 years) attention that has been paid not to dieting, but to healthy living and eating habits, the latest trend is that fewer people are going on diets. That may sound like a bad thing at first glance, but the opposite is true.
Recent (unscientific) information (health and fitness blogs) tells us there are fewer people going on weight loss diets because the science and not the diet weight loss hype is really getting through to people. People are realizing that dieting is not the answer, and quite simply, that healthy eating is. While there are no scientific studies that prove any of the major weight-loss diet programs, pills, or fad diets work long term, there is scientific evidence the weight loss is nominal, is typically not kept off, and may also lead to weight gain in the end due to changes it may cause to your metabolism or yo-yo dieting.
People are getting that there are numerous long term scientific studies that prove eating a proportionally healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle does promote both significant weight loss and that weight loss is maintained leading to better health.
Instead of depriving yourself of the foods you love, eating the proper amounts of food and preparing them in a healthy manner is the easiest and healthiest way to lose weight and keep it off forever. Below is a permanent health and lifestyle philosophy you can employ to help you achieve better health and wellness for life. You will never have to go on a diet again:
Every Six Months Make Two Small Changes
- Examine your normal daily eating habits and choose one small thing about it that you know you can easily do that will make you healthier (it likely will reduce your calorie intake too) and commit to; it i.e. drink 2 more glasses of water a day, or cut back on how many you drink or eliminate soda, reduce the amount of sugary deserts you consume daily or weekly or replace with healthier ones with natural sugar, get rid of the candy dish on your desk and replace with a healthy snack you enjoy. Now examine your exercise level and again start small and easy i.e. take the stairs at work twice a week, ride a bike for 15 minutes a day, use a pedometer and increase your daily steps, play a sport or physical activity three times a week with your child, spouse or friend(s). What ever your exercise level is find something you like to do and increase your activity level.
- These are just examples; you can choose your own changes according to your own lifestyle. Remember just choose two so you don’t feel pressured or that its just too hard, trying too hard is what makes people feel like their being punished or overwhelmed and give up and revert to their old bad habits and worse, so keep it simple!
- When choosing your food replacements try to choose healthy antioxidant type foods that you’ll enjoy i.e. replace the candy dish with pistachios, cashews, or almonds and have a single portion of dark chocolate in the evening instead. The same for your exercise activities find things you enjoy doing and gradually increase the level or add something new, i.e. try a yoga class, or weight training as your health improves so will your energy level, so keep it fun.
- After these changes become comfortable and happily are a part of your lifestyle, (typically about six months or sooner) repeat the examination process and improve on the changes you’ve made or add new changes to your already improved lifestyle. This pain free method of improving your health will not only make you lose weight and keep it off, but will improve your overall health and well being for your lifetime.