Nowadays, losing weight has become a wavering matter. For some, it’s easy to do, but for most, it is so difficult to shed those unwanted pounds. People try to change their weight for reasons like needing to maintain their health for longer life. However, for a lot of people, they simply want to change how they look to fit into what’s currently trending. Not only that, society is bombarding us with the idea that thin is beautiful, so we try desperately to change how we look. Over the years, many companies have been drastically coming up with ways to help individuals lose weight quickly. Unfortunately, no matter how much we try, there just isn’t any magic bullet that will make us look like that person we imagined.
Why do we gain weight?
There are a number of reasons why we gain weight. Despite our efforts to eat right, or following extreme exercise regimes, the excess flab just won’t go away. In America alone, the country has struggled with obesity. In the past 15 years, the country’s obesity rate has increased to 24 percent. This is equivalent to around 78 million people. The rise in obesity rate subsequently led to other health complications including diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, osteoarthritis and many more. It’s hard to imagine if we put that together with the whole world.
The reasons why we get fat is simple and sometimes beyond our control. We are probably unaware that it doesn’t affect us, but over the years, the little things we do eventually keeps up and jeopardizes our health. Here are some of the reasons:
1. We eat more than we are supposed to
Our bodies are designed to maintain an ideal size and shape. In scientific terms, they call it Body Mass Index. The human body is supposedly allowed to take in the specified amount of calories from the food we eat depending on the body mass. For males, the recommended daily calorie intake should be 2500 Kcals and 2000 Kcals for females. However, because we are surrounded by external factors that displays food as enticing, our brain forgets, and as a result, we end up eating more. We also get misled by food labeled as low-fat or low-sugar. In reality, food manufacturers put more artificial ingredients in this kind of food. The excess calories that we don’t burn become stored as fat which will eventually accumulate over the years.
2. We are leading a sedentary lifestyle
Maybe it’s the kind of job you have. Perhaps it’s the kind of lifestyle that we live. Ever since the onset of computers, television, washing machines, remote controls and other modern gadgets, people nowadays had gotten used to being inactive than when how it used to be years ago. People have become so dependent on their cars instead of walking to the store even if it’s only a few distances away. Going to the bank or paying utilities have become so convenient since it can be done online. Even the kind of work a person has would contribute to gaining weight. People working long hours in the office have a higher chance of being overweight than people who don’t. The less movement a person makes, the fewer calories are being burned. Being active affects how a person’s hormone and metabolism work. The less active a person is, the slower the metabolism becomes. As a result, weight gain happens.
More often than not, we find ourselves scrounging the refrigerator in the middle of the night especially when we have trouble sleeping. Around that time, it takes a lot more effort to burn the calories from the food that we have eaten. That is because the normal time for our bodies to break down and digest our food is around 3 to 4 hours. So when we return to bed after a meal at midnight, our bodies do not get the chance to break down and digest. As a result, the calories we do not burn accumulate and be stored as fat. This causes us to gain weight. Not only that, but sleep can also affect our eating habits. Studies have shown that when we sleep less, it doubles a person’s risk of becoming obese. Why? It is because sleep deprivation may trigger a hormone called Ghrelin that stimulates appetite. Also, when we lack sleep, it would result in our body to produce less leptin, which is a hormone that suppresses appetite.
Stress is also a common factor that causes sleeplessness and restlessness which as a result causes us to gain weight. For some individuals, eating may be one of the ways to deal with the stress that they experience from work or at home. In some cases, stressed individuals might find themselves mindlessly munching on a high-calorie food like ice-cream or burgers while furiously trying to keep up with life’s demands. If a person experiences stress for long periods, it causes appetite to increase and lose our way to a healthy lifestyle.
So, what happens when we gain weight? Since our body’s health is based on the BMI range, an adult who is obese or overweight are at increased risk for many health complications and diseases. The most common would include:
– Coronary Heart Disease
– Gallbladder disease
– Sleep apnea
– Cancers (like breast, colon and endometrial)
– Kidney and liver problems
How do we counter obesity or weight gain?
There are probably a lot more reasons out there that cause us to gain weight. However, it is important to understand that being healthy does not mean being stick thin. Being healthy means that you are at a weight that is right for you. Usually, a visit to a dietician or doctor would be a good idea when you want to find out what your ideal weight is. Diet experts can recommend the right type of foods to eat, the kind of exercise that is suitable for your body mass, and overall help with setting realistic weight loss goals.
When wanting to manage your weight while maintaining a healthy life, it is usually about achieving it for a long term. People who want to lose weight quickly by resorting to crash diets or take drastic measures usually end up gaining all (and maybe even more) of the pounds they lost because of not permanently changing their habits.
It is also important to understand that the “eat less and move more” advice is now a myth. Losing weight isn’t about what you don’t eat, but a matter of what you eat and put in your body.
On the same note, it is also essential to understand that there is no “best” way to lose weight. It is important that you know your own body and what method is deemed suitable for you. The list is almost never complete but here seven suggestions to lose weight safely and efficiently.
1. Never skip a good, heavy breakfast
They always say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Up until now, that same statement has proved itself correct for years. Having a full, heavy but healthy breakfast in the morning increases your metabolism. We also feel less sluggish and tired as we go about our day when we have a full breakfast every day. Even one study of people who lost weight showed that they could keep it off for a long time by eating breakfast. Of course, a heavy breakfast should be loaded with healthy fibers and carbohydrates that include cooked oatmeal, whole grain bread or cereals, boiled eggs, tofu and a green salad would be better choices.
2. Replace Artificial Foods with Fresh, Whole Foods
It is important to be aware that foods we buy labeled low-fat or less sugar usually have more sugars and preservatives added to them. Even processed meats are unhealthy choices when it comes to loading on your protein. As our body is organic, what we put in it should be organic and fresh as well. If you try to consider switching processed foods to real, whole foods, there is a better chance to lose weight and keeping it off as well. It might be a good idea to stock up your refrigerator with meals cooked from fresh ingredients. That way, there is a lesser chance for you to constantly visit your refrigerator and get tempted by snacks and treats. Also, consider more greens and fruits in your diet.
Of course, losing weight doesn’t mean giving up all the foods that you like. It’s just a matter of choosing to place a balance in what you consume. For example, if you love ice-cream or chocolates, it’s perfectly alright to indulge in them every once in a while. However, it is important to balance it out with something healthy on your next meal, like munching on carrots or eating green salad. It’s the kind of respect you put yourself, and in the food, you eat.
3. Increase your water intake
A cup of coffee and orange juice is fine after a heavy breakfast meal. However, for the rest of the day, it is best to stick with water. The more hydrated you are, your chances of grabbing a snack or treat are less. Since our body is made up of 70 percent of water, it is important always to replenish our water loss every hour of the day. When we’re hydrated, sugar levels would spike up and stimulates our appetite. As a result, we start eating foods that we think are satisfying our cravings. Unfortunately, it’s the other way around. If you’re looking for alternatives, try considering healthier foods that are rich in H2O like watermelons, cucumbers, grapes, cranberries, and pineapples.
4. Reduce your carbohydrate consumption
It is important to know what carbohydrates and what is not. Look for foods that have a low glycemic index and lower carb levels like asparagus instead of potatoes. Whole grain foods are also better options as they are rich in fiber, iron and B vitamins.
5. Eat first before grocery shopping
Yes, we tend to get carried away when doing our groceries. Somehow, it seems like stores intentionally display snacks and treat first in line. When we are hungry, these foods will look enticing, and as a result, we would start grabbing them mindlessly. When this happens, we jeopardize our chances of losing weight because we start stocking up our pantry with processed foods. So before heading to the store, make sure that you’ve had a good meal.
6. Avoid stressful situations and sleep more
When we’re stressed, we usually grab the first thing we see that looks good to eat to deal with it. If this constantly happens, losing weight would be difficult. When you find yourself in a stressful situation, pause first and take deep breaths. Perhaps even put healthy snack options like trail mix or dried fruits in your bag or drawer if you feel the need to munch on something. If your sleeping problems become severe, try seeing a therapist so he or she can assist you in getting the right amount of sleep.
7. Most importantly, take the time to exercise
Sweat it out! While eating the right foods, pair it with an active lifestyle. If your office is only a few blocks away, take walks instead of driving. If you are a gym member, try to utilize your fitness opportunities at least three to four times a week. If you are not fond of strenuous exercise or if your health does not allow you to do high-intensity exercise, do moderate exercises like climbing up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. If you have dogs, you can take them out for walks. You can also take meditative methods like yoga and deep breathing exercises.
While these are just some suggestions on losing weight safely and effectively, remember that the choice is still yours to make. It may not be easy at the start, as the weight will take time to achieve. However, it’s important to remember that it’s a good idea to keep a healthy weight because it would only mean you’re healthy.