Wellness: Obesity...It's a thing??
You know, weight is a “thing,” in our society. Unfortunately, this is not something that we can just ignore and think that it will simply disappear. As a health coach I hear all the time, “I just want to lose weight”....and yes, my job is to help my clients do that if that is a goal, but it is also my job to show them that it is much more than what appears on your bathroom scale.
There are many things that affect our weight like, what we eat, how and even IF we exercise. Another thing that can have adverse affects on your weight is your mentality. Yep, that’s right, our thoughts can affect our weight.
So here it is, and I am going to give it to you straight.
If you want to be a different weight you have to change your lifestyle. I know that sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be.
The first step to weight management and tackling the obesity issue is that you have to start to interject positive habits into your day-to-day. Once you do this the negative habits will slowly dissipate and eventually be crowded out. So here is what I bet you are asking? How do I really know what to do to “crowd out” the negative things I am doing? Great question and lucky for you, I am going to give you the blueprint.
That’s right, I am giving you the blueprint to preventing obesity, and don’t worry, if you are past the “prevention stage” then that is quite alright, because you will now have the tools you need to help you tackle the issues you are dealing with!
One thing to remember is that there is really no quick fix. I know that the “magic pill” you hear about is enticing, but it is suppose to be, that is why the marketing directors make the big bucks! In order to tackle not just your weight, but your overall health, YOU will have to get focused on you and fuel your body and mind with things that fuel you in a positive way! Read below for the steps that will get you on your way to doing just that!
1 | Learn to read food labels
The first thing you must do is to stop just putting anything in your grocery cart. We get into the habit of reaching for what we always have because we saw our parents doing it. You are no longer allowed to be brand loyal! You have only one allegiance and that is to yourself. So, you have to make sure you care looking at the ingredients of the foods you choose to purchase and eat. Food labels give you important information about the nutritional value of the food. I could ramble about this all day. But for time's sake, here are the top two things I suggest you focus on when looking at food labels.
Sugar Content: remember this should be in grams. Divide this by 4.2 to figure out how many teaspoons of sugar you are getting per serving. In an ideal world you want to consume no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day. (And be sure to look out for things with -ose at the end of the word. For example, fructose, sucrose maltose, these are hidden sugars!)
Serving Size: remember, one container or box likely has several servings. So the numbers you are reading are for each time you consume a serving!
2 | Plan meals ahead of time
Remember the old adage, “ if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Welp, yes, it is true not only in life in general, but when it comes to your health as well. Making sure your pantry and refrigerator is stocked with quality, nutrient dense foods will go a long way to helping you stay away from “naughty” foods and excessive snacking. You can boost your success rate by meal prepping or batch cooking. Essentially, preparing 3-4 servings of one particular food and storing it until you are ready to eat it during the week. This is the easiest way to stay on top of your health. I mean, really...it doesn’t take any longer to bake 4 pieces of pasture-raised chicken breast than it does 2!
And two bonus tips here for you...NEVER SKIP breakfast. When you eat breakfast you boost your metabolism. When you eat breakfast you are better able to be in control of your cravings and are less likely to overeat, nibble and snack or overcompensate at dinner because you “didn’t eat breakfast.” And to sum up what one of my visiting professors said while I was in nutrition school, eat in the light, not late a night! Give your body time to digest your food before calling it a night!
3 | Drink water before meals
It doesn’t sound the sexiest, but water is definitely a key to keeping your body in check. Many people often mistake being hungry with being dehydrated. Being dehydrated can have a negative effect on your metabolism, so it is best that you stay hydrated. A couple of tips you can try out is to drink water as soon as you rise in the morning. This is important because we wake up in a state of dehydration. Also, drinking water before each meal can promote weight loss. There are studies that show people who drink two glasses of water prior to their meals actually eat less, as they feel fuller at the start of their meal. Don’t quite dig the taste of water? Check out this video to create tasty spa water at home, super easy and simple!
4 | Trash the refined sugar
Just about everything we ingest is packed with sugars and when I talk about sugar and talking specifically about fructose. We should only be eating about 6-9 teaspoons of sugar per day. That’s correct folks, every 24 hour period. I mean it’s mind boggling to say the least because just think about breakfast. Most of us don’t even have it. And if we do it looks like a venti coffee and breakfast pastry. Let me tell you, I was addicted to Starbucks. I had it 3 times a day, no exaggeration. My family sat down with me and literally had an intervention. I am talking real intervention, we sat in a circle and everything. My point is, I was addicted to coffee and when I really stopped to see what I was funneling through my body I found out the the drink I loved so much had 42 grams of sugar in EACH cup! So, according to our equation in tip #1, that was 10 teaspoons of sugar each time I put the cup to mouth. So that was 30 teaspoons of sugar per day. WHOA!!! We haven’t even gotten to the pastry yet!
Here is the science. See for other foods our body recognizes it and tells us when to cut it off and stop eating it. Not fructose, there is no “off” trigger, so we end up continuing to indulge, even if we have had enough. The other thing that fructose does is once it is in our system it converts to fat. Even scarier, research has found that fructose not only inhibits our immune system, it can jack with fertility, make us age, has been connected to cancer, dementia and can wreck havoc on your digestive tract, that’s your gut! And if you didn’t know, your gut is basically the key to your health.
So be mindful of the sugar you are taking in and try to scale back. This will definitely do wonders for your waistline and that yearly report from the doctor that you so dread hearing.
5 | Learn to cook
You don’t have to be Bobby Flay or Paula Dean, but it would for sure help your plight if you started to get back into the kitchen. See when you eat out, you really don’t know what is in your food. How much sugar did they use. What type of oil was it cooked in? Who could guess?! Also, unless you're sitting down to a plated meal each time, chances are you are probably ingesting quite a bite of processed food in one form or another. Which we know in general is not good for your health.
If you get a couple of simple recipes in your toolbox you can really set set yourself up for success. Now, I get it. We are all busy and cooking for yourself may seem like a daunting task. But here is how you tackle it...refer to #2, and you will be all good! Plus, think about it like this, it is a marathon, not a sprint. So start with one or two more meals at home then you would normally have prepared in a week. I promise once it becomes routine you will begin to prefer your cooking over your favorite restaurants’.
6 | Make movement mandatory
Now don’t get discouraged here. I am not saying that you need to start training for the Crossfit Games or even the MS150, so let’s all let out a collective sigh of relief. Regular activity can reduce your risk of disease, for instance obesity. There are major benefits of exercise, here are two: it controls blood sugar and combats stress. Now, a healthy blood sugar level will help by increasing your insulin sensitivity and controlling your weight. When it comes to stress a little aerobic exercise lowers your stress hormone levels. High levels of the stress hormone, cortisol can promote weight gain. So, stop stressing yourself out about ya-hoo drivers on the road! Another benefit to exercise? My whole point? Just add some type of movement to your day. It will also make you feel so much better! When I exercise regularly after a random hiatus, my attitude totally changed! I was so much more pleasant and way more positive! The interesting thing is, I did not even know this was an issue! Need some ideas for exercise that you won’t dread? Check this out to learn how to sneak exercise in right at your desk!
One thing to remember is that there is really no quick fix. I know that the “magic pill” you hear about is enticing, but it is suppose to be, that is why the marketing directors make the big bucks! In order to tackle not just your weight, but your overall health YOU will have to get focused on you and fuel your body and mind with things that fuel you in a positive way! If you need a little help with this, join our newsletter for weekly information and tidbits to get you on the right track! Check it out here.
If you have a friend or colleague that is struggling with weight, or just want to get healthier in general- share this post with them. It could give them some insight on different things they could incorporate into their routines!