The statistics on obesity and overweight are startling – 1 in every 3 Americans is considered to be either overweight or obese. The problem is not limited to the US – all over the world there are now more overweight people than there have ever been. In fact, it is said that more people are dying from obesity than starvation. If you have been struggling with weight loss yourself you now know that you are not alone – there are millions just like you. Losing weight is a battle for most of them – even when they manage to lose some they usually just gain it right back. To lose weight permanently you have to understand where it all came from in the first place.
The story about obesity goes back about 80 years. Back then, there were hardly any overweight people. Most were active and they ate proper diets. Then someone discovered that by adding sugar to nearly all processed foods they could sell more. So instead of having sugar in just the basics – confectionary, sweets and so on – sugar was finding its way into everything. In fact, today 80% of all food in the supermarket contains sugar.
Manufacturers will not indicate it on the label because they are not obligated to. Those who do use fancy names that they know that the public will not understand – sucrose, fructose, fructose corn syrup and so on. In fact, sugar is lurking where most of us don’t suspect it is. Your regular ketchup, for instance, is about 25% sugar. Things that we consume everyday such as yogurt, fruit juices (even fresh ones that we buy in specialty shops), cereal, mayonnaise and so on contain very high amounts of sugar.
So what is wrong with sugar, you ask? Sugar, when consumed, is broken down by the body into fat. This fat is what we would ordinarily use up to power the body. Because we are not very active the body is forced to store it; that is when we get fat. Fat is not the only thing we get either – we get addicted to being on a permanent sugar high. Scientific experiments have been done where lab rats are offered a choice between sugar and cocaine – they invariably choose cocaine. Yes, sugar is ore addictive than cocaine but because food manufacturers know that the public is not aware of this they continue to ply us with it.
What about exercise?
Exercise has been touted as the cure for all obesity and overweight. In fact, the public has been schooled to think that if you are fat it is because you are too lazy to exercise. This is not true. Look at the history of mass exercising.
It also started about 80 years ago but since then, people have only grown fatter regardless of whether or not they exercise. Of course exercise is necessary if you want to stay healthy but it is not the cure for obesity. The cure is to reduce the amount of sugar that you are consuming.
What should you be eating?
The first thing you have to understand is that a lot of what you buy in the supermarket contains sugar (remember we said 80%?). What this means for you is that you have to ditch most of the processed foods that you have been eating and turn to healthier alternatives. Your food has to come either from the produce isle or the farmers market. You should be eating healthy proteins such as lean beef, chicken, fish, turkey and so on.
When it comes to carbs you have to choose healthy ones – white bread, doughnuts and anything that is made from processed grains is just going to turn into fat when you consume it. Instead, eat things like potatoes, sweet potatoes, pastas, legumes, whole grain bread and so on. Fruits and vegetables are a must – eat at least 3 servings every day. When it is time to eat a snack try different kinds of nuts or a fruit. Drink at least 2 liters of water every day. If you eat like this you will drastically reduce the amount of sugar that you are consuming and you will see your weight start to come down.
It is important to know that the first few weeks will not be easy – remember, you’re an addict. You will feel the withdrawal symptoms from the sugar and feel strongly tempted to eat something that contains it. Be strong and keep in mind that this feeling goes away after about 2 weeks. In fact, once you have completely weaned yourself off sugar you will not have the urge to consume it any more.
How much should I exercise?
Like we said earlier, you need to exercise in order to stay healthy – in fact, if you don’t do it often your heart health starts to suffer. Make time for at least 1 hour of exercise 3 times a week and you should be fine. It doesn’t have to be in the gym – you can play in the park, take the stairs more often, go for long walks, hike, dance or do whatever other physical activity you enjoy so long as you are able to break a sweat.
Sleep and relaxation are important too
Today, too many people are not getting as much sleep as is necessary. They sleep for 5 or 6 hours every night and then its back to the grind. This leads to increased stress levels and research has shown that stress is one of the things that promote obesity. You have to rest enough every night if you want to maintain a proper body mass index.
You should get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Develop good sleep habits; get to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time in the morning. Make sure that there are no screens in the bedroom – mobiles, tablets and TV’s are out. Don’t try to compensate for sleep that you missed during the week on the weekend – it doesn’t work. You should also make for time to relax with friends and family as this promotes better health for both the mind and body.
Now you know the reason you are overweight; do something about it.