Have you noticed that America is growing? And I don’t mean in population…I mean around the waist. Go to the grocery store, to work, or maybe even the mirror, and you may notice that things seem to be getting bigger everywhere you look. The alarming growth of obesity has been brought to the forefront as of late by a new study that was recently on the news. The study states that in 1995 there wasn’t a single state in the United States with an obesity rate of over 20%. Today every state except for one, which is at 19.8%, is over 20%.
This alarming new study shows that there has clearly been a huge shift in the health of America over the last 20 years. So do Americans not care about their health any more? Well I think the $300 billion dollar weight loss industry makes it clear that that’s not the case.
I find it funny that weight loss is made to be so complicated in America. People weren’t skinnier 100 years ago because of any special spinning machine in their homes or because they were taking a miracle weight loss supplement. The answers to weight loss are and always have been simple…the tough part is always being honest enough with yourself to realize that you need to take the simple actions that are required…
Here are the 4 most basic weight loss principles you need to know, understand and follow to avoid the pitfall of American obesity and what comes with it (limited lifestyle and a premature death…hurray!):
1- Don’t Settle for Anything Less than REAL Food
When you walk into your grocery store, what percentage of the food doesn’t come in a box or a can? Not a lot huh? That’s because most of our food is processed today and the quality of that processing itself has gone way down. This processing has led Americans to be filled with toxins. The problem is they don’t realize they’re being poisoned and they don’t realize how bad it is for them. There’s a common phrase that I hear a lot that’s “everything is fine in moderation”. The problem with that is nobody actually gets what moderation actually means in terms of food. If you have a little bit of something bad in 50 products that you buy then it totals up to a whole lot of bad for you.
If you want to be healthy you need to eat real food and have a zero tolerance for anything that isn’t real food (OK…you can cheat sometimes, like once a week, but seriously…raise your standards for what’s acceptable to put into your body). As a general rule if something has more than 5 ingredients or if it has ingredients that you don’t understand and struggle to pronounce then don’t buy it…it shouldn’t be in your body.
2 – Exercise Regularly…and for Fun, Not Just to Lose Weight
If you have kids you probably know very well how kids never stop moving (especially the ones that aren’t allowed to play video games all day long). This is the way humans were meant to be. We’re meant to be moving every day not sitting at a computer all day (like I do most of the time!) Unfortunately most of us have jobs that keep us in one place…which means you have to make sure to move everyday.
To give you an idea of some of the things that I do on a regular basis…I run 2 to 3 times a week for about 3 miles (free and I have cool apps on my phone that make it fun), I walk for a round of golf (obviously not cheap), I dance once a week with my wife (not cheap but it has other benefits…use your imagination), I play pickup soccer (very cheap), I play tennis (free), I do kickboxing (cheap if you’re doing it a lot), I do P90X in my home (only a one time investment and then you have it forever). I have a variety of things on purpose…so that it stays fun. I can’t wait for my exercise every day. Forget the boring gym if you don’t actually enjoy it. And as soon as you get bored with something find something else you can have fun with rather than just quitting altogether. Remember that being happy is really healthy (good chemicals released into your body) so make exercise fun.
3 – Eat Nutrient Dense Foods and Eat Less Food
The over processing of food has grossly lowered the amount of nutrients that people get. When you get less nutrients your body wants more so you keep eating. That doesn’t help with weight loss. So how do you solve the over eating problem? You eat nutrient dense foods.
I’ll be the first to admit that overeating is the biggest health issue I deal with on a regular basis (no need to ask my family about how much food I can eat in one sitting). So I always make sure to eat nutrient dense foods like green salads. If you were to put french fries in front of me I could probably eat a couple plate fulls of them. If you put a salad in front of me I eat one and then feel full. That’s because when I eat the salad my body gets what it needs and stops asking me to eat more.
And here’s the other important thing you need to know here…you can eat WAY less than you think you can. Most days I have a green juice and a couple of salads (really delicious salads!) and maybe a piece of organic wild fish on some days (relax super raw food eaters). That’s about it. And yet I have energy all day long to get through my hectic days of playing with my 2 1/2 year old and 6 month old, 8 hours of work, exercise and time with my wife. I don’t miss a beat. The funny thing is that whenever my life gets busier I know that I have to exercise more and eat less. Not what most people would think.
Enough on me though…back to you. Take a minute to visualize what your day would be like if you had more energy with less food. Take a breathe and feel yourself lighter and more energized when your body isn’t spending all of its energy digesting. What would you get accomplished with more energy and a clearer train of thought? Could you make more money? Could you create better relationships? Could you be happier?
4 – Write Down What You Want to Look Like, Feel Like and Act Like Everyday…and Then Read Your List Everyday
We’re getting into that “personal development” stuff now…uh oh. This step has actually done more for my life than anything I’ve ever done. Writing down what I want to be like and want my life to be like and then reading it every day has made my life…well…magical. I pretty much get everything I want by using this technique. And I’m not saying that to be snobby. I’m saying that to make you realize that YOU can have everything you want in your life. Trust me…I’m not that unique.
OK…so back to the exercise. Get a piece of paper (or type this up and print it…that’s what I do) and write down 5 beliefs that you wish you had about your health. I suggest starting off with these three from above “I don’t settle for anything less than REAL food” — “I exercise for fun at least 5 times a week.” — “I eat nutrient dense foods and only eat the amount of food that my body needs”. Start off with those, then write your own. Once you’re done read those every morning and every night. Try it for just 1 week and you’ll feel a difference in how you act and feel.
Let’s Look at the Alternative to Being Healthy…Becoming Just Another Statistic
The U.S. has been gaining weight steadily for the past 20 years now, and the situation is reaching pandemic levels. In 1991, one in eight Americans were obese. By 1999, that number increased to one in five. Today, approximately 1 in 3 Americans are overweight or obese.
Obesity is appearing most severely in the South and Midwest regions of the country, and shows particular prevalence in African-American and Hispanic communities. African-Americans currently show 51% higher prevalence for obesity, and hispanics show a 21% higher prevalence.
An American Medical Association study estimates that 300,000 Americans die each year from these obesity-related causes such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. For children born in the U.S. from 2000 on, it is estimated that one in three will develop diabetes, leading to a lifetime of injections and pain. There is an overall loss in the quality of life for Americans, and the trend is getting worse.
So here’s the be all important question of the day…
Are you willing to raise your standards for your health or do you want to become another statistic?