We have a cultural obsession with weight loss and rightly so. Currently 2 in 3 Americans are overweight or obese.
1 in 3 Americans is OBESE.
That's over 33% of Americans or 110 MILLION PEOPLE!
And if that isn't cringe-worthy enough:
20% of our children are MORBIDLY OBESE!!
Obesity puts children at a detrimental risk for debilitating diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
With skyrocketing numbers in increases of diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancers our healthcare costs are rising and 75% of those costs are attributable to the aforementioned diseases. AND ALL of those diseases can be avoided or possibly reversed with some fairly simple diet and lifestyle changes. Being overweight is the number one cause of most diseases...here is how to make some changes:
1. Eat Real FOOD- The average American is eating "food-like" products. In grocery stores, today, 90% of the food you find is heavily processed and laden with chemicals; a far cry from how it came from the earth. One of the most important steps you can take in creating better health is to cut back (waaaay back) on processed foods. I'm talking about things like candy, soda, chips, doughnuts, cookies, frozen dinners, boxed/bagged foods, etc, etc. This list could go on and on. Make whole foods the majority of your diet with things like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. You may be surprised how quickly a delicious dinner filled with veggies and whole grains can come together.
2. Eat MORE Fruits and Vegetables - Eating more vegetables is the single most important thing you can do to achieve better health. Vegetables tend to be lower in calories than most other foods; especially, processed and refined foods. Their caloric density-calorie content relative to weight or volume-is one of the lowest. Which means you can eat MORE food and consume LESS calories. Also, fruits and vegetables contain the most fiber. 97% of Americans are not getting enough fiber each day, not even close! Not only does fiber leave us feeling full and satisfied, it helps our bodies eliminate the bad stuff. Yeah, I'm talking about poop! Fiber is so important for speeding up digestion and ridding out bodies of those things that we don't need. Fiber, also, takes more energy to burn, which means you will burn more calories just by eating these foods. Choosing more fruits and vegetables means you will eat less processed food which are very calorie dense and unhealthy. Aim to add fruits and vegetables to every meal.
4. Eat Less Fat – Eat fat? Don't eat fat? Which is it? It's been a controversy in the media for decades. Let's look at the facts:
NO oil is healthy. None.
They are all stripped down and processed, and contain no nutritional value. More importantly, oil has a calorie density of 4,000 calories per pound!! So, are there good fats and bad fats? Yes and no. Dietary fat is very easily converted into body fat; whereas, carbohydrates are more easily burned as fuel. So, if you are consuming any kind of fat, it can easily be converted to body fat instead of being used for energy. Choose your fats wisely, choose ones that are nutrient dense from plant sources like avocados, seeds, and nuts. Animal-fat sources are the worst, which contain mostly saturated fats. They also contain cholesterol, hormones, carcinogens, dioxins, antibiotics, and bacteria, while also devoid of fiber and antioxidants. Steer clear of animal products as they have been found to be detrimental to human health and, independent of other factors, cause weight gain.
5. Stress Less! - RELAX! Easier said than done, I know! I struggle with this one myself. I like to be in control, so the food aspect of this, I got! But, the stress, OH THE STRESS!! The facts: Levels of "the stress hormone," cortisol, rise during tension-filled times. This can turn overeating into a habit. Who doesn't find some comfort in chocolate cake, candy or chips? Increased levels of the cortisol hormone cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods. Exercise can help us reduce stress as it triggers the release of the “feel good” hormones and can be a great stress-reliever. Want some zen? Meditation has been scientifically proven to significantly decrease stress levels with just 10 minutes of daily mediation. Love yourself—do the things you enjoy and forget about the rest. It is OK to say no!
6. Get Moving! -
Nutrition is the MOST important factor in health.
But exercise is important too! Just an hour long walk each day can extend your life expectancy by 24%!
Our bodies do a great job at burning energy in the form of calories, but if we want to lose weight we need to eat less than we burn. But we can also burn off some of those calories in the form of exercise and while we are at it, reduce stress, too...WIN! WIN! Calories in vs. calories out. You must burn more calories than you consume. Exercise isn’t just about that 30 minutes on the treadmill, though; it’s about creating a lifestyle that isn’t sedentary. But, the great thing about eating healthfully and exercising is that all that good stuff makes you have more energy!! Then, you want to move! Find an activity that you really like/love and that is the one that you can form a habit around. It can be anything that keeps you moving for at least 30-40 minutes; walking, running, hiking, yoga, biking, etc. Consider weight training: more muscle = more calories burned. While a pound of fat burns only two calories per day, a pound of muscle burns six—and takes up a lot less room.
Would you like a little help implementing these ideas into your life? Join us on January 6, 2018 for our Wellness Workshop. We will be sharing tons of great science/evidence based information, demonstrating how to create delicious plant-based meals, and serving you a spectacular dinner filled with amazing plant based dishes! You can find more information HERE.
Peace, Love, Plants,
Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
Search our blogs