Did you know that people with obesity spend approximately $1429 more on medical costs than the average person? In addition to the symptoms associated with this condition itself, it also puts you at risk for developing serious and chronic illnesses in the long term.
That’s why, knowing how to prevent obesity or make a steady improvement on your well-being can save you a lot of time, resources, and of course, suffering.
This article takes a look at the various changes you can make to help prevent obesity and maintain a healthy weight for your body and needs.
First, let’s take a quick look at what obesity really is, and how it impacts your day-to-day life.
What Is Obesity?
Obesity is defined as the accumulation of excess fat that poses various health risks to the individual in question. Now, although the body mass index (BMI) isn’t necessarily the best way to identify one’s body fat percentage, it is a popular method that can be used to get a general idea of one’s ideal weight.
In order to be diagnosed with obesity, you must have a BMI above thirty.
Given that the BMI does not take into account the composition of your weight, it is always advisable to use other methods to get more accurate results. Remember that obesity is about having an abnormal amount of fat. If your BMI is high due to a higher percentage of muscle (which tends to be heavier than fat), then you are not obese.
Be sure to talk to a qualified weight loss professional to get an accurate estimate of your body composition, and get the right diagnosis before you begin any kind of treatment.
That being said, if you are obese or at the risk of developing obesity, the following are some great tips on how to return to a healthier weight.
A Balanced and Healthy Diet
It’s time to say a firm and resounding no to all fad diets and needlessly restrictive weight loss programs. Not only are they ineffective in the long run, but they are also counterproductive. Although you may see quick results in the beginning, in most cases, these diets are not sustainable and do little to help you maintain your healthy weight.
Instead, make a balanced and healthy diet a habit, rather than something you have to force yourself into doing. Start with small changes, and work to consistently follow and incorporate them into your daily routine.
For example, if you’re someone who drinks sodas every single day, start by cutting down to every other day. Eventually, proceed to twice a week, and finally, your body won’t be so reliant on your canned juices and fizzy drinks anymore.
Another thing you can do is look for healthy alternatives or swaps for your more indulgent meals. Can’t help but binge on those greasy fries? Consider switching to baked sweet potato, or bite-sized air-fried options instead.
Make sure your meals are a healthy balance of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, quality proteins, and fats. The more variety you have, the better.
This of course doesn’t mean that you have to ditch cakes and burgers entirely, however, it does mean that this should be more of a treat than a habit.
Find Healthy Ways to Deal With Stress
Are you someone who is prone to stress eating? The truth is, whether you are or aren’t, stress has the potential to increase your chances of gaining weight.
It has long been confirmed that higher levels of the stress hormone – cortisol are intrinsically linked to weight gain. This means, this hormone is directly proportional to your level of stress, and in many cases, your weight.
When you are chronically stressed you are also more likely to indulge in “emotional eating”, sleep less, drink less water, exercise less frequently, and make poor lifestyle choices.
Therefore, better stress management is one of the key ways to prevent obesity or a steady increase in weight.
Some great ways to reduce or manage your stress include:
- Making stretching a part of your daily routine
- Deep breathing and meditation
- Practicing punctuality
- Taking short and frequent breaks between heavy work sessions
- Engaging in fun hobbies
- Talking about your problems to a trusted friend or therapist
- Dedicating time in your day to unwind and relax
If stress or anxiety is something you struggle with to the extent that it interferes with your work and relationships, it is advisable to seek out a psychiatrist or mental health professional. Medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other mindfulness techniques have been proven effective in managing all types of anxiety.
Adding More Movement to Your Lifestyle
With the exception of certain health conditions or hormonal disorders, weight gain is the result of consuming more calories than you burn. Now, while a well-balanced diet will help you manage the number of calories you consume, it also helps to pay attention to the amount you burn. The way to burn more calories is simple – move more!
While getting that gym membership is a great way to hold yourself accountable, get stronger, and ensure that you’re working out in a safe environment, with the right equipment, it isn’t the only way to burn calories. Any kind of movement, yes, any kind will help you burn off those calories.
Incorporate movement into the various activities you do throughout the day. Better yet, dedicate around thirty minutes to an hour to doing something you love that involves movement.
Walking, dancing, hiking, cleaning your house, playing tennis, going for a swim, or messing around with a jump rope are all great ways to get in a bit of exercise every day. This is especially great for people who do not like the idea of exercising but still want to maintain a healthy weight. Simply find an activity you like, or at least, don’t hate, and try to do it every day.
Once you do it often enough, it will turn into a habit, and eventually, you’ll want to do it.
Surround Yourself With Nutritious Snacks
Mindless snacking is perhaps the easiest way to slowly and steadily put on weight. But hey, we get it. We’re no strangers to the appeal of hot Cheetos and a decadent milkshake after a hard day of work.
Now while you can control your urge to snack by consuming satiating and nutritious meals, it isn’t always easy, especially when it’s a long-established habit. So instead, make sure that you avoid temptation by eliminating these snacks from your surroundings.
How will you reach for that bag of deep-fried chips, when it’s all the way in the supermarket, and not on your bedside table? Instead, stock your fridge with healthier alternatives like nuts, fruits, peanut butter, hummus, roasted chickpeas, and other foods that are more filling and nutritious.
Another great way to ensure that your home and workspace aren’t laden with empty calories is to avoid grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You may have noticed that you’re more likely to mindlessly fill your cart with food when you’re overcome with ravenous hunger, than after a healthy and satisfying meal.
So as far as possible, make sure you get your shopping done after a meal, rather than before.
Cut Down on the Sugar
Added sugars are addictive, and an effective way to increase your consumption of empty, and potentially harmful calories. Not only is a high sugar intake associated with conditions like high blood pressure, but they also lead to weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Some studies also point to an increased risk for developing heart disease and stroke.
In a nutshell, too much sugar is bad for you.
You can cut down on your sugar intake by taking the following steps:
- Reduce your consumption of sugary drinks like sodas, canned juices, and energy drinks
- Switch to sparkling water, herbal teas, and black coffee without added sugars
- Find alternatives to sugar like stevia, jaggery, maple syrup, date syrup, and agave
- Manage your dessert portions
- Be mindful of the sugar content in sauces and other dressings
- Say no to processed foods and try to cook your meals at home
- Opt for frozen fruits and vegetables, rather than their canned counterparts
- Try to sweeten your foods with fruits instead of added sugar
When it comes to reducing your sugar intake, a few simple steps go a long way. Make small changes and over time you’ll notice that you don’t crave sugar like you used to!
Make Good Sleep a Part of Your Routine
Sleep deprivation is associated with hormone imbalances in the body. Additionally, it also has a significant impact on your body’s metabolism and can even affect your food choices. All of this leads to weight gain and makes you susceptible to developing obesity.
In a world full of distractions and poor sleeping habits, it isn’t always easy to get yourself a good night’s sleep. However, there are plenty of ways to work towards that and make good, deep, restful sleep a part of your routine.
You can start by making sure you’re exposed to bright light during the times you are awake, especially during the day. This will help maintain your circadian rhythm.
Further, you’ll also want to reduce your exposure to blue light during the late evenings. This will affect your body’s production of melatonin and contribute to poor sleeping habits. You can do this by investing in glasses that block blue light, or installing an app designed to block blue light on your smartphone.
Also, consider reducing your contact with screens around two hours before your bedtime.
In addition to these steps, make sure you don’t consume any caffeinated beverages after 12 and avoid taking long naps during the daytime. Of course, this isn’t possible for those of you who work at night. However, in that case, make sure you have a consistent sleep schedule.
Try to sleep and wake up at the same time and get at least seven to eight hours of sleep.
Be Mindful of Your Meals
Mindful eating is all about eating without distractions. It means eating slowly, focusing on your food, listening to your body and only eating when you are truly hungry, and stopping when you are full.
Try to engage your senses completely while consuming your food. This means paying special attention to the color of your food, the many aromas, the texture, the way it sounds, and the flavors you taste.
Pay attention to the way various foods make you feel and how they impact your mental and physical wellbeing.
Do you feel more energetic? More relaxed? Do certain foods make you feel lethargic?
Learning how your body responds to various foods is a great step to feeling more in control of your mood and energy levels. Eating mindfully will allow you to stop eating once you’re full, and in turn, reduce the consumption of excess calories.
How to Prevent Obesity: Consistency Is Key
Eating a balanced and healthy diet, adding movement to your day, eating mindfully, managing your stress levels, cutting down on sugar, and getting restful sleep are great ways to prevent obesity. However, know that each of these must be practiced consistently to get the results you want.
Knowing how to prevent obesity is one part of your battle, putting this into action is the next step.
The good news is, although this can be a long and difficult journey, the UnCraveRx model gives you access to weight-loss experts who can help you create a personalized plan designed to address your unique needs. Find one of our top-rated medically assisted weight loss providers today! Know that a healthier, well-balanced life and diet are well within your reach, even if they don’t seem to be right now. Our providers are here to help you!