In most of the world today, obesity has become a problem that has forced the vast majority of people to take note of their eating and exercise habits. Understanding weight loss and how to ensure that you lose weight in the right way, without resorting to extreme methods like self-starvation or unhealthy remedies, is very important. While most are aware of the risks of living an unhealthy lifestyle, for many it proves almost impossible to break some of those lifestyle habits.
Statistics have shown that obesity is now becoming a chronic problem, not only in developed countries but in the wider world. The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that worldwide obesity has tripled since 1975. Furthermore, in 2016 more than 1.9 billion adults 18 years or older were overweight, of these, 650 million were obese. To put these statistics into context, that’s about a quarter of the world’s population deemed to be overweight, and a country twice the size of the US in population deemed obese – by any measure, that’s astounding and should be a call for concern.
What’s on this page?
With the general reduction in manual labour jobs and an increase in white-collar office jobs, it appears as if obesity is a problem contributed to by a gradual change in overall lifestyle on a global level. The modern 24/7 on-the-go lifestyle, coupled with urbanization and the consistent move away from rural life has undoubtedly contributed to the overall change in diet and exercise habits over the last couple decades. Technological advancement and gradual lifestyle changes are beginning to force human beings to alter our diets and overall lifestyle habits.
On the individual level, limited sleep, poor nutrition/fast-food, and little to no exercise are some of the habits that cause weight gain and obesity. Getting to the core of your problem, meaning, changing those bad habits, and moving on to a healthy and more fulfilling life is what we hope for you and your loved ones. Whether you’re a couch- potato or just can’t get your hands off of the fast food, don’t feel ashamed, this is a problem that many face. Getting healthy takes time and we’re here to guide. In many cases, the promise of quick weight loss proves somewhat of a pipe-dream; however, this does depend on one’s definition of ‘quick’, and meeting your weight loss goals in a timely fashion is something to take a great deal of pride in. Healthy weight loss is the most important thing.
Dangers of being overweight
As one gets older, the likelihood of health complications due to chronic obesity or simply just being slightly overweight are magnified. The potential for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and sleeping problems of all sorts are very much more likely when one’s health is compromised by obesity. Recognition of the imminent danger in which one’s life is placed by an unhealthy lifestyle is something that must be emphasized. Recent statistics by Eurostat (the institution for providing statistical information for EU institutions) estimates that 51.6% of the EU’s population (18years and over) are overweight. This is an astounding revelation by any metric. The reality is that this has become a crisis of almost epidemic levels.
Putting aside for a moment the implications that these revelations would have on any country’s health institutions and on state public expenditure overall; consider the effects on quality of life for people in their own personal lives suffering from being overweight or even more seriously obese? This gives a dire picture. The difficulties of moving around and performing even basic daily tasks, loss of energy or more frequent cramping are some of the understated challenges that people face when we speak of the epidemic of obesity. Couple this with the potential financial stress of dealing with concomitant health problems – and one’s quality of life is substantially reduced.
What happens when one is overweight?
The accumulation of fat in the body puts critical organs under substantial pressure. Excess fat causes high blood pressure and unhealthy levels of cholesterol; the fat which accumulates in the blood is then likely to lead to heart disease and stroke. The flow of blood throughout the body is seriously impeded due to the fact that the walls of your arteries are thickened with fat, thus forcing your heart to work harder. Quite simply, more fat equals more work for your organs – the heart being one of the most important. And a distressed heart means a distressed body. Doctors may sometimes recommend a low carb diet to deal with what may appear to be a mild problem at first, however, in the long run, a combination of weight loss exercises and more overall lifestyle changes would prove necessary.
The issue of being overweight is not only a physical problem but also includes psychological challenges as well. The cycle of depression and weight gain or weight gain and depression – depending on one’s individual experience – is a serious challenge that isn’t fully understood even with all of the advances in scientific knowledge and new research. However, with enough determination and investment into yourself or your loved one, you could become a weight loss success story in no time.
Adolescent Obesity is one of the more complicated issues facing children and their parents in modern times. According to research done by Manu Raj and R. Krishna Kumar and published in the Indian Journal on Medical Research entitled: “Obesity in children and adolescents”: “Psychosocial abnormalities are closely associated with obesity in children and adolescents.”  It’s a well-known fact that social life is made much more difficult due to the social pressure and exclusion exerted upon adolescents suffering from obesity or even milder forms of weight gain. How to lose weight, and fast, sometimes becomes an obsession of teens, causing eating disorders and depression – the consequences of which may last a lifetime.
It’s the responsibility of parents and those around adolescents suffering from the social pressures of being overweight to not only engage in positive reinforcement on a consistent basis but to ensure that they stick with their weight loss plans. Maintaining a positive self-perception and ensuring that the adolescent in question stays actively involved in social activities are all critical aspects of dealing with the additional issues that come along with being overweight. According to the aforementioned study, which was done in 2010; it was noted that: [a]“Degree of teasing is associated with higher weight concerns, more loneliness, poor self-perception of physical appearance, higher preference for sedentary or isolated activities and a lower preference for social activities. Overeating among adolescents is associated with a variety of adverse behaviours and negative psychological experiences including low self-esteem and suicidal tendencies.”
Overall effects of being overweight
Being pregnant and overweight
As a pregnant woman, excess weight can increase your risk of short term and long term health problems for both you and your child. Apart from increasing the likelihood of serious difficulties during labour, the possibility of having a baby with complications in the short-term is dramatically increased. In addition, future risks are also enhanced. Passing on the harmful effects of obesity onto another human being is certainly not to be taken lightly.
Although in most cases, being mildly overweight won’t necessarily have a detrimental effect on your pregnancy, there are some difficulties which may arise; of which it’s important to be aware. Having a BMI of 30 or above increases the likelihood of coming into labour prematurely; assisted birth or a caesarean section is also a much greater likelihood. Increased or heavy bleeding post-birth is commonly known to take place. Additional complications as a result of procedures like a caesarean section e.g. Blood clot, wound infections etc. can also occur.
Remember, that even though there are numerous genetic factors that contribute to obesity, lifestyle habits are the most important factors. There’s a rule of thumb to remember: “Obesity is in your control!” “Your health is your responsibility!” Never fall into the defeatist slump of believing that you can’t control your own weight. Whether you choose the traditional methods of increasing your physical activity or combining this with weight loss supplements; it’s in your control! It’s a personal choice!
Fighting the many disorders that lead to obesity – which in many cases are largely psychological, in addition to physical, is a battle that’s a process.
Some of these disorders include:
Binge eating Disorder
This is usually characterized by abnormally excessive bouts of eating within short periods of time. Most people who engage in binge eating are either overweight or obese. One of the main characteristics of this disorder is continuous eating even though one may be full or not hungry. Continuing to eat even past the point of discomfort is one of the main warning signs that one may be suffering from binge eating disorder.
This disorder is also accompanied by psychological factors. For example, one may feel a sense of disgust with oneself for engaging in binge eating, even possibly fall into depression. A feeling of shame or guilt about the disorder is part of the psychological aspect which may be present. The shame and even self-hatred associated with this disorder may even cause one to hide in order to binge eat. In extreme cases, such a disorder could eventually become life-threatening; however, there are a host of treatment options available.
In this case, over-eating is very much a compulsion. One then forces his or her body to get rid of the excess food, whether it’s through vomiting, fasting or exercising to remove the perceived weight gain. This starts a cycle that can have extensive negative effects on the human body. The cycle of binge eating and then drastic purging has negative effects on the digestive system and can even affect the natural functioning of essential organs like the heart – even producing fatal consequences.
As many of these disorders, the psychological aspect often proves critical. It’s known that not all bulimics resort to purging themselves. Many people who engage in crash diets or extreme exercising in order to immediately lose the ‘perceived’ weight may also qualify as being bulimic. The psychological impact of guilt and shame, when one is obsessed with their weight, can in the long run cause these disorders and have long-lasting psychological effects.
Where to start?
Finding out where you are and where you’re trying to go is the best way to start. You could start with this easy to use weight loss calculator that’ll let you know where you’re at. Just put in general information like your height, weight and age, and it’ll help you find out how much you got to lose to be where you need to be. Understanding Body Mass Index (BMI) is quite simple; knowing that staying within 25-30 on the BMI scale (which is ideal weight – taking into consideration one’s weight and height) is important to know. Getting an idea as to the nature of your situation or that of your loved one is the most important thing at the beginning.
In some cases, considering weight loss surgery may be a viable option. While in other, less chronic or more manageable cases, considering the use of dietary supplements or medications like Xenical may be a more appropriate option. Having in mind one’s age, health status and personal or family medical history would contribute significantly to the steps you take on the road to healthy living. The best ways to lose weight are often simpler basic dietary changes coupled with a comprehensive weight loss routine and an effective support group.
There have been studies confirming the benefits of different kinds of weight loss supplements like orlistat, Alli pills and xenical for example, among numerous others; however, it is advisable to use these in accordance with the instructions accompanying them. Get your doctor’s advice on whether you may need to consider surgery on even on the viability of supplements in general.
Finally, remember that a well-balanced plan that takes into consideration the holistic nature of healthy living is ideal.