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How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off: Addressing the Global Obesity Epidemic, a Major Risk Factor for Serious Chronic Illness

How_to_manage_chronic_health_issues_like_obesity

Obesity affects nearly 2 billion adults, 340 million children and adolescents, and 41 million children under the age of five worldwide. It affects both children and adults, men and women, and individuals in both developed and third-world countries. In other words, obesity does not discriminate. The reasons why an individual becomes obese are complex and oftentimes the result of multiple factors. Knowing this, what are ways in which individuals with obesity can lose weight and keep it off?

Focus On Optimizing Your Diet

Researchers have determined that regular exercise does not outweigh the effects of a poor diet and, furthermore, that exercise does not promote weight loss. Exercise is still an essential part of reducing the risk and possibly preventing certain diseases, like cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. But individuals looking to lose weight or prevent weight gain should prioritize their diet.

Important steps for any individuals to take in order to optimize their diet are to:

-Significantly reduce or eliminate packaged processed foods

-Identify and eliminate inflammatory foods

-Eat gut-supporting foods rich in prebiotics (fibers found in plant-based foods), like asparagus, leeks, and dandelion greens.

Manage Stress

Stress has been linked to fat in the abdominal region, a risk factor for chronic illness. Cortisol is one of the main hormones associated with stress and has been discovered to cause the body to redistribute fat to the abdominal region. Fat in the abdominal region is associated with an elevated risk of developing chronic health conditions, like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Learning how to manage stress may have a significant impact on the ability to lose weight and prevent certain chronic health conditions. Some examples of stress management include:

-Setting time aside for hobbies, like reading and doing arts and crafts

-Learning how to manage stress may have a significant impact on the ability to lose weight and prevent certain chronic health conditions. Some examples of stress management include:
Setting time aside for hobbies, like reading and doing arts and crafts

-Practicing relaxation techniques, like meditation and deep breathing

-Fostering healthy relationships by spending time with friends and loved ones

Prioritize Sleep

Sleeping too few hours has been directly linked to weight gain. A study published in 2008 by the journal Sleep shows that both children and adults who sleep shorter hours have a significantly increased risk of obesity compared to children and adults who sleep longer hours.

Scientists believe that lack of sleep causes disruptions in hormones. For example, poor sleep has shown to increase levels of a hormone called ghrelin that is known to increase appetite.

Sleeping enough hours every night is crucial to various processes in the body, including healing and repairing the organs and blood vessels, regulating appetite, and maintaining the health of the immune system.

Work With an Endocrinologist to Check and Monitory Hormones

An imbalance in certain hormones is a common cause of weight gain. For example, an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is a common cause of weight gain. In fact, weight gain and/or the inability to lose weight is the number one symptom seen in individuals diagnosed with hypothyroidism. But thyroid hormones aren’t the only ones involved in weight gain. Sex hormones, like estrogen and testosterone, can also contribute to weight gain. Bottom line — when the body’s hormones are out of balance, it’s almost impossible to lose weight.


Resources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/well/live/belly-fat-health-visceral-fat-waist-cancer.html
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/belly-fat-linked-with-higher-heart-disease-risk-2018072614354
https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/the-risks-of-belly-fat#1
https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/healthy-living/sleep/why-sleep-is-important/
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/19-best-prebiotic-foods#section7