Obesity is a medical condition that is characterized by carrying too much body fat. The CDC classifies obesity as a common, serious, and costly disease that contributes to conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and more. Per Harvard statistics, roughly two out of three U.S. adults are overweight or obese, and one out of three are obese. This accounts for nearly 40% of the American adult population. Overweight people are classified as obese based on multiple factors, such as height, body weight, age group, sex, and things like body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. Sometimes there are medical causes that can contribute to obesity, such as medications, hormonal issues, illness, and so forth. But, often, it is related to reckless or poor eating practices, such as eating non-nutritious processed foods or simply overeating. When we eat larger quantities of food than our bodies require, choose unhealthy foods, or when we eat when we are not hungry, we contribute to the problem. But all is not lost. It is possible to correct poor eating practices and replace them with healthful ways of eating. Here are three great ways to improve:
1) ANALYZE EMOTIONS – People mainly eat out of necessity to keep their bodies healthy and strong. Eating is also a pleasurable experience. But unfortunately, we may also eat when we are worried, stressed, unhappy, or bored to provide comfort or have something to do. Before we grab a snack, it is important to analyze our emotions. Are we truly hungry and desiring nutrition, or is it to fill a void? Snacking isn’t bad for you, but if compulsive or done for emotional reasons, it can be a serious problem. For those who are hungry and craving nutrition, ditch the fattening chips and opt for a healthier and more filling snack, such as cutting celery with peanut butter.
2) DRINK MORE WATER – Per Corporate Wellness Magazine, sometimes people mistake thirst for hunger. And, if you’re watching your weight, this can trigger unnecessary snaking. They explain that confusing these two powerful cravings can cause folks to consume more calories than needed and sabotage weight loss goals. Drinking water throughout the day is important as it prevents dehydration that can trigger physical complications, such as dry eyes, headaches, dizziness, and more. By analyzing how much food and water is best for you to consume throughout the day, you can create a healthful formula to use as a dietary guide. Since ideal food and water intake can vary from person to person, your doctor or nutritionist is often your best medical resource.
3) GET BUSY – Snacking in front of the television is a common practice for most Americans. Unfortunately, the combination of being sedentary and eating snacks can make us pack on pounds. If this is your downfall, keep yourself busy with fun physical and mental activities throughout the day. Doing yoga, going for a walk, running, and doing crossword puzzles can help keep your body moving and your mind off food. Of course, physical activities can increase hunger and caloric needs to maintain energy levels, but if the snacks you choose are healthful and you keep your body moving, it’s possible to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
While excessive snacking is not good, nutritious snacking is not bad as it supports physical and mental output throughout the day. Eating junk food because we feel sad, bad, or bored is not okay as that can be self-destructive. However, understanding what our bodies require in terms of physical and mental exercise, food, and drink, and controlling what we consume, are keys to maintaining healthy bodies and minds. By making wise snacking choices and swapping out bad habits for good, we can likely avoid obesity and related disease while improving overall health outcomes.