If you desire to lose weight and are stuck in a cycle of weight gain it may be time to take an objective look at the factors that may be hindering your weight loss.
Often, individuals have underlying issues that thwart their weight loss efforts such as genetics, metabolic issues, medications they are taking, stress, lack of sleep, etc. But sometimes, the majority of the issue lies within our control and we do not realize it or don’t know the steps to take to change it.
Taking a look at ourselves and what we may be doing to sabotage our health and our ability to maintain a healthy weight may not be pleasant but if we can identify the problem areas then we gain the power to combat them.
Let’s take a look at some of the common pitfalls faced by everyone that may affect the overweight and obese more adversely.
Lifestyle Habits and Overweight
The biggest area to observe when identifying factors that contribute to weight gain is an individual’s daily habits.
- Do you get some form of physical exercise each day?
- How do you spend your time off from work or school?
- Do you eat less on rest days?
- Do you cook meals using whole foods/healthy ingredients or do you eat mainly pre-packaged or fast food?
- Do you spend the majority of your time sitting?
- When you eat snacks, what is the first thing you grab?
If you answered these questions honestly, you may have already identified areas that need to change. An unhealthy diet and an inactive lifestyle are the two most common culprits of excess weight gain.
Combating Unhealthy Eating Habits
Let’s be honest, it is so much quicker and easier to grab a bag of chips and a coke than it is to prepare and eat a salad or some other healthy choice at lunchtime.
If this sounds true to you, then the fact that you can relate to this gives you the power to be prepared. Meaning, if you take a bit of time to have some healthy choices readily available to you then it would allow you to choose one of those instead of the chips and coke.
If you are not the type to “cook” in the traditional sense then you can purchase fresh fruit and vegetables that are fast and easy to prepare. Organic baby carrots and hummus is a great healthy snack and can be purchased from the grocery store requiring no prep. Also available are vegetables that are pre-prepped for stir-fry and all you need to do is grab a frying pan and a bit of seasoning. You do not need to be a professional chef, anyone that can read a recipe can fix a healthy meal. Check out fruitsandveggies.org for some healthy recipes that are fast and easy.
Eat meals at the table and find ways to occupy your time between meals. If you know that you eat more on rest days (days off) then you can take some actions to prevent yourself from falling into this old habit.
- You can plan an activity that will get you away from your refrigerator;
- Volunteer your time to a local organization such as a dog rescue or another charity that would get you out of the house and engaged in some type of physical activity;
- Take up a hobby that requires working with your hands to keep you busy (knitting, building a model, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, etc);
- Remove all the poor food choices from the house and replace them with only healthy ones.
Eating fewer carbs on rest days, staying busy, and making different choices for meals and snacks will promote weight loss and help you get closer to your health goals.
Incorporating Physical Activity Into Your Daily Routine
Adding physical activity into your normal daily routine does not mean you have to go kill yourself at the gym for 3 hours. It can be a short walk around the neighborhood at first and you can work up to longer walks as you gain more stamina.
It can be parking further away from the door to the grocery store or the office or taking the stairs instead of the elevator to the third floor. Find an activity that you enjoy and then it will not feel like you are deliberately getting exercise, it will feel like stress relief and a fun break. (dancing, bicycling, gardening, etc)
Forming new healthy habits to replace old poor habits will make a huge impact on your health. There are many creative ways you can design an environment that helps promote weight loss and yes, sometimes this means protecting yourself from your own unhealthy habits.
Other Lifestyle Challenges
Advances in technology, electronics, and many other areas have caused the lives of the average person to completely change over the past 50 years. Social and economic factors can take some blame for the part they play in the obesity epidemic in the United States today. Some of the factors that have contributed to this ongoing problem include:
Excess Screen Time
World cancer research published the results of a study showing strong evidence and a link between the amount of screen time used and overweight and obese adults and children. Screen time is defined as any time using computers, electronic devices (tablets/smartphones), and watching television.
- Not burning energy – When we are engaged in screen time, we are inactive and not expending energy or burning calories. Maintaining a healthy weight requires burning more calories (energy) than we consume. Children and adults worldwide are spending more time participating in sedentary activities than being active which is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic we are facing today.
- Marketing unhealthy foods – While we are engaged in watching television or even playing games online, we are exposed to targeted ads that are marketing unhealthy foods and beverages that promote weight gain. So, even if we were not thinking about the food we see the ad and think… I need a snack.
- Eating mindlessly – Research has shown that eating only while at the table can help promote weight loss. How does this work? When you are watching television or engaged in any sort of screen time, you are already paying attention to one thing. When you eat at the same time, two things happen:
- Unhealthy lifestyle habits are formed. If we eat while we watch tv or play video games we condition our minds to think we need to have a snack or eat every time we engage in these activities
- Individuals eat too much. When we are paying attention to the television or our electronic device, we pay far less attention to other things we are doing. This leads to mindless eating. Eating too much without even noticing and not paying attention to the signals we receive from our bodies telling us we are full.
Other Factors That Have Contributed To The Obesity Epidemic
Many factors have contributed to the ever-growing obesity problem facing our Nation and the world. Life as many of us knew it has been “advanced” but perhaps to our detriment in many ways. Looking at the relationship between these changes and the state of the average American’s health is eye-opening.
- Agricultural changes
- Over the past 30 years, many changes have taken place in the way our food supply is grown and harvested with the first GMO food hitting our supermarkets in 1994 (tomato) Since 1990, the obesity rate has climbed over 170%.
The availability of healthy nutritious “whole” foods is limited, to begin with, and then add in social and economic factors.
- Historically, everyone had to walk if they wanted to get somewhere. Today, many individuals travel by car or mass transit so this natural and necessary form of transportation that helped promote the burning of calories is no longer a necessity to most.
Walking or riding a bike are both excellent forms of physical activity that help individuals maintain a healthy weight.
- Automation and advancements in technology
- Advancements have led to the elimination of many manual jobs. The physical activity that was necessary to complete that job is no longer benefiting the individual who performed it.
Many individuals work on computers which has eliminated the physical activity that was required in the past to perform certain tasks.
For instance, an individual can create a folder on their computer, put things into the folder and file the entire thing without even moving. This is a far cry from the person who had the job of pushing the heavy cart full of file folders down to the file room and actually opening the file cabinet drawer to deposit these folders into their appropriate locations.
The bottom line is that there are not as many natural opportunities to engage in physical activity today as there were even just 30 years ago. We need to find ways to add physical activity to our day.
- Convenience foods
- Pre-packaged foods, fast foods, and all the additives and preservatives that fill the average American’s diet are some of the biggest contributors to the overweight and obesity-challenged public.
Certain foods have been created with added fat or refined carbohydrates to deliberately work with the “reward” center of the brain and are addictive in nature. Studies have compared these types of foods and their dose, rate of absorption, and addiction potential to drugs of abuse.
A study that was conducted by Connecticut College with lab rats discovered that more neurons in the brain’s pleasure center were released when eating Oreos than with either morphine or cocaine. So if you wonder why there are certain foods that you just can’t seem to stop eating, it is because they are addictive.
Take Charge Of Your Lifestyle Choices And Improve Your Health
We all have challenges to combat that affect our health. Today there are a plethora of unhealthy foods that are available for us to purchase and the portion sizes served in the U.S. are the largest in the world. Advancements that have taken place in technology and automation over the past several decades (at work and home) have contributed to and encouraged our sedentary lifestyles.
Then, throw in a pandemic to keep everyone housebound for a few years and it can feel like we have been set up for “healthy weight” failure. Sadly, in today’s society, it is a challenge to maintain a healthy weight otherwise, 75% of American Adults would not be tipping the scales as overweight or obese.
Taking charge of your lifestyle and implementing healthy habits that you follow every day will help you lose weight and keep it off.
Get The Help You Need
If your weight loss situation is overwhelming to you, there is no shame in asking for help. There are amazing doctors, like Dr. Steven Batash who have dedicated their lives and careers to helping people just like you.
At Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center we are here to partner with you on your weight loss journey so you are successful in reaching your weight loss goals. We customize a weight loss program tailored to your circumstances by targeting the issues that are hindering your weight loss and addressing them.
We have a host of non-surgical weight loss tools that can help patients with some of the most common hindrances to weight loss. Some of the non-surgical solutions we offer include The Orbera weight loss balloon, Suture Sculpt endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), and prescription weight loss medications that can be used in conjunction with one of these two safe and effective weight loss programs.
Our team is with you every step of the way, providing support, guiding, and encouraging you as you navigate your way through your weight loss program. You will have access to nutritional and dietary resources, physical activity guidance, and more through a team of highly-skilled professionals.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you make the lifestyle changes necessary to improve your health and your quality of life.