zen habits : breathe

Living Life Overweight: 10 Reasons Why You’re Not To Blame

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Alex Shalman of AlexShalman.com.

Anyone who is overweight will testify that losing weight is not as easy as it seems. The people that are lean, or have gone from fat to skinny will say it’s just a matter of motivation and elbow grease.

If you’re overweight then you’ve probably experienced the sharp end of the ridicule stick from many people in your life. It can’t possibly feel good, and that type of attention isn’t helping your weight loss goals either.

The fact is that such negative reinforcement creates a real psychological depression, and the very real scientific way that your body deals with this is my craving more carbohydrates. This is all part of the vicious cycle and part of the reason why being overweight, especially in America, is not just a lack of motivation.

  1. Slowing Metabolism. As we cut calories, and lose weight, our metabolism slows down, making it more difficult to shed the pounds.
  2. McDonald’s Policy. The McDonald’s corporation mission statement is to have a McDonald’s within 4 minutes of every American as well as to have 7% of the population eat there at least once a day. That’s just one of the many fast food franchises.
  3. Sedentary Jobs. Life isn’t like the little house on the prairie anymore. We aren’t using massive amounts of energy to hunt and kill, churn butter, and chop wood. We sit in front of our computers and have vehicles transport us to and fro.
  4. Household Chores. The things we have to do around the house have gotten easier and easier. Just look at the newest washing mashings, dishwashers, computers, remote control devices, and microwave ovens. That’s just an example, look at everything else that’s so easy to do and takes away from our energy expenditure.
  5. Prepared Foods. As I mentioned above, people used to have to hunt for food, or at least cook it. Now you can walk into any grocery store and gorge on high-sugar, high-carb, and empty calorie foods. They’re easier and cheaper to get than fruit.
  6. Portion Sizes. Most fast food meals are over 1000 calories. Other restaurants have very large portion sizes. The temptation is there, and they’re not making it easier on us.
  7. Daily Workouts Not Enough. Even if you run every day on the treadmill you aren’t burning the necessary amount of calories to balance the energy intake of the ‘Standard American Diet’. The rest of the world may laugh, but convenience and fast food are coming their way soon.
  8. Fad Diets- Harmful. Most of the fad diets on the market are helping you do one thing. Lose weight, by getting rid of water and lean muscle mass. That’s how you lose those 5-10 lbs so quickly, but than get them back even quicker.
  9. Fat Cells Multiply- Permanently. That’s right, once you’ve gone overweight your fat cells multiplied and grew. When you lose some weight your body wants to maintain homeostasis and the fats cells want to grow again.
  10. Genetic factors. Certain people are just predisposed to have more fat cells in their bodies. That’s how some people can eat whatever they want and ‘appear’ healthy, while other’s become extremely overweight. However, keep in mind that we haven’t experienced evolution in 40,000 years while we keep getting fatter and fatter. Seems like the environment is more to blame.

The information provided above shows that it’s not a matter of having a lack of motivation. Our environments have waged war on us. Their weapons are sedentary lives and trans fats of mass destruction. All is not lost though, we can stand strong and fight for what we believe in. We can fight for zen, simplicity, and health for all, and here’s how …

8 Steps To Take Control of Your Weight

  1. Substitute Water. Our bodies are about 65-70% water. It follows that water would be not only essential, but the best possibly choice of liquids to ingest. In fact, our bodies will sometimes simulate a hunger response, when in reality the body is craving hydration. When hungry, drink a glass or two of water to check if it suppresses your hunger.
  2. Chew Your Food. Chewing our food very slowly and deliberately has several benefits that are often overlooked. It gives us the ability to relax, and enjoy our meal. Slow chewing is the first, and highly important, step in a complex system of digestion. Besides, if we eat slowly, we might feel full before finishing the whole meal, and can leave the rest for the next meal.
  3. Exercise daily. How silly of me to include something as obvious as exercise. I did a 30 day trial with waking up, and walking for 30 minutes first thing in the morning. My journal records that I was feeling amazing during the period of time that I was following this habit.
  4. Publicize your intentions. The same way that Leo publicizes his challenges and book writing goals you can make your own goals public. Start a blog, join a forum, and have other people keep you accountable to help.
  5. Create a food schedule. Plan your day so that you’re eating at approximately the same time each day. This scheduling will incorporate itself into your circadian rhythm, and aid in digestion.
  6. Do not over eat. Know your limit and stop eating when you are full. I have often been a victim of wanting to finish a meal so that it doesn’t go to waste. This has left me with many a stomach ache. Next time, doggy bag it for later, and don’t hurt yourself!
  7. Choose your snacks wisely. Put down the Doritos® and cheese puffs. Pick up the apple and baby carrots. Make the right decision, I know you can do it.
  8. Lifestyle. Remember, it’s not about special diets, or special exercise programs. The real secret is in turning your health into a lifestyle, and focusing on this healthy lifestyle with every choice you make.

Read more from Alex at his blog, AlexShalman.com.

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