Although dieting in America is a multibillion dollar industry that pulls in $30 billion dollars annually, Americans are more overweight today than ten years ago. Between popular juice fasts and low fat diet plans, there is no shortage of supposedly healthy options. But Americans still keep gaining weight.
How can we keep throwing money at this problem and still be so overweight as a nation?
Maybe part of it is having unrealistic conceptions of our own weight. A study from HealthDay found that 30% of overweight Americans think that they are of a normal and healthy weight. Furthermore 70% of the seriously overweight (the obese) do not believe that they are obese. Even when Americans know their weight, they do not know how much they should weigh.
Perhaps being complacent with our weight is one part of why dieting in America is wildly unsuccessful. We all know that being obese or overweight increases our chances of experiencing negative health consequences, like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, stroke and more.
But 30% of those who are this increased risk don’t even realize it. It’s more important than ever to control our weight and attempt to minimize our health risks. With life expectancies beginning to decline due to the epidemic of obesity, it’s time to make serious changes and make dieting in America more successful.
One of the reasons why dieting is usually doomed to fail is that we all have unrealistic expectations of the results of any dieting program. We want to see results immediately, not six weeks or months from now. There is a reason that elective surgery to erase weight gain is so popular. Liposuction is the ultimate quick weight loss plan.
Unfortunately, liposuction does not decrease the health risks that come with being overweight. Many of the negative health consequences come from the lifestyle that created the weight problem, not the weight itself – although the weight itself is dangerous.
We need to accept the fact that health is not easy and is sometimes unpleasant. Americans are willing to experience the pain of wearing high heels, of waxing and hair plucking, of tight fitting clothes and undergarments designed to hold in all our fat all in the name of appearance but we’re not even willing to go for a walk in the name of health.
We have to take control over our health and commit to healthy habits when it comes to exercise and dieting In America the priority seems to be indulging rather than working hard for results. Follow these tips to get started:
• A sedentary lifestyle is the biggest enemy to our health. Don’t aim too high only to get discouraged and give up. Even walking counts as a good physical activity.
• Be mindful and aware of what you are eating. Writing down what you eat gives you accountability and makes you focus on portion control. It keeps you from mindlessly grazing when you are bored and may inspire you to make healthier choices.
• Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. It can lead to stocking up on sugary and salty junk food.
• Cut back on eating out. Fast food and restaurants are notoriously bad for our weight loss goals. If it’s difficult for you to say no to the temptation, decide to save the money for something big. Sometimes it’s easier to say no in order to save money than it is to say no just for our health.
• Try going without television for one week. It’ll save you money on electricity and will give you time to reflect on what you’re doing with your down time. If you find yourself aimless and bored, it might be a perfect opportunity to go for a walk or pick up a neglected hobby.
Dieting in America is tough, but we have to stick it out for our health and for the health of our children. Starting a few steps at a time will keep you from getting overwhelmed, but it’s up to you to keep taking more and more steps on the journey to better health.