From being overweight and unfit a couple of years ago I can safely testify that it is not easy to change over to a new leaf overnight. Most people you meet might say that it is just about being motivated and focused. I probably agree with this but strongly feel that there are quite a lot of external factors which makes one to pile on weight without even one realizing this. If you are someone who is overweight (incidentally more than 70% of urban population are overweight) then it is not easy especially with the kind of influences around us. Haven’t you heard the saying Birds of feathers flock together? I am sure the same holds good with being overweight.
The fact is that such negative reinforcement creates real psychological lacunae and the real scientific way that your body deals with this is by craving more carbohydrates. This is all a part of the vicious cycle and the reason why being overweight especially in India or for that matter even in the rest of the world is not just due to a lack of motivation. I strongly believe that a sedentary lifestyle, quantity, quality of food and a lack of exercise has ensured that more than 70% of the people are overweight. I am really concerned to see kids these days being obese and looking so unhealthy compared to a couple of decades ago. It’s not a matter of lack of motivation. Our environment has waged war on us. Its weapons are primarily a sedentary life 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 vibrant health, simplicity and health for all. Here’s how we can start –
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 far too many guilt feelings. Next time, doggy bag it for later and don’t hurt yourself! Another strategy which I use now is to measure the portion (with a measuring bowl) to ensure that one does not over serve more than required. I have realized that nothing will happen if we do eat less but a lot will be at stake due to overeating. What this has done to me nowadays is that by default I cannot overeat and feel terrible which puts me off in the first place.
Create a food schedule: Another important thing I would recommend is to ensure you eat more or less at a predefined time and not whenever you feel like. I understand that people who are in the corporate rate race will ridicule me but I too was there. I realized that if you do not give importance to your health then rest assured no one will, especially the company you work for. So plan your day and in a worst case scenario at least grab a fruit or a healthy snack to avoid the hunger pangs when middle of never ending meetings.
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. I have been guilty of quick eating but have worked on it to ensure that the name tag of a quickie meal grabber fades away.
Choose your snacks wisely: I have seen far too many people ensuring that they have decent large meals but trip in the snack department. Gorging on a snack loaded with Trans Fat and salts will most of the time give you a physiological high but they are the number one culprit. Instead replace these snacks with healthier options.There are a zillion ways to prepare healthier snack options.
Substitute hunger with Water: Our bodies are about 65-70% water. It follows that water will not only be essential but the best possible choice of liquid to ingest. In fact our body will sometimes simulate a hunger response when in reality it is craving hydration. When hungry, drink a glass of water to check if it suppresses the same. Water is also known to flush out the toxins from your body,which according to me is directly related to stress and binge eating.
Exercise daily: Nothing can be more beneficial to an individual than a regular habit of exercise. Even a 30 minute of walk on an empty stomach will do wonders to the system. I would like to emphasis that you need to ensure that you are active the whole day. I see far too many people sitting for a long period of time which negates any physical activities done for the day.Even though my workout regimen is pretty intensive i also ensure i stand and work for almost 50% of my time now.
Lifestyle: Remember, it’s not about special diets or special exercise programs. The real secret is in turning your health into a lifestyle activity. Focus on this healthy lifestyle with every choice you make. What choice you do make will have a huge impact on your future. By not changing your lifestyle you are heading into a one way street at the end of which you will only find regret. The lifestyle change you are contemplating is not something undo-able but with a positive and a can do attitude you can reverse the tide. I hope some of you do take a decision to reverse the tide and work on your health which is the most important possession with each one of us.
I hope this article has bought in some kind of awareness on the pitfalls of being overweight.As i am doing a final edit before posting i just finished reading a newspaper headline screaming Bangalore is the second most obese city in India which i feel is justified by the kind of lifestyle people are leading. In case you do not agree with my thoughts or probably want to add more to this article please feel free to post on my face book fan page or even mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org