Obesity is one of the most devastating conditions when it comes to your health. Luckily, there are some simple lifestyle choices that can help you avoid obesity.
1. Keep your freezer well-stocked
- Eating out — particularly fast food — is a major cause of weight gain.
- One study found that people who consumed fast food more than twice a week gained more weight over a 15-year period than those who ate fast food less than once a week.
- To reduce the incentive to eat out, keep the freezer stocked with “convenience” foods, like shrimp, vegetables, fish, homemade soup and boneless skinless chicken breasts.
- Combined with pantry items, like whole grain pasta, brown rice, olive oil, canned tomatoes and beans, you’ll have all the makings of a healthy meal.
2. Build the right kind of plate
- Most vegetables, not including corn and potatoes, fill you up on very few calories — far fewer than whatever other food your plate contains.
- Half of your plate should be healthy vegetables.
- Fill a quarter of your plate with a carbohydrate, such as pasta, brown rice or corn.
- Then, fill the rest with lean meat, chicken, fish or another protein. It’s one of the easiest, simplest way to keep a lid on excess calories.
3. Join a weight-loss support group
- If you’ve managed to lose weight and want to keep it off, it helps to have support, preferably in person.
- People who receive personal support, as opposed to emails and newsletters, regain weight much more slowly, according to one study.
4. Hang out with healthy-weight people
- One major study found that a person’s risk of obesity increased by 57 percent if they had a friend who became obese, and by 37 percent if their spouse became obese.
- Spend time with healthy-weight friends.
- If you or your spouse is gaining weight, hit the track/salad bar/etc. together.
- Studies find that buddying up can lead to both of you shedding more pounds than either of you would if you tried alone.
5. Spring for professional advice
- A registered dietitian will evaluate how you eat and live, help you set weight and health goals and design a customized diet and exercise program to get you there.
- One study found that adults who met with a dietitian once a week for nearly three months lost 67 percent more weight than those who attended semi-weekly weigh-in meetings that didn’t involve a dietitian.
6. Cut back on calories and up the exercise when you quit smoking
- Nicotine suppresses weight gain.
- If you’re quitting smoking, plan to get more exercise and stock up on low-calorie foods to help distract you when you want to keep your mouth busy.
- The prescription drug bupropion (Zyban) may help you quit without gaining weight.
- Also, weigh yourself regularly to catch the kilos/pounds before they accumulate.
Obesity is linked not only to an increased risk of the problems you’d expect — heart disease, joint pain and diabetes — but also to numerous others, such as cancer, hearing loss, Alzheimer’s disease and gastrointestinal problems. But with the right strategies, you can maintain a better weight and enjoy a healthier life.