- On average 1 person dies per year in the U.S. from terrorism
- Over 300,000 people die each year from obesity in the U.S.
- 70% of adults in the U.S. are overweight
- Obesity rates are currently at 39%
“Obesity is common, serious, and costly” [CDC data]
Yes, we should never body shame overweight people. They’re not ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘inferior’ people.
Yet, in the midst of rightfully avoiding stigmatizing overweight people, and even celebrating ‘plus size models’, we mustn’t overlook the fact the being overweight is the primary hallmark of being unhealthy. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers – are serious and costly; and these are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death.
As society focuses their attention, their anger, and governments fund their budgets on fighting the modern-day ‘bogey man’ – terrorism, we mustn’t lose sight of our real enemy – obesity and its direct and indirect consequences. The amount of ‘health care’ money spent on the downstream effects of being overweight/unhealthy – which is at its core, a lifestyle issue – is staggering and has real impact on the economic welfare of any nation. And truthfully, it’s better described as ‘sick care’ not health care – because treating diabetes or heart disease is not necessarily creating or promoting health.
“For the average American or European, Coca-Cola poses a far greater threat than al-Qaeda.”[from Homo Deus, the follow up book to Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari, 2015 Vantage Publishing, London]
What causes humans to be overweight?
It’s a constellation of three lifestyle factors:
1. Poor diet
2. Sedentary lifestyle
3. Chronic stress
This is what’s referred to as the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) – refined carbohydrates (sugar, and foods that act like sugar – bread, pasta, cereal, pizza). Additionally, consumption of processed and packaged foods high in not only those same refined carbohydrates, but processed vegetable oils.
A broad, general statement can be made: people living in modern societies don’t get enough exercise. They sit and sit and sit. Walk little, workout less, workout intensively even less so.
First, a diet of refined carbohydrates and a sedentary life are huge stressors in and of themselves. Add to that financial, emotional, work, relationship, political, and social stress and you have the modern society person – under the influence of chronic stress which leads to physiological changes that in turn cause heart disease, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease, etc.
1. Healthy diet
2. Regular exercise – to the point of exertion
3. Life management to reduce stress
The thumbnail description: vegetables, seeds, nuts, some fruit, quality protein and healthy fats; avoidance of sugar, processed vegetable oils, grains and dairy. Water as your primary beverage.
In brief, daily movement to the point of exertion. Join a CrossFit. Do yoga, Swim regularly. Ride a mountain bike. Join a rowing club. Play tennis. Or, do them all. Do what moves you. Daily (you only have to workout on the days you eat).
First, get more sleep (this usually means going to bed earlier – no phone, tablet, TV in the bedroom). Second, get up earlier and use your morning for you – read, pray, journal, make to-do lists, exercise, meditate, walk the dog. There’s so much under the category of life management and stress reduction – too much to summarize briefly.
If you want help with changing your lifestyle, we encourage you to sign up for the Bonfire Program – over a 90 day period it will walk you through methods and strategies to adopt healthier habits in all three of these lifestyle domains (fuel, air, spark – diet, exercise, life/stress management). Sign up here – it’s free and your email address is always protected.