The majority of this information has been excerpted from the book “Boomer Be Well! Rebel Against Aging through Food, Nutrition and Lifestyle©,” by Susan M. Piergeorge, MS, RD, which, is available in both print and ebook format. Click here to order.
It’s official. In the United States, obesity is now classified as a disease (1). Many of us realize that this condition is associated with other health conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, respiratory problems, and sleep disturbances (2).
The majority of these ailments are linked to lifestyle. How has the status of our health come to this with all the numerous tools, diets, and everything else available to make life easier? Perhaps that is part of the confusion, lest part of the problem.
We have way too many choices for everything. Often we select the easiest and least laborious option. It really should come as no surprise that if we eat more and expend less physical energy, we are going to weigh more. We may not feel the effects of that extra weight initially, but over time, it will manifest itself in our bodies. Thus, accompanying illnesses can occur.
So what do we do now about treating the disease? First, let’s understand how we developed this condition.
We live in some pretty incredible times. The Baby Boomer generation has experienced quite a bit of change since we were children. Men landing on the moon, miracles in medicine, and technological changes we once thought of as science fiction are all now a reality. With that, our lifestyles have transformed as well and are a result of this progress. We’ve adapted to cell phones, computers, televisions, social networking. We’ve also adapted new eating habits. A double meat patty burger with cheese, bacon, a side order of large fries and a 32-ounce beverage is a common menu item at many fast food restaurants. That meal in itself can be well beyond an individual’s daily caloric needs.
Our lifestyles are much more sedentary than when we were children. The television set was fairly new, and that was only the beginning. Technology now takes care of things for us. We weren’t born with a cell phone in our hands. Convenience was gradually adapted to and incorporated into our lives.
We also have information available 24 hours a day. In fact, we have so much information coming at us it can be dizzying to process it all. One day we read or hear something about an incredible breakthrough in nutrition or wellness, then a year or two later, it has been found to be not so incredible after all. Many of us are looking for simple solutions to take better care of ourselves. There are an endless number of products out there claiming to do just that (courtesy of your cash and/or credit card). What hooks us in is the packaging of all these products.
Many times however, those products end up not performing up to the promised expectations. Plenty of people have purchased fitness equipment that has ended up either becoming a new clothes hanger or dust collector. Many also spend a lot of money on miracle supplements that they can get right in the foods they eat (depending on what they choose to eat). We have become accustomed to: if a little of something is good, a larger dose must be better. This is not necessarily true when it comes to our health. One would think all of this progress and convenience would make us all healthier and more likely to have an easier life. However, for a lot of people, all of this progress seems to have taken away more of our time and added more stress into our lives.
We can fester about what’s right or wrong with all of this or we can make things work to our advantage. Getting back to the basics is really the simpler way to go: behavior modification, good nutrition, reasonable caloric intake, exercise, and stress management. Develop your own set of P’s—make yourself the priority, become passionate about your health and well-being, create a pattern, be persistent, and practice patience.
In Part 2 we will discuss some additional strategies for treating obesity and managing weight.
1- http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/19/obesity-as-disease-what-does-it-mean-for-americans/ Accessed June 27, 2013.
2- Rundle, R. L., “Health-care costs for obesity top those related to smoking,” http://www.karlloren.com/diet/p69.htm … Accessed March 12, 2002.