Focus on Health: Daily Activities that Foster a Healthy Mind and Body
By Justin Bennett
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, roughly 2/3 of adults in the United States are considered obese. The reasons for this are largely due to our westernized societyís focus on food and convenience. We tend to gravitate toward things that are easy, even if they arenít best for our health.
Thankfully, there are a few simple actions we can take each day to combat obesity and the comorbidities Ė diabetes, heart disease, premature death Ė that go along with it.
● Take care of your mental health. It is well accepted that there is an unbreakable link between mental and physical health. Essentially, your mental health directs your physical health. The American Psychological Association notes depression and obesity are reciprocal, meaning one can ďtrigger and influence the other.Ē If you want to take control of your physical health, you must focus on your emotional well-being. You can do this by accepting the fact that youíll have good days and bad days and asking for the support of your friends and family throughout your weight loss journey.
● Go to bed half an hour early and leave distractions at the bedroom door. In addition to your mental health, your weight may be linked to the number of hours you sleep each night. Shape explains that failure to get enough shut eye can result in something called metabolic grogginess. This happens when your insulin levels, which are in-part dictated by sleep, change. Your body produces excess insulin when you are overtired, and that results in fat being stored instead of expelled. In order to fall asleep quickly, eliminate distractions such as TV and smart phones. These devices expose your eyes to certain wavelengths of light that tell the brain it's time to be alert.
● Add a splash of color to your plate at each meal. You may have heard your children say they are encouraged to eat the rainbow at school. But what does this really mean? Eating the rainbow is simply a phrase that can help kids and adults alike learn to look for foods that offer health benefits. This includes bright and colorful fruits and vegetables such as red apples, orange carrots, green asparagus, purple eggplant, and white onions. If your eating habits are less-than healthy, consider swapping one of your nutritionally deficient sides for a whole food, which is usable by the body.
● Make fitness a priority, even if you donít have time for a full workout. We get it, between work and your adult obligations, finding the time to work out is almost impossible. But itís necessary if you want to be healthy. Strive for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. You might, for example, have a dance party with the kids after dinner or turn socialization time into exercise time by walking with your friends instead of chatting over coffee. Today offers more tips for busy parents. You might also consider hiring a personal trainer who can help you get the most out of your fitness routine.
If your weight loss journey has stalled (or never even set sail), you might want to consider getting a helping hand in the form of bariatric surgery. Keep in mind, however, that this is a last resort and only an option for those who are extremely obese. You are likely only a candidate for bariatric surgery if you have a body mass index greater than 40, which puts you at an immediate risk of diabetes, heart disease, and death. Bariatric surgery can help you lose weight quickly but requires an extreme lifestyle change that includes, at least temporarily, a liquid diet and extremely reduced caloric intake. Qunomedical offers more information on the types of gastric surgeries and outlines the risks and rewards of this drastic medical procedure.
While your value as a person is not defined by the numbers on the scale, your weight plays a significant role in your overall health and wellness. Fighting obesity isnít easy. But by shifting your priorities to wellness-focused actions, such as taking care of your mental health and staying in motion, you will be that much closer to winning the war. When your life is at risk, itís a battle you canít afford to lose.