Obesity is considered to be one of the most common progressive and chronic diseases by various organizations, including the World Health Organization and both the Canadian and American Medical Associations. However, it is also unfortunately one of the most neglected diseases today, therefore making it a global epidemic. Characterized by excessive accumulation of fat, as many as 3 in 5 Canadians say they identify as being either overweight or obese. Obesity can have a wide range of negative effects on your health, including increasing your risk of heart disease or stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer – and it has been directly attributed to the premature deaths of 1 in 10 Canadians between the ages of 20 and 64. The stigma and stereotypes that are often associated with obesity can also increase one’s risk of being discriminated against – for example, individuals of an average weight may think that someone who is obese is lacking in self-discipline, lazy, or unmotivated – and, as a result of these obesity-related stereotypes, your mental health can also be impacted and could lead to things like stress, anxiety and depression.
Obesity often develops as a result of having an unhealthy diet, eating too much, and not getting enough physical activity – sometimes a combination of all three. However, obesity can also be much more complex than that and could also be the result of a number of other factors, too, including those that are environmental, genetics, emotional, sleeping problems, as well as underlying medical conditions and certain medications.
In order to get a handle on obesity, people often turn to quick-fix solutions (such as fad diets) in effort to lose excess weight. Unfortunately, fad diets are not meant to be followed on a long-term basis, which is why it’s so easy for individuals trying to lose weight to have trouble doing so. When it comes to obesity it’s important to remember that you need to lose weight in order to improve your health. However, weight loss should be looked at as something more than just how much weight you need to lose or how fast you need to lose it. Instead, the focus should be on your overall health and wellbeing – because the healthier you are, the better you will feel and the higher quality of life you will have.
One of the most important steps when it comes to combating obesity is to be able to identify any potential triggers that could be contributing to your weight gain. Are you an emotional eater? Do you eat all the wrong foods? Are your portion sizes too large? Does obesity run in your family? These are all questions that you should know the answer to as well as be willing to address once you have identified them as triggers. Getting down to the root cause of weight problems as well as breaking down those road blocks can ultimately help you be even more successful in your weight loss journey. Next, identify how you define success. Understand the reasons why you’ve made the choice to tackle your weight problem and give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re ultimately one step closer to becoming healthier, and reward yourself when you do reach some weight loss milestones. Knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, as well as knowing you have a healthier, longer life to look forward to can also help keep you motivated.
Visit www.obesitycanada.ca for more information on the obesity epidemic, what’s being done in effort to control it, as well as for different resources to help get you started on your weight loss journey.