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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Weight loss and improved health rely on making the right choices daily

Weight loss and improved health rely on making the right choices daily
By:  Michael Lander

Health and fitness and diets fill our air time, print, and other
media and are an enormous revenue-generating industry in
the U.S.  When it comes to losing weight, much of the focus
seems to be on physical activity and exercise than on what
people should and shouldn't eat.

Nearly every day it seems like we are bombarded with thousands of advertisements, magazine articles, and news stories that focus on health and fitness and ways to lose weight. 

Much of what we see, read, and hear frequently offers quick and easy diet plans, workout regimens, equipment, devices, and even pills that promise to make us all thin and healthy, often with little or no effort on our part.
With convincing before and after images, we are told that if we just buy into whatever somebody is trying to sell us, we too can have bodies that we have dreamed of or had when we were younger.
Understandably, we are lured in by the hype and many of us have probably tried some of what we’ve seen and heard and have been left feeling disappointed with little or no appreciable results and with a little less money in our pockets afterwards.
In spite of all of the time and attention that is given to health and fitness and hundreds of different diets that we are told will help us lose weight, there has been no time in our history when so many in our nation have battled excessive weight and obesity.  Unfortunately, many of us are big and only getting bigger.

Even with all the time, attention, and money that is siphoned
off for weight loss, two-thirds of Americans are bigger
than ever and physical activity does not appear to be
enough to significantly alter these current trends.

Click here for a
2015 Time Magazine article on the soaring rates of overweight and obese Americans.

So, who or what is to blame?  The answer may not entirely be what you think.

We are often told that we are all to blame and that if we would only exercise more that we too can be fit and trim, but this may not be the whole truth.  One of the biggest culprits may actually be hiding in the food that we eat and we might not even know it.

For decades, we have been told that we should primarily concern ourselves with the fat content in our food and so the processed food industry provided us with low or fat free products for us to consume, but because that food became less palatable and tasty in the process, they substituted the fat with sugar.

At about the same time that food manufacturers were reconstituting the food that they created for us, they began to formulate their products into a potentially dangerous chemical cocktail with additives, preservatives, artificial flavoring, and coloring. 

Most of us have no idea what these added ingredients are and we might even find difficult to pronounce.  This has included things like
butylated hydroxytoluene, monosodium glutamate, sodium and potassium benzoate, partially hydrogenated oil, and high fructose corn syrup. 

Click on this link to read more about what
food additives that you should avoid.

It is often what is hidden in our foods that may be impacting
our health and our waistlines more than anything else in
our lives.

The fact that much of the food that we might be consuming isn’t exactly healthy and may be contributing to our bad health and weight gain isn’t something that most of us may be willing to readily to believe or accept. 

And, try as we might, we really cannot ignore the dangers that come with weight like back and joint pain, an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even cancer.

Click here to read more about the
health risks of being overweight.

My personal journey is probably not unlike many people who have encountered the problem of excessive weight gain, themselves.  I love to eat and the worse that the food is, the more I want it.  I especially crave anything sweet and by this past summer my waistline began to show it. 

Even though I was physically active and regularly rode a bicycle 30 to 40 miles every couple of days, I was bigger than I had ever been before and I tipped the scales at 191.5 pounds.

After coming to the realization that cycling alone was not going to be enough for me to shed the pounds, I began my diet on June 1, 2015.  My goal was to get down to 165 pounds.

My diet would be a simple one.  I would eat as little sugar and processed foods as possible and I would avoid eating out at fast food restaurants.  I wasn’t as concerned about the fat content as much as I was about the sugar.  Any sugar that I would eat would need to come from fruit and I wouldn’t include any sugar substitutes in my diet.

If the food that I consumed wasn’t natural, and it didn’t grow in a garden or it wasn’t raised on a farm, (preferably a local one), I would try not to eat it.

The Memphis area has about a dozen farmer's
markets, including one in Hernando, Miss.
where people can go to get healthier options
with locally grown produce and other
products from local area farmers.

Click here to find
farmer’s markets in the Memphis area.

I basically set out to do what some people refer to as “clean eating.”

Click here to learn more about
what “clean eating” is.

I wanted to eat produce that was organic and free of pesticides.  Any meat that I would eat would need to be free of antibiotics and hormones.

Losing weight was not easy for me, but I stuck to my diet and I never missed meals or ever tried to starve myself.  Doing that can wreak havoc on your body and, in the long run, it really isn't a sensible approach to weight loss.

By the first week of August, (approximately 90 days after I started), I reached my goal of losing 26 pounds and got down to 165 pounds.  After accomplishing this, I have now set a new goal to lose an additional 10 pounds.  That would put me back to a weight that I was in high school 35+ years ago.

Weight loss and improved health require making the right
choices of what you eat every day and it must become an
integral part of your life in order to reap the benefits of
it now and in the future.

Getting to a desired weight is really only half the battle, though, and the other half is maintaining it.  In order to do that, you must be vigilant about not overindulging and returning to the diet that got you into trouble in the first place.

Losing weight is not easy and it requires a certain amount of sacrifice so you don’t want to throw it all away just to end up back where you started. 

Weight loss and improved health relies on making the right choices every day of your life and then keeping at it even after you reach your initial goals.

To learn more about the hidden dangers in our food, you may want to watch the documentaries “
Fed Up” and “Food, Inc.

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