There are a number of theories for why so many people are overweight, but when you start to have entire populations tipping the scales toward obesity, it does suggest that something is fundamentally wrong.
Among the theories that are, in my opinion, most plausible are the following:
1. The modern-day diet: It encourages eating big portions of high-fructose corn syrup, refined grains, processed foods and artificial sweeteners, a perfect recipe for weight gain.
2. Sedentary lifestyles: Generations ago people had no choice but to exercise; they did it for their very livelihoods or at least to get from one place to another. Today, many people sit behind a desk for most of the day, then get in their cars to drive home. Leisure time involves more sitting, either in front of the TV, computer or video game system.
3. Stress and negative emotions: It is very easy to get caught up in using food as a security blanket, a distraction from boredom, or a way to cope with stress -- and once you get used to using food to feel better, it’s hard to break the routine.
4. Exposure to environmental pollutants: Exposure to low levels of pesticides, dyes, flavorings, perfumes, plastics, resins, and solvents may make you put on weight.
5. The make-up of bacteria in your gut: This is related to your diet, but if you eat a lot of sugar and grains, it can negatively influence the bacteria in your gut and contribute to obesity.
6. Lack of sleep: This disrupts vital hormones and proteins in your body, which may also increase your risk of obesity.
I don’t believe that “bad” genes play a major role. Not only has science busted this myth, showing that good nutrition during childhood can cancel out genetic predispositions to obesity, but I’m also a firm proponent of epigenetic medicine and believe our emotions and thoughts have enormous influence over the expression of our genetic code.
Exercise: THE Most Important Factor for Optimal Health and Longevity
Study after study confirms that physical exercise is absolutely the key for disease reduction, optimal mental, emotional and physical health, and longevity. So, it’s not surprising to see that this latest study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, also found that fitness is a far better indicator of overall health and longevity than body mass index (BMI).
In conclusion the study reads:
In this study population, fitness was a significant mortality predictor in older adults, independent of overall or abdominal adiposity. Clinicians should consider the importance of preserving functional capacity by recommending regular physical activity for older individuals, normal-weight and overweight alike.
One of the main benefits of exercise is that it normalizes your insulin and leptin levels, with the secondary benefits of weight loss and normalization of blood sugars. These factors in turn cascade outward, creating a ripple effect of positive health benefits.
For more information about getting started, staying motivated, and reaping maximum results, please review the Exercise Guidelines included in my nutritional plan.
Achieving Your Optimal Weight
Making up your mind to lose weight is half the battle. From there, it’s just a matter of changing your lifestyle in the following ways:
1. Tailor your diet to your nutritional type. These are the foods that are right for your biochemistry, and these are the foods that will push your body toward its ideal weight. (By the way, these foods may be high in fat, high in carbs, heavy on protein or heavy on veggies, it all depends on YOU).
2. View exercise as a drug. When you’re trying to lose weight, a casual walk here and there is not going to cut it. Many studies find that exercising for one hour, five days a week is actually needed, and I tend to agree with that. There is also strong compelling evidence that strength training and high-intensity anaerobic interval training may be especially effective for weight loss.
3. Let go of your emotional blocks. Tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) are your friend and ally when it comes to losing weight. For some, emotional eating is more complex, and an experienced EFT practitioner may be able to help unravel some of your deeper emotional issues.
If you’re already at a healthy weight, and want to stay that way, cutting out 100 calories per day, either by diet or exercise, is enough to prevent weight gain in most people.