Why Am I Overweight?

People you surround yourself with.

It may be hard to believe, but your weight can be affected by the people you hang out with most. When I was an undergrad, a 2007 study from the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that obesity spreads through social ties.  This was a massive study including 12,000 participants over a period of 32 years.  They concluded that when an individual gains weight, it dramatically increases the chances that their friends, siblings, and spouses will likely gain weight.  Also, the closer the two people are in a social network, the stronger the effect.  I strongly urge you to read the article on the study here.

The study found that when an individual becomes obese, the chances that a friend of theirs will become obese increase by 57 percent. Their siblings have a 40 percent increased risk of obesity, and their spouse a 37 percent increased risk. However, that person’s neighbor, if not a part of their social network, has no effect

So think about who you surround yourself with. Are they improving your life or just bringing you down with their poor habits?

Lack of movement

Moving your body burns calories. Calories come from the food you consume. The whole point of food is to fuel your body with nutrients so that you have energy to move your body and perform metabolic functions. If you aren’t moving your body, guess where all those extra calories are going? They are being stored in your body instead of being burned off. If you put gasoline in your car, and don’t drive your car – The gasoline is going to stay stored in the tank. However, if you drive the car around, that gasoline will be burned off. So drive your body around and burn off all that gasoline!

 Food you intake

This is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to weight. Using the same analogy above: A sports car such as a Ferrari will need unleaded high-octane premium gasoline to run the most efficiently with the greatest output. Your body is like a Ferrari and its high octane gasoline is whole natural foods. If you put leaded low-octane gasoline in your sports car, will it fuel it and run? Yes, but not at the performance level it could ultimately achieve. Over time, if you continue to input crappy gasoline into your Ferrari, the mechanics/tubing will start to get gunky and start to wear.

Likewise, if you are continuously putting low nutrient processed food into your body, parts will start to run inefficiently and could eventually malfunction. I am talking about your cells, organs, transport systems, and structural systems!!! Needless to say, you need all this to live a fulfilling life. If your food comes in a box – it is most likely leaded low-octane. Examples of this: Crackers/chips, cereal, junk food, tv dinners, etc.

Always think about the QUALITY of your food and check the ingredients you consume so you know what you are putting into your body. Remember, what you eat and absorb will eventually become part of you.  If your food comes without a box and no nutritional label on it – it is most likely high octane premium. Examples of this: Fruits, vegetables, free range meats, grains, dairy, fermented foods, and nuts.

The closer your food is to its natural state, the healthier it should be for you. The more your food has been processed into something that doesn’t resemble the original food source – the more likely it is unhealthy for you. This rule is not an exact science, but with all the different diet recommendations out there, I believe it is the simplest guideline to follow.

The portion size of your foods will also affect the amount of calories you are in-taking. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to be signaled that you are full – with most Americans gobbling way past this point. So, slow down and chew your food more thoroughly, and truly enjoy it. The more your diet consists of fruits and vegetables, the more satiated you will be while also consuming less calories. This is because plants are high in fiber, bulk, and nutrients, but low in calories.

It could help to start mentally noting the food you are consuming to avoid mindless eating. The simple task of logging food intake can keep you accountable, and there are plenty of free applications that can easily do this for you. We can easily have emotional attachment to our food and I want you to succeed at this. Do not try to change everything cold turkey; you could end up driving yourself crazy and turn to food for emotional comfort. Slowly try to integrate a healthier option for an unhealthy option and eventually your whole diet will consist of healthy whole foods. Also, watch out for liquid calories – they will sneak up on you without you even noticing. Avoid alcoholic beverages, juices, and sugary drinks and drink as much water as possible.

 Extracurricular Activity

What do you do with your free time? Sit on the couch and watch tv? Play on the computer or xbox? I think you are getting the idea. Most people who do not exercise usually blame it on never having enough free time.

If you are spending your time watching tv, you have enough free time to work out. I would hope you could see you are prioritizing your health over mindless entertainment. In the end, this is a choice you have to realize YOU are making. Do you want to waste away your future because of your laziness?

If you have ever talked to someone who is sick or disabled, they will usually tell you that they truly never APPRECIATED all the things they were able to do while healthy. If you don’t have your health, you have nothing. As Bob Harper once said, “You‘re only as young as your spine is flexible.”

We are all eventually going to die; might as well live and play to the fullest. Replace your mindless entertainment with a walk with your family/dog, a hike in nature, or a scheduled workout. You don’t need fancy workout equipment to be healthy. All you need is your body, an enjoyable environment, and some creativity. You could even make your home into a play area. I personally have an indo board, pull up bar, gymnastic rings, and kettlebells for whenever the mood strikes.

 Mindset

If YOU do not believe that you can accomplish something, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Psychology plays a huge role in much of how we interact with the world. If you are making excuses for why you aren’t the way you want to be, then YOU are delaying success. Along with this, there is too much faith in pills, surgeries, and fad diets. Stop waiting for science to come up with a shortcut. It takes hard work and dedication to accomplish anything in life. Everything is hard before it becomes easy. You must steadily work towards your goal day by day.

Are you too stressed to work out? Exercise has been shown to be effective in reducing stress levels with immediate and long term results. In addition, exercise improves mood and sleep, and also reduces depression and anxiety. So get out there and JUST DO IT. You will feel better for accomplishing something and your body will reward you for your accomplishment.

We have become a society that tries to protect us from everything. We are on a planet whirling through space in a galaxy made of large masses being hurled at random. In reality, there is little we have full control over. The one thing you can control though, is yourself.  Take full and personal responsibility for the choices you make in your life – no more blame game.

Americans have become hopeful creatures looking for an answer that will someday magically appear for them. The truth is, the only person that can make a change in your life is YOU. No magical fairy, God, president, or best friend is going to make a change unless YOU are willing to make it happen. If you are not in the shape you want to be in, YOU have the power to change it.

 Genetics/Disease/Medication

For a small percentage of the population, this is a valid excuse for being overweight. However, even if you are in this category, you should not use it as an excuse to continue poor habits. Even with a disease, you can work towards becoming the best that you are capable of becoming.

Becoming obese does not happen over-night; it is something that continuously must be “worked” towards to occur. If you gain three pounds a year, in ten years you would have packed on 30 pounds. It took you “hard work” to gain that weight, it is going to take hard work to get it off.  Your attitude, choices, and overall lifestyle will determine if you are a prisoner to your genes or not.

 Conclusion

In summary, think about who you surround yourself with and if they are helping you improve or bringing you down.  You want to surround yourself with people who make your life more fulfilling and healthy.  Our culture has become addicted to instantaneous results and people give up way too easily in attaining their goals. They want a shortcut while maintaining their current unhealthy habits.

Food can be just as addicting as any other drug; this is something that must be acknowledged. An active lifestyle and plenty of exercise, along with healthy eating, is the safest way to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a national health crisis, and is the second leading cause of preventable death after cigarette smoking. It is a preventable cause of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, osteoarthritis, and asthma.

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and America has become the fattest nation on Earth ever. The goal of all this is not to become skinny, but to become healthy and happy in your skin. A great body should be a SIDE EFFECT of being healthy.. So get out there, move your body and eat natural wholesome foods – Your body and mind will thank you for treating it with dignity and respect.

Ready to reign in your health? Birmingham, Alabama Residents – Contact me for a FREE Personal Training Consultation: CLICK HERE

2 thoughts on “Why Am I Overweight?

  1. Read this article and immediately did 50 pushups and 100 sit-ups. We make ourselves one day at a time and it is never too late to change.

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