As the clock runs down on 2018, before the celebrations begin, many people are turning their thoughts to what they accomplished over the past year, what was successful and what may have been an opportunity to learn and to grow. Top of many lists of resolutions and revelations this time of year is the desire to lose weight, be more active and live a healthier lifestyle.
Despite all we now know about diet and exercise, adult obesity rates in the United States have remained unchanged or increased in recent years. Since 1999, Americans have gained a significant amount of weight and obesity is now considered a public health crisis.
According to a recent national survey that tracked average weight, waist size and body mass index (BMI) among American adults, nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults are considered obese. Having a larger waist size indicates more abdominal fat which is linked with a greater risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the health care costs associated with chronic illness stemming from obesity were estimated to be $147 billion in 2008.
Instead of making a resolution that radically alters lifestyle, implementing sustainable changes that will endure can help make 2019 a year of more successes. Instead of fad diets or quick fix weight loss programs, the Mayo Clinic suggests making healthy changes that will have lasting results. There is no substitute for a healthy diet that limits sugar and refined grains and focuses on vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, low-fat dairy, fish and limited lean meats and poultry. Start by setting a realistic goal of reducing your weight by 5 percent and aim to walk 30 minutes each day.
Accountability is a major factor in successful weight loss and there are plenty of tools to help you track your weight, activity and diet. Surrounding yourself with people who eat healthy foods and stay active will help prevent temptation or diet sabotage. To make a change in your habits, you have to commit to the goal and have a clear understanding of your motivation. Writing these down can provide encouragement during times when willpower wanes. If you do have a setback, don’t throw in the towel, try again the following day. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can have a positive and significant impact on your health.
Learn more about treating obesity and weight loss maintenance by following this link to Stanford Health Care.