It’s approaching “most wonderful time of the year,” except when it comes to our waistlines. If you weigh more than you’d like to weigh, these six weeks of turkey and mashed potatoes and pie and ham and cookies everywhere are extremely challenging.
So let’s talk in realistic, practical terms about why and how to control your weight not only during this holiday season, but in the rest of your life that follows.
First of all, you’re far from alone. A recent report found that a whopping 38% of U.S. adults are not just overweight, we’re obese. But for you as an individual, statistics like this don’t really matter, right? Fair enough. Let’s talk about you. Let’s talk about why your weight matters to your health and your life and about realistic things you can actually do to “own your health” and help you live longer and healthier.
“Overweight.” “Obese.” These words are tossed around as if they mean the same thing. But to physicians, and to you, such words have important definitions and distinctions. The most commonly used indirect measurement of body fat is a calculation called the Body Mass Index (BMI), a number specific to you. BMI considers both your weight and height. This makes sense, since even thin people who are tall weigh more than thin people who are shorter. BMI basically evens things out for everyone. A specific range of BMI numbers fall into “Normal Weight.” The next higher BMI number range is “overweight” and is associated with significantly higher risks to your health (diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions). BMI numbers in the even higher “obese” range are associated with even greater danger for you. By the way, the increased health risks associated with higher BMI numbers include the risk of dying. For example, non-smoking women who are overweight are 13% more likely to die, and those who are obese are 44% more likely to die, than non-smoking women who are normal weight.
So your personal BMI number is critical in understanding the risks to your life and your health. Thus:
Now you understand that weighing too much not only feels bad, it’s truly very dangerous. But realistically, what can you do? The first major challenge is that you eat poorly (too many carbs and processed foods). So you must ask yourself, are you really willing to continue risking your health and your life by
I’m not suggesting that you never eat another carbohydrate again. But this is your health and your life we’re talking about. You can find at least enough will power to simply eat fewer of these high calorie processed carbohydrates. If you can make yourself cut down even just a bit on these foods during this holiday season, then you can continue to cut down when all the cookies disappear in January.
A second important thing to do in order to protect your life and your health:
Then there’s the other major truth, that most of us exercise too little and too rarely, if at all. So here’s a practical action plan to begin or increase your physical activity:
And here’s some practical, long-term, overall guidance in getting down to a healthier weight:
I know it’s waaaaay easier to tell you why and how to lose weight than it is to truly change your lifestyle and actually lose weight. The key is to make these changes incrementally, even slowly. Just start by heading in the right direction. Pass on that second helping of mashed potatoes. Eat the ham and cheese without the two slices of white bread. Take even a short walk after dinner. The reasons why you should find the will power to drop a few pounds are clear: you want to enjoy many more holiday seasons with your loved ones.
If you weigh more than you should, reducing your weight is well worth the tremendous effort. So don’t give up. And even if you have failed or fail again, there’s no reason not to try once more using a practical approach and realistic goals. Good luck! You can do this!