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Lifestyle Health and Wellness- Focusing on Obesity

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childhood-obesityIn the first year of the Master’s degree program, there are 5 separate, 8-week long courses.
So far, we have studied Theory and Behavioral change as it relates to lifestyle medicine. This course looked into one’s behavior that leads to certain lifestyles (healthy or unhealthy), how to change behavior if one needs to due to health concerns, barriers to changing lifestyle, and three distinct theoretical models based upon behavioral change.

I have recently completed the course in Advanced Lifestyle Medicine and have a plethora of information to share! The focus of this course was to learn and understand social justice as it relates to lifestyle, along with a heavy emphasis on multiple chronic diseases.
The most profound segment in this course related to the chronic disease of Obesity. Some of the pearls below are a combination of quoted text, video, an HBO series on obesity, and module class discussions. I am happy to provide references at any time.
Some thoughts to ponder:
“You never know which attempt will achieve a lifetime of success.”
Try mindful eating: 1 minute of meditation and reflection prior to eating your meal. Smell your food before you taste it, soak in the presentation and color, and reflect on your surroundings prior to consumption. Avoid just diving in!
Utilize a “Fullness” scale: Am I ravenous? Starving?, or mildly hungry? Eat more slowly and assess throughout your meal whether or not you are full, semi full, could eat more but starting to feel satisfied, or if you eat further you are bound to be uncomfortable. Stop before you feel stuffed- it takes 20 minutes for your mind to catch up to your tummy!
STOP drinking your calories: Mindless consumption of beverages is a bad idea. Soda, iced tea w/ sugar, sports drinks, energy drinks, frappes, lattes and alcoholic beverages add up quickly. Not to mention the “hidden” sugars! Be mindful and think about whether or not you can afford to drink an extra 300-500 calories per day!
Did you know that a child born after the year 2000 has a 1 in 3 chance of being OBESE? If that child is black or Hispanic, they have a 1 in 2 chance!
1/3 of our population is obese. 18% of our children are obese
Physical activity decreases STRESS
What type of nation can exist without a healthy workforce?
Sometimes ONE little pearl, thought or suggestion provides a Cue to Action….. Just in case you are beyond contemplating losing weight and are ready to roll, I have 7 steps to consider that make perfect sense to me:
1) START SOMEWHERE! Anywhere. Pick one thing you want to change and make it a successful change 100% of the time. Having success leads to motivation to pick a second behavior change. JUST START with something you know you can do and it does not matter how small it is.

2) Eat only the most PROFITABLE foods: I don’t know about you, but protein consumption is always low for me. I easily meet my fat and carbohydrate consumption before anything else. Chips and chocolate are my downfall. Concentrate on foods that work for you, not against you and keep them at an arm’s reach.

3) Realistic goals: It does not matter how small your goals are, just set them. Consider your current health, current lifestyle and how long you have lived as such. This may be your whole life, so no one expects you to run 5 miles in 4 weeks. Start with a walk around the block and stay consistent. Keep it real and keep increasing your goals. Again, just start somewhere and set so you can be successful

4) Support: Spouse, neighbor, coworker, your dog….Find someone to motivate, encourage, and keep you accountable. I find that someone who has the same goals and is on the same page really helps me.

5) Portion control: remember what was said previously on evaluating your “fullness”

6) Keep track and plan and structure your meals: For me, this is my biggest challenge. I am not prepared when I leave for work, so I fail to eat the correct calories, and over compensate when I get the chance. This is my main goal! Prepare my “go-to” healthy foods so I am not relying on poor choices with limited options and time

7) Make physical activity a part of your life: We need 150 hours per week of physical activity. Plain and simple. Turn off reality TV and move! That’s 30 min, 5 days a week. We have all heard these numbers before!

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