08

Aug

Fight the Obesity Battle in 2020 with Small Changes and Positivity

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Obesity makes daily news headlines, and everyone is aware of the many negative effects, from increasing health problems and decreasing life span, to the higher financial costs for everything from medical care to plus-size clothing. Yet the rates of obesity keep rising, and in 2020 they promise to be higher than ever.

A variety of factors lay behind the epidemic. Cheap, unhealthy foods are a prime cause. You can buy chips, candy, and soda on nearly any corner, but in many areas it’s hard to find fresh vegetables or unprocessed food options. Long work days and commutes cut into time for exercise and home cooking.

Choices Can be Overwhelming

The vast amount of choices in tackling weight loss can be paralyzing. It’s hard to know what to try, and there are reams of misinformation and deceptive products trying to take advantage of the desperate. 

Social media can be a means of support, in finding others working on their own weight loss journeys and challenging each other to stick with their programs. But it can also be discouraging to see super fit “influencers” touting impossible and expensive regimes.

In 2020, resolve to cut through all the noise. Remind yourself that the best weight loss program for you is the one that works for you, and that you can stick with long term. Close your eyes and ears to the hype for the latest and greatest miracle cleanse or 10-day diet. 

Small Changes Make a Big Difference

In fact, the best way to begin may be to avoid the new year tendency to tackle a drastic and dramatic lifestyle change. Instead, begin with small changes that are relatively easy to make. If the idea of never eating dessert again makes you shudder, don’t make that vow. Instead, try limiting indulgent desserts like ice cream or cookies to one meal per day, or only with one meal on alternate days. Don’t deny yourself an afternoon snack if you have a craving, but commit to drinking a glass of water and waiting ten or fifteen minutes before that snack, then ask yourself if you still want it. 

At the same time, begin to add exercise to your lifestyle, particularly if you have been completely sedentary until now. When you are craving a snack or dessert, promise it to yourself after you have taken a 10-minute walk around the block or the office complex. 

As you make small adjustments, keep with them for a week or two and pay attention to how you feel. If it feels good, embrace the success and add another incremental change to keep the process going. 

Give Yourself Positive Reinforcement

A big part of the weight loss struggle is the mental side. Do you have an inner voice that berates you for your failings? Constant negative internal feedback can undermine your efforts. Fight back by consciously focusing on your successes. Cheer yourself on and drown out that mean judge in your brain. This effort will motivate you to push yourself and continue to add positive changes in your habits.

Beware of the inflexible mentality of many popular diets. For some, a drastic lifestyle change works miracles; but most people simply cannot stick to a severe regime, and the “all or nothing” approach means that they give up when they slip.

Forgive yourself for the times you fall short of your goals, and simply encourage yourself to make the better choice the next time, whether it’s the next meal or the next day. Stay positive. No one has ever scolded themselves into healthy weight loss.

As a society, we did not get into this obesity epidemic overnight. It’s been decades of slow erosion of healthy habits combined with ever-increasing pressure to the unhealthy side. Healthy change won’t happen overnight either, and won’t come through drastic and severe diet regimes. For real long-term weight loss success, focus on small changes and positive choices as you adopt a healthier lifestyle in 2020.