Obesity Declared a Disease, What can you do?
Last year (2013), the AMA (American Medical Association) voted to classify obesity as a disease. This opinion is backed by the Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and the American Society of Bariatric Physicians.
Obesity now affects 1/3 of the US population and 2/3 of us are overweight. A look in the mirror tells me I need to make some changes, and a look anywhere in this country tells me that most of us are struggling to maintain a healthy weight. Like so many diseases, in fact almost all diseases, they are both out of our control and, to a large extent, are life-style diseases (we do control our lifestyle- what we eat, how much we exercise and sleep, drink, or smoke, etc.)
It’s not your fault, but after reading this you may have the tools to start the journey back to health and a healthy weight, and thus you do become responsible. Don’t panic and stop reading!
Part of the reason I say it’s not your fault is that we are all constantly bombarded with
misinformation. Information that is keeping us sick and overweight.
– HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) is natural and good for you. WRONG– Avoid it like the poison it is to your waist-line.
– Aspartame in diet foods and drinks will help you loose weight. WRONG– There is no single worse poison in our food today. Aspartame gets converted to formaldehyde which triggers auto-immune disorders and cancer.
– Eat lots of whole grains. WRONG – Most of us are gluten sensitive, we have become insulin resistant, so processed flour or grains result in a large rise in insulin which then signals the body to STORE FAT.
– Juice and soda in moderation is good for you. WRONG – For most of us who are insulin resistant (pre-diabetic) any is fattening.
– Drinking in moderation (alcohol) is safe. WRONG – alcohol is largely an empty carbohydrate, which triggers insulin and (you guessed it) you store fat.
So remember, like almost all diseases and conditions, the answer is not in a pill or surgery, but in a life-style change. If you are a parent in my practice suffering with weight issues, consider seeing Dr Zelfand or I at Natura (www.naturaintegrativemedicine.com). Start making changes and don’t forget to add exercise into your life.
A few changes I might suggest:
1. Get rid of boxed cereals, and have steel-cut oats (Bob’s Red Mill) or eggs for breakfast with a side of fruit, or a little honey.
2. Get rid of bread and pasta (and all gluten if you are gluten sensitive) or use one-two slices a day of very whole grain bread(3-4 grams of fiber).
3. Eat 5-7 servings of vegetables a day and 2-3 of fruit (start slow if that is overwhelming, and more fruits if needed at first).
4. Eat lean meats (fish is OK if you are not pregnant).
5. Drink lots of water (up to a gallon a day is ok for adults).
6. Start exercising more. Just walk if that’s all you can do, and in a few months you’ll be doing more.
7. Use nuts and seeds (in moderation) along with fruits and vegetables for your snacks and treats.
8. Allow one cheat meal a week, or if you slip, just get back with the program.
9. Take nutritional supplements and probiotics.
The diversity of bacteria in your gut (gut microbiome) has been shown in studies to reduce inflammation and thus reduce obesity. You can read more about that here… You can enhance your gut bacteria diversity by eating fermented foods and taking quality probiotics.
Remember, we are making changes for life, so we have to find a way to enjoy this new way of eating and living. Many will experience withdrawal symptoms if going gluten free or dairy free for the first time. The headache and fuzzy brain fog will lift, though it can take a week or even a month for some. Hang in there, you may be shocked at your new energy level and sense of wellness after the fog lifts.
I didn’t add dairy to the list but could have. Milk is for calves. Most of us as we get older have a relative lactose intolerance (we were never intended to be drinking milk from a cow, eating ice cream, etc.). If you don’t have significant lactose intolerance and you are not sensitive to dairy, stick with natural yogurts, in moderation.
To your health, waist-line, and sense of well being.
Take this one day at a time.
Rome wasn’t built in a day! – sorry – probably not a PC quote there! (a lot of suffering caused by them Romans!)
Obesity is increasing around the world, and especially in the wealthier countries. For the latest world data just published May 2014, follow this link…