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Today, approximately 35 percent of Americans are considered obese (obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or greater). It’s a problem with many causes, including genetics, environmental factors, socioeconomic circumstances, and certain prescription medications. It’s also a problem that often begins in childhood, leading to serious lifelong problems that may include diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and poor self-image.

People struggling with obesity often lack ready access to healthy foods like fruit and vegetables, have no easy means of exercise (e.g., no nearby walking paths or no ability to afford a gym membership), and lack a basic knowledge of healthy foods and dietary habits. Whatever the causes, fighting obesity is a matter of rejecting old habits and developing a good self-care routine that includes a balanced diet, getting plenty of rest, finding a workout routine, and addressing any psychological issues that may be causing behavioral problems.

Changing the way you eat at home…

Reaching a healthy weight means you need to rethink the way you interact with food. If eating is something you do mindlessly without thinking about what’s going into your body, it’s time to adopt a strategic approach to nutrition. The first step is to get rid of junk foods that foster unhealthy eating habits, such as excessive snacking, eating to cope with stress, or eating just for the sake of eating. Emphasize foods that are low in calories and high in nutrition. Substitute vegetables, fruit, lean meats, certain dairy products, whole grains, and legumes for hamburgers, pizza, and fried chicken. And instead of having meals in front of the television or computer, eat at the dinner table where you’re more likely to pay attention to how much you’re eating and how large your portions are.

…and on vacation

Be sure to bring your healthy habits with you while traveling, too. Consider renting a vacation home over a hotel room so you’ll have access to a kitchen and can cook healthy meals instead of ordering from a restaurant, which gives you total control over what you eat. Booking sites make it easy to find amenities like a home gym or nearby parks for walking so you can also keep up with exercising while you’re on the road. For example, if you look for a vacation rental in Naples, you could try staying near activities that get you outside and moving. From its gorgeous beaches to the Big Cypress National Park, which offers many different ranger-led tours and hikes, this area makes it easy to stick to a healthy lifestyle plan.


It’s recommended that everyone get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week doing whatever physical activity they find enjoyable and doable. Exercise promotes better sleep habits (which can also combat obesity), makes you feel better, and improves your ability to focus. Regular exercise burns calories and develops muscle mass, which helps your body process food/calories more efficiently. Walking, cycling, and swimming are just a few activities that can easily be made part of a daily exercise regimen. Resistance and weight training can also be done at home with minimal equipment and expense.

Lifestyle changes

Making small, manageable changes in your everyday routine can add up to weight loss and a healthier you. Try taking the stairs rather than the elevator at work, or walk or jog when running errands rather than grabbing the car keys. Run in place or do stretching exercises while you’re watching TV or waiting on the laundry. When you crave a soft drink or fruit drink high in sugar, reach for a glass of water instead. Drinking about 64 ounces of water a day can facilitate weight loss and reduce your appetite.

Bariatric surgery

Many people who struggle to get their weight under control assume that bariatric surgery is a “magic bullet,” a procedure that can solve their problems once and for all. The truth is that surgery is just one part of the process. It’s essential to follow up with regular exercise and significant dietary changes if one is to reap lasting benefits from weight-loss surgery. Bear in mind that patients sometimes experience bleeding, bowel/digestive problems, ulcers, and excessive vomiting.
Obesity is a chronic problem for millions of Americans. While a genetic predisposition can make it difficult to counteract obesity, many people successfully lose weight and lead healthy lives with lifestyle changes that involve regular exercise, dietary changes, and, in some cases, bariatric surgery. In any event, it’s important to treat obesity as more than just an eating problem.

Guest Post By: Susan Treadway; Rehab Holistics