Posted on: Sunday, January 20th, 2019
It is well known that we are living in the century of technological advancements. We have revolutionized our world, but in this quest for the future, we have wreaked havoc on our bodies and health. Our sedentary (mostly sitting, very little physical activity) lifestyles combined with the temptations of a McDonald’s drive-thru on every block has put our health at an all-time low and disease at an all-time high. This journey of life is filled to the brim with stress, bills and obligations. Where does exercise (physical activity is done to better one’s health and fitness) fit into this equation? The start of a new year never fails to inspire people to set goals in hopes of bettering themselves. One of the most common new year’s resolutions is to lose weight or exercise, which is not surprising considering the typical sedentary North American lifestyle which has led to an obesity epidemic. Studies find that more than 1 in 3 Canadians are obese and that obesity is the leading cause of many health problems including heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.
Health issues are not the only concern regarding the effects of obesity; there is a strong social stigma tied to carrying excess weight. Obesity stigma can prevent those who are overweight from gaining employment as there is a stereotype of being lazy associated with obesity. This can often lead to a significant social and economic difference which divides members of our society based on the number on the scale. In a desperate attempt to combat this issue, many turn to fad diets and unsustainable weight loss methods, however, it is crucial to note that not only can this be ineffective and counterproductive, but it can also cause more harm to one’s health. Liquid cleanses, laxatives, weight loss pills, constricting corsets, purging and fasting are just some of the methods that are most commonly abused leading to serious short- and long-term effects.
The best approach to weight loss is an attainable and sustainable long term plan which looks different for each individual. Healthy lifestyle modifications such as nutritious food choices and regular exercise are the best form of maintaining a healthy weight and body image. From the results of numerous studies, it can be concluded that physically active people tend to consume healthier foods compared to people who have low levels of physical activity or a sedentary lifestyle. In addition to counselling and cognitive behaviour strategies, fitness trackers and nutrition planners can help one to stay on track with their goals. Individuals who involve their friends and families in their fitness goals find that a strong social support group yields greater success. A combination of these techniques can be used to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle for years to come so that you can focus on your other new year’s resolutions – such as spending more quality time with your mother in law 🙂