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Obesity Facts and How to Overcome It?

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

Obesity is such a big problem that affects many people from all over the world. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of preventable illness and death in the United States. In the last several years, the number of overweight people increased significantly. In the United States, more than 65% of adults are overweight. In Canada, about 60% of adults are overweight. The World Health Organization (WHO) is now calling obesity an epidemic.

What Is Obesity?

Obesity is simply when a person has a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above. The term obesity describes the health condition wherein someone is significantly above his or her ideal weight. It simply means that the person is about 20% or more above his or her ideal weight.

Symptoms of Obesity and Its Effects on Health

The most common symptoms of obesity are weight-related issues like high blood pressure, breathing problems, joint pain and high cholesterol levels. The more obese someone is, the higher the chance that he/she will develop obesity-related medical problems. The health complications related to obesity include, breathing problems, certain types of cancer, heart disease, depression, liver disease, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, joint disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. Aside from medical complications, there are also many psychological problems related to obesity like low self-esteem and reduced* quality of life.

Causes/Risk Factors of Obesity

Obesity occurs when you gain a lot of weight because of too much food consumption. Weight gain occurs when the body takes in more calories than it burns*. Several years ago, most people thought that obesity was primarily caused by too much food intake and lack of physical activities. These are major contributing factors but experts discovered a few years back that obesity is a complex medical problem that involves genetic, environmental, social and behavioural factors.

Genetic factors play an important role in a person’s metabolism which can either make weight loss* easier or more difficult. A person’s environment has a high impact on his/her dietary habits. For example, if you grow up in a family that regularly indulges in unhealthy food like fast food or junk food, there is a higher chance that you will become overweight.

Obesity Drugs

Weight loss* requires following a good diet and exercise program. However, in some cases a doctor may prescribe weight loss* drugs to help the patient lose* weight faster. Take note that weight loss* medication or obesity drugs are meant to be used alongside a healthy diet, regular exercise and behavioural changes. Otherwise, there is a high tendency that the medication won’t be very effective. Prescribed obesity drugs are only for people who have a BMI of 30 or higher or those who have a BMI of 27 or higher and have medical complications related to obesity like sleep apnea and diabetes. In some cases, weight loss* medication can be prescribed to those who have tried many other methods of weight loss* and didn’t have good results.

The Details on Weight Loss Drugs

The most popular weight loss* drug that doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription is orlistat (Xenical) which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for long-term use in people who are 12 years or older. It works by blocking the absorption of fat in the stomach. Lorcaserin (Belviq) is a new weight loss* drug approved by the FDA for adults in 2012. It can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. It works by affecting certain chemicals in the brain to decrease* the user’s appetite. The problem with weight loss* drugs is that they can cause a number of side effects on certain people.

Other Options to Overcome Obesity

Like in almost anything else, the best solution to obesity is the natural way. This involves changing your dietary habits and exercising regularly. Let’s take a look at the best ways to lose* weight and overcome obesity without the use of drugs.

  • Change Your Eating Habits:

    Most people are used to consuming an excessive number of calories regularly. The result is weight gain which usually leads to obesity in the long term. You need to change your eating habits and learn how to make the right food choices. Instead of fast food and other unhealthy food options that contain a high amount of calories and unhealthy fat, you should choose lean meat, fruits and vegetables. You should also get used to eating slowly and stopping when you already feel full.

  • Eat Fibrous Food:

    High fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains are great for losing weight. Fiber fills you up quickly and for a longer time which is great for reducing* food intake. This helps you reduce* calorie intake which leads to weight loss*. You can also try fiber supplements which are not just effective for controlling food intake but can also improve* digestive health.

  • Avoid Alcohol and Junk Food:

    You should minimize intake of alcohol because they contain a high amount of calories. A shot of hard liquor can contain up to 100 calories. The problem is that you can’t just stop* with one or two shots right? At the end of the night you may end up consuming more than 1000 calories from alcoholic beverages alone. The same goes for junk food which is high in saturated fat and calories. One large bag of chips can contain more than 1000 calories.

  • Get Active and Stay Active:

    If you want to lose* weight, you need to start exercising. You don’t need an expensive gym membership or exercise equipment. You just need to become active by making it a habit to walk or play sports. Instead of using the elevator you can start using the stairs. Exercise is a great way to burn calories and help you with weight loss*. All you need is about 30-45 minutes, 3-4 days a week.

  • Be Patient and Stay Motivated:

    Motivation is very important when it comes to overcoming obesity. You need to understand that losing weight is a process and the results won’t be instant. Patience is the key. Remember that you didn’t gain all the excess weight quickly so you also can’t lose* it quickly.

  • Reduce* Stress:

    Stress is something you should minimize or eliminate* if you want to lose* weight. This is because stress promotes* the release of the hormone cortisol which has a strong connection to binge eating and food cravings. There are also studies indicating that cortisol encourages* the storage of fat in the abdominal area.

Expert’s Opinion

Experts agree that obesity is a major problem today. Fortunately, there are many ways to beat obesity. For safety reasons, it is best to take the natural route to overcoming obesity since surgeries and weight loss* drugs are dangerous and can even cause serious health complications.

Conclusion

The best way to overcome obesity is by losing weight the natural way. This involves exercising regularly and following a reduced-calorie diet. You can also utilize natural weight loss* supplements which can be purchased over-the-counter. You just need to research extensively to find a product which is effective and free from side effects.