life:beautiful summer 2011 by Dr. Dan

When I was serving in Iraq, I ran a weight-loss competition. I found soldiers are a lot like civilians, often struggling with their weight. Army life alternates between stressful and boring, and this situation is then made worse by the availability of comforting food. Soldiers have all-you-can-eat free dining offered three or four times a day. But soldiers are not unique. The majority of Americans, no matter their age or lifestyle, carry unhealthy—and possibly deadly—weight.

 

The Epidemic is Here
Two out of three Americans, more than 142 million adults, are overweight. Of these 67.3 percent are obese, according to statistics from the National Center for Health. The number of obese children has tripled since 1980 and today 17 percent of children are obese. An adult who has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight; 30 or higher is considered obese. A National Institutes of Health calculator will give you a quick estimate of your BMI number.

 

Call to Action
Obesity most commonly results from too much food intake (energy input) and too little exercise  (energy output). Less common reasons for becoming overweight are genetic, metabolic or psychiatric  issues. Sometimes it is even caused by prescribed medications. If you believe you have a more  complicated reason for being overweight or obese, see a physician. Whatever the cause, it’s time to get  serious and take ownership of our bodies—God’s holy temples.

A good weight-loss plan focuses on four primary areas of life: 1) spiritual and psychological health, 2) exercise intensity, 3) adequate sleep and 4) easy access to high quality foods. Here are some ways to make a positive impact in each area:

 

– Spiritual and psychological health: The most important component of a healthy weight is changing  our negative mindsets so we are positioned for success. Poor eating is often the result of unmanaged stress and depression. Seek professional help from a pastor, counselor or physician if you struggle in this area.

– Exercise intensity: Good exercise burns calories, which improves your mood, increases blood flow to the brain, decreases stress and improves sleep quality. Exercise also supports a positive mindset and consistent spiritual and emotional health. Even when time is short, squeeze in a brief workout combining weight training and aerobics that are high in intensity and you’ll soon see benefits from this regimen.

– Adequate sleep: Research indicates that a lack of sleep contributes to obesity—especially in children. Sleep deprivation disrupts hormone levels that regulate appetite, which leads to overeating. This wreaks havoc with insulin and glucose regulation, and raises cortisol levels—making it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

– Easy access to high quality foods: Set yourself up for success by keeping healthy snacks around you at all times and cutting back on carbohydrates. I don’t travel anywhere or go to the office without a bag of nuts, dried fruit, healthy all-natural bars, some jerky and lots of water.

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