(This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running and keep it free!)
The shocking fact about the modern lifestyle is that we have everything needed to remain healthy but the rates of obesity keep increasing. Paradox! Isn’t it? Hmm, everything is about keeping a balance.
Think of all the good things we have today
- A plethora of choices in regard to food and drinks
- Great development in the field of medicine
- New technology which allows us to take precaution measures
- A number of options for increased physical activity
On the other hand, the modern life doesn’t always come bearing gifts. It also involves long hours on the computer. High competition in the professional environment keeps us busy much longer. And the lack of time means less physical activity and sloppy eating habits. It’s much easier to order a pizza than cook a casserole. And you might beat yourself up in the gym for an hour but if you are behind the desk for the rest of the day, the results are frightening.
And don’t forget that there are no equal opportunities for everyone. Some people have to work double shifts. Some have to work longer to support their families. There are many single parent families trying to keep balances between time to work, eat, exercise, play with the kid etc.
But at the end of the day, there is no excuse when it comes to our health. So what constitutes to our good health? It’s definitely not a one-factor solution. It’s an equation of multiple choices involving our eating habits, the time we spend exercising, our state of mind, our sleeping habits, and dieting without depriving ourselves of valuable substances.
Which are our current eating habits?
We have a tendency of making extreme choices. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the eating pattern of most people in the United States is low in fruits, vegetables, oils, and dairies. Americans eat too much red meat and consume too much sugar and saturated fats.
Fast food, canned food, and frozen meals are all parts of modern living. But don’t forget that we all have a choice. Such food options contain hidden salt, sugar, and saturated fats that will increase your weight in no time.
On the other hand, when we decide to go on a diet, we deprive ourselves of everything. Nine out of ten people (especially women and teenagers) would starve themselves for the sake of losing weight. Want more extremes? Think of how many people suffer from anorexia nervosa, bulimia, a binge eating disorder, a restrictive food intake disorder, or other unspecified eating disorders. Let me just share this outrageous news with you. Over 30 million people in the USA alone suffer from some kind of an eating disorder. As a result, one person dies every hour.
What’s the news from the ‘obesity stats’ front?
According to the data issued by the World Health Organization in 2016, world obesity more than doubled since 1980. Want numbers? There were 1.9 billion overweight adults in 2014 and 600 million of them were obese. Keep in mind that the world population that year was 7.2 billion – 1.2 billion living in more developed regions and 6 billion living in less developed countries.
Somehow, our numbers don’t sum up right. Clearly, obesity is not a rich man’s problem anymore. 80% of cardiovascular diseases occur in less developed countries and many of those are caused due to obesity.
The tragic news is that obesity is not an adult-related problem alone. In 2014, there were 41 million children in the world that are either obese or just overweight. In the United States, child obesity is a phenomenon. In the years between 2011 and 2014 obesity affected around 12.7 million children.
Let’s face the fact that obesity is not seen under the looking-good microscope. It’s about our health. Don’t forget that obesity is the number one reason for chronic diseases. It might lead to heart diseases, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and strokes. And let’s see it from a different angle too. Obese people spend more money than those of average weight on medical expenses.
Remember two things:
- Obese and overweight people both have excessive fat accumulation. If you want to see if you are overweight or obese, you have to measure your body mass index based on your height and weight. You can easily find online calculators.
- If you are a person of normal weight doesn’t mean you can eat whatever comes your way.
Let’s make things clear. People get fat because they eat the wrong things but also fail to exercise enough. And here is where balance jumps in to make a difference. It all has to do with how many calories you burn daily (by doing several physical activities) and how many calories you consume. The latter must be lower than the former if you want to lose weight.
So, which are our goals?
Okay, we all like to be fit. Who doesn’t envy nice bodies without a shred of fat? But the point here is to understand your priorities. And your health is your priority. Pigging out is as bad as starving to death. At some points, you might want to lose weight. At some points, you might not. In either case, the eating habits must include the right nutrients and proteins to keep you healthy.
Which diet to follow when you want to lose weight
You have most likely read here and there to take the advice of your doctor before going on any diet. There is a reason for that. For starters, each human organism is different. Then, you need to be healthy to start a diet. So it all comes back where we started. And for a reason. If you are not healthy, it means that your body doesn’t have the necessary substances to keep you going. So if you go on a diet, you will only become weaker and weaker. The result? You will starve for a few days (with terrible consequences to your body) and then start eating more than before (since you’ll be very hungry).
So, our advice? Ask your doctor. Want to lose only a few pounds? Take it slowly.
Is the Mediterranean diet a diet?
No, it’s not. But it’s the best eating pattern ever. Why? Because it is based on fresh food and fish and thus it is a healthy eating plan. It’s not a diet that will help you lose weight overnight. It’s a way of life that will keep you healthy and thin if you keep on following it. So eventually, yes you can lose weight if you make it part of your daily eating routine.
What’s the Mediterranean diet?
It’s a diet pattern based on vegetables, fresh food, fish, and olive oil with the latter being the focal component for health promotion since there is evidence that olive oil can prevent many chronic diseases. The diet includes unrefined cereals and wine and a controlled red meat consumption – limited to once a week.
Where was it developed?
As the name implies, it’s the eating pattern of the peoples in the Mediterranean. It was developed primarily in Crete, Greece in the 1960s. But it’s also the main diet in Southern Italy and Spain. Actually, the people in these areas had limited choices in terms of food at that period but had farms where they grew their own food. The diet eventually became known as the diet of the poor.
What’s interesting is that they consumed more fat than people in the United States but suffered minimum cardiovascular diseases. The first who noticed this paradox was biologist Ancel Keys and his wife Margaret. Although Greeks were poor and had limited access to food options, they were healthier than those in the developed countries.
The secret? The diet per se. It includes all nutritional elements important to keep healthy. And this diet was combined with hours working on the farms.
So, which is the magic diet/eating pattern?
When you stick to eating patterns, like that of the Mediterranean diet, you stay healthy. Is that factor alone enough to help you lose weight? No. You might eat tuna salad and fresh fruit for two weeks but if you are on the computer 10 hours a day, you will hardly burn calories and thus lose weight.
What you need is to adopt the golden combination of habits. Eating right is one thing. Exercising at home or in a gym is the second thing. But you must also move around and refrain from sitting long hours on a chair or sofa. Even if you are standing up, your body makes some kind of effort to do that and so you use energy and thus burn some calories. Another solution is walking. Park a block away when you don’t have to carry heavy bags. Prefer the staircase instead of the elevator. In short, move as much as you can.
What else to do to remain thin and healthy
- Drink water. Keep in mind that your body receives water from food, fruit, and anything you consume. But you still must drink water.
- Learn to cook right. Pasta is fattening only when you eat it in combination with fattening sauces. Keep your cooking simple and use healthy prime ingredients, like olive oil instead of butter and fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones.
- Don’t deprive yourself of small pleasures. Just don’t make it a daily habit. You can watch what you eat daily but allow yourself to eat what you like one day of the week. This will also help break the metabolism.
- Work on your spirit. Your mood can work wonders if it’s good and positive. If you start thinking about not losing weight fast, your body will react without you knowing it. And simply put, you won’t lose weight.
One more thing…
There are always solutions to problems. If you don’t have the time or money to go to the gym, bring the gym home. Save some money to buy a treadmill to workout (in the garage or basement perhaps).
Check out a helpful review to find the best treadmill for you.
The golden combination for good health is daily physical activity and healthy eating habits. If you adopt it, you will stop worrying about diets and health problems. And don’t forget the crucial factor of your own personal traits. Align your eating and exercise habits to your abilities, capacities, age, and personal lifestyle. One last thing. Tomorrow is another day, but you’d better start the new lifestyle today. For your own sake…