Obesity is one of the biggest challenges of modern day society.  High calorie foods are convenient now more than ever.  Fast food chains on every corner, restaurants having bigger portion size meals and so many to choose from, have made it all too easy for any individual to not eat sensibly and give in to temptation.  Health care costs are increasing everyday due to obesity.  The CDC reported that obesity related health care costs exceeded $147 billion in 2008 (Finkelstein, 2009).  To put it another way, you and your company (or the government depending on who is providing medical insurance) are spending money out of your pocket for medicine and treatment for related conditions that you would probably not have if you were a healthier person. 

High cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, heart problems, fatigue, weakness, emotional distress, depression, and low energy, are among the many outcomes resulting from being overweight and not living a healthy lifestyle.  Many people have tried to lose weight and exercise but fail to stay consistent.  The excuses are endless – no time, no money, no motivation, don’t know what to do, no results, and so on and so forth.  Well if you’re reading this article and can relate to this problem (which should be roughly 40% of you since that is the current percentage of our population that is overweight according to faststats.com), then this article is for you.  I have outlined three steps that can help anyone with attaining a healthier lifestyle. 

1. Calories-In Vs. Calories-Out

How many calories do you take in each day?  The majority of people have absolutely no idea.  The simple fact is that our body will burn so many calories per day naturally.  Our body will also burn calories from added physical activity we perform such as walking, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, exercise, etc…That number combined makes up our total calories-out for the day.  Calories-in would be anything that you put in your mouth (unless it’s calorie free).  If the calories you take in is greater than what you burn out then you will gain weight.  If the calories you take in is less than what you burn out then you will lose weight.  You can help this equation by increasing calories-out (exercise IN MODERATION) or decreasing calories-in (diet IN MODERATION).

Goal!  Make certain that the calories you take in is less than calories you burn out.  Make certain you are always at a deficit in calories-in vs calories-out and you will see results and lead you to better health!

2. Diet Routine

Do I have routine on how to clean something, make dinner, drive to work, or cut the grass?  Yes!  The point here is that you need a routine for your diet to be successful.  Start initially with three days a week and plan to eat the same breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner for each day (ehow.com recommends four meals per day minimum to keep a higher metabolic rate).  Yes I know eating the same lunch may be boring and you may get sick of it.  But you also know exactly how many calories you are taking in for that day, you aren’t overeating, and above all, you are training your mind to eat as a routine for health rather than eat for pleasure.  Figure out your daily calorie-in goal (1300-2000 calories per day is the ideal range for weight loss depending on whether you are male/female, active, etc…), and then structure your diet not to exceed that number for each day.  For example, my breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner today with a cup of coffee and a diet soda will be 1500 calories.  I will make sure that happens because I’m in my routine even if I’m hungry, stressed, or whatever other excuse comes up.  You will be hungry during those days so deal with it…

Goal!  Eat the same meals at least three times per week.  Structure those days to reach a calorie goal and get it to a routine!  Make certain you stick with it until it becomes a routine.  A diet routine will give you results and lead you to better health!

3. Exercise

It’s amazing to me how complicated people make this out to be.  You need to be active three times per week doing something you like to do at an intensity level you are comfortable with.  That’s it folks, it isn’t more simple than that.  Walk the dog, sit on a bike while watching TV, hike, swim, run on a track, play basketball, the list is endless.  You need to do some kind of cardio activity three days per week for 45 minutes minimum (2.5 hours a week of your life is beyond reasonable so don’t say you don’t have time).  According to the American College of Sports Medicine, cardio, or cardiovascular exercise, is any activity that increases heart rate and respiration while using large muscle groups repetitively and rhythmically.

Goal!  Do a physical activity three times per week.  Exercise will give you results and lead you to better health!

There are some out there that have a whole different philosophy on exercise and diet.  There are some that will read this and completely disagree with my approach or suggestions.  There are some that would probably say it’s too basic and doesn’t apply to me, or say you need a personal trainer or a registered dietician.  Guess what gang; all of the statements above can possibly be true.  This may not be for you and this may not work for you.  I make no claim for this being the only way to reach your goals or that my plan is better than someone else.  My purpose in this article is to show you something that is SIMPLE, easy to follow, and realistic to lead to a healthy lifestyle.  If it works for you then congrats for taking what you read and applying it in your life. 

Happy Health!