The reality is we are in the midst of an epidemic, facing catastrophe on a global scale, that in all honesty, we have in many ways brought upon ourselves.
Obesity rates are at an all-time high, with 67 percent of men, and 57 percent of women in the UK now weighing more than what’s considered a healthy weight.
Not only that, but we are also being plagued by chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and some forms of cancer, all of which the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention refer to as “among the most common, costly and preventable of all health problems”.
And to top it all off, we are constantly burning the candle at both ends, where many of us have become so stressed and overwhelmed, that we are barely managing to make it through the day.
All of these factors are putting a huge strain on our mental, physical and emotional health, to the point where it’s estimated that 20% of deaths every year are due to poor diet and lifestyle choices.
Just let that sink in for a moment.
That’s one in five deaths every year, that could have potentially been prevented.
Meaning it really is an understatement to say that this has become a life or death situation, and we can no longer afford to be ignorant to the consequences of our actions.
Part of the problem is that people seem to have bought into the idea that improving their health is all about huge grand gestures of overhauling their entire lives, where they need to starve or put themselves through misery in order to achieve their goals.
Thinking it’s all about spending hours everyday in the gym, killing themselves with the latest workouts and living off a diet of bland boring ‘rabbit’ food, where they can never even smell, let alone take a bite of chocolate again.
This mindset of becoming obsessed over the idea of losing weight causes us to seek radical short term fixes, to what is essentially a long term problem.
That’s why it comes as no surprise as to why most people never manage to get anywhere, as this drastic change of lifestyle isn’t even remotely sustainable.
All of this goes a long way in explaining why studies indicate that the average person trying to lose weight goes on a diet four to five times a year, inevitably quitting said diet, four to five times each year, and why the University of Los Angeles California found that ‘up to two thirds of those on a diet regain more weight than when they started’.
Which is evidence in itself that these approaches simply don’t work.
The worst part is we all know that dieting doesn’t work. It didn’t work for me, and it hasn’t worked for you, as if it had, chances are you wouldn’t be reading this right now.
Yet we do it anyway, hoping that by some miracle that this time it may be different, but it never is.
People sabotage their progress by trying to cut out foods, but basic psychology shows us that by telling yourself you can’t have something, simply makes you want it more. Couple that with trying to do too much too soon, combined with the pressures of everyday life, and it quickly becomes too much to handle.
So what’s the answer?
In the grand scheme of things, losing weight is easy. The hard part is keeping it off in a healthy and sustainable way, but it’s only difficult because of the approaches people tend to take.
That’s why it’s essential to find a balance that keeps you sane and works for you, in a way that you enjoy, fits into your routine, lifestyle, and most importantly, is maintainable long term.
In most cases this comes down to making small gradual changes, that on their own don’t seem like much, but when added together have a profound impact on your overall health.
This is important, as by keeping the changes you make small, means they aren’t daunting, scary, or even time consuming. Because of that, you don’t have to go into this journey with the mindset of it being all or nothing, and can take small steps, at your own pace.
By approaching improving your wellbeing in this manner, you take all the stress out of it, as you are slowly introducing actions that are easily to act upon each and everyday.
By regularly acting on these actions will overtime cause them to develop into habits, with research showing it can take anything from 15 to 60 days for a habit to be formed.
After that they will no longer be something you even have to think about, let alone force, and will simply have become another part of your routine and the way you behave.