I’m sure you’re aware of this by now, but 2/3 of the adult population in the United States is overweight or obese (34% being obese). It’s been that way since about 2000 and hasn’t changed but a few percentage points since. By comparison, in the 1960′s, only 16% of the population was overweight or obese. To make it worse, our population has nearly doubled since the 60′s, so not only is the percentage higher now, the volume of people is too.
I didn’t know what that meant, so I looked up the census numbers. As of the time of this writing, that means over 158 million people in the US are struggling with their weight and health. That’s crazy.
And if you are not from the United States, before you think it has nothing to do with you, obesity rates have been rising steadily in every developed country. Unfortunately, we just do everything bigger in the States. That’s too much for me, or anyone else for that matter, to handle. I have no idea what 158 million people look like, much less how to address an issue that large. I intellectually grasp the concept, but it doesn’t mean anything to me. That’s the root of the problem. It seems like everyone is trying to solve things by focusing on this unbelievably large number.
I hate the word diet, since it screams restriction or deprivation, but do you know how many diet books are listed on Amazon? Over 37,000. With that many books on the subject, why haven’t we solved the problem? Personally, I believe it’s because we’re focusing on the wrong number. I may not be able to grasp the needs and motivations of 158 million people, but I am intimately familiar with the one I know best. Myself.
If each of us work towards creating a healthy lifestyle for ourselves, the person we know and understand best, and share that journey with others, I’m certain we can make a dent in this worldwide epidemic.
With this in mind, my intention is not to tell you what to do, but instead initiate a conversation about creating a healthy lifestyle we can all be happy with as individuals. Make your own. Find those things you can do to live it every day and share it with others.
Does this mean health is all about weight loss? Of course not. Our bodies are smart. They don’t want to be fat. They don’t want to be sick. Given the right circumstances they will make every effort to correct themselves.
Diets don’t work because diets don’t give our bodies what they need. With diets, you can lose weight, in fact almost all of them are effective for weight loss. However, weight is a measurement and like all measurements often misunderstood.
What we are really saying is that we want more energy. We want to look good. We want to live longer. Those things are not defined by weight. When we make what we genuinely desire our goal, to look good, to feel good, weight loss happens naturally. We’ve given our bodies what they need to take care of themselves.
To get started, take out a sheet of paper and ask yourself some important questions. Take the time for personal reflection before you answer:
1. What do you really want? Do you want to feel good? Do you want to live longer? Do you want to look good naked? Be honest with yourself.
2. Describe what your ideal healthy lifestyle would look like. Keep it realistic. Save the eating chocolate cake every day fantasy, instead focus on what works with your life. No one knows better than yourself what being you is like.
3. If there was one thing you could do better today than you did yesterday, what would that be? Avoid dramatic statements like “eat healthier”, instead choose a single, small actionable item.
Now take the time to share your questions with someone else. Help them find their answers, while sharing your own. Support each other.
Share your journey to create your own healthy lifestyle by using the #liveitshareit hashtag on your favorite social media.
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Meet Kate Horning
Health Coach. Lifestyle Expert. Chef.
Kate Horning is an emerging thought leader in health and nutrition. She is an ambassador on the leading edge of a new generation that challenges established ideas, looking for better ways to achieve healthier, happier lives.
Kate’s journey began with a book report at age thirteen, to be allowed by her mother to become a vegetarian. That sparked a passion that has led to studying and living nutrition for over a decade. Through her personal experiments with the typical American diet, as a vegetarian, vegan, calorie counter, and raw foodie, she has discovered the secrets of developing a practical, sustainable, healthy lifestyle.
Kate studied dietetics at the University of Kentucky, and is a certified holistic health coach and chef.