Denial is not just a river in Egypt. Recent studies indicate that most Americans drastically underestimate how much they really weigh. In fact, more than 25% of women report that they are at a normal weight, and they are really obese.
It’s not until we look at a picture of ourselves – maybe one that we don’t even recognize – or try on last season’s clothing and then are faced with the reality that we’ve put on more than a few pounds. Why do we have such an “obesity blind spot”?
Obesity is an epidemic in current society. It’s everywhere, in every circumstance. Slowly, we’ve become accustomed to seeing people in larger sizes. Recently, I went to dinner with my husband, and I took a look at the other diners. More than 80% of them were overweight, including the children. What we see on a daily basis no longer shocks us. How can we get past this and make sure that we are a healthy shape and size?
- Take a good, honest look at your holiday photos. The old saying of “Pictures don’t lie” is true for a reason. It’s easy to put on a few pounds, especially in the winter, but seeing yourself in a photo may just be the wake up you need.
- Take your measurements. Specifically, your waist measurement, at the level of your belly button. If you are a woman and that number is higher than 34 inches (or for men the threshold is 40 inches), you almost certainly have an excess of body fat.
- Determine your BMI. It may be scary to see the reality, but it is necessary for your health.
- Ask your doctor if your health is in jeopardy.
- Keep healthy reminders in key locations. Get rid of junk foods, bring in extra fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Put an unflattering picture of yourself in a prominent location – possibly on the refrigerator door. Next to it, put a picture of something that symbolizes your goal.
- Keep a food journal. Seeing exactly what you’ve eaten in a day can be a rude awakening, but studies have shown that we eat far more than we think. Take a honest look at your daily intake and make the necessary corrections.
- Expect a few setbacks. Remember, you didn’t become overweight overnight – it will take time to lose the weight. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon – and you can do it!
January 7th, 2011