Obesity is a condition that is much more than just being overweight. Those who are obese are much more likely to have chronic diseases which are fatal like diabetes and heart disease. Asthma, depression, blindness, joint pain, early puberty, social isolation, sleep apnea, and other negative health outcomes are also intimately associated with obesity.
The effects of obesity start right away, but the signs and symptoms don’t appear until much later. It is often called a silent killer for this reason.
More than two-thirds of the adult population in the U.S. is obese, but America is not alone with these staggering statistics. Obesity is a growing epidemic around the world. This disease costs more than $145 billion ($500 per year for every man, women, and child for something that is completely preventable) in medical costs in one country alone.
What Causes Obesity?
Fat is not evil. We need it for survival. Thousands of years ago, we didn’t have access to dietary fat in the way we do now, so the body learned very intricate ways of keeping fat stores on our bodies.
Thousands of years ago, we didn’t get in our SUVs and drive one mile to the grocery store to stock up on foods loaded with refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, unhealthy fats, and thousands of chemical food additives used by food manufacturers to make us crave the foods they make.
We had to hunt for our food by chasing down an animal, or gather our food by taking long walks in the forest or prairie. Not only were we consuming fewer calories, but we were burning more.
Our food and water also wasn’t adulterated with more than 3,000 chemicals the way it is now. It didn’t contain bovine growth hormones, antibiotics, herbicides, highly refined flours and sugars, cancer-causing and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, fake colors, fake flavors, heavy metals, and even embalming fluids used to preserve dead bodies!
The average American consumes 3,770 calories a day – more than most people almost anywhere else in the world eat.
Someone who lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo consumes an average 1,590 calories a day, in comparison.
Austria, Italy, Israel, and Ireland follow American in the highest average daily caloric intake, but the problem of obesity is growing everywhere. Even in countries that previously where the model of health and fitness now suffer from higher rates of obesity.
The CDC also states that despite this horrific level of caloric intake, 80 percent of Americans don’t get enough physical activity.
Environment and genetics both contribute to a person’s weight, however, the lifestyle choices we have chosen are literally killing us.
Allopathic Cures for Obesity
Allopathic cures for diabetes are surprising considering the underlying causes of the disease. Although your doctor may recommend that you increase your activity levels and eat fewer calories, they will also tend to prescribe a medication meant to help curb your appetite.
These drugs however, usually tend to stop working after a few months, and only about 10 percent of people who try them lose excess weight with drug therapies alone.
When patients stop taking the medications, which also have many unpleasant side effects, the weight usually comes back, sometimes with additional pounds added on.
Weight loss drugs that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or health authorities in the U.K., include:
- Beta-methyl-phenylethylamine (Fastin) — A stimulant meant to increases fat metabolism.
- Orlistat (Xenical) — A drug that blocks approximately 30 percent of dietary fat from being absorbed. Alli is a lower-dose, over-the-counter formula of the same medication.
- Phentermine — Phentermine, an appetite suppressant, has been available for many years. It is half of the “fen-phen” combination that remains available for use. The use of phentermine alone has not been associated with the adverse health effects of the fenfluramine-phentermine combination.
- Sibutramine (Meridia) — This is an appetite suppressant approved for long-term use.
When drugs fail to correct obesity, more extreme measures, like gastric bypass surgeries are also suggested. These surgeries can be expensive, and the recovery time can be considerable.
Natural Cures for Obesity
There are other, more natural options of preventing and recovering from obesity.
These range from simple lifestyle changes to herbal remedies, to non-traditional healing modalities like Traditional Chinese Medicine and yoga.
Lifestyle Changes for Obesity
The most straightforward way to cure obesity is to change your diet and exercise habits. The following foods and herbal remedies can help to promote fat-loss, increase your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories you are burning even when you are resting or sleeping) and help to keep your digestive system healthy so that you can absorb the nutrients you eat from the food that you eat.
Digestive health is an important component to preventing obesity which is often overlooked. When the body is too toxic, the bowels will become backed up, making it more difficult for the body to get the nutrients it needs, thereby causing us to feel hungry all the time. The body is essentially “starving” for vitamins and minerals, but it will “trick” us into thinking that we need more junk food, instead.
Exercise should not be overlooked. Although there is a saying that diet is 90% and exercise is 10% when it comes to overall health, in the case of obesity, it is likely more like a 50-50 balance. Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily is vital, however, more is better. Just be sure to give your body a chance to recover from intense physical exercise, as the body needs time to repair your muscles. As you get stronger, and your cardiovascular system becomes more resilient, you can up your exercise to an hour five days a week.
It is more important to maintain consistency, than to set a goal that is too high and fail, only to stop due to disappointment, or loss of motivation.
As far as your diet, these foods can help:
Green Tea Extract – Due to the high levels of special polyphenols (plant compounds) in green tea, it can help detox, boost energy levels and even help the body to burn fat more efficiently. Try around 1500 mg daily for the best results. Replacing sugary sweet sodas or “energy” drinks with green tea will also reduce empty calories, contributing to lowered weight and better health.
Grapefruit – This fruit is known to help regulate your glycemic index, meaning the glycose (sugar) levels in your blood won’t spike and then fall abruptly. When this happens you are more likely to have strange food cravings. Eat some grapefruit before a meal, and you’ll find that you need to eat less.
Cinnamon – This spice is wonderful for regulating blood sugar levels also. The more balanced your blood sugar levels are, the easier it is for your body to regulate hunger hormones like ghrelin, that tell you when you’re hungry.
Rhodiola – This spice (try around 500mg daily) can help with long-term fat loss by lowering cortisol levels (a stress hormone that can make you want to eat more) as well as help your body burn fat better.
Chromium – This supplement can help reduce cravings for sweets and control blood sugar levels.
Plant Based Protein – The body can process plant based protein much easier than meat-based protein. It also takes longer to break it down compared to carbohydrates, which means that you’ll burn more calories whle giving the body clean fuel to burn.
High Fiber Foods – Foods like vegetables, buts, seeds, and berries increase the feeling of fullness, without increasing calories.
Omega 3s – You can get healthy Omega 3 fatty acids form cold-water fish like salmon and cod, but it is also abundant in things like hemp and flax seeds. Omega 3s can lower inflammation which contributes to obesity.
Coconut Oil – Coconut oil and coconut milk contain MCFAs which your body can burn as fat. This fat is also less likely to be stored, and instead used as energy. Win-win.
Foods to Avoid
Though it can be challenging to change your diet overnight, you’ll find that eliminating the following foods a little at a time, and replacing them with some of the healthy foods listed above will prove to be the most sustainable.
Certain foods are certain to increase your chances of becoming obese, and should be avoided or minimized, like:
Refined sugar – Sugar has been compared to cocaine. It is highly addictive, makes you want to eat more, and is full of empty calories which don’t support your overall health. Don’t forget that sweetened beverages like soda are one of the biggest culprits in adding unwanted calories to our daily intake.
Processed foods – Anything that comes in package and has ingredients you can’t pronounce should be avoided. These foods were created with chemical additives created in a laboratory which were meant to make you eat more, and become addicted to them. This includes refined flour, too.
Trans and hydrogenated fats – These fats promote inflammation and are only found in foods devoid of any real nutrients.
Traditional Chinese Medicine for Obesity
Traditional Chinese Medicine has a few beneficial solutions for those who are suffering from obesity.
TCM treats the underlying inflammation and tries to detox the organs. Sometimes herbs and acupuncture will be suggested to curb hunger cravings, but largely, the organs will need to be healed and their natural functioning restored.
Lifestyle choices such as diet changes, exercise, and stress reduction are all a part of TCM treatment for obesity, also.
Yoga and Meditation for Obesity
Yoga and meditation offer a great way to handle one of the biggest causes and side effects of obesity – stress. This practice calms the nervous system, resets our fight-or-flight tendency and thus can help us to control our desire to emotionally eat to “stuff down” feelings which are unpleasant.
Yoga postures also help to strengthen the body, while boosting circulation to the organs of elimination and detoxification.
In brief, obesity is primarily a lifestyle disease. This does not mean that there isn’t a concerted effort to keep the population sick and fat. The food industry has contributed greatly to obesity in the U.S., and elsewhere it he world, but knowing their tactics, you can choose to eat better, exercise, and reverse obesity before it develops into a lifetime health concern.