Fight Obesity and Stress with a Whole-Body Wellness Plan. By Dana Brown of Health Conditions

Obesity has become a national epidemic fueled by the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles and unbalanced diets that focus on refined sugars and other carbohydrates. Poor fitness and eating habits affect more than just your waistline, however, and can contribute to physical and mental ailments. Fighting obesity requires a commitment to sustainable, healthy living across all areas of your life.

Start feeling better by eating better

There is no magical cure for obesity, but a balanced diet rich in plants and lean protein will make you feel full and provide nutrients to make you feel fantastic. The main culprit in obesity is sugar. It is present in processed foods -- even ones you wouldn’t think of as sweet. When you consume sugar, you get a quick boost of energy, but that energy quickly dissipates, leaving you hungry again, and can even leave you feeling depressed.

A balanced diet keeps you satiated and full from whole, nutrient-packed foods. By increasing the number of vegetables in your diet such as leafy greens, you will be replacing simple carbohydrates with fiber and vitamins.

Although sugar contributes to obesity, resist the impulse to replace sugary drinks with artificial sweeteners, which can result in more cravings for sweet food. If you are a coffee drinker, for example, try omitting the sugar or replacing it with a dash of cinnamon.

Get up and get moving

Always discuss a proposed exercise plan with a doctor first, but even a small amount of activity is beneficial. Daily walking is proven to contribute to weight loss. Just like any other exercise, walking burns calories, and the only way to lose weight is by creating calorie deficiencies. The key to fighting obesity with training is to find an enjoyable workout routine. Some people like running while others who cringe at the thought of cardio love lifting weights.

Weight-lifting actually might be a better exercise for those looking to shed pounds. By building lean muscle mass, your body might burn calories more quickly. For an obese person, running might not be advisable as the first course of action. In cases where low-impact exercise is prescribed, mild weight-lifting might be an excellent way to jump-start fat-burning.

Since exercise is more helpful when it becomes part of a life routine, you might want to invest in some simple home gym equipment. While gym memberships can be routes to fighting obesity, it’s human nature to find excuses to avoid going to the gym. Even a modest home gym puts the opportunity to exercise right in front of you.

If you are looking to set up a home gym, consider the following:

- Do you have space? A treadmill is a wonderful piece of home gym equipment, but if it’s pushed off to the corner of a room and unusable, it’s not going to help you shed pounds.

- Is the equipment helpful or a fad? Look for reliable, time-tested equipment, not the latest ad-gimmick device.

- Will you use the equipment? If the activity is not enjoyable, shelling out money for its equipment isn’t likely to change your opinion. Stick to exercises you like.

- Are there cheaper alternatives? Before buying a stationary bike, see if there is an accessory for your road bike that will allow you to pedal indoors, for example.

Don’t forget the importance of laying down

Proper sleep is under-appreciated as a component of overall well-being, and it can affect your ability to lose weight. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you are likely to seek out the comfort of food or sugary drinks to give you energy in the morning.

A plan for whole-body fitness is the best weapon against obesity. Balanced eating, moderate, regular exercise, and rest can get you on the road to fitness. Nothing happens overnight, and fads come and go, but you can change your life, one step at a time.

Photo Credit: Pexels