By George Tohme, pharmacist

Weight loss should not be the end goal, but a natural outcome to good lifestyle choices we learn to make. We must change the focus from weight loss and having a “thin figure” as our only goal to learning how to set new, lasting and achievable goals such as: Behavior change, make balanced food choices, increase physical activity daily, avoid and control chronic diseases and enjoy the best quality of life. Those are worthy goals everyone should aim for: One change and one action at a time into the right direction.

Here’s an excerpt from: “Lifestyle Makeover For All Couch Potatoes”

You might say,“It’s easier said than done.” You might ask:
• “What are the components of a balanced meal for me, as somebody who has diabetes and other problems like high cholesterol and blood pressure?”
• “Will I be deprived of desserts for the rest of my life?”
• Does balanced food choices means that no food is off limit as long as we consume it in balanced amounts, frequency and portions?
• What snacks and beverages are getting us in trouble?
• Is sugar to blame in part for our weight epidemic?
• “How do I consume more fiber every day?”
• “Do I have to lose a lot of weight to get my diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and my health under control?”
• “And how do I lose weight and keep it off since I’ve tried many diets but the weight keeps creeping on me?”
• How much activity do I have to do?
• Do I have to go to the gym and work out for 2 hours every day before I can see noticeable results?
• What activities are good for me and for how long do I do them?
• How do I start and maintain these habits?
• How do I incorporate all of this in my busy day?
• How can I quit smoking for good? (The process of quitting smoking will not be discussed in this guide. My smoking cessation guide “ Lifestyle Makeover for Smokers” will help you quit for good once you make your decision to quit. Check the end of this guide for my contact information and website for information on how to purchase this guide.)
• “ I don’t have time. How am I able to fit all of this in my busy day?”
That’s what we will be discussing in Action Step 4. In the following section you will find some quick weight loss tips that you can start implementing right away and stick with permanently because they are very simple, flexible and non restrictive. Then after this section will be a detailed discussion on the various aspects of a Lifestyle Makeover.

What Stands Between You and Change

This ill-fated trend is continuing, and the end of the catastrophic health crisis that is plaguing our country is not yet in sight. Clear statistical projections and trends are warning that the future decade and beyond could witness, several-fold, the worsening of our state of health; “several-fold worsening” of what we are already suffering from? Oh my!! Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicated that over a whopping 63 percent of our American population is obese and/or overweight; that is 180 million adults and children.

The United States is experiencing an explosion in obesity and people suffering from being overweight across the board: all ages, gender, racial and ethnic groups are part of this statistic. Since the last two decades, OBESITY HAS TRIPLED. The most alarming triple-fold increases are among children and adolescents from the ages of 6-19. A study released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on March 10, 2004 indicates that premature death due to poor diet (typically Western diet) and physical inactivity (sedentary lifestyle) rose by a staggering 33 percent in the last 8-10 years. These statistics translate into a sad mortality rate.

The Media Shoving Ridiculously “Thin” Models in Our Faces
As Symbols of “Good Health”

People have misconceptions about various health-related issues as they get bombarded with conflicting and inaccurate information from the media. A myriad of advertisements promote “quick weight loss” with fad diets or fad diet pills; these ads promote thinness by showing tip-top models with flawless bodies. The purpose of permanent weight loss and weight management is not to become thin, but rather to have a better quality of life, to feel true peace, to prevent disease and disease complications, and to have a better self-image. Lifelong good health can NEVER be a quick fix or a part time hobby that is achievable by popping pills or following a diet that restricts certain food categories or that starts on a Monday and ends on a Friday, three or more months later. It is a process.

Lifelong good health is a full-time commitment, and is non-restrictive, flexible, and fun. By the same token, permanent weight loss and weight management is an everyday commitment where you make balanced food and activity choices and make a consistent effort to improve these choices and to never feel that you have “failed.” When you “mess up,” you did not fail; you just decided to controllably indulge, and you should, occasionally, when you feel like it. You fail when you aim for perfection and you are too rigid and hard on yourself. Just make a better choice next time.

The damage that these quick-fix diets and fad diet pills have created is that they are restrictive and can be difficult to follow long-term, so people who use them lose and regain the weight in a yoyo manner. The same applies to diet pills where the manufacturer promises weight loss even when users “eat all the food they want to and don’t have to exercise.” This relieves the user’s responsibility of adopting favorable lifestyle choices. The same applies to people who request and get prescriptions for diet and fluid pills from their doctor. At the pharmacy checkout, they will purchase their diet pills but they are also buying a big bag of mozzarella cheese sticks, a large bag of marshmallows, soft candy, chocolate bars, regular sodas; and they snack on them all day! These processed packaged snacks consist of pure sugar, fat (artery-clogging fat) and salt. These are the very same ingredients that cause weight gain and trigger hunger, which make you want to eat more.

© Copyright Tohme 2012

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