Obesity is a growing problem in the United States, and right here in Pennsylvania, we hold the dubious honor of being at the center of the problem.
The CDC reports that Philadelphia has one of the highest obesity rates in the country, with 67% of adults in the city classed as overweight. The picture in the wider state isn’t quite as shocking – 30.8% of the population is overweight, which is some way behind the worst place, Mississippi, at 39.1%.
Obesity is a serious problem that can lead to health complications. Those suffering from obesity are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and several mental health issues. Worst of all, the problem is affecting young people, with many gaining weight at an alarming rate since the 2020 pandemic. “Just a decade ago, no state in the country had an adult obesity rate above 35%,” said Dr J Nadine Gracia, president and CEO of Trust for America’s Health. “These trends are also concerning among our youth and children; nearly 20% have obesity.”
As we enter a new year, now is the time to make a change, not only to help affect those stats in Philly and beyond but also to improve your own health and well-being. If you’re a Pennsylvania resident wanting to shift some pounds this new year, we’ve got some handy tips for you right here.
The first thing you must consider if you want to beat obesity is exercise. Even if you undertake a new diet, you won’t shift those extra pounds unless you’re consuming more calories than you’re taking in. Make sure you start small and let your body gradually adjust to an increased work rate.
You might take up running, hitting a project like the Couch to 5k, or you could join one of Philly’s outdoor kettle groups. You could sign up for a gym or even start by just pledging to walk your dog twice around the block rather than once. Whatever you choose, ensure you increase your heart rate and get active at least three times per week.
If you’re active and burning calories, the next thing to do is consider what you’re putting into your body. Many diets and new year plans tend to work around fasting, abstinence and the like, but they’re often counter-productive, as they can deprive your body of the nutrients it will need to keep you active. Instead, good weight loss programs will help tailor your diet to include some of the foods you like in moderation, so dieting isn’t so much of a chore.
It’s best to avoid fad diets or those that promise quick results. Instead, focus on changing your habits permanently, which will result in not only weight loss but also a sustainable and enjoyable which ensures it stays off.
One important element of a weight loss journey is support from colleagues, partners or even new friends. Returning to the kettlebell group we mentioned – it is far easier to take up an exercise if you’re introduced to a community. Motivating yourself to run alone can be a challenge, but if you’re in a new friend group, it’s far easier to get out and get active.
If you can, find someone on a similar journey to you and buddy up, so you can help each other through the tougher times. It’s far easier to stay motivated if you have the right support.
Finally, the modern world presents many opportunities to leverage tech as part of your weight control journey. There are multiple fitness apps, from Strava, which tracks your running journey, to diet-planning or calorie-counting apps. Even the Couch to 5k plan has an app which helps keep you focused on your goals and get your running around Pennsylvania as you’d never imagined possible.
You might buy a fitness tracker to wear on your wrist, or you may visit websites for diet plans and ideas, but the level of support for a weight control journey is tremendous.
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