If you’ve ever gotten your car stuck in the snow or the mud, you know how maddening it can be to try to find that tiny bit of traction you need to get going again. Despite knowing you’re only digging a deeper hole, you press the gas pedal to the floor, expecting to move forward. The wheels just spin. Being hopeful and having a strong desire to be free don’t fix your problem. Clearly, a tow chain would change everything.
We have an inactivity epidemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active” (WHO 2011a). Physical inactivity is associated with 6% of deaths globally—behind only high blood pressure (13%), tobacco use (9%) and high blood glucose (6%) (WHO 2012; WHO 2011b). A 2009 WHO study found that physical inactivity was the leading cause of death in the United States.
We are taught that weight loss is simply an equation of calories in versus calories out. If only it were that simple. There is no magic formula for weight loss, of course, but researchers have developed many mathematical models to help us better understand how the body sheds weight. This article examines major concerns associated with these calculations (they are far from perfect) and then discusses simpler solutions that empower all of us to confront one of the most vexing issues of our times.
You know them well—your obese clients who have tried everything: weight-loss meal programs, fat-burner pills, crash diets, gym memberships. Nothing worked for very long. When they turned up at your door, low self-efficacy was all they had to show for their sincere efforts to change.
More than anything, you want to help them turn the corner and adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors they can maintain. But how do you do it?
After spending much of his young life at a healthy weight, Lee Jordan began steadily gaining mass in his 20s. He reached a top weight of 450 pounds and was living what he refers to as a “nightmare of a life.” Inspired by his friend Beth, an ACE-certified personal trainer and now his wife, Lee began his journey to health and fitness by walking 30 seconds every morning down the hallway outside his apartment. Now, more than 275 pounds lighter, Lee is an ACE-certified personal trainer and health coach who specializes in helping people who need to lose 100 pounds or more.
We often hear about an “epidemic” of obesity. This past year, the American Medical Association deemed obesity a disease (AMA 2013). A lot of people have a hard time associating the term “disease” with obesity because body weight is within our control . . . or is it?
Obesity has many properties of diseases, including a genetic prevalence and associations with other diseases or conditions like diabetes, hypertension and certain cancers. Obesity causes losses of certain functions and creates pathological conditions that increase morbidity.
Researchers have established that obesity is associated with increased mortality risk. However, a new study suggests that the severity of this risk may have been underestimated.
Published in Population Health Metrics (2014; doi:10.1186/1478-7954-12-6), the study looked at mortality and body mass index in nonsmoking adults aged 50–84. Data was pulled from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (1988–1994 and 1999–2004) and linked to the National Death Index through 2006.
The fitness industry is, by its own admission, good at “getting fit people fitter.” But with marketing materials rife with lithe, blond 20-somethings in revealing, brand-name yoga gear, it’s not surprising that people who are overweight and deconditioned find it hard to buy into the very fitness services that could help them shed pounds for good.