Ways To Prevent Obesity
Simple Ways to Prevent Obesity and Combat the Disease
Obesity describes a condition of chronic over-intake of energy, and while it is a problematic contemporary issue, there are ways to prevent obesity. There surplus of energy transforms into fat and continuous excess results in a very overweight body. In contrast to bulimic patients who feel the guilt immediately and vomit after excessive eating, obese people are exposed to the public and suffer due to the humiliation they face when the community responds to their plump appearance. This frustration is reason for even more overeating, and the vicious circle is complete. However, it is important to know that not every overweight person is obese- while obesity is a physical issue, psychological factors play a large role as well.
Normal overweight people are those who like to munch here and there but will stop the nibbling and step on that treadmill when their weight exceeds their own standards. Obese people however cannot get themselves to set a standard or to find the motivation in themselves to solve their issues in other ways. They usually need psychological support to take the first step, and they will reach a life threatening weight if not treated.
Prevention becomes particularly important in children as they are dependent on adults teaching healthy eating habits, nutrition and how to listen to their body. Apart from that, there are also psychological ways to prevent obesity, such as presenting alternative solutions to a problem, ensuring that nibbling is not an acceptable reaction to issues and that overeating is not going to make emotional pain go away.
The symptoms are usually very obvious but the person who is affected may need somebody else to point it out to them. Usual signs are eating although the person is not hungry, eating just because it’s ‘TV time’, eating as a reaction to an emotionally challenging situation and viewing their own body as ‘disgusting’ or ‘ugly’. These people then show a lack of confidence, lose their ability to make rational decisions and avoid social situations or any type of activity. From a medical point of view, these people have lost their sense for appetite and the feeling of being ‘not hungry’. They will only stop eating when their body begins to reject food, for instance through stomach pain or feeling sick.
Again, if you observe your loved one eating a tub of ice-cream as a result of a bad break-up, it does not make them obese. This is an extraordinary situation, and some sort of indulgence is allowed when overcoming a deeply painful moment. If however this happens on a regular basis and the ice-cream becomes a reaction to anything and everything, it becomes a problem. So what do we do when we observe these habits for a lasting period of time?
There are simple ways to prevent obesity in both adults and children. Children are much easier because they can be lead onto the right path early on and develop a healthy relationship to food and exercise. With the introduction of television, computers and videogames, children and teens are increasingly encouraged to stay at home and spend most of their spare time in a sitting position. It is therefore crucial to introduce children to exercise from early childhood, which is also great for their bone development. If the child grows up knowing that exercise is simply part of a healthy lifestyle, they are likely to take this attitude into adulthood. Part of this is that the parents have to be an encouraging example by exercising as well.
The second important factor is the relationship to food. Many of us grew up being forced to ‘empty the plate’, and ‘eat up’ because economical thinking was important in the average middle class household. In many cultures, a big child represents a healthy child, so they were often overfed. Today we know that this kind of parenting drives children into the belief that what is there has to be eaten, and when everything is eaten we get rewarded with a dessert.
What should be taught is to eat as much as we need, listen to our body and determine when the hunger is gone. Apart from the quantity, it is also the quality of food that needs to be right. Sweets and chocolates are a treat, not a daily food. They are great to reward the child for good achievements, to give on a birthday or to share on holidays. But it is important to teach that a balance of different foods is necessary for everyday life, including the veggies, fruit, dairy, meat and bread. An overflow of any of these categories is bad, but the intake of all of these is crucial. Finally, one of the most crucial ways to prevent obesity is to provide emotional support, which is the opposite of stuffing candy into the child when it is sad. Food will not solve any problems, and a child should practice dealing with issues without dunking it in honey first. As an adult, this child will be unable to handle emotional stress or pain without a chocolate bar.
Preventing or healing obesity in adults is much more difficult because it has already become their lifestyle. Confrontation has to be planned carefully because further guilt will achieve the opposite of helping. In most cases, medical aid, training camp and psychological support are necessary to prevent the worst, or even to heal what is already damaged. If you know somebody who is showing symptoms of obesity or who is obese, you should discuss confrontation with others who are worried and consult a psychological professional.