Fat America

by : Kalvin C. Chinyere, M.D.

America is obsessed with weight. It is unfortunately an obsession that has resulted in an obesity epidemic that is rapidly spreading. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 66 percent of American adults are overweight. That is equivalent to 134 million American adults and of those, 64 million are obese. That is a huge problem.

Information Overload

We are bombarded with weight loss information. Bookstores are overflowing with diet and fitness books. Hundreds of magazines feature tips and tricks to lose weight monthly. Not to mention advertisements on the internet, billboards, buses, subways and even bathrooms pitching weight loss plans, memberships, equipment, foods and drugs. And still we continue to get fatter.

The focus on losing weight is justifiable. Being overweight puts you at risk of developing a number of diseases including: Diabetes, cardiovascular disease / heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, asthma, arthritis and gallbladder disease.

The Problem

These diseases are impacting adults and children. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 17 percent of American children and adolescents are overweight. Children are developing joint pain, diabetes, sleep apnea and more at ages once unheard of. The obesity problem has even spread to our family pets!

The cost of obesity is not limited to individuals but is impacting us as a nation. According to the CDC, during 2003 medical expenses attributed to people being overweight or obese were almost 75 billion dollars. This in turn contributes to the growing problem of lack of affordable health care.

Weight loss information is everywhere - television, radio, magazines, books and we are spending billions of dollars in our attempts to lose weight. Why isn't it working?

The Answer

Truthfully anyone can lose weight, and many do. However, a much smaller percentage of people lose and keep off the weight for good. When you eat fewer calories than you burn you will lose weight. Following any eating plan that reduces your calories will result in weight loss.

Keeping weight off however requires more than calorie cutting; it requires changing your behavior. You can throw all the money you have at weight loss, but you will not have permanent weight loss unless you change and strengthen the organ between your ears.

Your brain is the most important body part in your weight loss efforts. With any addiction, if you simply take away the object of addiction you have not solved the problem. A drug addict is not cured simply by going through detox. An alcoholic is not cured by being deprived of alcohol. Taking food away will cause temporary weight loss but lasting change requires a change in the way you think about food.

My Story

I have successfully lost and sustained a weight loss of more than 130 pounds. I have helped others to adopt a healthier lifestyle using these same methods, which I teach in the Don't Go Broke Weight Loss Plan. I and many others are living proof that when you change your mind about weight loss you are on the way to lasting behavior change and a healthy lifestyle.