AOF’s Guide on Staying Healthy

The major causes of death, especially, in low-income and underserved neighborhoods are chronic diseases, such as, obesity, diabetes, heart attack and cancer. Obesity is the condition in which a person is overweight and has a high degree of body fat. Obesity is measured by the Body Mass Index (BMI). Hence, maintaining a healthy human body in the 21st century, in order, to increase life expectancy becomes paramount.

Now, if you are tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired, you need to get into the driver’s seat about managing your health: adopting a healthy lifestyle and making the right choices for you and your family, since, these are some of the things that can put obesity and its related chronic diseases at bay. The pharmaceuticals and food companies will not do it for you because that would adversely impact their bottom lines.

First, one of the guiding principles at the American Obesity Foundation, (AOF) is our belief in the power of the “Unseen Hands” in the lives of men and women. This belief is even more, evidenced in the health outcomes of many previously sick persons across the spectrum, now living healthier and more purposeful lives.

In adopting a holistic approach to solving endemic challenges, such as, obesity and obesity-related suffering, AOF supports research findings on the importance of spirituality, whether, in an individual, family, or community’s progression. As such, in addition to embracing nutrition, exercise and fitness, good state of mind, healthy lifestyle options, there is a need to embrace spirituality. Start with gratitude – positive thinking is very essential to being healthy. You need to clear out your mind, remove all the depressing and negative emotions and fill it with positive thoughts. You can get involved in practices, such as, meditation and yoga to get your positive energies going.  

Moderation in caloric intake (portion control), ought to become the watch word as you make healthy, your new happy. Eating the right portion sizes pays off because big servings lead to calories overload. Staring your day with oatmeal for breakfast makes portion control easy at lunch. Instead of counting calories, try this amazing concept: divide your plate into two sections; fill about half or more with vegetables and /or fruits and the remainder with roughly equal amounts of starch and a high protein food like, chicken or fish. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and even better, this way of eating may help prevent overweight, cancer, heart disease and other common killers.

Taking nutritious foods and drinks is non-negotiable for your kids and others in the household. Fruits and vegetables have been shown to boost immunity and reverse chronic diseases like obesity, heart attack and even cancer.

What to eat: A variety of unprocessed and fresh foods helps kids and adults obtain the right amounts of essential nutrients. It helps to avoid foods high in sugars, fats and salt, which can lead to unhealthy weight gain and related suffering. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is, especially important for growing kids and their development.

Add fruits, such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and watermelon; legumes, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas; vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and carrots. People whose diets are rich in vegetables and fruits, have a significantly lower risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain kinds of cancer.

What to avoid eating: Avoid eating a lot of red meat, palm and coconut oils, sugary foods and beverages, saturated fat – found mostly in foods that come from animals; trans fat (trans fatty acids) – found in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats, such as stick margarine. Fats and oils are concentrated sources of energy, and eating too much fat, particularly, the wrong kinds of fat, can be harmful to health. For example, people who eat too much saturated fat and trans-fat are at higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

Heart-healthy eating includes fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as, skim milk, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, trout, about twice a week.

Also, reduce your salt intake: When cooking and preparing foods, cut back on the amount of salt and high-sodium condiments (e.g. soy and fish sauces). Avoid snacks that are high in salt and sugars; limit intake of sodas and other drinks high in sugars (e.g. fruit juices, flavored drinks, cordials and syrups).

People whose diets are high in sodium, including salt, have a higher risk of high blood pressure, which can increase their risk of heart disease and stroke. Similarly, those whose diets are high in sugar have a greater risk of becoming overweight or obese, and an increased risk of tooth decay. 

Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, promote bowel movement and reverse constipation. Make it a daily habit to drink water first thing in the morning and last thing at night. It is possible to prevent or control obesity.  The following are some of the different ways you can increase your water intake to help you maintain a healthy body.

Green Tea
Green tea has been found to be very effective in weight loss and will help in treating weight loss without any dieting or weight loss pills. Boil the green tea leaves and let it simmer for a few minutes. Drink two to three times a day to see visible results in days.

Apple cider vinegar & lime juice
Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of lemon juice in a cup of lukewarm water. Drink this glass of water on an empty stomach every day for two to three months. You will see visible results as water will keep you hydrated, apple cider vinegar will boost your metabolism and lemon will help in improving the taste of water.

Start your day with honey
Take a teaspoon of honey and mix it in a glass of hot water. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to this water mixture. Drink this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Repeat daily for two to three months to see an effective weight loss.

Drink warm water
If you have the habit of drinking cold water, try to replace it with warm water which will help in eliminating the fat deposits in your body. Drink warm water after every meal and make sure that you leave a gap of half an hour between the food and the water. Never drink water immediately after eating.

Exercise regularly. Remember, fitness is more important than being thin. Importantly, there is more to daily health than weight and the pursuit of being underweight. In this regard, fitness is more important than being thin. If you know, you have heart disease or conditions that make you more vulnerable to an unhealthy heart, discuss with your doctor who would recommend appropriate steps to improve your health.

Get some rest. Getting enough sleep and rest has been shown to help with managing and coping with stress. Relaxing and ability to cope with problems whether at home or in the workplace, can improve emotional and physical health.

Engage in wholesome relationships: A family history of poor eating habits, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, high blood cholesterol, domestic violence, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, drinking too much alcohol can all be changed. The cycle of negative relationships with self and others does not have to continue because as Maya Angelou, said: “when people know better, they do better”.  Since, there’s no sure way to know who is at risk of cardiac arrest, for example, reducing the level of risk is the best strategy. Go for regular checkups, get screened for heart disease and live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke, and use alcohol in moderation. Eat a nutritious, balanced diet and stay physically active.

Stop smoking: Some people smoke because they think, it helps them stay thin. However, researchers from the University of Louisville’s School of Dentistry, led by David A. Scott, in their findings released on this year’s World No Tobacco Day, showed cigarettes lead to infiltration of bacteria in the body. Plus, that the mouth is the dirtiest parts of the body and smoking makes it worse.

Know your risk factors: Be aware of your weight, BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Above all, listen to your body, and if something isn’t right, talk to a doctor.