During late December and early January there are millions of people who are focused on fulfilling their New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s dropping a few extra pounds or gaining some more muscle, most of these resolutions will involve health and fitness related goals. Every January, there are gyms all across the country that will be overloaded with people who have good intentions of reaching some type of physique goal. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that 90% of these people will fail and stop coming to the gym come February.
We need to ask ourselves why this keeps happening. The startling fact is that a whopping 72% of America is overweight and over one million people will die this year in the United States because of this. I’d like to be positive and believe that it will change with our young people, but that’s not going to happen because 36% of our children are also obese! The U.S. obesity issues will continue to rise over the coming years. For all the people who are either overweight or obese, I think there is a major disconnect as to how being overweight affects their health. You might as well be walking around with a bomb strapped to your chest not knowing when it will go off. I sympathize for all those people who don’t believe that being overweight is a serious issue!
The key to changing this predictable outcome can only be modified with heightened awareness around health and fitness. Unfortunately, we tend to rationalize the medical issue of being overweight with various excuses. We commonly say that we are just getting older or that it’s just genetics. Most overweight or obese people do not see being in that condition as a health issue.
The other sad fact is that a lot of people are just looking for that one quick fix. Whether it’s a magic pill, a new diet, or an overzealous workout program, the belief that everything can be fixed fast is a pipe dream. It pains me to see people suffer needlessly and die before their time. The other horrible piece to this is the financial cost to these sick individuals and their families. I’m personally very close to retirement and I cringe at the financial implications of having poor health. For people who are overweight, it’s important to keep in mind that the average person living in the United States will incur $260,000 in medical costs (out-of-pocket) from the age of 65 until they die. Overweight Americans are out spending people of normal weight by a factor of 6-1! It’s no wonder health care isn’t affordable!
The average American who is 60 years old, only has $103,000 saved for retirement. Only 1 in 3 retirees have their house paid off. This issue is spiraling out of control. The facts that I’m sharing with you are real data that the government does not want you to hear. While Americans go bankrupt and suffer, the government, medical community and food industry prospers. Do you see what’s wrong with this picture?
Hopefully, I have got your attention about the significance of being overweight as it relates to your health and financial security. You must ask yourself how things could get this bad. It’s a combination of several factors. First and foremost, Americans don’t understand how being overweight can impact their health. In addition, the medical community, for the most part, does not challenge their patients weight or educate them as to the potential health risks that being overweight has on their life.
Heath Issues Associated with Being Overweight or Obese
- 42% more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.
- 60% more likely to die from a heart attack.
- 90% more likely to get diabetes.
- 40% more likely to get cancer.
- 24% more likely to have a stroke.
- 83% more likely to have high blood pressure.
- 56% more likely to have knee and hip replacements.
- Lifespan on the average will be 6-7 years less than someone of normal weight.
When it comes to being overweight, what it really comes down to is lifestyle choices. Poor diet and lack of physical exercise are two of the biggest factors for an increased waistline. If you elect to do nothing then you better increase your life insurance policy to make sure all of your expensive medical bills are covered and your family doesn’t get strapped with them.
Why is There a Disconnect With Being Overweight or Obese?
- Proper education is lacking.
- Most overweight people do not even think being overweight is a health issue.
- People don’t understand the health ramifications of being overweight or obese.
- Most of the medical community does not challenge patients about their weight issues. Quite honestly, they are more interested in “treating” medical issues than helping to prevent them.
Motivating Factors To Become Healthy and Fit
- What will your family do without you?
- Who will pay for all your medical bills after you die?
- You will spend 6 times more for your medical expenses.
- Employers will judge you on your weight and often may elect not to hire you for this very reason. If I was the hiring manager, I’d question if the overweight person will be able to take care of the company when they can’t even take care of themselves.
- You will die 6-7 years earlier than a person of normal weight.
- Being a poor role model for your children who will be 50% more likely to be overweight also.
- Your quality of life will be poor at best.
- A better marriage. You don’t think your spouse cares what you look like? Look at the divorce rate.
- Improved mental outlook on life and a lot more energy.
Now For The Good News
The fact is that being overweight or obese is absolutely preventable! People just need to be proactive with their health and fitness endeavors and overall lifestyle choices. A lot of people only get on track with living a healthy lifestyle after a major health issue has hit them. Don’t let this be you!
You are going to need to have the right mindset in order to get healthy and fit. You must be 100% committed to health and fitness. Remember in the movie “The Karate Kid” when Mr. Miyagi tells Daniel-san, “Walk on road. Walk right side, safe. Walk left side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later, get squish, just like grape.” You must make a clear and concise decision whether you really want to do the things you need to do in order to get healthy! There is no middle road, you either do it or you don’t!
Expenses Associated with Health and Fitness
- A gym membership costs around $20 to $30 per month.
- I’d suggest hiring a personal trainer at the beginning to help you get started. The cost is about $40 for a half-hour session.
- Don’t over commit! Many gyms will try to sign you up for a long-term membership with a trainer. Focus on doing about 3-6 months with a personal trainer which should be plenty of time.
- Most people who are overweight have unbalanced hormones. A basic blood test is usually covered by insurance so ask your doctor to schedule your labs so you can get a baseline of your hormone levels.
Where To Start? Your Roadmap To Health and Fitness
There will be 4 main steps to regaining your health and fitness. What I’m going to share with you is not the silly and useless stuff they promote on reality shows like “The Biggest Loser“. That type of approach is only short-term, and sadly enough, does not last because the weight loss was not accomplished the right way. Just look at the shocking statistics about how many of those contestants have gained all the weight back, and then some!
Step #1 – Your Commitment To Lose The Weight
Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight and your mindset needs to get better week after week. This means adhering to a clean diet and improving your level of fitness every single week. If you focus on getting better week to week, you’ll see progress. You must track your weight loss along with what you eat and hold yourself accountable. Are you committed? Let’s move on to the next step!
Step #2 – Go See Your Doctor
Get a complete physical to evaluate your health as it relates to getting fit. Share your plan with your doctor and inform them about your overall goals. Get your hormone levels checked by either your doctor or an anti-aging clinic in your local area. Most general practitioners are not up on this type of proactive approach and most don’t even suggest getting a complete blood test to check your current hormone levels. A staggering 80% of people who are 50 years of age and over have sub-optimal hormone levels (testosterone, growth hormone, etc). Balanced hormones will help you lose weight, build lean muscle, increase energy levels and improve mental clarity. You’ll sleep better and your sex life will improve also!
As a certified personal trainer, I suggest that all my clients have balanced hormones as it relates to optimal health, fitness and weight loss. For those that are overweight and your medical doctor is not suggesting that you get your hormones tested, you should seek another physician who is specialized in this area. Your health depends on it!
Expected Benefits of Balanced Hormones
- Increased weight loss.
- Build more lean muscle.
- Better sleep.
- Clearer skin.
- Improved bone density.
- Increased energy.
- Improved mental clarity.
- Improved Libido.
Step #3 – Eat a Nutrient Dense Healthy Diet
You are what you eat! If you are currently overweight or obese, you’ll never lose those unwanted pounds if your eating habits remain the same and you’ll never make inroads to losing weight and becoming healthy and fit. This means eating a nutrient dense, whole food diet. I am not a fan of starvation diets or fad diets which provide only short-term results. They don’t work, so stay away from them! I don’t know a single person that has been able to lose the weight and keep it off with these types of programs. A proper nutritional plan is one that allows you to lose weight and become healthy while maintaining the diet for the long-term. A proper diet should consist of lean proteins, clean carbs, healthy fats, vegetables and fresh fruit. You need to cut out any processed food, junk food and fast food if you want to see real results!
Remember to avoid huge portion sizes also. Most Americans overeat and their portion sizes are out of control. I eat 5-6 small meals each day. The key to optimal nutrition is how you plan out your meals for the week. I usually make extra food when I cook my dinner, so I can have some extra portions for lunch the next day. It’s not uncommon for me to cook several days worth of chicken breast or make a big fruit and vegetable salad that lasts for days. Try your best to avoid eating late at night also. Learning how to eat healthy goes hand-in-hand with reaching your health and fitness goals. Take a look at my How To Eat Healthy article to learn more about exactly what to eat for optimal health.
Why Good Carbs are Important To Your Body
Carbohydrates provide your body with glucose to function properly. Complex carbs help provide fuel for the body, and in addition, these complex carbs protect your muscles. The last thing your body needs is to lose valued muscle tissue! This is why starvation and fad diets don’t work for the long-term. There are two types of carbohydrates. Complex carbs are good carbs that take time to break down into glucose. Simple carbs, or “bad carbs” are processed into glucose way too quickly which causes your blood sugar levels to spike. Complex carbs that are good for the body and promote weight loss are whole grain foods like brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta and whole grain bread.
Step #4 – Workout and Move Your Body
Most people think that going to the gym will get them healthy and that’s all they need to do. For those trying to get healthy, steps 1-3 cannot be overlooked. If you’re over 50 years of age and overweight, going to the gym is not going to reduce all of the body fat that you have accumulated over the years. The key is to combine both a healthy diet along with a workout program. If you want to lose the weight you’ll have to learn how to eat healthy because following a clean diet is the biggest factor for losing fat and keeping it off. Remember the old saying, You can’t out-exercise a bad diet”, so always make sure your diet is on point!
I can’t tell you how many overweight people I see on a daily basis that focus on the wrong things in the gym. For some, it’s 100% all cardio and for others it’s all weight training and no cardio exercise. Most people do very few core exercises and also forget to stretch or do any type of warm-up before working out. Almost every middle-aged person I see working out does not have a balanced workout routine. Month after month, these same people keep getting bigger and bigger. If you are overweight or obese, choosing the right activity is critical to improving your fitness. Although all fitness activities offer some degree of value, there are certain exercises that are much better than others.
Be aware of group classes such as circuit training or an instructor led class teaching the same exercises to all the participants. The one-size-fits-all approach is not very effective when it comes to seeing real results. I rarely see people in these classes who are fit. The class activities and the pace of the class do not match the participant’s fitness goals most of the time. Many people choose these activities because they are cheap. My recommendation is to skip these types of classes and hire a quality personal trainer to help develop a good workout plan and to provide instructions as to how to do perform various weight lifting exercises. Hiring a personal trainer will cost a few bucks but will be more than worth it in the long run.
What To Look for in a Personal Trainer
- Never sign up with a personal trainer who is out of shape. That is a huge red flag!
- Your fitness activities should consist of balanced workouts including weights, core exercises and cardio. Building lean muscle with resistance training helps to speed up your metabolism.
- Stay away from slow-moving activities. These are a waste of time and don’t get you healthy and fit.
- If you are middle-aged, hire a trainer about your same age since they will know what you need.
- Interview multiple trainers before hiring one. Take your time and choose the right person.
- Talk with current clients of the trainer and get feedback from them.
- Don’t sign long-term contracts! I recommend 3-6 months of training to start off on the right foot.
- Ask the trainer what their plan will be for you to get fit and lose those unwanted pounds. They should offer not only training advice but also diet advice.
- Does the trainer have any nutritional certifications? Having a trainer who is a nutrition expert is huge!
- If you have any issues such as back or knee problems, let your trainer know about everything. They can still design a workout program to help you reach your desired fitness goals.
Should you workout if you have injuries or ailments? If your doctor is on board then go for it. Every single person I train has some sort of issue. I can work around back, knee and shoulder issues very easily. Unfortunately, there are a lot of middle-aged people who use this as their main excuse to avoid the gym. Don’t be that person!
Weight training workouts need to be balanced for the entire body and adequate recovery time should be given before re-training the same muscle groups. I use 3 separate workouts with my beginner clients and my above-average students follow four workouts. Failure to have balance with your workout routine places you at risk for injury. I would estimate that 90% of the people in the gym do not have a balanced workout routine.
Proper Education is Key
Getting educated on health and fitness is the key to staying healthy and fit for a lifetime. You can find all kinds of information on the Internet. The first step is to read all of the informative health and fitness articles right here on ShapeFit.com which provides a wealth of knowledge! The key to my continued success is driven by my initiative in researching various health and fitness topics!
Potential Road Blocks for Being Overweight
- Not being educated about health and fitness.
- Not following an optimal diet.
- Not getting your butt to the gym!
- Unbalanced hormones.
- Thinking that you know it all! I see this all the time. A person is out of shape and they think they know it all.
- Not being committed to your diet and fitness plan.
- Not investing financially in your health. There’s nothing more expensive than poor health. Get fit and prevent health issues from occurring.
- Not going to a hormone specialist. You can diet all you want and workout all you want but you might not make any progress if you have low hormone levels.
My hope is that overweight people who are reading this article have an improved understanding to how being overweight is a very serious medical issue that can take your life at any time and increase the likelihood of developing a serious weight associated medical ailment that causes harm to your well-being and can also destroy your family financially. I don’t want any of the readers to die prematurely or become part of the growing one million overweight deaths that occur in the United States each year. I hope everyone has found some motivation to reach their New Year’s resolutions. Great health is knocking on your door and all you need to do is focus on the right things. I wish everyone the best of luck in achieving their health and fitness goals for the new year!