How did we end up as a nation where over half of our citizens are losing the battle of the bulge?  I’ve talked about genetics already.  But our genes haven’t changed in the last 50 years while the percentage of us who are overweight or obese has skyrocketed.  Currently there is no state in our nations with less than 20% of its people who are not obese.

Well a lot of other things have changed in the past 50 years.  When I was a kid, we had only one Mc Donald’s in our hometown.  We also had a Dairy Queen.  Going out for fast food was a rare treat, usually reserved for long car trips when we couldn’t find a restaurant such as Stuckey’s to have a sit down meal.  There has also been a marked increase in portion sizes served in fast food and other restaurants.  As well, we have an enormous reliance in our country on sweet foods and processed foods.   The use of high fructose corn syrup, for example has increased 1000% and now represents 40% of all sweeteners used. 

At the same time, we no longer have to get up to even change the TV channel.  Not only do we not grow our own vegetables, we don’t have to even chop up our own vegetables – we can buy them pre-chopped.  Our overall level of physical activity has diminished.

Finally our level of stress has increased.  The modern world is not the slower paced world of the past.  Many people work more than one job.  If you’re a single mother, like myself, you may feel the heavy weight of responsibility for being the primary breadwinner.  Families are scattered and sometimes social support is lacking.

Well we can’t turn back time.  That’s for sure.  What we can do is simplify our lives to the best of our abilities and focus not on weight but on health.

Fact # 10 – Simplify your life with these 5 principles:

1.    Regarding food – eat as fresh and naked as you can.  Avoid foods covered in sauces and gravies.  Eat food in its natural state.

2.    Regarding stress – make a concerted effort to identify and learn to manage your stress.  If you have to work two jobs, find ways to relax and refresh yourself when you’re not working.  Learn to say no.  Build your social network so they can be there for you in a crisis.

3.    For good health, sleep at least 8-9 hours a night.  Sleeping less than this will dramatically increase your health risks and also your weight.

4.    Keep your body moving.  Don’t let moss grow under your feet.  Stay active.

5.    Take vitamins because none of us have perfect diets and even if we did, our food is not perfect.

Excerpted from “The  Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating Workbook”  due July 1st, 2009 from New Harbinger Press,