The United States is officially in a health crisis.
We’ve hit previously uncharted levels of obesity across the nation.
Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health.
It’s a complex medical condition that can’t be attributed to a single cause.
Eating patterns, physical activity levels, sleep routines, medical conditions, and genetics can all play a role.
Being overweight or obese puts individuals at a higher risk for health problems such as:
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- certain types of cancer
- musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis
And last month, the CDC released adult obesity prevalence data reiterating exactly why VTLZR is here.
The numbers are alarming.
Today, we’ll cover what this study shows and what habits you can introduce to lose weight (the right way) to avoid being part of the data.
The Study: Adult Obesity Prevalence Remains High; Support for Prevention and Treatment Needed
In 2022, a staggering 22 states in the United States had an adult obesity prevalence rate at or above 35%, compared to just 19 states in 2021.
10 years ago? Not one state had reached this threshold.
So, how do we combat this crisis?
It begins with correcting the habits our population has picked up in an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.
We’ve become so consumed with technology and convenience that we have forgotten the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition.
This is especially concerning for our younger generations, who are heavily influenced by what they see on social media and television.
It’s time to break this cycle and prioritize our health and well-being.
Americans are living unhealthy lifestyles
While many cases are attributed to medical or genetic factors, most obesity cases are from our own doing.
The modern American lifestyle has made it easier than ever to choose unhealthy options and avoid exercise.
The SAD American diet
The Standard American Diet (SAD) has been a label of American culture for decades. It consists of highly processed foods, loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats, and lacking in essential nutrients.
Today’s most popular foods are often cheaper and more convenient than whole, nutritious options in the US, and it’s up to our nation’s leaders to address the root causes of this issue, including food accessibility and affordability.
Additionally, portion sizes have drastically increased over the years, leading to a higher caloric intake.
From fast-food chains on every corner to the abundance of ultra-processed foods (UPFs), it’s no wonder we are seeing such high rates of obesity.
Today, 68% of the US food supply is categorized as “hyper-palatable,” made with levels of sugar, sodium, or carbohydrates that make them addictive to humans.
The American diet has transformed with the rise of UPFs produced by big food and beverage companies.
We’re eating more junk and consuming less nutrient-dense whole foods, leading to a malnutrition epidemic.
A sedentary American lifestyle
Not only are we eating more unhealthy foods, but we’re moving less.
Modern society has made it easy to live a sedentary lifestyle with a lack of physical activity built into our daily routines.
It begins at a young age.
American children spend more time in front of screens than ever, using smartphones, gaming consoles, TVs, tablets, and computers.
Studies from the AACAP show that children ages 8-12 in the United States average 4-6 hours a day watching or using screens, while teens spend up to 9 hours.
It’s no longer a poor habit; it’s a poor lifestyle.
And now, it continues as we age.
Americans spend an average of 6-8.5 hours a day sitting, whether it’s at work, in the car, or on the couch.
According to Just Stand, a person’s risk of developing health issues due to prolonged sitting is classified into four main thresholds:
- Low risk: Sitting for less than 4 hours per day.
- Medium risk: Sitting for 4–8 hours per day.
- High risk: Sitting for 8–11 hours per day.
- Very high risk: Sitting for more than 11 hours per day.
Ways to avoid sitting all day:
- If you work at a desk all day, try a standing desk to add more time on your feet
- Make an effort to take walking breaks throughout the day. The CDC recommends 8-10K steps per day to improve overall health and reduce health risks.
- Convert meetings into walking meetings. Instead of sitting in a conference room, have the meeting while walking outside.
- Set reminders to stand up and move around every hour if you have a desk job.
The combination of poor American diets and the modern sedentary lifestyle has increased obesity rates and various health issues. It’s our job to stay active.
Lack of sleep
Despite the sedentary, inactive lifestyle, many Americans still do not get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged 18 and over should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night. However, studies show that more than 35% of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep per night.
Chronic lack of sleep leads to higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which increases appetite, and lower levels of the hormone leptin, which leads to feeling less full.
This results in overeating and weight gain.
Lack of sleep is also linked to health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and cognitive function.
Improving your sleep routine will set you up for success and give you the energy to stay consistent.
How to sustainably burn fat and shed weight
While we wait for the support of American leaders to support a healthier lifestyle, it’s important to take action on our own.
First, it’s important to increase our physical activity levels.
That doesn’t mean running marathons or lifting heavy weights every single day, but finding activities we enjoy and incorporating them into our daily routine.
Sustainable fat loss techniques
Weight loss should prioritize fat reduction and healthy habits over quick fixes or extreme diets.
When you cut all carbs out of your diet cold turkey or severely reduce your caloric intake, you may see quick results, but it’s not sustainable.
Nutrient deficiency, decreased energy, and rebound weight gain are all common consequences of extreme diets.
To avoid these outcomes, here are a few evidence-based ways to achieve sustainable weight loss.
Incorporating these habits into your regular routine will create a well-rounded, sustainable approach to weight (fat) loss, and with time, the results will follow.
Balanced nutrient-dense diet
Opt for a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of whole, nutrient-dense foods. Focus on consuming a healthy mix of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and an array of vitamins and minerals to support overall health and weight loss. Avoiding fatty oils, processed grains, and refined sugars should also be a top priority.
VTLZR Tip #1: Eat .8 to 1g of protein per pound of body weight per day to maintain muscle and metabolism while losing weight.
VTLZR Tip #2: Introduce a high-protein, moderate-fat breakfast to improve muscle growth and metabolism while feeling full for longer throughout the day.
Engage in strength training exercises 2-5 times a week. By building muscle over time, you’ll increase your metabolism, which means your body will burn more calories at rest.
This can also help prevent muscle loss while losing weight. Those who try to cut corners tend to deal with issues regarding muscle function and strength in the long term.
Zone 2 cardio
Incorporate Zone 2 cardio workouts into your routine three times a week. This form of cardio training targets your body’s fat-burning zone, teaching it to efficiently use fat as a fuel source.
Zone 2 cardio feels as if you can still have a conversation with someone while you are exercising – biking, running, swimming, etc.
Want to start running but not sure how to get into it? Read ‘How to Start Running Even If You Hate It‘ for tips to get started.
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Getting enough quality sleep is essential for weight loss.
Not only does it help regulate hormones that control appetite and metabolism, but it also ensures you have the energy to work out and make healthy food choices.
Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated helps control hunger, supports your body’s natural detoxification process, and boosts metabolism.
Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day, and opt for water instead of sugary drinks or juices.
The sugar cravings you may experience during weight loss are typically from dehydration, not from actual hunger. Stay hydrated to avoid unnecessary snacking and cravings.
Eat to 80% fullness
Instead of eating until you’re full, aim to stop at about 80% fullness. This prevents overeating and allows your body to properly digest the food.
An old Japanese saying, “hara hachi bu,” originated from Okinawa. It translates to “Eat until you’re 80% full.”
Unsurprisingly, Japan has one of the lowest obesity prevalence rates in the world, 4.5%, compared to the United States at 42.7%.
Instead of eating until you’re full, eat until you’re no longer hungry.
One way to do this is to eat slower and chew your food thoroughly. This allows your body time to register when it’s full and prevents overeating.
Time to Take Action
The VTLZR mission is to help as many people as possible live healthier and happier lives, and in the current state of the world, where obesity rates are at an all-time high, it’s important to be self-empowered.
By implementing these habits into your routine, you’ll not only lose weight but also improve your overall well-being and mental state.
Your health is the greatest gift you can give yourself, your friends, family, and loved ones.
Remember, it’s a long-term journey, not a quick fix.
Make small improvements daily, stay committed to your goals, and never give up.
The small wins, over long periods of time, lead to significant results.
And VTLZR is here to support you. From coaching and guides to workout programs and community support, VTLZR provides all the tools and resources you need to reach your weight loss goals.
Together, we can positively impact the world by living our healthiest lives.
We got this.