Nearly one-third of Memphis's population is obese, which earned the city the unflattering rank as the fattest city in the nation, according to a recent report in Newsweek magazine. I'm not surprised by the expanding girth of Memphians considering that "The Bluff City" is deemed the "barbeque capital of the world."
I'm not blind to this fact – and you shouldn't be either. Memphis is tops in a lot of things, but obesity is not one that we should brag about. It leads to catastrophic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer, and will eventually lead to death. So in no uncertain terms we have to turn the fat back to keep death at bay.
I'm sure we all want to live to reach old age. If you do, like I do, then you ought to make some necessary changes to make quality living a life-long quest. Dying is too easy. We all have to come to this crossroad at the end of life, but it doesn't have to be soon.
So what do you know about obesity? I'm almost certain that not many people have an inkling of what it is or how to keep the weight off. I've sounded the clarion in this newspaper week after week – that eating fruits and vegetables is the key to good health. An obese city, state and nation affect everybody directly and indirectly. It's your concern, and mine, too.
Why is it so hard to eat healthy on a budget or limited income? Believe me, I understand your concerns about eating healthy when a well balance diet may not be commensurate with your meager income. If this is what you're thinking, you have a valid point.
I want to make seven points about obesity and what you'd need to do to keep the weight off.
First. If you're unable to afford fine cuisine, don't worry. Most of it might be unhealthy anyway. So if you have the wherewithal, buy fruits and vegetables. Besides, if you're eating foods that are loaded with sugar, fats and calories, you're on your way to fatsville.
Second. Make obtainable goals that you are able to live by and keep when it comes to losing the weight. Preparing and eating a healthy diet and then exercising may not be feasible if you're a glutton and unable to turn away from the table. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables will help keep your weight down.
Third. Learning how to read and understand food labels is a must. You wouldn't want to purchase foods that are harmful to the body or foods that would cause weight increase and the possibility of ill health. So read food labels to avoid sickness and diseases.
Fourth. If you're going to the grocery store, never go hungry. Always have a prepared list of foods you are going to purchase. You wouldn't want to purchase foods on the spur-of-the-moment. Plan your diet.
Fifth. If you should talk to someone about your food choice, or theirs, slip in a conversation about the added benefits of exercising and changing one's lifestyle to ensure longevity.
Sixth. Begin with some form of exercise that you'd enjoy. It should be fun and enjoyable if you want to sustain your level of commitment.
Seven. Learn how to remove stress from your life. Try not worry about the things you don't have control over. Stress too often leads to overweight bodies and, if left unchecked, obesity. So don't worry. Be happy! If you're happy, you won't overeat.
Weight gain is not that uncommon in people who eat the wrong foods. People who become seriously obese tend to eat uncontrollably anyway and can't seem to lift themselves up from the kitchen table. Eating a healthy diet is a pre-requisite for those trying to live life more abundantly.
Life is precious. You don't have to eat yourself into oblivion. Obesity leads to health problems that can be prevented if you're taught how to eat a well-balanced diet. You must decide what is more important to you: eating foods that expand your girth or eating foods that will expand your mind.
If you are borderline overweight, or obese, make the necessary adjustments to prevent life-long illnesses.