Are you obese? Top 10 tips for healthy living

When it comes to decoding the term 'healthy living', there are endless interpretations. Contrary to popular belief, getting healthy is not about aspiring to reach an impossible body type.

The truth is a lot easier. Healthy living is within your reach, but it is definitely a long-term commitment. There are steps, which one needs to take to be healthier and pave the way for living a full and healthy life tomorrow. Here's your to-do list for the top 10 tips for healthy living.

Make appointments with your doctor. Have open channels of communication with your doctor. Make sure that you are not over weight. Get casual check ups with your doctor every year or every six months, depending on your age and health. Start by getting a check up from your primary family doctor. Use this check up to determine nutrition and exercise requirements. Ask the doctor to refer you to fitness experts like trainers and nutritionists, if needed. Many times, people are unaware of their nutrition requirements. Consulting the right experts helps solve this dilemma.

Gauge your girth. With the help of a BMI calculator, check if you are overweight and how much weight you need to reduce. According to experts, if you have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 40 or more, you are overweight by approximately 50 kilograms (for men) and about 40 kilograms (for women). This is considered severely obese.

Assess your activity. Try to get up and move around more frequently. Start gradually if you aren't in good shape or aren't used to exercising. Even a 10-minute daily walk can help. You will note that good fitness levels positively impact your spiritual and mental level as much as your physical well being. Thus, the benefits of physical activity are aplenty. If you have any health conditions, are over-weight and have never exercised before, or if you're above 50 years of age, talk to your doctor before you start a new exercise program.

Keep a food diary. Maintaining a food diary gives you a solid record of your health success, which would work as a boosting factor in order to maintain your lost weight in the future. It helps you understand which points in the day lead to diet sabotage through unhealthy food cravings and indulgences. It also helps you pin point the portions you eat at every meal time.

Check your mood and energy. Binge eating depicts a lack of control over one's eating habits, a feeling where one has no control over how much or how many times one is eating. Blame it on your lifestyle choices or lack of exercise routine. If you overeat when you are not even hungry, then there's no escape from weight gain. Additionally, if you tend to overeat more when dining outside, especially on unhealthy food and drink, then the empty calories will end up harming you in the long run. Focus on your moods and you'll be able to control the triggers that cause these binges and unhealthy eating episodes.

Consider your social network. If one person becomes obese, those closely connected to them have a greater chance of becoming obese themselves. Interestingly, it is observed that if obesity runs in your family it becomes even more difficult to break the obesity rut and follow a healthy lifestyle. Do understand that if your social circle comprises of unhealthy people, you are more impacted by negative and unhealthy factors in your life.

Sleep well. A lack of sleep results in a feeling of being overworked, which leads to unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as eating junk food, addictions to coffee and the so called 'energy boosting drinks'. Good sleep hygiene will help in timing your sleep schedule effectively. Make sure you are not drinking alcohol within three hours of bedtime. If you don't get sleep, try to dim the lights, drink some herbal tea, listen to some light music and read a book, after taking a long shower or a combination of the above.

Strength training and cardio are crucial. Extremely overweight people who lift heavy weights, still manage to lose weight. As a matter of fact, nowadays most fitness experts will tell you that strength training is even more crucial than cardio training for healthy weight management. The concept is simple - weight lifiting helps build muscle. Muscle metabolises energy at a higher rate than fat. And it helps you avoid injury and wear and tear as you grow older. Importantly, gaining muscle is not the same as bodybuilding. The average person does not bulk up by simply following one hour workout routines 3-5 times a week.

Reducing salt content is a must. Too much sodium intake can lead to water retention in the blood increasing blood pressure. Normally, the kidney flushes this excess water from the body. However, sometimes, kidneys are unable to function properly and find it difficult to expel the excess fluid sufficiently out of the body, thereby leading to fluid retention. This increases the volume of blood being pumped through the blood vessels and can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension).

Pay attention to chronic conditions. The unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles of today have contributed to an alarming increase in obesity in both children and adults. More than a cosmetic problem, obesity has emerged as a major health problem causing a number of ailments and complications, such as osteoarthritis, gallstones, liver problems, heart attacks, diabetes, high bp and so on. Therefore, controlling and avoiding obesity will help you avoid several life and lifestyle-threatening diseases.

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