The premise was that if a student had a body mass index (BMI) of above 30, which indicates obesity, then they should take some college-sanctioned steps to show they had lost weight or at least tried -- or they cannot graduate.
The Fitness for Life course includes walking, Pilates, exercises and fitness games.This year, some students have not completed the program, so they may not be able to graduate. Around 30 students are unlikely to graduate because they have not taken steps to reduce their BMI.
That obesity is a growing problem in the United States and many parts of the world is not in question.
It would certainly seem that Lincoln University made this decision with good intentions. However, obesity itself is not the underlying cause of any health problem. The underlying cause is usually an unhealthy diet which is overloaded with processed food and sugars like fructose, lack of exercise leading to increased insulin and leptin levels, and an overload of emotional stress that has not been addressed.
These are some of the primary factors that cause your body to become overweight or obese … and the cycle continues from there.
Why Maintaining an Ideal Weight is So Important
This is not an aesthetic issue, it’s a functional one; your body is designed to operate best when it’s at an ideal weight. Carrying around extra pounds will inevitably increase your risk of developing just about every chronic degenerative disease known to man.
To get an idea of how far-reaching the problems can be, browse through these 20 diseases and conditions that are directly attributable to being overweight. The list includes diabetes, cancer, heart failure, erectile dysfunction and many more.
Obesity has been on a steady rise since the 1960s, and today has been labeled the fastest-growing health threat in the United States.
Already, two-thirds of the U.S. population is already overweight, and a recent study found it’s possible that virtually every American adult could be overweight by 2048. Left unchecked, it seems the rates are climbing to 80% -- or four out of five people.
Why are Overweight and Obesity Rates So High?
You can see in the chart below how obesity rates just continue to climb ever higher.
So what happened four or so decades ago?
Cultural changes, dietary changes and technological changes had a major impact on the evolution of obesity from then on. Americans, as well as many other countries, now live in a society that encourages excessive food intake, including non-food food-stuffs like processed foods and snacks, and discourages physical activity.
Overall, some of the the more likely causes of obesity are:
In the near future I will be providing a series of articles and videos that will help you understand the central role that the sugar fructose plays in this epidemic. In fact it may be the single biggest factor. I hope to share this information in January.
- Sedentary lifestyles: Generations ago people had no choice but to exercise; they did it for their very livelihoods or at least to get from one place to another. Today, many people sit behind a desk for most of the day, then get in their cars to drive home. Leisure time involves more sitting, either in front of the TV, computer or video game system.
Stress and negative emotions: It is very easy to get caught up in using food as a security blanket, a distraction from boredom, or a way to cope with stress -- and once you get used to using food to feel better, it’s hard to break the routine. Further, the stress response itself can also encourage your body to gain weight.
Exposure to environmental pollutants: Exposure to low levels of pesticides, dyes, flavorings, perfumes, plastics, resins, and solvents may make you put on weight.
The make-up of bacteria in your gut: This is related to your diet, but if you eat a lot of sugar and grains, it can negatively influence not only your insulin and leptin levels, but also the bacteria in your gut, contributing to obesity.
- Lack of sleep: This disrupts vital hormones and proteins in your body, which may also increase your risk of obesity.
Making the Commitment to Get Healthy
If you look through the list above, most of these influences can be altered by your lifestyle choices. There is no magic pill or quick fix, and making up your mind to do it is more than half the battle. From there, it’s just a matter of changing your lifestyle in the following ways:
- Begin to eat healthy and tailor your diet to your nutritional type.
You can get started right now by reading my nutrition plan, but from there I encourage you to find out your nutritional type. Your nutritional type will tell you which foods are right for your biochemistry, and these are the foods that will push your body toward its ideal weight. (By the way, these foods may be high in fat, high in carbs, heavy on protein or heavy on veggies, it all depends on YOU).
- View exercise as a drug.
When you’re trying to lose weight, a casual walk here and there is not going to cut it. Many studies find that exercising for one hour, five days a week is actually needed, and I tend to agree with that.
There is also strong evidence that strength training and high-intensity anaerobic interval training may be especially effective for weight loss.
- Use healthy outlets for stress and negative emotions.
Tools like the Meridian Tapping Technique (MTT) are your friend and ally when it comes to losing weight. For some, emotional eating or emotional traumas are more complex, and an experienced MTT practitioner may be able to help unravel some of these deeper emotional issues. Meditation, prayer, journaling and even exercise can also provide positive outlets for stress.
Now I am not suggesting that weight loss is easy, only that it is something you can accomplish if you put your mind to it and change your lifestyle in a positive way. For some of you, accomplishing this may mean getting some outside support.
If you live in the Chicago area and would like some extra support and guidance in weight loss, you can visit my Natural Health Center. Those of you in other areas who need weight loss support can look for a holistic health care practitioner who specializes in weight loss in your area, and join in on the Community Comments section below, where you can share your weight loss challenges and successes with like-minded people.