Leading Change from Obesity toward Health
By Julie Donley, RN ~ Success Expert & Author of
Does Change have to be so H.A.R.D.?
Obesity is a now a huge health epidemic – I don’t need to tell you this.
It’s on television and the news. There are several reality shows such as
‘the biggest loser’ and ‘heavy’. You may even be able to look down at your
own scale or at family members to see just how big the problem is (pun
We know it is a problem. People talk about how we need to do more to correct
the problem and little things are starting to change such as new menus at
the popular fast food restaurants and even in school cafeterias.
But even with these little changes, we have a long way to go toward health.
Today, the statistics are staggering with over two-thirds of the United
States adult population being either obese or overweight.
How did we get so far away from health and the fitness craze of the 1980’s?
There are many reasons for the obesity problem. These are just a few:
* Extra calories are added to everything from soups to pasta sauce to
* We are drinking more calories than ever before with the average
person drinking 450 calories a day.
* We eat fast giving us indigestion and causing stomach upset. Eating
fast can cause us eat more than we need to and with less enjoyment. We also
choose poorly when we grab something on the run. Eating healthy often
requires a little planning.
* Less activity and more television, video games and sedentary
lifestyles. The elimination of recess at schools.
* Packaged foods and less home cooking. Our grandparents and
great-grandparents cooked everything at home. Today, we buy packaged,
processed foods and ingest unnatural preservatives, chemicals and sugars
unnecessarily added to ‘enhance flavor’ but which have the effect of
increasing desire for more. They also cause us to store more fat.
* We eat too much. We eat more than our bodies need. We mistake thirst
for hunger and eat instead of drink water. We eat when we are emotional. We
eat when we are full. We eat when we see food. We have lost control and
fallen prey to advertising, ‘super-sizing’ and our own appetites.
We are busy, less active and eat more. We eat unhealthy food substitutes and
eat on the run. When did eating become such a chore?
The consequences of moving so far away from health and fitness are also
staggering. Everything has a cost to it.
* Health costs: more sick days, more trips to the doctor, more
prescriptions, more co-pays, more pain, more surgeries, etc. Obesity
increases your risk for heart disease, strokes, Type II diabetes, high
cholesterol, several cancers, liver and gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and
respiratory problems, varicose veins, osteoarthritis (a degeneration of
cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint) and gynecological problems
(abnormal menses, infertility). Let’s face it, the more you weigh, the
harder it is on your body, joints, back, organs, heart.
* Life costs: Obesity increases your risk of premature death.
* Financial costs: medical expenses and higher insurance premiums,
gasoline, wear and tear on our cars, costs of food, even clothing. And these
are just the personal expenditures.
* Business costs: sick time, down time at work, decreased
productivity, restricted activity, absenteeism and bed days.
* Relationship costs: with the strain your weight causes on your body
and your mental health, it also puts a strain on your relationships. If
you’re not happy and healthy, that impacts people around you. Even
colleagues feel the pinch when you are out sick or cannot perform to your
* Being overweight impacts your energy levels, self-esteem and mood.
It is tiring to carry extra weight around.
* All of this impacts your mental health causing depression and
anxiety as well as other mental health issues.
How Do We Change?
Change begins by taking the first step. We must begin with ourselves and
then, show others the path. There is nothing more hypocritical than
listening to a doctor or nurse give nutrition or exercise advice when he/she
is obese. We have to be role models and “Be the change you wish to see in
the world.” You cannot just tell others what to do. You cannot teach your
kids if you are not doing it for yourself. No, change begins with you – with
each of us taking a stand for ourselves and taking charge or our health and
There is a simple formula to change but it has eight steps. These are
outlined in the book Does Change have to be so H.A.R.D.?
1. Commitment. When you are committed, you will go to any and all
lengths to accomplish your goal. Commit to your health. Commit to being
healthy enough to enjoy your grandkids and your spouse. Do it because you
are worth it.
2. Envision a better future. Dream of your life when you are a thinner
and healthier version of yourself. How will you be different? How will you
feel? What will you be doing?
3. Develop the characteristics you need to succeed. This means, you
have to tell yourself a new story about being healthy and thin, update your
self-image and change your inner dialogue. Who will you become in this new
vision of yourself? Identify the qualities, the values and the behaviors and
start living them today.
4. Create an environment to support the change. This includes the
external environment such as visiting new places and cleaning out your
pantry. It also means developing a support system or community to assist you
in becoming this new version of yourself. You need an external support
system to champion the internal work you are doing.
5. Take action. Without action, nothing changes. Each small step
contributes to your success.
6. Celebrate your success along the way. I cannot tell you how
important this step is! As you celebrate and acknowledge how wonderful you
are doing, you gain momentum and motivation. Your confidence builds. And you
reinforce your commitment to stay the course.
7. Laugh and enjoy the journey. If you are not having fun, you won’t do
it. You will turn back. If you cannot see the value, if you are not
committed to the journey but only to the destination, it will be too hard to
stick to the path and you will likely fail.
8. Adopt empowering beliefs. If you don’t believe you can, you won’t.
If you limit yourself, you will remain limited. This is probably the most
important of these strategies because if you do not believe in the
possibility for success, no matter what you think, do or say, you will find
ways to sabotage your success to prove you are right. What you believe
becomes your reality.
Change begins with you. Let’s envision something new, and together, let’s
make the world – our world – a healthier and happier place.
Let Julie help you become a thinner, healthier version of yourself in just
26-30 days with BestChoiceChanges HCG program and coaching. Contact
[email protected] for a consultation. Julie Donley, RN BSN MBA is the
author of several empowering and motivating books including Does Change have
to be so H.A.R.D.?
Journey Called YOU: A Roadmap to Self-Discovery and Acceptance
dedicated to helping you be your best. For self-help resources and to learn
more, visit her blog www.JulieDonley.com.