Here’s what I’ve been doing about the world obesity crisis.

It’s been a few days since World Obesity Day. While the international community seems content with issuing a statement regarding stigmas surrounding obesity, I’ve decided to share what I’ve been doing regarding the obesity problem.

“But Raizen,” you might be asking, “since when were you obese?” I wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t play a part to help the world be a healthier place.

A quick note before describing what I’ve been doing:  I don’t attribute my fitness progress to any one of these approaches in particular. Many internet personalities do just that, and leave their viewers to determine for themselves why they don’t get the same results when they attempt them. I’ve been doing each of these approaches at the same time. What’s more, there may be other variables that may not have been considered. While I’ve been experiencing some positive results, I make no guarantee that they will work the same way for everyone.

Intermittent fasting
This seems to be the current fitness fad that’s going around. It makes intuitive sense: eating fewer calories day by day results in gaining less weight. Personally, I doubt that many marketers will get behind this trend, as it involves people spending less.

While people have been searching for the natural human diet in terms of what they can eat, the right question is how often they eat to be in line with the dietary patterns of early humans (putting aside how misguided it is to assume that what’s natural is better for us). Early humans were hunter-gatherers, so they more likely ate later in the day, after having worked to hunt or gather the food that they would be dining on. This means that our ancestors likely didn’t eat breakfast, but instead got right up and got right to seeking out their food that they would consume later in the day.

The idea of breakfast, as well as the idea that there should be three meals in a day, is a very recent idea. And it came about at around the time that people started to get seriously fat. What’s more, the most commonly-marketed breakfast items are among the most fattening items in the modern human diet. Considering this, it should make some very obvious intuitive sense that if one were to skip breakfast, they wouldn’t be gaining as much weight.

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While there are a few approaches to intermittent fasting, the one I went for is the 16/8 approach. This would be where a person picks 8 hours a day where one eats as normal, while refraining from meals or snacks for the remaining 16. I don’t usually hold to it on weekends, as the 16/8 approach seems to work sufficiently five days a week. The hours that one spends sleeping do count, so it’s acceptable to take a meal schedule like 11:30am – 7:30pm. What’s important is that during the dining periods, one doesn’t overeat. If a person takes the 8-hour period as an opportunity to gut-load, they’d likely defeat their attempted diet.

One might wonder whether one gets hungry while intermittent fasting. The answer is yes, but it’s not actually a big deal. When a person gets hungry, that’s the body telling them that “if you don’t start looking for food soon, you’re going to die so go, go, go!” What your body doesn’t realize is that the situation isn’t really that dire, and you are surrounded by food on demand nearly all the time. If you stay busy with something else (like your job, or even a video game), you tend not to notice hunger as much.

Adopting a healthy diet
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t just involve not eating as much, the quality of what’s consumed does make a difference. There are many, many principles to a healthier diet, so it’s mainly a learn-as-you-go experience. Here’s a few principles that I’ve picked up along the way:

  • Look at food for what it is, rather than how appetizing it may be. Most fast food is disgusting, so avoiding it can help a lot.
  • Many food items that are perceived as healthy are actually far from it. This includes muffins, granola bars, organic snack foods, the list goes on and on. Learn what’s garbage in disguise.
  • Whole grain is better than white bread. That cheap wheat bread that you see is actually colored brown, and has an arbitrary amount of wheat added to it so it can legally be called “wheat”, so don’t be tricked.
  • It’s hilarious that after rigorously working out at the gym, people line up for smoothies that are teeming with sugar.
  • Paying attention to calories is an eye-opening experience. A heaping plate of pasta can easily demolish a daily calorie allotment.
  • Beware of what’s heavily marketed, because the main interest of those peddling the products isn’t your well-being, it’s to get you to buy things. Marketers have caught up with the keto fad, and are now in the process of ruining it.

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Frequent exercise
This is the effort part of the fitness regimen. I’ve been changing this up from time-to-time, but the idea is to adopt a few different exercises that hit multiple muscle groups. Here is an example:

Dumbbell floor presses
Dumbbell side swings
Curls
Squats

Four sets each, 10 reps per set. Three times a week. The exercises can be changed up. Not everyone can do pull-ups right away. Frequently swapping in one exercise for another, such as subbing in push-ups or lunges, helps to ensure that a wide variety of muscles get attention.

As exercise is incorporated into your lifestyle, it helps to get adequate protein. Protein shakes can help, but they’re pricey and overrated. Tuna is great, because it provides a high amount of protein with few calories.

Limiting sugary drinks
The main things I drink are black coffee and water. While sugar isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be, it’s fattening in drinks because they lack the fiber that would slow the incorporation of sugar into your system, resulting in a sugar rush followed by a crash.

But what about energy drinks? In most cases, the main ingredient that gives them their effect is caffeine. The contribution of most other ingredients outside of sugar are negligible. Energy drinks may have colorful, textured cans with lightning bolt patterns and other edgy packaging, but you’d be better off just drinking coffee.

Fruit juices are sugary drinks, so while they may have vitamin content, it’s usually better to eat the fruit, instead.

There you have it, my approach to making the world less obese. It takes a bit of effort, but so do most things that are worth going for.

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