Mountain View, California (EastBayDaily) — The Center for Disease Control's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, has tracked the nation's trend towards obesity, and currently over 66% of adults and 33% of children are overweight or obese. And it’s not just the United States, according to statistics from China, 27% of their children are obese and they site the top two factors as physical inactivity and fast food. These alarming statistics are a wake-up call and reality check. Families fit so much into their daily lives that they search for convenience and sacrifice their bodies’ needs in order to get through the day.
As a society, it appears that the nation is out of control and the trend towards obesity isn't going to change. As the country has moved from a hunter gatherer, farmer herder society to one with modern conveniences and an industrialized food source, people have become disconnected from their bodies. Many families have developed unhealthy habits that are now generational—eating enormous portions, lots of processed, high-sugared foods, little movement or exercise, and not enough time in slumber.
It will take maverick moms to say no to the trends and yes to creating a healthier, new family dynamics.
Taking small steps when making family lifestyle changes will prevent push back and provide a better chance of making them permanent habits. Dr. Sooji Rugh, obesity expert and founder of GreenLite Medicine Weight Loss Centers suggests the following strategies:
CAN THE SODA, JILT THE JUICE
According to a recent study by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, just two cans of soda a day can add inches, create blood sugar and triglycerides trouble, increase risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, and kidney damage. Diet soda isn’t really any better, so it’s best to migrate the family towards other alternatives. Think that substituting juices for sodas is a better choice? Take a close look at the labels—they are filled with sugar too. New hint waters like drinkhint.com and flavor essences make it easy to switch. They are just as convenient light years better than giving in to soda cravings.
FOLLOW THE LEADER
Start walking! Lead by example, and get the entire family involved in an exercise regimen. Start by getting everyone out for a walk, even if it’s around the block. If there is resistance, insist, and make sure you are only out for 15 minutes. Gradually increase the time out by 5 minutes until you are walking for 45 minutes to an hour at least 3 to 4 times per week. While out, let everyone come up with ways to make the sessions more challenging or fun, such as planned nature hikes, beach walks, adding short sprints, or stopping to high five after climbing a steep hill. Consider getting a digital step counter and keep a family progress chart. Create rewards for reaching certain milestones.
GIVE FAVORITE JUNK FOOD A MAKEOVER
Look for ways to cut the calories, fat and processed sugars and flour from the family’s diet. Make whole wheat pita pizzas using the Middle East Company Carb Watch Pitas. They are challenging to find but worth it! Try popsicles using fresh strawberries and 0% Fage Greek yogurt. Use Mission Carb Balance® tortillas and reduced fat cheese when making quesadillas. With a little thought and experimentation, it is possible to create meal plans that still leave the impression that there’s “junk food” on the menu.
PLANT A SEED
Carve out a space in the back yard, even if it’s a few pots, and plant a family garden. Let children discover that the source of great food comes from the ground. When they are involved in the planting, caring, and harvesting…they’ll want to taste what they helped to create. Lettuces, radishes, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, bush beans, carrots, potatoes and pumpkin are easy to grow, have short growing seasons, and are fun to harvest.
TAKE CARE OF THE FAMILY’S VIP
Moms feel the stress that comes from having so many responsibilities, juggling so many schedules and having way too many things on their to-do lists. It's important to take scheduled time outs to replenish and renew energy.
Dr. Sooji Rugh received her BS degree at MIT, her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and completed her Internal Medicine residency at Harbor-UCLA. She is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine. She founded GreenLite Medicine weight loss centers in 1997 in Mountain View, San Francisco, and San Jose to provide consumers with a medically-supervised weight loss program with a focus on making changes that will last a lifetime. To reach more with her personalized approach, she developed HelloGreenLite, weight loss in the cloud. Go to greenlitemedicine.com and hellogreenlite.com for more.