Everything these days is being super-sized—from fast food meals, to portion sizes in restaurants, to gallon sized soda cups at gas stations, to now super-sized guts. Let’s face it, America is the land of the fat people. I know what you’re thinking, “Matt, that’s so rude of you to say.” But you know what, we did it to ourselves. No one made you eat that greasy fast food meal. No one put a gun to your head and made you drink that 64oz regular soda. How quickly we put blame on certain food categories and food chains. It’s not their fault! Sure, their food is horrible for you but that wasn’t the only choice available for you to eat—YOU chose to eat there. So let’s put the blame where it belongs… with YOU.
The real question now becomes, what are you going to do about it? There it is, you’ve been called out. You realize your faults and actions. Now how can you fix them? This is what I like to call “pay now or pay later”. Either you invest in yourself right now, or you invest in modern medicine and medical treatment in the future to fix all the damage you created within your body through sheer laziness.
More than 2/3 of the American people are considered overweight or obese. Obesity alone equates to 1/3 of the US population and back in 2008 caused medical costs to reach over $147 billion and it’s rising every year. Obese individuals pay a little over $1,400 more each year for medical expenses compared to a normal weight individual. If you live in Mississippi you know what I’m talking about. You won the 2011 award for having the highest population out of the whole US to be considered obese (34.9% of Mississippi is obese—not overweight, we’re talking obese). That’s not something to be proud of!
If you are obese, studies have shown that you tend to get paid less at your job when compared to the same person who isn’t obese. Wouldn’t you like more take-home pay? If you are obese you will find you are paying much higher premiums for health insurance as well as life insurance. Wouldn’t you like those expenses to come down? You cost your company more money for them to keep you at work. You drive their insurance up and depending on the severity of your obesity you can cost them money by decreasing productivity. Obese individuals are also known to take more sick days due to illness related to their weight which can also hurt the overall productivity of the company. This disease doesn’t just affect you!
Now enough with being a “Debbie Downer”. Let’s figure out how to fix this. Starting right now I want you to write down 5 health/fitness goals you would like to attain. They can be lose 20 pounds in 6 months, start walking 5 days a week for an hour after dinner to start doing some cardio, start cutting out sugars in your diet from soda and start drinking water in its place—they can be whatever you want but they need to be specific, attainable, and measureable. Don’t write down you want to lose 50 pounds by next month, you’re only setting yourself up for failure.
Everyone has their own financial budget and not every person has the same situation but now is where you need to invest a little to get a lot in return down the road. You need to either buy some type of home gym equipment to work out in the convenience of your home or go find a gym that fits your budget and join it. It’s always a smart idea and one I highly recommend and that’s to go see your doctor prior to adhering to any exercise program so they can lay out if you have any restrictions so you don’t hurt or injure yourself and to make sure you’re healthy enough to begin a program. If you’re new to working out it would be a good idea to start with a trainer to be shown how to use the equipment properly. If you know your way around the gym and have worked out in the past then 3-5 days in the gym should be more than enough to get you started down the right path. Remember, it’s not just cardio that helps you burn fat, it’s also the weight training you do that will help build lean muscle that will help you burn fat all day long.
Second thing you need to do is quit walking up and down the aisles at the grocery store. Try and stay on the outer perimeter where you will find the fruit and veggies, lean meats and poultry, whole grain bread/pitas, eggs, etc. On the inside of the grocery store is where you find all the temptations that you should stay away from such as sugary cereal and soda, chips and pretzels, candy and unhealthy snack items, etc. Another sure way to make sure you stick to your plan is to make a grocery list of all the healthy items you need to buy and stick to just what’s on the list. Never go to the grocery store hungry either as temptation will more than likely get the best of you since your stomach is telling your brain to just about put anything in it to satisfy your hunger. Yes, you will find that eating healthy is more expensive than eating junk. This all comes down to investing in your healthy now, rather than paying for it later through medical bills.
The third and last thing I want you to do is have fun with this and embrace it. You’re going to learn more about yourself and your body than you ever imagined. You’re going to feel what it’s like to supply your body with healthy foods and exercise. You’ll find your endurance to be better when doing daily chores as well as your strength being increased and daily tasks becoming easier. This is a lifestyle change. It won’t happen overnight and frankly it shouldn’t. If you try to fix everything overnight you will fail. It’s too much too soon. Make subtle changes every few weeks to keep progressing with your journey. And most of all, if you have a question ASK! Talk to a trainer or nutritionist, talk to your doctor, email an expert in the industry, you aren’t alone! This world can be a scary place and with all the changes you are making you will find yourself questioning things or not fully understanding a concept. Just ask. This is a learning process. There’s no better feeling than understanding more about yourself and knowing you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. You only have one life, why cut it short due to a lifestyle that takes you down the path to an early grave. Live long and pass your experiences down to your kids and grandkids. Teach them the ways to living a healthy lifestyle so they too can reap its benefits. It all begins with you. So pay for it now, or pay for it later—but the choice is ultimately yours.
Author: Matt Weik
Follow Matt on Twitter @weikfitness
If you are looking for online training and would like Matt to work with you, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.