A new study from the University of London revealed that while obesity rates have almost tripled, surprisingly, our actual calorie intake has fallen by around 20 per cent compared to 30 years ago.
The researchers claim that it’s the changes in our lifestyle that have caused obesity rates to shoot up in spite of the lower amount of calories we consume.
Life has become more sedentary since both men and women are more likely to work in less strenuous occupations than in the past, people spend less time outside and more time watching TV or in front of computers, and also spend more time commuting by public transport or driving a car as opposed to spending more time walking and cycling thirty years ago.
The research also found a link between work and calories. Apparently many workers eat out more and purchase less calories for home consumption compared to thirty years ago. This way people eat more processed and lower quality food, since it’s more likely that home-made food contains more fresh and wholesome ingredients.
The study reminds us that even small changes, like moving more and eating at home more often, accumulate over time and can make a difference between someone being at a healthy weight or being obese.
This suggests that we can make some minor changes in our lifestyle, the effects of which will accumulate over time and might highly influence our weight and overall health.
So here are a few suggestions you can implement in your life:
Get up every 30 min.
One of the reasons for increasing obesity rates is sedentary jobs. You might not want to change your career but there are ways to include more movement to your current job!
One of the things you can do is set an alarm on your Outlook or your phone and get up at least every thirty minutes!
Metabolism slows down if you stay in a fixed position for thirty minutes. Do some stretching, walk around the office, roll your shoulders back and forth, or simply stand up and move while talking on the phone. Movement also helps balance blood sugar levels, improves the circulation and gets your oxygen flowing.
If you have a meeting with someone, suggest that person to walk while talking rather than sit in a boardroom or café. Remember, every little helps.
Organize active dates
Meeting with a friend, partner or romantic prospect? Instead of lunch or coffee, go for a walk in the park, hike in the forest, go to a dance class or do something else that is active. Not only will it contribute to better health but movement also helps you bond and often times have more fun!
Walk or cycle
Since, according to the study, commuting by public transport or driving a car is one of the reasons for obesity rates increasing, we can overcome this by walking and/or cycling more.
This might not be possible at all times but even if you can’t walk all the way to work, you can get off one stop earlier and walk the remaining distance. If you drive, you can park your car a few blocks away or as far from the shop entrance as you can. This will make you walk more and if you do it often enough, you might see the number on the scale go down.
Prepare more of your meals at home
Preparing lunch at home and bringing it to work might be one of the best weight loss strategies! As a bonus you’ll also save some money. Although you might need to spend that money on a new wardrobe since all your clothes will get too loose!
You can also cook dinner at home more often. To save time, you can cook large batches, so that tonight’s dinner is also a tomorrow’s lunch.
Although the study does not cover stress, there is plenty of evidence that it contributes to the increasing rates of obesity. Stress puts your hormones out of whack, including blood sugar regulating hormone insulin and hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin.
When you’re stressed you’re also more likely to make unhealthy food choices and might feel exhausted so you decide to skip a workout and spend the evening in front of the TV instead.
Mindfulness meditation is one of the best ways to reduce stress and is an effective strategy to balance your hormones.
As a positive side effect you’ll also remain more mindful throughout the day which will probably contribute to healthier food and lifestyle choices.