Fight obesity by changing your lifestyle

The “battle of the bulge” is getting to be a serious problem in the Philippines, with three out of 10 Filipino adults above 20 getting to be overweight or obese according to a 2013 study by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute.

“Obesity means a person has too much body fat as determined by his body mass index (BMI). People with a BMI of 30 or more are classified as obese. Aside from limiting physical functioning, obesity also increases the risk of many diseases, including musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,” explains Dr. Nicky Montoya, president of MediCard Philippines.

While genetics and medical problems can contribute to the development of obesity, its common causes are lifestyle-related. These include:

Steady diet of processed foods and excessive sweets. If you love ready-to-eat frozen meals and potato chips, then you are filling your body with empty calories, which can lead to weight gain and deficiency of several essential nutrients. Overconsumption of sugary foods like desserts and chocolates can aggravate the problem since these can increase body fats and cholesterol levels.

Working in a stressful environment. Are you the type to overeat when stressed or upset? Don’t. Aside from eating more than you normally do, turning to  “comfort food” that are usually high in sugar and fat can get you even more stressed if you start to gain unwanted weight.  Stress also causes the body to release cortisol, a hormone known to increase cravings for sugary and fatty foods.

Sedentary lifestyle.  More and more adults are finding themselves tied to desk jobs that involve a lot of sitting due to technological advancement. The leisure provided by televisions, computers and smartphones have also caused many individuals to do less outdoor activities and sleep less, which can lead to weight gain.

The best way to prevent or overcome obesity is through a healthy and active lifestyle. If you feel like you are starting to put on extra weight, start taking these “little steps” to lose those unwanted pounds and improve your overall health:

Go outdoors and exercise regularly. Outdoor activities, even a relaxed stroll at the park, can help burn calories. Daily jogs and exercise sessions can accelerate the weight loss and tone the muscles faster. Being more physically active and involved in outdoor recreations can also help lessen stress.

Follow a healthy diet regimen. Regular consumption of fruits, vegetables and foods that are low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sugar can keep the body nourished and feeling full longer, which helps control unwanted food cravings. Aside from keeping the body in good physical shape, healthy foods also keep diseases at bay.

Adhere to work-life balance. Stress may be unavoidable, but there are a lot of effective stress management strategies that do not ruin a healthy eating plan, like working out, social engagement and having a positive outlook in life. Yoga and meditation can also reduce stress by bringing the attention away from life’s problems and keeping the mind and body relaxed.

“There are a lot of healthy ways to lose weight and overcome obesity. If you feel like you need a professional intervention, don’t hesitate to consult with nutrition and fitness experts who can help you set achievable weight loss goals,” says Dr. Montoya.

The MediCard Lifestyle Center offers effective solutions for obesity and weight management problems, including  nutrition management and counselling, yoga and fitness classes and body slimming and contouring services. For more information, visit

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