This has got to change!!!

My wife and I decided last year to make a serious lifestyle change. You may have heard the story about how I participated in our church’s annual 1st of the year fast and how I actually did it, without cheating. We were basically on a vegan diet without any pleasure foods (no meats, no sweets, no treats). It was very difficult for me because I consider myself to be a true carnivore. But, I realized during this fasting that my body was being cleansed and I actually felt good. I had energy without the mid-day crashes. I realized that the headaches that I always had were gone. I lost a few pounds and I felt like a new man. It was amazing. But as with every ‘diet’, when the fast was over, I returned to my ‘regular’ eating habits and it felt horrible. I felt sluggish, the headaches returned and I found the weight that I lost and more. I was a mess!!!

As an insurance guy, I am aware of the statistics regarding our unhealthy habits. I’ve heard all too often about how we are digging our graves with a knife and fork; how we Americans are the largest population on earth – not in number of people but in size; and how most of the issues that people deal with are directly related to their weight. Did you know that one of the greatest considerations on your health insurance is your height/weight ratio? If you are out of balance, this could affect your premiums by thousands of dollars a year!!! Did you know that there isn’t a whole lot of profit in curing people of their health concerns? Billions of dollars are made by the pharmaceutical / medical industries by merely treating symptoms. Have you noticed that every medication comes with two things? (1) It comes with a list for what it treats and (2) it comes with a list of side effects. An example would be… I get a treatment for asthma and the side effects can be shortness of breath, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, in some cases unusual dreams and thoughts of suicide BUT if your asthma, or other symptoms worsens don’t discontinue taking the meds please see your physician. Are you serious!?!?!

This crazy part is that we KNOW what the problem is and we CHOOSE not to fix it. We are overweight, obese and severely obese and we make that conscious decision to do nothing about it!!! The United States is still one of the richest countries on the planet. We consume more products than anyone, save China (maybe). Even our poor people have good money!!! I can speak to this directly!!! I know quite a few “poor” people and they do what they WANT to do!!! I’m still in shock when I see a person put over $10,000 worth of stereo equipment in a car that’s worth less than $2,500 and still never paints the car!!!

Here are some facts for you:
• There are 8 causes for obesity
o Age – as we get older our metabolism slows down and we require less calories to maintain weight. But, we keep eating the same way building bigger bodies.
o Gender – women tend to be more overweight than men
o Genetics – yes, I said it. It runs in the family. Research was done with adopted adults and their weight was closer to that of their biological parents, not their adopted ones.
o Environmental factors – this includes lifestyle behaviors, what a person eats and how active they are
o Physical activity – much of the increase in obesity over the last 20 years is thought to have come from people’s decrease in physical activity
o Psychological factors – many people eat in response to their negative emotions like boredom, sadness or anger
o Illness – there are some illnesses that CAN cause obesity, but this is not a common belief. These include hypothyroidism, depression and some rare diseases of the brain
o Medication – steroids and some antidepressants may cause excessive weight gain

Overweight and obesity affect more than 3 in 4 Hispanics (78.8 percent) and blacks (76.7 percent)
• About half of blacks (49.5 percent), and more than 1 in 3 Hispanics (39.1 percent) and whites (34.3 percent) are considered to be obese
• Extreme obesity affects more than 1 in 10 blacks (13.1 percent), and about 1 in 20 whites (5.7 percent) and Hispanics (5 percent).
• Among young people ages 2-19, about 31.8 percent are considered to be either overweight or obese, and 16.9 percent are considered to be obese
• Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of PREVENTABLE DEATH
• Among non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American men, those with higher incomes are more likely to be obese than those with low income but higher income women are less likely to be obese than low-income women

USA Obesity Rates Reach Epidemic Proportions
• 58 Million Overweight; 40 Million Obese; 3 Million morbidly Obese
• Eight out of 10 over 25’s Overweight
• 78% of American’s not meeting basic activity level recommendations
• 76% increase in Type II diabetes in adults 30-40 since 1990 Obesity Related Diseases
• 80% of type II diabetes related to obesity
• 70% of Cardiovascular disease related to obesity
• 42% breast and colon cancer diagnosed among obese individuals
• 30% of gall bladder surgery related to obesity
• 26% of obese people having high blood pressure Obesity Related Disease Costs Overwhelm HealthCare System
• In 2009, Ohio’s Estimated Annual Obesity-Attributable Expenditure of almost $6.9 billion dollars

Sadly, these are just some of the facts.

The quickest, simplest and easiest way to fix our nation’s health problem is the fix our weight. We need to get rid of the weight. We need to retrain ourselves to put down the cookies and soda and pickup an apple and drink water. Btw, I saw a headline from yesterday that read, “Coca-Cola to Tackle Obesity for 1st Time in TV Ads”. Even the makers of the sodas are admitting, or at least acknowledging the problem!

Just as there are 1,001 ways to gain weight, there are equally a 1,001 ways to get rid of it. But, I’m not talking diets here. I’m talking about changing the way you feel, think and act… I’m talking about Changing Your Lifestyle!!!!

My wife and I started our journey to getting fit (1) by making better choices in the grocery store. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge…” People, we need to read the labels. There is a reason that the ingredients list is printed on the package. We need to learn what GMO is, what it means and how it affects us. If the package says “all-natural” but you can’t pronounce any of the ingredients then we need to ask ourselves, “What is all natural about it?” Make some changes to where you shop. Go to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Earthfare sometimes. Or when you go to your local grocery store, stay out of the middle. Shop the perimeter of the store.

(2) We started juicing. We bought a Jack Lalanne Power Juicer and went to town. This allowed us to naturally cleanse our body of a lot of the crap that we’d been feeding it. Periodically, we ALL need to detoxify ourselves and juicing is an awesome natural way to do it.

(3) Finally, we joined the Body by Vi Challenge, the fastest growing weight management system in North America. Instead of eating 3 meals a day, we have replaced 2 of those with a meal replacement shake (the shake mix that tastes like a cake mix). It is packed full of proteins, nutrients, carbs, etc. and it’s designed to help you BURN FAT and BUILD LEAN MUSCLE! In the first 30 days of my Challenge, I got rid of over 20 pounds and went from a 42 pant to a 36! To date, my wife has gotten rid of over 40 pounds and has gone from a 14/16 to a 6/8!!!!

This is one of my lengthiest letters to date. The reason is that this issue is close to my heart. I’ve lost loved ones, friends and co-workers to weight related issues. I was told that I was borderline diabetic. I was told that if I did make some changes I’d be on cholesterol meds. 3 John 1:2 says, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” God wants us to prosper  and be healthy not only in our spirit but in our mind (soul) and body.

As always, I love you ALL!!!
Stay blessed,
Jackie

References:
WedMD – http://www.webmd.com/diet/what-is-obesity
Weight-control Information Network – http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/index.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
National Conference of State Legislatures – http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/obesity-statistics-in-the-united-states.aspx
Get America Fit Foundation – http://www.getamericafit.org/statistics-obesity-in-america.html
Body by Vi – http://chosen2k7.myvi.net/index.html

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