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OBESOGENIC ENVIRONMENT
by Melissa Pintar,RD,LDN, Clinical Dietitian at Cura Hospitality

Many Americans continue to struggle with being overweight and/or obesity. In 2015-2016, the CDC reports that 39.8% of US adults 20 years and older were obese and 71.6% were overweight. The obesity trend continues to climb which does not offer a healthy projection for America’s healthcare and economic future. Medical treatment costs for obesity were around $147 billion US dollars in 2008, and the medical costs for obese individuals are much greater than for those of normal weight.
Obesity increases the risk of all-cause mortality as well as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and certain types of cancer. Not only does overweight and obesity impact health status, but obesity and its associated conditions can also largely interfere with mental health and quality of life. However, the causes of obesity are complicated and exact causes are unknown and may differ per individual.
The traditional calories in versus calories out theory for overweight and obesity no longer stands as the simple explanation of excess weight gain. Contributing factors to obesity that may influence diet and lifestyle habits include: genetics, socioeconomic factors, underlying psychological conditions, metabolic diseases, and medications.
Westernized societies, including the United States, have been coined as an “obesogenic environment.” This term represents daily lifestyles encompassing low physical activity levels, diets abundant in high calorie convenience foods, high levels of psychological stress, and inadequate sleep which all have a combined effect on chronic positive energy balance and weight gain.
While we may live in an environment that is not conducive to staying lean and some people may also have underlying obesity risk factors, being overweight or obese does not have to be your fate. Learn more below on how to fight weight gain.
For more information on obesity visit: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/

LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS TO MANAGING YOUR WEIGHT

The solutions to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight are not found in expensive supplements, highly restrictive popular diets, or excessive amounts of exercise. Rather, the long-term solution lies in individual dedication to living out a healthier lifestyle and fighting the obesogenic environment. Once you embark on your journey to adopting a new lifestyle, the most important success key is to seek professional guidance and support from a family member or friend who will offer accountability. Then, consider slowly introducing some of the simple tips and tricks shared below.

  • Be mindful. Set aside time for meals. Become more aware of hunger & satiety signals. Enjoy the sight, smells, textures of food. Avoid watching TV or using smart phones at meal times.
  • Check your eating pace. Slow eating by trying to chew each bite of food at least 20-24 times. Engage in table conversation. Set down utensils between bites.
  • Don’t drink your calories. Drink more water.
  • Try to avoid snacking late at night by going to sleep before cravings begin.
  • Avoid over-restriction. Discipline is required to make healthy choices and lose weight; however, over-restriction may lead to a rebound effect and over-consumption when discipline weakens.
  • Be picky.Learn which foods are truly satisfying to you, and only choose those certain foods to consume, such as at a buffet, work event, or holiday party.
  • Make healthy selections.Choose foods that are high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber to promote steady energy levels throughout the day and reduce hunger.
  • Plan ahead. Anticipate busy days and pack healthy lunches/snacks accordingly to avoid extreme hunger followed by over-eating at evening meals.
  • Find an activity or exercise that you enjoy and stick to it!

Recipe of the Month: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bites

Ingredients:
1 cup oat flour, or 1.5 cups dry oats
1 cup all-natural peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
½ cup milled flaxseed
½ cup chocolate or vanilla protein powder
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup cacao nibs or mini semi-sweet choc chips*
Preparation Instructions
If using rolled oats, place 1.5 cups rolled oats into a food processor and blend about 2 minutes or until powdery. If using a large food processor, you can continue adding peanut butter and all other ingredients to the food processor. Alternatively, in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, combine oat flour, peanut butter, honey, flaxseed meal, protein powder, and cinnamon. Once all base ingredients are combined, fold in optional cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips.
Roll no-bake dough into 1.5 inch balls. Refrigerate balls up to two weeks for a healthy, delicious snack.
Holiday Party Tip: Dip balls into melted dark chocolate for a healthy spin on buck-eyes.
Yield: about 24 pieces

NUTRITION FACTS
(does not include choc chips)
Per 1 Bite
Calories: 140Total Carbohydrate: 16 g
Total Fat: 7gDietary Fiber: 3 g
Cholesterol: 13 mgVitamin A: 30 IU
Potassium: 100 mgVitamin C: 0 mg
Sodium: 42 mgCalcium: 20 mg

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