Many Americans struggle to maintain a healthy weight.
At least two out of every three American adults are considered to be overweight, and about half of that population are overweight enough to be considered obese.
The American obesity epidemic is influenced by a number of factors. Some of these factors, such as genetics and medical conditions, are outside of our control. Others, such as healthy eating habits and exercising regularly, are easier to maintain control over.
However, studies have also shown that our society as a whole is more overweight than the generations that came before us.
There are several factors that contribute to our increased average weight gain:
Factors In The Obesity Epidemic
Most of these factors are difficult or impossible to control. However, when your metabolism and lifestyle habits fail you, you can turn to other forms of help to manage your weight.
Americans celebrate every occasion with a drink in hand (“Congrats on the new job! Let me buy you a drink to celebrate!”) and the social scene revolves around craft breweries and local pubs. As a result, “alcohol culture” is more prevalent than ever before.
The first hurdle that alcohol culture creates in managing your weight is that craft beer and mixed drinks introduce excess carbs, sugars, and calories into your system without producing any additional benefit to your body.
Mixed drinks, in particular, are loaded with unnatural refined sugars, syrups, and food dyes, all of which are nothing but bad news to your system.
But the calories contained in your favorite alcoholic drink are only a part of the problem. Even if you trade your craft-brewed IPA or rum and coke for a gin and tonic, the presence of the alcohol in your system will still make it more difficult for you to lose weight.
This is because your body metabolizes the alcohol before it breaks down any other fats or sugars in your system, thereby inhibiting its fat burning processes.
Prevalence of Processed Foods
Every grocery store is chock full of processed foods.
Most recognize that potato chips, candy, and Easy Mac are made of unhealthy, over-processed ingredients. However, even foods that look healthy – Lean Pockets, deli meats, and many frozen foods – are made with unnatural sugars, preservatives, and excess sodium.
Unless you read the labels on all of the food that you place in your shopping cart, it can be easy to come home with a deceptively unhealthy meal plan.
What’s more, processed foods rarely offer much nutritional value, so even if you are filling your body with the right amount of calories you could still be deficient in a number of important vitamins and minerals.
Natural Weight Loss Inhibitors
Even adults who drink very little, avoid most processed foods, and exercise regularly can still struggle with maintaining a healthy weight.
Weight gain and loss is a complex subject, affected by countless variables, and as such there are a number of reasons that you might struggle to lose weight. Not all of these reasons are related to your metabolism or to your lifestyle:
- Some adults have simply inherited overweight tendencies.Hereditary obesity can be offset with a healthy lifestyle, but an active young adult with two obese parents is still likely to experience more difficulty losing weight than a peer of similar weight and age with two naturally thin parents.
- The Western diet often causes our bodies to over-produce insulin.When this happens, you body stores more energy in your fat cells than what you actually need to go about your day, which in turn means that you have to expend more energy when exercising in order to burn those fat cells.
- If your body’s natural hormone balance is off, then the chemicals that affect your appetite and energy levels could be adversely affected.
- Medical conditions can induce sudden fluctuations in weight that can be difficult to combat.
- Similarly, prescribed medications may induce side effects that cause you to gain or lose weight, or affect your appetite.
Most of these factors are difficult or impossible to control.
However, when your metabolism and lifestyle habits fail you, you can turn to other forms of help to manage your weight.
What About Weight Loss Medication?
Prescribed weight loss medications are typically designed to combat severe obesity, so if you are struggling just to lose a few pounds then medication is not likely to be a healthy long-term solution.
Some medications help to block the buildup of fats in your body. Others are designed to help you eat less by decreasing your appetite or trick your brain into thinking that you are full.
While these can be effective ways to lose weight, these medications also induce a host of negative side effects, such as increased blood pressure, constipation, fatigue, and low blood sugar.
Additionally, using medications to lose weight rarely leads to a long-term solution.
In many instances, users need to continue taking those medications in order to maintain their weight loss, which leads to a dependency on the drug to maintain long-term results. This means living with the increased blood pressure, fatigue, and other negative side effects.
Natural Remedies for Weight Loss
Luckily, there are plenty of natural ways to kickstart your weight loss efforts. If you’ve hit a plateau with your healthy habits, try one of these home remedies for weight loss.
Start your day with a cup of coffee
Eating or drinking something shortly after waking up is a great way to prime your metabolism in the morning.
Grabbing something healthy will certainly work better than a pack of Pop Tarts or a sugary bowl of cereal, and a hot cup of coffee could be the perfect fix.
For starters, drinking a healthy amount of coffee each day (2-3 cups) can lead to a number of health benefits.
Each cup is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that work together to lower the risk of developing diabetes or heart disease and protect your liver. And adding a little caffeine to a healthy diet has the potential to significantly improve your metabolism!
Caffeine can increase your overall caloric output and induce corresponding increases in your activity levels. If you start to feel hungry and tired during your mid-morning slump at the office, coffee can even help to perk you up and curb your appetite at the same time!Directions: Brew it from home, fill a travel mug and drink on your morning commute to work.
Drink a mug of peppermint tea
If you are not a coffee fan but do enjoy a cup of tea, then consider adding a drop or two of peppermint essential oil to your favorite blend.
Peppermint essential oil comes with a lot of incredible physical and mental health benefits. Inhaling its vapors can increase focus and mental acuity, as well as curb your appetite.
You can also relieve aching muscles by incorporating it into a massage oil and rubbing directly into your sore spots or drink it to soothe an aching or unsettled stomach. And this is only the tip of the iceberg!
Relative to your weight loss goals, peppermint oil can be used to stimulate your metabolism and increase your body’s capacity to break down fats and sugars. Drinking a few drops in a glass of tea in the morning can prime your system to efficiently metabolize your calories all day long.Directions: Add 1-2 drops of peppermint essential oil to a mug of tea and drink first thing in the morning.
Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, but throughout the day we are also constantly losing water in the form of perspiration and urination. That’s why it is so important to drink plenty of water every day to keep our bodies primed for optimal function.
The actual amount of water required varies from person to person, but a generally accepted rule of thumb is that you should drink at least eight 8-oz glasses every day, and more if you live an active lifestyle.
Water also offers plenty of health benefits aside from hydration. It helps to flush toxins from your system, moves nutrients to your cells, and keeps your nose and throat tissues from getting dried out.
Every system in your body depends on a steady intake of water to function, and this includes your digestive system!
When you are fully hydrated, you are maximizing your body’s ability to clear out sodium and other weight-loss-hindering compounds and ensuring that your body is able to effectively digest and absorb nutrients from the other foods in your diet.
If you maintain a state of dehydration, your body is likely to bloat and struggle to shed those extra pounds.
Strategically drinking water with a snack or before a meal when you are hungry has the added benefit of helping to prevent you from overeating. The extra liquid in your stomach will help you to feel full faster.
Directions: Drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water every day. Another rule of thumb that you can follow, especially if you live an active lifestyle, is to divide your weight (in pounds) in half and drink at least that many ounces of water each day.
Drink a glass of water before eating a meal to reduce the risk of overeating.
Incorporate ginger into your diet
Ginger root or its essential oil, when incorporated into your diet, can be a powerful supplement to your weight loss efforts. In fact, it provides a whole host of benefits to your digestive system as a whole.
Its carminative properties help to reduce the buildup of excess gas in the abdomen and digestive tract, limiting the risk of discomfort and indigestion. Ginger can also reduce inflammation and irritation in the stomach and bowels, both of which can impede digestive processes.
One of the ways that ginger can help you to lose weight is by curbing your appetite.
Ginger is a natural appetite suppressant, so incorporating fresh ginger root or ginger essential oil into your meals can help you to control your unhealthy cravings and to feel full for longer after you’ve finished your meal. And, in addition to curbing your appetite, ginger can induce a healthy spike in your metabolism too!
This means that you will both avoid overeating and digest the food that you do eat more efficiently. What a winning combination!
Directions: Add 2-3 drops of ginger essential oil to a glass of water and drink in between meals. Alternatively, incorporate fresh ginger into your meals, such as adding ginger root into a breakfast smoothie or a carrot soup.
Before turning to medications and pills to help you overcome your weight loss hurdles, try one of these natural ways to supplement your weight loss efforts.
Losing weight can be tricky, and required great determination and dedication, but any of these methods to increase your digestive and metabolic efficiency can prove to be an incredible supplement to your lifestyle habits.