Want to Lose Weight this New Year? Make a Plan, Not Just a Resolution

by Tandis Bishop

With Christmas right around the corner and the New Year quickly approaching, it's a good time to plan ahead and start thinking about your healthy New Year's resolution. If you already know your New Year’s resolution will involve losing weight, you’re not alone. A recent study found that losing weight is the #1 New Year’s resolution in America.1 While you might be in the habit of splurging through the holidays and putting off healthy eating habits until the New Year, you’ll experience better and longer lasting results if you start to make a plan now and ease into a new routine in time for the New Year. That doesn’t mean foregoing the pies and cookies entirely, but it does mean educating yourself about the causes of, and solutions to, overweight and obesity. As the obesity epidemic gains national and international attention, almost everyone is aware that it’s a serious concern. More than a third of the population in America is obese2 and obesity rates are also rising around the world.3 While Hawaii’s rates remain some of the lowest in the nation, they are also rising. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 56% of adults in Hawaii are overweight and 23% are obese.4 And if current trends continue, experts estimate that over 50% of Hawaii residents could be obese by the year 2030.5 While many people are motivated to lose weight because of their appearance, many may not be aware that obesity has serious, wide-ranging side effects and complications on health. Obesity is a disease, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Stanford Medicine, health effects associated with obesity include but are not limited to:6,7

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Joint problems, osteoarthritis
  • Metabolic syndrome (a complex risk factor for cardiovascular disease)
  • Psychosocial and neurological effects
  • Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
  • Liver and gallbladder disease

Obesity can be caused by a combination of factors including environmental, behavioral and genetics. While some people may be more predisposed to obesity than others, all experts agree that everyone can take significant steps to protect themselves and their families. One excellent way to help facilitate weight loss and reduce the risk of obesity is to eat a low-fat, plant-based diet and get regular exercise. The best way to achieve this type of diet is to eat whole, unprocessed foods from plant sources as often as possible, while also reducing your intake of high-calorie processed foods, meats, and sweetened beverages. Plant-based foods are naturally lower in fat and calories, and contain vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, protein, antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, and more. In addition, some plant foods have anti-inflammatory effects that are very beneficial, given that obesity is a chronic condition of inflammation. At Down to Earth, we strive to make starting and maintaining a healthy diet as easy as possible for you and your loved ones. For starters, you can check our Health Tip in this month’s newsletter to find tips on how to plan for a healthy New Year. We also have a newly revamped recipe page on our website, where you can find recipes to suit your cooking needs. You can search for them by type (appetizer, main dish, dessert, etc.), by ingredient, and also by popular categories such as “cooking with kids,” “gluten-free,” and “holidays.” If you need extra inspiration, we invite you to attend one of our many cooking classes and browse our selection of wholesome, minimally processed foods, and our local and organic produce. Christmas is a great opportunity to give the gift of health by providing your loved ones with plant-based dishes that are delicious and satisfying without compromising their health. Getting a head start during Christmas will help you transition easier into the New Year. If you start with simple substitutions that decrease the fat and sugar content of your meals, you may discover that many vegetable and grain dishes taste delicious with minimal accompaniment. With that in mind, we hope you have a healthy Christmas full of wholesome vegetarian dishes that will leave you feeling pumped and energized to take on your New Year’s resolution.

Footnotes: 
  1. Statistic Brain. New years resolution statistics. Retrieved on December 5, 2012 from http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
  2. Obesity Society, Obesity statistics. Retrieved on December 5, 2012 from website: http://www.obesity.org/resources-for/obesity-statistics.htm
  3. World Health Organization. Obesity and Overweight. Retrieved from website: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/index.html
  4. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity and Overweight. Retrieved on December 5, 2012 from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/stateprograms/fundedstates/hawaii.html
  5. Trust for American’s Health. F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012. Retrieved on December 5, 2012 from http://healthyamericans.org/report/100/
  6. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity. Retrieved on December 5, 2012 on http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html
  7. Standford Hospital and Clinics. Health Effects of Obesity. Retrieved on December 5, 2012 on http://stanfordhospital.org/clinicsmedServices/COE/surgicalServices/gene...

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