Many Americans find it difficult to control their weight. There are a number of health concerns related to being overweight or obese, including but not limited to type 2 diabetes.1 However, there are ways in which people can get back on track and control their weight. It will take self control and dedication, but through a regime of diet and exercise, it's completely attainable.
It's not uncommon for someone who is obese to struggle with impulse control. It's much easier to enjoy the satisfaction of a cheeseburger then look ahead to how a salad could benefit the waistline in the future. Researchers from the University at Buffalo have found that there's no reason someone who is struggling with their weight can't be taught behavioral interventions to ignore those cravings.
"This research is certainly welcome news for people who have struggled to lose weight, because it shows that when people are taught to imagine, or simulate the future, they can improve their ability to delay gratification," senior author of the study Dr. Leonard Epstein said in a statement.2
A group of 24 lean females and 24 overweight women participated in the study. Through the use of behavioral assessments for determining individual motivation, professionals were able to uncover the best ways in which to reduce the inclination to engage in immediate gratification. Researchers found that the obese women controlled their impulses when taught to look toward the future.
When someone is struggling from obesity, they can make changes to their behavior, as well as their diet and exercise routine. The key to success is having a set of goals to achieve, these should be both short and long term.3 Other behavioral changes may include keeping a record of food intake and time spent working out. This will make it easier for the person to stick to bigger lifestyle changes revolving around physical activity and food intake.
In order to see results, someone who needs to lose 5 percent or more of their body weight should spend at least 5 hours a week exercising.4 It's best to try for moderate-intensity during a routine, but this can be broken up throughout into smaller chunks. One option is to spend 1 hour working out five days a week. That hour can be broken down further, even into 10 minute segments. It's important that someone who is on an extreme weight loss challenge to ease into the routine in order to avoid injury and discouragement.
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1 Mayo Clinic, "Obesity: complications" June 7, 2013
2 University at Buffalo News Center, "Study: Overweight and obese women are equally capable of impulse control that lean women exhibit" August 30, 2013
3 UCSF Medical Center, "Obesity treatment"
4 National Institutes of Health, "How are overweight and obesity treated?" July 13, 2012