According to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) obesity affects just over 1 in 10 people across the globe. The same report found that the number of malnourished and starving people in the world’s 7.5 billion population is also increasing at the same time.
How is it possible that the two opposite effects are occurring simultaneously? A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms high calorie mass-produced processed foods are more accessible to the world’s population today than at any other time in history. The effects of these cheap, unhealthy and ready to eat foods are already clearly visible in the United States, which has experienced the highest increase in obesity in the world.
Andy Bellatti, co-founder of Dietitians for Professional Integrity says that society is not defaulted towards maintaining healthy eating habits. Our dietary choices are based on convenience. When junk and processed foods are more affordable and accessible, it is not surprising that most people choose candy over fruit. Why? Because it’s cheaper and it’s there.
More and More People are Undernourished and Overweight
According to the FAO report, obesity and food insecurity can often occur together, particularly in high-middle to upper-income countries. Whether it’s due to a restriction of resources or less availability of healthier nutritious foods, people often turn to less-healthy, high-energy options, which may result in weight gain or obesity.
Bellatti explains that for those struggling to control their weight, the increasing availability of unhealthy foods is making it almost impossible to lose ‘those kilograms’ and to maintain the loss.
Goodbye Extreme Diets, Hello Healthy Eating Habits
Being emotionally ready is fundamental to durable weight loss, according to Bellatti. You have to want to lose the extra bulk. You cannot be forced to lose weight. You need to be motivated or you will not make it happen.
He advises that you should plan for the future, draw up a nutritional programme that you can stick to, and reach your goal at your own pace. You need to be able to change your behaviour and correct your bad eating habits, which can take a few years of hard work to achieve.
There is no such thing as a quick fix. You cannot realistically expect to fit into your high-school jeans or reach your goal weight within a few weeks, especially not if you want to stay healthy. The latest fad diet is not the answer. Instead, start slowly by making small changes every day. Eat more green vegetables or reduce your consumption of refined carbohydrates (like pastries and white rice). You need to ask yourself if you have had enough water to drink or enough sleep.
Focus on building sustainable, long-term new habits and gradually change your eating behavior. This, says Bellatti, will place you in the 90% of people who successfully change their diet and maintain their health by setting manageable goals.