We Coloradans make up one of the healthiest states in the country! We love our skiing, mountain biking, running, cycling, climbing, swimming and dog-walking. Yet, despite our gorgeous (albeit unpredictable) weather and comparative success with health, obesity in Colorado is a growing problem.
Over 20% of our population is obese. And while there is research that suggests being mildly overweight might not be a health danger, the Center for Disease control has found that reaching an ‘obese’ weight sharply increases chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, respiratory problems, and even cancer.
Unfortunately, much of the discussion regarding obesity has become focused on shaming and accusing, rather than supporting and encouraging.
At RMHP, we support and encourage our own staff in weight and health management, offering fitness and diet consultations, exercise classes, and ongoing email campaigns to celebrate success, support and encourage.
We want to offer support and tips for local Coloradans who are looking for ways to take advantage of our state’s natural beauty during these warm months and lose weight.
See those sparkling streams? Well, don’t drink out of them without a purification system. But drink water. Lots of water! Have water be your default beverage at every meal, and between meals. Have a cheat day or two each week for those tasty sodas and coffee drinks, but don’t drink them every day.
The hills are alive! And they want you to come play in them. There are literally hundreds of hiking trails, from along Cherry Creek or the Grand River to remote backcountry. Go explore, for half an hour or half a day. CO is practically begging its residents to come and enjoy its beauty. Be sure to plan carefully if you are going to the mountains, and always let someone know where you’ll be.
Three definitely isn’t company: Groups can help motivate and support you, offer tips for how to make grilled chicken extra tasty and how to walk away from that one overpowering food (chocolate chip cookies? The perfect wedge of cheese? Salt and Vinegar Potato chips? Jelly beans? Everyone has a snack they can’t say no to.). Groups are places without judgment, where you won’t be told to never eat that banana bread, but how to make it healthier and a treat instead of the norm.
Food, glorious food: We Coloradans live in a state that abounds with delicious food! Farmers markets overflow with local, fresh produce perfect for a stir-fry or BBQ (try grilled Palisade peaches!). Local dairies bring low-fat, high-quality dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese to your doorstep. Local honeybees are waiting to sweeten your tea; local chickens want to make sure you start your day off with their eggs for a protein-packed breakfast. Eat local and fresh, and you’re almost guaranteed to eat healthy.
Know your limits: It’s no secret that portion size has increased. Order the small drink at a movie theater and they give you almost half a gallon of soda! Learn your limits. When eating in, use a salad plate. When eating out, order a salad or non-creamy soup and ask the restaurant to box up half of your entrée before bringing it to the table. Bonus: Tasty lunch the next day! No need to deprive yourself, just know what your body needs.
Adopt a pal for life: Research shows that dog owners are healthier than non-dog-owners. It turns out taking the pup out to frisk around in the lovely summer evenings has added health benefits for owners. Adopt a dog and enjoy an active life together!
Understand your biology: We are programmed to want to eat all the calories we possibly can. This helped humans survive for millennia through famines, migrations, and even winters. We aren’t as extreme as the bears who gain hundreds in order to sleep through the winter, but we are programmed to not just want that extra food indulgence but feel like we need it. Don’t give in, but it helps to know why it feels like that.
We’re all (only) human. And we only live once. Personally, I don’t want to face a world without my mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls. Or my husband’s french fries. And I don’t. But these are indulgences, for special days and special meals. Fuel your body with the best possible food 95% of the time, and then give yourself a break and pull out the beer and chips and dip. Knowing your favorite food is coming will help keep you on track with healthier options for most of the week. Then take a walk in the lovely summer evenings.
In Colorado, we are lucky enough to have the natural beauty and natural resources to not just encourage health and wellness, but to make it delicious and fun. We encourage everyone to find your favorite seasonal snack, and your favorite activity. Together, we can support each other to address the growing trend of obesity.