Hi there! I’m Nadia! In this initial (yet lengthy) blog post, I’d like to tell you about a club that I am an unwilling member of. A club that you, or someone you may know may belong to. A whopping 33.8% of the US adult population is a member of this club, and might I add, we’re growing in number. Seventeen percent of the US population between the ages of 2 and 19, join our ranks too, so we don’t exactly discriminate when it comes to age. And for the most part, don’t discriminate when it comes to sex, race, financial status or other identifier.
While admission to this not-so-exclusive club seems to be free, it is, in fact, quite costly. Our members pay to be in this club with their health and their lives. Our members are at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, cancer,low self esteem, depression, and a multitude of other illnesses simply by virtue of being in this club. Due in part to these increased health risks, our members burden the health care industry to the tune of $147 billion per year. In addition to the above named perks of membership, our members are targets of social stigma, teasing, bullying and other means of ostracism. Truly, it’s a great club to be in!
In case my tones of sarcasm were lost in the printed text above, let me spell it out a bit more bluntly — this not-so-exclusive club I’m talking is the obesity epidemic (maybe even pandemic) that has gripped our culture and our world. But this isn’t new information. On a nearly daily basis, we are made aware of the growing numbers of overweight and obese individuals, whether through media headlines, product marketing campaigns, or even just walking down the street or past a playground and witnessing the increased number of people with expanded waistlines.
Evidence is also available to show just how much people want out of this club. We are bombarded with products marketed at those looking to lose weight from quick acting pills and supplements to fad diet plans marketed by “health experts,” to surgeries, special shoes, compression athletic wear, specially designed undergarments, extreme weight loss TV shows, and the list goes on. It is estimated that by the year 2014, the global weight loss industry will be worth $586.3 billion dollars!
Let’s step back for a moment and go back to this being an introductory blog post. Here I am, presenting along with the statistics some strong opinions and you, dear reader, have a right to know if those opinions are qualified. So, who am I? Well I’ll tell you who I’m not first. I am not a physician, registered dietitian, or other healthcare professional. I am not a certified personal trainer or other fitness professional. As a disclaimer, because I am none of those things, if you see something here that you want to try discuss it with a professional first, because getting healthy, like getting healthy, isn’t a one-size-fits-all process.
(Side note: While the presentation of this blog may seem to deal with obesity and weight loss specifically, it is my hope that it will encompass health and wellness in a much larger, holistic scope – but more on that later)
So back to who I am. I’m a twenty-something bibliophile, nerd, wanna-be athlete, foodie, at-home baker, beginner gardener, crafter, and student. In addition, I have struggled with weight for more than half my life. It used to get me really down, it strained my relationships with others and with food, and I got stuck in a lot of bad habits and self-perpetuating cycles. And then, in the summer/fall of 2009, several things coincided with a moment of clarity in which I had finally had enough. Or perhaps it was because I had had enough that I was finally receptive to those coincidental things? Who knows? Regardless, it was a turning point in my life. At the core of everything, I knew I wanted change, so when a book picked up in the clearance section of a campus bookstore and an appointment with a new doctor came my way, I was open to what came next. The universe works in mysterious ways because that unasked-for moment of clarity, combined with all that came before, and all that’s come since has been a two year (and counting) journey towards health and wellness. It was in that moment in time that things began to click for me. Picking up that book led me to picking up other books that opened my eyes to food and nutrition in ways I never imagined. And the results of the bloodwork at that well-timed appointment led me to making major lifestyle changes. In basic terms, I wanted out of the club!! There is certainly much more to this story to tell, which brings me back to this blog.
This is where I want to continue to tell my story. Propelled by a love for healthy living blogs, this seems an apt medium to share my journey to healthy living. This is where I want to share the things I’ve learned so that others may benefit. And, being the nerdy student that I am, I will share my sources, and make references so that you, the reader, can draw your own conclusions and don’t have to take my word for it.
If you stuck with me to the end of this very wordy post, first, let me thank you. I hope that you’ll stick with me as this blog grows. I promise it will be personal, honest, at times funny, and always well researched. Oh, and it’s also going to be about the food! So stay tuned!!