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There are certain things that you should appreciate about your body. You are unique. Your smile, your bone structure, the placement and shape of your eyes, ears, nose and lips are all things you should love about yourself. Do not be concerned with things that you cannot change.

Obesity is something that you can change. Though we all come in different shapes and sizes, an excess amount of fat is not healthy. Obesity is not a body type. The United States National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute identifies several health problems caused by obesity. Coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, abnormal blood fats, metabolic syndrome, cancer, joint problems, sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, reproductive problems and gallstones are among some of the health problems associated with being overweight.

Obesity is a touchy subject. Being told that you are fat is hurtful, even if it is true. Our society glamorizes the perfect body, which the majority of us do not have. Massive portion sizes, delicious food options, uncontrollable appetites and even technology that makes our lives easier contribute to the challenge we face in battling obesity. I am one of those cursed individuals that can get fat. I love food and have a very slow metabolism.

One thing that you do have control over is your ability to choose. You can choose to exercise. You can choose smaller portion sizes. You can choose the stairs. You can choose the furthest parking spot from the entrance to the store. Our generation needs to make an extra effort to schedule physical activity into our day. As one of those people that have to work hard to be healthy, I have found a few ways to help battle the challenges of obesity.

Choose an exercise routine

There are thousands of options out there to help you improve your physical fitness. I like to save money and would rather spend money on an exercise program that I can do at home as opposed to purchasing an expensive gym membership. One program that I have enjoyed and have seen results with is Insanity. After an initial investment, you can use it as long as DVD players exist.

In the Army, we conduct Army Physical Fitness Tests once every six months. We measure how many push-ups and sit-ups that we can do within two minutes. We then run two miles and try to do it as fast as possible. Having this test on the calendar holds me accountable for my fitness. I recommend that whatever you choose to do, hold yourself accountable with regular fitness tests. Don’t be too concerned with comparing yourself to others. Do your best and compete with yourself.

Treat yourself once a week . . . not every day

Currently I live on a military base in Afghanistan. They provide us several kinds of delicious looking cakes and various flavors of ice cream. I have learned that there are only two ways to get big here, at the gym or in the chow hall. The same is true for each of us in the normal routines of life. We can choose the delicious sugary treats every day, or we can reward ourselves once a week for keeping our goals. I have never liked the word diet. (Anything that has the word die in it is probably not a good thing.) I agree with moderation and enjoying what you eat. Work out at least five days a week and then reward yourself.

Work with others

Everyone wants to be healthy and fit. No one wants to die young and experience the numerous health problems associated with obesity. Look around your neighborhood and invite some of your neighbors to join you as you make the commitment to exercise every day. Including others in your desire to be fit will build a network of people ready to encourage each other and hold one another accountable.

As you make fitness a routine in your life, do not expect to see immediate results in your body. The only immediate result that you will have is the feeling that what you are doing is right. With small consistent effort, everyday, you can accomplish anything. A wise man once said, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. Try something new and get yourself to a healthy weight.



Dustin Wiggins is an optimist and entrepreneur. He owns Camistin Publishing, loves to learn and will often write about life lessons on his blog at www.LessonsOfWisdom.com. Follow him on twitter @_DustinWiggins or email him at wigginsda@camistin.com.
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