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Hello Idaho: Battling obesity

According to the CDC, more than 40% percent of Americans struggle with obesity.

BOISE, Idaho — According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 40% percent of Americans struggle with obesity.

Optum Idaho’s Darren Bushee sat down with KTVB to explain how to battle obesity from a mental standpoint.

How big of a problem is obesity?

Bushee: "Obesity is one of our nation’s fastest-growing health problems which can lead to many long-term issues like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer."

Obesity is a physical health problem. How does someone’s mental health relate to that?

Bushee: "Obesity increases the likelihood of mood and anxiety disorders.. Depression can be both a cause and result from stress, which in turn can cause one to change their eating habits and exercise habits. On the contrary, losing weight can increase one’s self-esteem and elevate confidence.”

That plays into a mind/body connection. People can use that connection to their benefit, right?

Bushee: “Yes they can, and here are a few things they can try:

1)    Think about what you eat and why. Write down everything that you eat including time of the day and the amount of food, and then record what was going on in your mind at the time that you were eating and consuming.

2)    Cut down on portions while eating the same foods. Along with making dieting less depriving, you’ll find that smaller portions are actually just as satisfying.

3)    You can use your friends and family as well. You can try to enlist the entire household into eating a healthier diet. Research shows that people who make these efforts in groups lose more weight than if they do at it alone.

4)    Also, the buddy system. Ask for a friend or family member to be on call just for morale support if you’re attempting to stray from your eating behaviors. Just by confiding in someone else will help you gain that support and help you go forward and make sure you’re on task with your eating habits.

5)    Don’t obsess over the bad days. You’re going to wane and succeed on some days versus others, so you've got to look at your thoughts and feelings that are resulting in the way that you’re eating on that particular day and how you can implement strategies to prevent overeating.

6)    Lastly, managing your stress. While treating obesity, obviously we want to bring the weight gain down, weight loss is never successful when we’re burdened by stress and other negative feelings.”

What’s something important to keep in mind about trying any of those tips? 

Bushee: “Dealing with weight challenges requires adapting to new healthy habits, but don’t attempt radical changes. You risk compounding and sabotaging your best efforts to combat obesity, so stay positive and very vigilant with your behaviors.”

For more information visit the Optum Idaho website.

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