“Obesity begins everything,” says Dr. Om Ganda, endocrinologist and a site investigator on an upcoming trial, REDUCE-IT, a cardiovascular outcomes study. Patients give the “too busy with work” line as defense all the time. Many of them don’t realize that they have used this excuse for far too long. The idea is to improve one’s health and lifestyle. Small changes at a time make a huge difference, Dr. Ganda says. One can take many preventable measures, even is genetics is an issue. It’s best to start early to prevent a lot of possible hardships down the road.
New rules are in effect and people should be aware of them, Dr. Ganda says. Look at the total amount of fat, particularly the saturated fat, he adds. Look also at the sodium content, which is especially important for controlling blood pressure.
You shouldn’t have more than 5 g of salt a day, which is about 1,500 mg, a day, Dr. Ganda says. Consuming too much sodium leads to a vicious cycle that harms the body in multiple ways – blood vessels get damaged, the body holds water, the heart is pumping harder, you lose calcium, and eye problems are a possibility.
This is a bad idea because you almost always end up buying more food than you actually need. This often results in overeating, Dr. Ganda says, which comes with its own harmful side effects. Also, when you’re hungry and shopping, you tend to buy foods that take little time to prepare and those are the foods that usually contain too much sugar or salt.
People’s lifestyles are not as good as they could be and are actually worsening, Dr. Ganda says. Poor or lack of exercise is a big part of that. “People don’t realize they could be in early stages of cardiovascular problems.” The “no time” excuses is not an excuse. “You should do 30 minutes of exercises a day but you can break it up to a few minutes several times a day.”
Having poor sleeping habits is one of the absolute worst mistakes men are making, Dr. Ganda says. Sleep deprivation affects your overall health more severely than simply feeling grumpy in the mornings; you gain weight; your learning and problem-solving abilities suffer; you have trouble forming memories; and you’re at risk of developing depression, paranoia, and even suicidal thoughts.
Here is an example: Men are more likely to develop some skin cancers. This may be due to increased exposure to the sun, but there is also another factor, according to dermatologists. Men have the highest mortality because they often detect the cancer in later stages. Women tend to get their skin checked more often, leading to early detection.
The combination of the two is much better than either alone, Dr. Ganda says. You need to do aerobic exercise for a stronger heart but you also need to build muscle which is needed for glycogen storage, he adds.
Many people don’t think about what they should do before and after exercising. This is a big mistake, Dr. Ganda says. A warmup prepares your muscles for the impending workout and prevents injury. It relaxes your joints and increases your heart rate to ensure your body is ready to challenge itself. Missing out on a proper cool down is a big mistake. Immediately stopping activity without a proper cool down period can cause blood to pool in your legs or feelings of dizziness.
Just as it’s important to bring your heart rate down slowly, it’s also crucial to stretch out your muscles. Taking the time to stretch will help with flexibility and muscle recovery. The process usually helps the body relax and as long as you don’t push too hard, stretching should help you get back to your next workout feeling less sore.
The excessive tension and pressure will eventually take a toll on your physical and mental health with upset stomach, headaches or migraines being only a few of the possible side effects. This can interfere with your ability to do your job or maintain social relationships. And the vicious cycle of stress, poor performance and lack of confidence continues.
The good news for people who don’t like to work out is that they are doing it every time they walk. Nobody thinks of this aerobic activity as an exercise because more than 7 billion people do it daily and it’s not hard. You don’t have to go on hour-long walks; breaking it down to a few minutes a few times a day will suffice. You can totally get in shape just by walking.
Men in their 30’s, especially those with family history of disease, should think about getting screened for risk factors such as hypertension, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, Dr. Ganda says. High triglycerides are associated with cardiac risk, even in people with well-controlled cholesterol (LDL-C).
It can lead to insulin resistance, which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. Monitoring your nutrition is one way to prevent the illness. Fill half of your with plate non-starchy vegetables, one quarter with lean protein, like chicken, fish, lean pork or beef or vegetarian protein, and the last quarter with a starchy vegetable or starchy grain or fruit. This ensures adequate protein to preserve lean muscle tissue, lots of vegetables for fiber, natural antioxidants and not too many simple carbs.
Too much alcohol equals too many extra calories which can lead to abdominal obesity, which is even worse than having extra fat in the rest of your body, Dr. Ganda says. Alcohol can lead to fatty liver disease. Men are not recommended to have more than two drinks a day. Cocktails are the worst kind because of the extra added sugar.
People in their 30’s eat out a lot and that is a problem because you don’t really know how things are cooked and you usually consume more fatty foods and carbs when at a restaurant than at home, Dr. Ganda says. Do you know many people who’d go for the salad as a side as opposed to mash potatoes or French fires?
Visceral fat, a type of white fat that’s found specifically in the abdomen, is the fat that causes the most health risks from excess fat. This fat can secrete hormones that damage cell membranes and cause people to have a problem with the metabolism and utilization of glucose. Limit your intake of saturated fats because they get deposited in the arteries, which can lead to heart disease.
Stress affects everything in life and it inevitable leads to more fat consumption, Dr. Ganda says. People make poor food choices when they are under pressure or when they are in a rush; they just eat conveniently, which often means fast food and pizza.
You don’t have to change your lifestyle completely, Dr. Ganda says, but you do have to make gradual changes. This is the more sustainable approach anyway. Going cold turkey usually leads to the opposite effect in the long run.
This is by far among the top offenders when it comes to “worst habits,” Dr. Ganda says.