The statistics are staggering! The National Center for Health Statistics shows almost 71% of all Americans are overweight and/or obese. Obesity is a serious major health problem increasing the risk in almost one out of every three Americans for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Maybe you’re not obese but, like me, struggle with maintaining a healthy weight. And we all seem to know “that someone” who can eat whatever they want and still be thin. Don’t we sometimes wish we could be like them, not having to worry about what we put in our mouths or how often we work out? (Thanks to Shazzy Fitness for making working out so fun, though!)
For those of us who have a healthy BMI, what appears on the outside may not correctly reflect what is going on with the inside. Did you know that some obese people could be metabolically healthy on the inside while some thin people can actually be a metabolic mess? This conundrum is referred to as TOFI: Thin on the Outside, Fat on the Inside.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, regardless of size or BMI, health risks come from the fat on the inside. A significant amount of “skinny” people are TOFIs, and are more at risk for chronic diseases. TOFIs carry a dangerous amount of fatty cells, called visceral fat, inside the abdomen.
Today’s Standard American Diet is loaded with sugary drinks and processed foods. Combine that with the sedentary lifestyle most of us have due to office jobs and lack of energy when we are home. Then to top if off, the majority of Americans are “middle-aged” and the hormone changes kick in with slower metabolism due to muscle mass loss. Ahhhh! The stress is killing us!! Literally.What can we do to make sure we look good on the inside?
We’ve all heard it before, but it is time to take it seriously. Take inventory of your lifestyle. Poor diet and stress are huge, but being physically inactive is the biggest cause of visceral fat storage.
So, get your pen and paper ready, ‘cause I’m going to give you the secret to living longer and healthier. Ready?
- Eat right! – Eat good foods, mostly plants, as fresh and organic as you can.
- Get some sleep! – Lack of sleep is a huge stress on your body and your tolerance levels.
- Exercise! – Shoot for 30 minutes a day. Once you start moving, you might be surprised at how energized you’ll feel. Dance with a Shazzy Fitness DVD, take a brisk walk, or run in the yard with your little ones. Just move!
Maintaining an ideal weight with a high proportion of lean tissue to body fat doesn’t just mean you’ll look better on the outside. It means you’ll look better on the inside too – and we all know that it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. Just like our physical bodies can appear to be healthy on the outside, but sick on the inside, so can our spirits.
Have you ever attended church, and when it’s over while walking outside to the parking lot, you hear parents berating their children or someone honking rudely at someone else who didn’t let them in line to get out? Sadly, I have. I have often wondered how someone can just be inside worshiping God, and come outside and be feel so hateful. I call this SODI, or Spiritual Outside, Dead Inside. As Christians, we can sometimes project a Godly appearance while inside we are spiritually dead or dying.
Only God knows the reason behind the stagnant heart, and only God can heal what caused it. But it is up to us to recognize our sin, and ask for His forgiveness and grace. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
It isn’t what we do in public that will make us right in God’s sight, it’s what we do in private between us and God that will make us healthy and strong spiritually.
So let's exercise our bodies and our spirits. While exercising, put on some catchy Christian tunes, put your hands up in the air, and shout hallelujah. Burn that visceral fat and become alive inside; get on fire for a deeper relationship with God!