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The Dangerous Effects of Unhealthy Eating

Right now, there is someone in a hospital fighting for something many of us take for granted: their health. Maybe they are a little bit older and have lived quite a bit of life, but one thing is for sure; They probably wish they had taken better care of themselves along the way.

Many of our elders pass down advice to us and for me, the message was to maintain my health early. With the many illnesses and diseases affecting our community, this couldn’t be more important. Yet, when we’re young we assume we’ll be healthy and able-bodied forever. Because of this, we’re a bit more lenient with our diet, and consume more unhealthy things than we should.

An unhealthy diet combined with inactivity leads to weight gain. Weight gain and excessive weight are a catalyst for many health issues. When you gain weight, you don’t just go up a clothing size. You’re more susceptible to heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease, sleep apnea, and reproductive issues. This largely stems from having excess weight around your waist.

Carrying weight around your waist is more harmful than weight on other parts of the body because this is where all of your organs live. Some fat in this area serves as protection for your organs, but the larger your waistline, the harder organs like your heart, liver and kidneys have to work to keep your body functioning properly. Luckily, with a proper diet and some moderate exercise, you can decrease your waistline easily.

Photo credit: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/collard-greens-recipe.html

Photo credit: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/collard-greens-recipe.html

This doesn’t mean you can’t live a little every once in a while and indulge in your favorite foods or cocktails. But the point is to make sure this doesn’t become an everyday occurrence. Be health conscious 80% of the time, and treat yourself 20% of the time. So if you eat the standard 3 meals a day for 7 days, 17 meals should be well-balanced healthy meals, and 4 can be little splurges on the not-so-healthy stuff.

So many illnesses and diseases can be avoided if we simply focus on taking care of ourselves. It’s a lot easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle than trying to get healthy enough to get off of medications or healthy enough to leave a hospital room. Hopefully you have been fortunate enough to not hear a doctor tell you some discouraging news about your health. Please realize that good health is a gift. Don’t make yourself sick by feeding your body junk and leading a sedentary life. Your health is truly the most valuable thing you possess.

Reneé DuBose is a Chicago media professional who was bitten by the health and fitness bug a few years ago. On her journey to get and stay fit, she started a health and wellness blog to share her tips with friends, family and anyone needing help. Visit The Fit Print and keep up with her on Instagram @theFitPrint.