Let's Talk About Your Health and Your Weight

03/05/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

In doing the research for my new book about weight loss, I have found some fascinating facts. I've learned that 66.3% of Americans, over the age of 20, are overweight. Of that 66.3%, 32% are obese. Obesity raises your chance of an early death due to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer. If you are obese, you are not healthy.

In writing about weight loss, as I have been doing for some time now, the idea of how we look (vanity) often comes into the discussion. In some ways, I wish it didn't. I wish we could just focus on our health and learning to live healthy, full and productive lives. If over half of us are overweight, and 32% are obese, then something clearly isn't working. The diet books, diet programs, weight loss pills, shots, hormones, and fads are clearly failing us if over half of us are still overweight.

There are two points I want to make in this blog. One point is: we want an easy and quick fix for a problem that doesn't have one. We are willing to pay big bucks for books, pills, shots and programs that promise quick and easy weight loss, with no work involved. One of the best selling diet books out right now was written by an actress. Good for her that she is raking in the dough because she is famous, pretty and can put a book together. Not so good for you that you are listening to an actress when it comes to your health and your life.

Another best selling diet book was written by a man who has a business degree. He, implied in his title, promises to do the work for you. Good for him! He is also raking in the dough, and actually has some good things to say, but you are buying the book because he promises to do it for you. No one can do this work for you. No one else got you into this situation (unless you are a child and cannot make your own choices).

The other point I want to make is: you have to take responsibility for yourself, for your weight and for your health. If you are not healthy, due to poor diet and lifestyle choices, then you can change that. Changing your eating habits, exercise habits and way of life is really hard. I understand that. I did it myself and have lost 50 plus pounds and have maintained that loss for 19 years. I also completely understand the desire to buy a book, take a pill, or a shot, and be done with it. If only it worked that way 66.3% of us would not be overweight.

So, take control. Educate yourself about food, calories and healthy eating. Do it for your health and to live a full and productive life.

That's it for now. Good luck and let me know how you're doing.

If you'd like to participate in the research for Irene's new book about the process of weight loss, please visit and take the survey.