This word makes most people cringe. It is a topic that very few want to discuss. Even healthcare providers fail to have medical discussions with their patients about obesity. But this topic is so very important, not for reasons of vanity, but also for your health.
Let’s start with the definition of obesity. The National Institute of Health defines obesity as a BMI (body mass index) greater than 30. This number correlates height and weight to determine an estimated body fat measurement. To calculate a BMI, simply type “BMI calculator” into google! Plug your height and weight in and you get a number. A normal BMI is 18.5-24.9. A BMI can tell you if you are underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. Another measurement of obesity is waist size. For women a waist size over 35 inches and 40 inches in men with two or more medical problems linked to weight is considered obese.
The biggest problem with obesity is the health complications that are associated with it. Obesity affects every single organ system. Some medical problems can be reversed, but others are permanent. Some of the most common medical problems that stem from obesity include, but are not limited to: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, vascular disease, stroke, cancer, gallbladder stones, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and depression.
There is no magic pill or quick fix for obesity which is why 1/3 of the population struggles with it. Everyone knows the treatment, but people hate to diet and exercise. Many wait until they have a dreaded “wake up call”, a personal health scare or that of someone close to them before they take steps to deal with obesity. However, the best time is right now. The only way to manage obesity is to adapt to a lifestyle change. Unfortunately, some motivated people diet and exercise to reach their goal for a special event, but regain the weight again within 5 years. It is more than essential to make this a lifestyle change and stick to it, rather than a short-term challenge with a goal.
Many programs are now available, some are even covered by your medical insurance to help you eat properly and get appropriate exercise. There are lifestyle centers to aid with all aspects of weight loss, physical, diet, mental and medical. It is important to have a network of support around you and to take little steps toward a big goal. Small steps can drastically reduce the risk of permanent health problems. Start small and build on your progress. For example, use the steps for 1 flight of stairs at work or cut one soda from your day. Each week, increase that number. Then add other steps. Little sacrifices are often less drastic and not as unpleasant as quitting everything and exercising until you are too sore to move. When you work in this manner, you are more likely to achieve and more importantly, maintain your healthy weight goals.
Start the steps to a healthier lifestyle now!
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