Year after year we make resolutions to lose weight and make promises that we'll take better care of ourselves, but all too common we start strong but go back to old habits.
Why Should I Lose Weight At All? What are the benefits of being at a normal weight versus being considered overweight? First, let's find out what overweight means.
Here are two methods to help you decide if you are overweight or not.
1. Body Mass Index (BMI) is an important tool that may help determine your health risks and whether you are normal, overweight or obese. According to the National Institute of Health a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy, while a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight and a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. To determine your BMI, go to the end of this article for the BMI Chart. Locate the intersection of your height and weight, there you will find your BMI.
2. Waist circumference is another way to determine if your health is being placed at risk due to your weight. In fact, some sources suggest this method be used as the primary tool since excess central body fat is more concerning than fat in other areas of the body. A waist circumference of more than 35 inches in women and more than 40 inches in men suggests that a person is at an increased health risk.
Diseases correlated with being overweight:
Type 2 Diabetes
Heart Disease & Stroke
Decreased Muscle Mass
Fatty Liver Disease
Have you been checked for diabetes? The Diabetes Prevention Program, which was a large clinical study done by the NIH found that just by losing 5 to 7 percent of the body weight and simply by exercising at a moderately intense level for 30 minutes for 5 days a week could prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Do you know your lipid levels—HDL (good), LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides? The truth is that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. If overweight, your risk of heart disease and stroke can be lessened by losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight. Again, we see that central body fat is a problem with heart disease as it seems to increase the risk of blood vessel inflammation. Blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart function will improve with weight loss along with a decrease in inflammation throughout your body.
Metabolic Syndrome is a group of risk factors related to obesity that dramatically increase the odds of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Studies indicate that 27% of US adults have Metabolic Syndrome. As abdominal girth increases, so do the risks. Additionally, this is a condition that we are seeing in increasing numbers in our children. The risk factors are:
Large waist circumference as described previously
Low HDL (good) cholesterol
High blood pressure
High fasting blood glucose (sugar >100mg/dL) or a HgbA1c of more than 5.6
For people who already have Metabolic Syndrome, loosing weight (at least 10 percent of the body weight) and regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day) may delay the onset of diabetes and heart disease. Changes in diet (decreasing carbohydrate consumption) and quitting smoking if you do, are also important factors in reducing your risks.
ED -Erectile dysfunction share risk factors with obesity, like high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and low testosterone levels. Managing Obesity will improve sexual symptoms.
Decreased Muscle Mass is associated with low testosterone levels. Fat tissue has an enzyme (aromatase) that decreases testosterone levels, so obesity is a risk factor for Low T and decreased muscle mass.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Being overweight increases the risk of developing several types of cancers, including the colon, esophagus and kidney. It is suggested that fat cells may release hormones that affect cell growth, division and natural cell death, leading to cancer.
Sleep Apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing for short periods of time at night. This condition increases the risk of heart failure or heart attack, fatigue, daytime sleepiness and difficulty concentrating. With obesity and more fat stored around the neck area, the airway may be constricted causing difficulty breathing, snoring or momentary cessation of breathing. It’s a good idea to ask your partner or family member if you snore.
Osteoarthritis is a common “wear and tear” joint disorder in which the bone and cartilage that protects the joints begins to wear away. When a person is overweight, inflammatory substances are released and the extra weight places more pressure on the weight bearing joints, like the knees, low back and hips, thus worsening the condition.
Gallbladder disease is a condition in which solid or sludge-like material, primarily made of cholesterol, forms in the gallbladder. After ingesting greasy or spicy food, the person with gallbladder disease may complain of indigestion, nausea, vomiting and/or right upper quadrant pain sometimes radiating to the back. With obesity, more cholesterol is produced which increases the risk of gallstones. Slow, steady weight loss of ½ to 1 pound per week is important as rapid weight loss may contribute to gallstones as well.
Fatty Liver Disease is a condition of fat buildup, inflammation and injury to the liver. If the condition continues to progress, the person may develop cirrhosis or even liver failure. People who are “pre-diabetic” or diabetic already have an increased risk of developing fatty liver disease. Again, weight loss and physical activity are the solutions to reducing the fat buildup in the liver, reduce inflammation and control sugar levels.
To lower your risks for all these and many other health conditions, losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight may be all that is needed. The right diet will help with steady/comfortable weight loss. Combined with regular, moderate physical activity at least five days each week is the best way to promote your health. Take a serious look at what you are eating and give yourself the gift of exercise and renewed health for the new year.
We hope you enjoy these posts and are glad you're being proactive in your own health maintenance. To schedule an appointment please call us at 956-581-2168 or visit TheMENClinic.com for more information.