Losing just a few pounds would reduce your risk of acquiring an obesity related illness. Examples of obesity related illnesses include some cancers, hypertension, pulmonary disease, fatty liver, hypercholesterolemia, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Obesity also interferes with sleep.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is excessive body weight due to increased body fat and is caused by an imbalance in caloric intake and caloric expenditure. Obesity occurs by eating more calories than calories burned. Health providers commonly use BMI as a screening tool to assess a patient’s risk for obesity related illnesses.
What is Body Mass Index
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of weight adjusted for height, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters (kg/m2). You can calculate BMI manually or use the BMI calculator on my earlier blog post: bit.ly/OverweightOrObese
Class 1 BMI 25-29.9
Class 2 BMI 30-39.9
Class 3 BMI greater than 40
Using the BMI alone can be a misleading measure of risk for obesity related illnesses because muscular athletes have a high BMI but low body fat and low risk for obesity related illnesses. A combination of BMI and waistline circumference is more accurate. If you chose not to determine your BMI, using a waistline measurement is an excellent indicator of belly fat and estimates risk for obesity related illnesses. Men with a waistline greater than 40 inches and non-pregnant women with a waistline greater than 35 inches have a higher risk for obesity related illness compared to people with smaller waistlines.
How to reduce your risk for obesity related illnesses
Obesity is not a genetic disease but lifestyle, diet and environment can damage your genes and make you more likely to become obese. Damaged genes also make it difficult to lose weight. Genes can be damaged by eating fried foods. The damaged gene undergoes a modification that changes the gene into the “obesity gene”.
Other things that make losing weight difficult are eating high fructose corn syrup, exposure to endocrine disruptors found in plastic containers and some pesticides, some medications and a sedentary lifestyle.
Many people believe they are obese because of an underactive thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism do make losing weight difficult. If you have consistently eaten a low caloric diet and exercised regularly but just can’t seem to lose weight, make an appointment to talk with your health provider.
Reclaim your health
Before you start an exercise program, talk with your health provider. You may also want to find a friend to join you on your journey toward a healthier you. Personally, I’m checking out Body by Maria, a fitness center in Chesterfield VA with enough fantastic women to keep me motivated for months! Read more at this website. https://www.bodybymariarva.com
You must first decide that you want to lose weight. Your attitude about weight loss affects your ability to lose weight. Take the American Council on Exercise Weight-loss Readiness quiz here: www.acefitness.org/healthcoachresources/pdfs/WeightLossReadinessQuiz.pdf
Next, calculate your baseline BMI or take a waistline measurement. Find the top of your hip bone and measure your waist at this level of your abdomen. Record your BMI or waistline measurement weekly. You’ll be encouraged as you watch the numbers decrease. Next, prepare to make some lifestyle changes.
Read food labels Monitor the total number of calories, grams of carbohydrates and grams of sugar you eat each day. To find this information for meals prepared at home, use an on-line calorie counter. The food calorie counter provided by Calorie Control Council is powered by the USDA National Nutrient Database. This calorie counter allows you to find nutrient information for more than one thousands foods and products.
Avoid eating while watching television. There is a tendency to do what is referred to as “mindless eating“ when you eat while watching television. Speaking of television, did you know people who watch food shows have more difficulty losing weight that those who don’t watch these types of programs?
Eat more fruits and vegetables. Avoid fried foods, sugary beverages and processed foods. Not only do these have lots of calories, these types of food destroy good gut bacteria. Gut bacteria consume some of the calories that you eat and bacteria helps break down food so your body can absorb the nutrients.
Exercise more. Walking 30 minutes a day, three times a week at 3.5 miles per hour will burn 1000-2000 calories in one week. To get an idea of how fast you need to walk to achieve a pace of 3.5 miles per hour, walk on a treadmill. Once you become familiar with what it feels like to walk at this pace, try walking outside.
Look into exercise programs available in your community through the department of parks and recreation, fitness centers and local churches. Join Girl Trek. www.girltrek.org No Girl Trek group in your community, start one.
Some insurance companies will help you find and pay for fitness programs. Call the customer service number printed on your insurance card.
Get adequate sleep. Most people need 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Skimping on sleep could make losing weight more difficult because sleep helps control the hunger hormone called ghrelin. When you don’t get enough sleep, the ghrelin level increases making you crave fats and sweets. Also when you are asleep, you won’t be awake to eat one more snack.
Be persistent Most people gained weight gradually, just 5-10 pounds every year. So don’t be disappointed if the weight doesn’t “fall off” in a few weeks. If you give in the food cravings don’t beat yourself up. Think of each failure as another opportunity to succeed. Give yourself time and you will experience weight loss.