Genetic, behavioral, biological and cultural factors tend to enter into any discussion about obesity, which continues to be a sensitive issue.
Fact: Less than 1% of all obesity is caused by physical or medical problems.
In an independent study conducted through the Rand Corporation, researchers found that obesity is a more serious health risk than living in poverty, smoking or drinking.
Primary causes of obesity
- Poor nutrition
- Lack of portion control
- Not enough exercise
- Family history of obesity
- Stress, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem
Are You Overweight or Obese?
Doctors use Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine how much of your body weight is fat. Guidelines can fluctuate slightly but every effort should be made to keep your BMI score as far below 25 as possible. A score of 25-30 is medically overweight and 30 or more is considered obese.
Being overweight or obese impacts many aspects of your daily life – in ways you might not even realize.
1 – Your Body Is Forced to Work Harder Than It Needs To
Obesity may soon overtake smoking as the number one preventable cause of death.
More than 80% of people diagnosed with type II diabetes – which is preventable and reversible – are overweight or obese.
Obesity increases your risk for…
- High blood pressure
- High “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides
- Heart disease and stroke
- Gall bladder disease and gallstones
- Kidney stones
- Fatty liver
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea and asthma
For every pound of fat you gain, your body manufactures more blood vessels…seven miles worth! That makes your heart have to work harder and reduces the effectiveness of nutrients you take in.
The good news is that if you lose the weight, you won’t need the excess blood vessels anymore and your body will break those extra miles down.
2 – Loss of Sex Drive & Sexual Arousal
Obesity not only affects us emotionally and physically – your weight can affect your sexuality as well.
- The loss of as little as ten pounds can kick dormant sex hormones into gear.
- During a workout, don’t forget your pelvic area. Getting the blood pumping isn’t figurative. Yoga, walking or cycling for 20 minutes, 3 times each week pumps better circulation into the genitals.
- Love your body at every stage and believe you are a sexual being.
The Journal of Sexual Medicine published a small study out of Australia that found a 5-10% weight loss over time aided in the treatment of erectile dysfunction of overweight diabetics by stimulating testosterone production.
Though obesity is pretty equal in both genders, men have increased risks for sexual hormone deficiency, overall prostate health and decreased libido. Obese men are four times more likely to require a testosterone replacement.
3 – Weight Discrimination in the Workplace
A study that determined workplace discrimination now occurs as often for those employees who are overweight or obese as it does for those who suffer racial discrimination; the study also showed that weight discrimination occurs more frequently than age or gender discrimination.
People who are overweight or obese…
- Don’t receive raises or promotions as often as average weight workers.
- Are frequently denied company health insurance and benefits.
- Are often unfairly stigmatized as being lazy, unmotivated or too aggressive.
4 – Excess Weight Robs You of Your Confidence and Self-Esteem
15% of the population exercises regularly.
68% of the population is overweight or obese.
People who are overweight or obese often become caught in a cycle of negativity and food.
Carbohydrates and high-sugar foods release serotonin (the hormone that gives the feeling of happiness and contentment). This nurtures our cravings for foods high in sugar and carbohydrates.
Foods high in sugar and carbs do not activate the body’s full response so we think we haven’t eaten enough. They do activate the body’s hunger response, leaving you feeling as if you truly need more food. And so begins the cycle of weight gain…then upset…and then a return to the foods that create the temporary hormonal surge that starts the cycle all over again.
Stress can also cause obesity. When you are under chronic stress, your body releases too much cortisol into your system, which can lead to abdominal obesity – weight that accumulates around the gut.
Regular levels of cortisol are necessary as it regulates your “fuel” distribution.
There is a portion of the country that has valid physiological reasons for being overweight or obese – but they are the 1% exception, not the norm. Until we “own up” to poor nutrition and lack of exercise and take responsibility for our health, the obesity epidemic will continue to overtake us.
5 – A Generational Cycle of Obesity
Overweight children have a much higher probability of becoming overweight adults. In fact, if one parent is obese, children in the home have a 50% greater chance of being obese. If both parents are obese, that number jumps to 80%.
The contributing factors for childhood obesity are the same as those for adult obesity but doctors cite trouble with peers and life situations such as abuse, disruptive moves or parental divorce as additional primary causes.
Childhood obesity means
- Lower self-esteem
- Mental or emotional distress
- Adult obesity
- Long-term health conditions
Setting an example for the young people in your life is the first step to combating this nationwide epidemic. Nutritious home-cooked meals and a daily family dinner around the dinner table help foster health-conscious choices in children. Increasing the amount of exercise and bartering “screen time” for “outside” time helps children develop the healthy habits they will need for the rest of their lives.
Positive Effects of Getting Fit
There are so many negative effects of fat but there are many more positive effects of getting fit. Need more motivation?
Losing weight leads to…
- Increased confidence and self-esteem with every weight goal you meet
- Greater happiness and less stress from the release of endorphins during exercise
- Motivation to keep going – to keep
Winning in your fight against obesity
Proper nutrition, regular exercise and staying busy in order to avoid eating out of boredom are the first steps to taking back control and stopping the negative effects of fat in your life