Being overweight affects a large percentage of Americans, but sadly, the clinical signs of obesity aren’t well known, which causes unnecessary deaths and illness per year. Obesity affects a large number of individuals, and in more ways than just their health. Our culture has created such an easy route to obesity that many people find themselves wrapped up in, without even realizing it, or intending it to happen. The most frustrating part, is though our society’s food industry and advertising industry has created this route and typical stereotypes and judgements in our society occur surrounding obesity. We tend to think that being obese happens from plain laziness or from lack of exercise, but this isn’t always the case, or the entire story. Dieting seems to be the easy answer to everything through advertisements, media promotions, and even in Hollywood, yet our culture makes it easy to gain weight and not lose it the right way. We’re either told to overindulge, or restrict ourselves, which is one reason I believe eating disorders have become so prevalent in this country. Dieting can even lead to obesity by restricting and then binging. Being clinically obese causes extreme risks such as heart attack risks, diabetes, early death, respiratory problems, cancer, and many more issues as well. To learn what signifies signs of obesity versus simply being overweight, check out these clinical signs doctors use to differentiate. If you need to see your doctor to make some life changes, I encourage you to do so, and in the process, be kind to yourself and be patient.
1. A BMI of 30.0 or Higher
One of the easiest markers for doctors to use in looking for signs of obesity being overweight is the BMI, or Body Mass Index chart. To measure your body mass index, you simply make a mathmatical figure using your weight to height ratio. For individuals whose BMI equals 30.0 or higher, obesity is determined.
2. A Sedentary Lifestyle
Even if you exercise, you can still live a sedentary life. People who sit more than 10 hours a day are considered to live a sedentary life, and if you work at a desk, this becomes extremely challenging. The best way to fight this is to be active most waking hours outside of your work schedule, and not spend your life in front of the television, or in your bed or couch surfing the web. Also, implementing short walking breaks into your day, even at the office, is a great way to combat a sedentary lifestyle. If you work from home, create a stand-up desk, at a table or such. Do house chores in 10 minute breaks, which keeps you moving, and be sure to exercise each day. Being sedentary is one of the worsts risks for an early death, even if you’re not clinically obese.
Many women have a hard time fighting that post-baby weight, but that’s not the same as being clinically obese, or even being at risk for it. Yet, during pregnancy, the less active you are, the less likely you’ll be active when the baby is born, which can set you up for obesity risks. Also, be sure to eat healthy during your pregnancy, except for the occasional craving of course. You can still be active and be cautious, by short walks throughout the day, doing house chores, and moving around however you can. My mother actually gardened her entire pregnancy with me, up to the day before I was born! After the baby is born, fit in a workout each day, however you can, and be sure to eat healthy, no matter what it takes.
Generally, smokers are found to be more apt to become clinically obese than non-smokers. Generally, this is because most smokers don’t live an active lifestyle or eat a healthy diet. This isn’t true for everyone of course, but many smokers have respiratory problems that prevent them from exercising, and generally, they’re not as rigid about eating healthy, though not necessarily. Even if you eat healthy, exercising is important for preventing obesity, heart related disease, and other health risk factors. Besides, smoking isn’t good for you, despite all the risks for obesity associated with it. Even if smoking makes you lose weight at first, most people still become less active and eat more unhealthy, which ups your risks for disease, no matter what your weight. Quit as soon as possible!
Drinking puts you at risk for obesity for a couple of reasons. First, it lowers the function of your liver, which is your fat burning organ. The liver is responsible for filtering out all the bad stuff, and even increasing your metabolic rate. When your liver can’t function at its best because it’s busy trying to detox from alcohol, it can’t help your body burn fat, or increase your metabolic burn. Also, almost all forms of alcohol are a direct source of sugar, which contributes to obesity in an entirely different way, that’s just as harmful to your health. If you have a drinking problem, get help and do what it takes to quit. If you indulge occasionally, keep it to a glass or red wine, and at 5 ounces for the least sugar content, and the most heart healthy benefits.
Stress not only physically makes your body store fat through excess cortisol production, but also through how it affects your eating. People are more apt to reach for quick sources of processed and refined sugar and fat when they are stressed because these foods send a quick endorphin rush to the brain, soothing stress. Yet, what happens in the minutes following is where the problem occurs. These foods not only cause weight gain incredibly quickly, but because they have no nutrients and are quick stimulants, our bodies push these toxic foods out of our blood stream quickly, which leaves us hungry, and our livers and insulin levels burdened. When you’re stressed, reach for a piece of fruit, some veggies, and some nuts. These foods are full of antioxidants that are lower in calories than unhealthy sources of fat and sugar. Even better, take a walk, talk to a friend, or drink a cup of tea, which are all calorie free. Stress is one of the leading causes of obesity, and one of the most common causes of heart attacks, early death, and depression. Stop the cycle through a healthy diet, exercise and connecting with other people.
7. Lack of Sleep
Lastly, one of the easiest ways to gain weight in various ways is to deprive yourself of quality shut-eye. For starters, when you stay up late, you’re more prone to snack at night. This adds calories, and affects how deeply you sleep and feel well rested. Next, a lack of sleep causes excess cortisol in the body and makes you hungrier the entire next day. It also lowers your ability to realize when you’re full when you do eat. Lastly, people who are sleep deprived aren’t only more stressed, but their cognitive skills decrease, which lowers their ability to make good healthy food choices the next day. Plus, if you’re incredibly tired, exercise is the last thing you’ll want to do. Fight obesity the easy way, and just get some rest! It’s free, easy, and it feels great too!
This article was not meant to isolate people suffering from obesity, but instead, to shed light on why the problem occurs, and how to fight the easy route to obesity our society has caused. Obesity is reversible with persistence, determination and awareness. What do you do to take care of yourself each day to help fight obesity risks?