Being Overweight - 5 IMPORTANT Reasons to Get Rid of It
Forget about appearance for a while - about a slim and sporty figure
Forget about the right or duty to look good.
Forget about the beautiful abdominals, fat folds, love handles, and any other words used to describe different parts of the body.
Forget about all the misfortunes and imperfections of appearance - both self-invented and what marketing and the Internet have created to make us follow diets, buy cosmetics, food supplements, various procedures…
Forget about diseases
Forget about atherosclerosis, blood pressure, heart problems, pulmonary hypertension, stroke, all types of cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome…
Also, forget about random biomarkers - your glucose tolerance test is perfect, your cholesterol levels are fine, and you have no idea what insulin resistance is.
Just forget about it all for a moment.
Definitely forget about "health at any size"
It encourages overweight people to think that obesity is safe and shifts the focus from weight loss to other healthy habits, such as eating healthy foods and exercising more.
Yes, health does not directly depend on our weight, but the belief that being overweight is harmless…
This is simply not true, as it contradicts most of the available evidence.
Forget about appearance, diseases, and "harmless" excess weight
Why forget? Because they overshadow the real reasons why people should normalize their weight.
For example, conversations about overweight and health are mainly focused on diseases that can kill us or significantly worsen our quality of life.
And while these topics get our attention with screaming headlines, they're not really convincing.
Why not convincing?
Imagine that bacon or any other food increases your risk of a terrible disease by 20 percent. Scary, isn't it?
Let's take an example cancer (the second most common cause of death) - in 2017, an average of 121 people per 100,000 population died of cancer, which is 0.121%.
Let's say you really like bacon and that eating it in large quantities really increases the risk of developing and dying from cancer by 20%. Thus, this risk increases from 0.121% to 0.145%.
Are you worried about that?
The intimidation of imminent death and various health problems is not an effective enough incentive to lose weight. Especially if we know what the data from some studies actually mean.
The fitness industry motivates a little better.
It's really nice to look great in a certain kind of clothes, on the beach or at a high school gathering.
But even this motivation is not sustainable.
So how do you motivate yourself to lose and/or maintain weight in the long run?
5 GOOD reasons to lose weight
Scary disease statistics and the beauty canon created by the fitness industry are the most popular incentives for weight loss.
Unfortunately, they are not very effective in the long run.
But there are at least 5 much better reasons to normalize your weight. More relevant, evidence-based, and focused on improving the quality of life.
They are nothing new in the medical and scientific community and have been the subject of much research.
Unfortunately, they are often not discussed in the media, as headlines would be less effective and less engaging.
So let's talk about them here and now.
1 The knees will thank you
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that results in the loss of cartilage. The consequences are joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Experience shows that healthy people do not think much about the disease, because it is considered an inevitable consequence of aging - almost everyone has a grandmother suffering from arthritis.
So we think it's normal.
Like most chronic diseases, osteoarthritis is like a vicious circle:
- Your joints hurt, so you move less;
- With less movement, your joints are not strained;
- Less joint strain means muscle weakness;
- Muscle weakness means that shocks are not properly/sufficiently absorbed;
- Worse depreciation further worsens the situation…
And that means more and more pain.
Why all this story?
People who are obese are much more likely to develop osteoarthritis because the load on your joints increases with each extra pound.
People with obesity are diagnosed with osteoarthritis in one knee about 6 times more often than those who are not overweight, but almost 18 times more often in both knees!
The results of different studies differ - some have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis, others lower. However, the association between weight gain and osteoarthritis has been proved many times.
The main reasons for this are:
- Heavier people put more strain on their joints and therefore these joints degrade over time;
- There also appears to be a link between the presence of excess adipose tissue and inflammatory processes.
Conclusion: One of the most important reasons for weight loss is to reduce joint pain and improve/maintain mobility.
2 You will sleep better
The story is about sleep apnea - when the upper respiratory tract is periodically blocked during sleep.
Sleep apnea is more than slight snoring - you stop breathing periodically while sleeping. Over and over and over again.
More body fat means a higher chance of sleep apnea. This is due to a combination of several factors:
- Fat in the airways narrows them - the channels through which the air flows become narrower;
- Fat in the upper body reduces the space available to the lungs and makes it harder for them to function. You need more oxygen, but you can't get it;
- Fat is a hormone-producing organ and can change hormonal signals. It can alter/affect your respiratory system.
Approximately 25% of adults and 3% of children have sleep apnea, but…
Approximately 50% of obese adults and 46% of obese children have sleep apnea.
Even more frightening - if you already have a mild form of sleep apnea and you gain weight, there is a possibility that sleep apnea may become moderate or severe:
- Weight gain of 5 percent = the chance of severe sleep apnea increases by 250 percent;
- Weight gain of 10 percent = the chance of severe sleep apnea increases by 650 percent;
- Weight gain of 20 percent = the chance of severe sleep apnea increases by 3,700 percent.
Why is sleep apnea bad?
Sleep is our main regulator of metabolism. If we have poor sleep, then our metabolism is also disrupted.
Which manifests itself as increased risks of inflammation, rapid cell aging, and hormonal disorders.
Yes, and in the long run also a higher risk of developing all kinds of chronic diseases.
Conclusion: Improving the quality of sleep is another important reason why it is worth normalizing weight. Sleep not only helps regulate the metabolism, hormonal system, and much more. It helps you feel better and think more clearly. Accordingly, it increases the efficiency and quality of life in general.
3 You will start to taste the food
It certainly sounds weird, but it seems that overweight people don't taste their food as well as those of normal weight.
Really? Those who eat more can't taste food as well as those who eat less?
It really is. Many participants in my weight loss challenge note that a balanced and healthy diet changes the perception of taste. You want sweets not so much and not so often, and fatty foods cause a feeling of heaviness, even nausea.
Why is this happening? This has not been explored yet. Excess body fat can change your sense of taste. And the loss of taste increases appetite and causes weight gain.
It is also unknown whether this is due to:
- Emotional eating and taste as a “reward” or “solution”;
- The desire to seek/discover and taste new flavors;
- Chemical signals - how the taste is felt in the mouth and interpreted in the brain.
But it is known that:
- People perceive different tastes and textures differently, such as fatness or sweetness;
- Some are more sensitive and have a better sense of taste, others are less sensitive.
One hypothesis is that if we can't taste food well, we eat more to compensate.
There are also reports that people with high BMI are more likely to avoid bitter foods, such as some vegetables — Brussels sprouts, green peppers, etc.
There appears to be a link between:
- The amount of body fat;
- Enjoying fatty and sweet foods;
- Eating fatty and sweet foods;
- Avoiding certain products/dishes (unpleasant tastes).
This hypothesis is partially confirmed by animal studies (rats are not affected by food advertising).
The good news is that both humans and rats may experience a change in taste.
This means that losing fat, improving your fitness and consistently developing healthy habits can also change the way we perceive taste.
And maybe one day you will find that Brussels sprouts are delicious -😊.
More importantly, when you enjoy food, you eat slower, eat less, and be more satisfied with your meal.
Conclusion: People with obesity have a change in their perception of taste, as a result of which they eat more and eat unhealthy foods. When you lose weight, your desire for foods high in sugar and fat will decrease and your ability to taste food will increase.
4 Your immune system will work properly again
We tend to think of body fat as a place where we accumulate reserves or where we get energy from. That's not so.
Fat is an active endocrine organ. This means that it secretes hormones and cytokines (cell signaling molecules).
Hormones and cytokines affect all our organs - the whole body.
And their balance is very important. When we have a healthy amount of fat, our hormones and cell signals work properly. If there is too much fat in our bodies, a lot can go wrong.
There are a lot of examples and evidence.
Elevated BMI and higher levels of body fat are also associated with an increased risk of several types of infections, including:
- Gum infections;
- Nasal and paranasal sinus infections;
- Stomach infections;
- Herpes (fortunately, only in the mouth area).
If you have too much adipose tissue (fat), it can secrete too many substances that affect the immune system. Over time, their effects can prevent the body from noticing and stopping external threats - viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi…
Conclusion: Losing body fat can mean a healthier/stronger immune system. And that means fewer colds, fewer infections, and healthier daily life.
5 The required operations will be more successful. It will be easier for you to conceive and give birth
- It's harder intubatable;
- Have a higher risk of incision hernias after laparoscopy;
- Have a longer operation time;
- have a higher risk of catheter site infection;
- Have a higher rate of serious postoperative complications.
Accordingly, surgery is a more risky procedure for obese people than for people with normal weight.
In fact, it is much riskier because obese people usually also have several other health problems that may pose additional risks.
Ironically, people often have to "lose" weight before you can undergo a weight-loss operation.
Thus, if obese people need surgery - they cannot do it, or if they undergo it - recovery will be full of various risks.
Pregnancy is a good example of this:
- Approximately 50% of women with significant obesity have a cesarean section. By comparison, a cesarean section is performed in only about 20 percent of the total population (including obese women);
- Even if obese women give birth vaginally, it is more complicated and requires much more medical procedures;
- After surgery, obese mothers have an increased risk of infection at the surgical site.
This is in addition to other complications of pregnancy, the risk of which increases significantly with increasing body fat.
And many overweight women want to, but can't get pregnant. And after dropping the extra pounds, pregnancy comes almost by itself.
Conclusion: After surgery, every patient wants a safe and fast recovery. And every mother wants a safe birth and a healthy baby. A healthy amount of body fat makes the fulfillment of these desires more reliable.
Forget about all the "should". For example - you should lose weight, otherwise, something terrible will happen.
Focus on the benefits - how great your life can be if your body is as functional and healthy as it can be.
When you are the best possible version of yourself.
Look for the good, focus on the small joys and achievements of everyday life:
- Now I can get into my 5th-floor apartment without shortness of breath;
- I can run with my children;
- I don’t get tired even working all day;
- I like what I eat better;
- I no longer feel joint pain;
- I can carry my two-year-old child in my arms for a long time;
- I have a lot more energy…
Don't fall to extremes. Make changes to your diet and lifestyle gradually.
Focus on tangible benefits. Your life is still yours - enjoy it!
Focus on positive change that will improve your quality of life. Not immediately, but definitely:
- Knees that do not hurt and work;
- Colds that pass quickly;
- Good sleep;
- Food that tastes better and better;
- Rapid recovery after surgery…
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