How do you feel about your weight?
Are you concerned about your weight, or how your weight is impacting other aspects of your health?
In recent decades, the United States has seen significant increases in both adults and children who are overweight, with estimates that 2/3 of the population fall into the category of obesity. Obesity is typically described as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, and is further broken down into other categories as BMI increases. Body mass index is a measurement derived from an individual's mass (or weight) divided by the squared value of their measured height. You can calculate your own BMI fairly easily, and many calculators can be accessed for free online. One is available here: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm Normal BMI is a reading that falls between 18.5-24.9. Readings lower than this are considered underweight, and readings above this are considered overweight. While the BMI system does carry some bias, it still contributes information to a person's overall health or risk assessment.
There has been conflicting literature, and use of confusing terminology in recent decades including, "healthy fat," "fit fat," and "body positivity." While it is wonderful to witness some cultural shift regarding what we should expect from our bodies, and an embracing of our differences within our diverse population, there is still concern that overweight or obese individuals continue to carry higher risk for developing many health conditions.
Health conditions that can develop secondary to weight gain include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, both of which can lead to cardiovascular disease or stroke; musculoskeletal injuries may occur or be more difficult to heal, and elevated blood sugar may contribute to diabetes.
Unfortunately, maintaining or achieving a healthy weight can be difficult. Many social/cultural factors prime us to gain weight. With advances in technology, we are able to do many tasks without much physical effort or calorie expenditure. We also have a plethora of fast foods available to us in a variety of convenient ways. We live busy lives, with many people juggling multiple jobs, caring for family members, and managing tight budgets. Often diet and exercise are the first things to fall by the wayside when life gets chaotic. In times of stress, we may turn to food or alcohol. In some cases, metabolic issues, sleep apnea, family history, and other personal health issues may make weight loss even more challenging.
Given all of these factors, a journey toward healthy weight can seem daunting. There are many weight loss businesses that offer quick fixes and rapid weight loss. Unfortunately, many people find that these "quick fixes" are often followed by a rebound/regain and sometimes even wind up at a higher weight than they were previously.
Weight loss approaches that seem most effective are often gradual, and realistic goals may not be as extreme as one would expect. A reduction in 5% body weight over a 12 month period can have significant benefits for health, and is less likely to be associated with rebound weight gain. This can typically be achieved through gradual modifications to diet and exercise practices, in a step-wise fashion rather than an " all or nothing" approach.
If you are struggling with your weight, please make an appointment to discuss this with your health care provider. We can perform an evaluation to determine if existing health conditions are contributing to weight issues, and also discuss weight loss strategies and provide support/accountability and access to other weight loss resources.
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