This statement hit me hard and I could not get it out of my mind. I really do not think that people realize the seriousness of being overweight. Kim Kozlowski in the Detroit News stated, “The one in three obesity rate is an increase of almost 50% since 1995. If the trend continues, almost 60% of Michigan’s people will be obese by the year 2030. Michigan is at the forefront of a national public health crisis with the fifth-highest obesity rate.” In 2009, Michigan was 9th place. In just three years, Michigan went from 9th place to 5th place. At the rate we are going, soon we will take 1st place. I don’t know about you, but being in 1st place for obesity is not what I want to be first in. I want to see that rate lowered. I want to encourage people to lose weight. To start, I’m going to cover the seriousness of being overweight and obese and the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight.
Obesity is having an excessive amount of body fat in relation to lean tissue (all body weight that is not from body fat). When your BMI (body mass index) is 30 or higher, you are considered obese. When many people think of people who are obese, they think of people who weigh over 300lbs. That is not always the case. At one time I was obese. I am 4’ll” and when I weighed 155, I was obese. My ideal weight is between 110-120lbs. Anything over 120lbs. is considered overweight and anything over 150lbs. is considered obese. Our bodies are designed to carry a certain weight and anything over that weight, puts a strain on our bodies. Here is a website that can calculate your BMI: http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bminojs.htm
Being overweight and obese affects people in many areas, not just physically. Below are just some of the ways obesity affects people:
- Physically: They have a much greater chance of having type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, arthritis, certain cancers, and more. Eighty-five percent of the time, type 2 diabetes could have been prevented if the people would have maintained a healthy weight. Watching people in my family suffer from type 2 diabetes has been one of my biggest motivators to maintain a healthy weight.
- Emotionally: People suffer from low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and embarrassment. Many times it is a vicious cycle. Someone is depressed, has low self-esteem so they eat for comfort and end up gaining more weight causing them to be more depressed. That was me. I ate out of boredom and depression, gained weight, then felt more anxiety and depression. On and on it went.
- Socially: People become an outcast, their weight or illness stops them from doing things and going places with friends and family.
Not only the people who are overweight are affected, being overweight affects many people. Family and friends are affected when a person cannot do something because of an illness or their size stops them. Co-workers have to take up the slack when people are unable to do their jobs or they have to miss work. If the obesity rate would go down just 5%, it would save the taxpayers billions of dollars.
Wow! That all sounds depressing. Believe me, I know. When I look at the factors of my chances of being obese, I feel doomed. I’m 4’11” so my body burns less calories than someone who is 5’2”. I am a woman; women tend to gain weight easier than men. I’m 53; every decade after 30, I burn 5% less calories than the decade before. I’m an author; authors sit for hours at a computer writing. I was a preschool teacher for 15 years. I gained 5 lbs as soon as I resigned to write my book and start Building Strong Families. Many people in my family are overweight which raises your chances of being obese. Plus, there is more to come. When you are postmenopausal it is easier to gain weight and I’m not even there yet. At the rate I’m going, by the time I reach 70 years old, I’ll only be able to drink water. What is a person to do to lose weight? There is hope!! I’m a living example of hope.
It’s all about CHOICES…CHOICES…CHOICES! Everyone knows that their bodies need energy (calories) to function. Where do we get those calories? FOOD! The problem is that when people take in more than they burn, they gain weight. If you want to lose weight, the goal is to take in less calories than you burn. You can wish and pray all you want to lose weight, but if you do not make some LIFE-changes and adjustments, you will NEVER lose weight.
I was once considered obese. When I was at my highest weight, I became depressed. I prayed and begged God to please help me lose weight. I heard His still, small voice say, “Quit eating sweets!” I said, “I said I wanted to lose weight, not give up sweets.” I cut back on sweets, but did not quit all together. I just could not lose the weight. I prayed again and I heard the same words, “Quit eating sweets!” Finally, it dawned on me that if I REALLY wanted to lose weight, I had to give up sweets, totally. The day I made the decision to quit eating sweets was the day my weight started to come off. After I lost weight, I thought. “I can eat a little sweets again.” Sure enough, the weight started to come back. I remembered the decision I made to quit eating sweets and knew that I had to do it for life. The weight came off. With every decade or lifestyle change, I have to make adjustments or the weight starts coming back. When I quit the preschool, I had to start eating less because I was not moving around like I once was. It is all about choices.
The first question you must ask yourself is, “Do I want to lose weight bad enough to make a LIFE-style change?” If the answer is yes, then you have to change something. Many people say it is impossible for them to lose weight, yet they eat sweets, fried food, and large helpings. Unless you NEVER eat sweets, fried food, or large helpings, and you exercise every day, you CAN lose some weight.
First, you need to care enough about your health that you are willing to make whatever changes are necessary. Losing weight is not just about making you look better (that is one huge advantage); losing weight is about your health. I had family members who suffered illnesses, people I know died of heart attacks, and had very low self-esteem, all due to being overweight. It is serious! Those people chose to continue to eat sweets, fried foods, and larger portions. They chose not to exercise; instead, they sat for hours watching TV. Those people are not here today because of their choices. You owe it to yourself, your friends, and your family.
I know that I am being a little rough here, but this is serious. I know it is hard to lose weight; I have struggled with my weight since I was a little girl. It is very hard to watch people eat sweets, fried foods, and large portions knowing I can never eat those things if I want to maintain a healthy weight. I choose my health over food. What do you choose today, food or healthy life-style changes? Will you choose an hour of exercise over an hour of TV ? Will you replace chips and doughnuts for something healthy? Do not go on a diet because you will go off of a diet. Instead, make one life-change and stick to it. If you want to continue to lose weight, make another change. You CAN do it! You owe it to yourself, your family, and your friends.
Love ya, Linda 🙂