Do you dread weighing yourself? Many people believe they could stand to shed a pound or two – or even more – but if you step on the scale and can’t see past your stomach to read the little dial (or digital display), you might be morbidly obese.
Once rare in the agricultural United States, being extremely overweight has become an epidemic in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that more than every third person (36.5%) in the US is obese.
Where does “overweight” end and “obesity” begin? This is a great question.
According to Healthline:
“Morbid obesity is a condition in which you have a body mass index (BMI) higher than 35.”
A calculation called body mass index (BMI) measures, approximately, body fat based on height and weight. Fitness gyms use BMI to establish a baseline for improvement.
If you are thinking, “How on earth could I possibly know my BMI?” you’re in luck: the friendly folks over at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have an online calculator. Just enter your height and weight, click “Compute BMI” and behold your magic number.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Now that you have your BMI number, here is how you stack up, so to speak:
• BMI Categories:
• Underweight = <18.5
• Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
• Overweight = 25–29.9
• Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
Another key indicator of healthy weight is to measure your waist size. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says:
“Women with a waist size of more than 35 inches and men with a waist size of more than 40 inches may have higher chances of developing diseases related to obesity.”
Even if you aren’t clinically or morbidly obese, there are many known negative health consequences of carrying around “excess baggage” in the form of excess adipose (fat tissue).
Obesity is linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, coronary artery disease (CAD), stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, fatty liver disease, kidney disease, gallstones, sleep apnea, and some types of cancer.
Not only that, but obesity during pregnancy can lead to health problems for both mother and child.
Fortunately, as the Mayo Clinic assures us, even a little bit of weight loss improves health and well-being.
There is no secret to weight loss. A well-balanced diet, fresh air and sunshine, and regular exercise are all that is required.
Some people find those basic health requirements to be very challenging, maybe even seemingly impossible. Another option to lose unwanted fat is to have it surgically removed.
Weight-loss surgery, as the name suggests, is where a doctor cuts you open to remove fatty tissues. This rather radical procedure provides a quick solution to the obesity problem – if the patient eats differently and commits to a permanent change for the better.
There are many types of weight-loss surgery. Here are seven from Bariatric Surgery Source:
• Gastric Sleeve – feel less hungry & full sooner while eating
• Gastric Bypass – feel full sooner while eating & absorb fewer minerals
• Duodenal Switch – feel less hungry & full sooner while eating, absorb fewer calories and minerals
• LAP-BAND® – feel full sooner while eating
• Gastric Balloon – temporarily feel full sooner while eating (balloon removed after 6 months)
• vBloc Therapy – feel full between meals & less hungry while eating
• AspireAssist – drain a portion of stomach contents after eating
Some gastric operations may be covered by your health plan if it covers bariatric surgery. Otherwise, according to Bariatric Surgery Source, the cost can range from $8,000 to $27,000 depending on the procedure.
Please note that weight loss surgery is NOT the same thing as the cosmetic vacuuming procedure known as liposuction, which can be used to reduce smaller accumulations of fatty deposits on the thighs, hips and buttocks, abdomen and waist, upper arms, back, inner knee, chest area, cheeks, chin and neck, and calves and ankles.
Prescription medications are another option for treating morbid obesity. In my opinion, this should be everyone’s last option. The objective here is to establish a sustainable lifestyle that leads you into a healthy state and keeps you there – not to cultivate a drug habit.
Here are 16 truly excellent tips from Good Housekeeping on “How to Lose Weight Faster, But Safely.” Do your own online search for great ideas, chat rooms and forums, or contact information for local support groups.
Obesity is no fun, but you don’t have to be alone in your quest for a slimmer, trimmer New You. Stick with a reasonable program, and don’t worry if you lapse – get back to it without “beating yourself up” mentally or emotionally.
Don’t let obesity rule you. As Michael Jackson said famously, “Make that change.”