Weight often gets pushed to the background as our lives take over. Perhaps you have tried a few diets and didn’t succeed in losing what you wanted and got discouraged and gave up. The more weight you need to lose the harder it is to do it. Now more than ever, it is important to step up and start taking those necessary steps for better health. The health effects of obesity have been known for many years but only recently has it hit the full lime-light as a co-morbidity of having a more serious outcome if you are overweight and get COVID.
READ ON to learn the many negative health effects of carrying excess weight, why there is a higher COVID risk and most importantly how to set yourself up for success when working on your weight….
The term “obesity” is determined by something called a BMI (Body mass index). This number is calculated with several different parameters with the simplest calculators using height and weight. Find your BMI right now with this CDC calculator. If your BMI is in the 25 to <30 range then you are considered to be overweight. If it is greater than 30 then your weight is considered to be in the obese range. If it is over 40 then it is considered “severe” obesity. I am bringing this up not to make someone feel bad about their weight but as a nudge to open your eyes and see where you really are. You are an amazing person and have so much to offer regardless of your weight. I just want you to be the healthiest you can be!
Carrying extra weight can cause many health conditions including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea
- Many types of cancer
- Body pain and difficulty functioning
- Associated with an increased risk of death due to call causes
Now we can add increased risk of mortality associated with COVID to this list.
The reason these conditions are exacerbated is multi-factorial but the fat cells (called adipose tissue) create all sorts of signals that are the culprit. Adipose tissue has high ACE2 expression. If you recall one of my very early COVID newsletters, ACE2 is one of the vehicles that the COVID virus uses to enter a host cell. The more ACE2 expression then the more serious the infection.
Adipose tissue also releases many inflammatory chemicals that can lead to diabetes and other chronic conditions. Often tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 6 and c-reactive protein have a 2-3 fold increase which all causes inflammation. Inflammation is the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many other metabolic disease. When you start combining these issues (like high cholesterol and high blood sugar) the problems they create are exponential and accelerated. You really don’t want to walk down this path.
Traditional tests give people who are overweight a false sense of security that everything is ok. The cholesterol and glucose level are usually normal early on. Doctors tell them everything looks great. Not so fast. Often the very first test I will see out of range is the hsCRP (high sensitive C reactive protein). Things just cascade from there. Checking a fasting insulin and C peptide might flush out insulin resistance way before you see changes in the fasting glucose. The hemoglobin A1C is a 3 month average of blood sugar which often shows slight elevation which can also tip you off to insulin resistance but much further along than the insulin/C peptide. Elevated hemoglobin and hematocrit might tip you off you have sleep apnea but this can also be elevated for other reasons (especially testosterone replacement). Cholesterol should always be measured and I like looking at the Lipoprotein (a) to figure out if there is a genetic component that changes all the cholesterol goals. Even if all of your labs are “normal” and you are in the obese range then you have the opportunity to reverse all of this before serious damage has been done. Even if you have a lot of labs out of range there is good news….when you lose the weight all of these parameters usually improve. People who have had bariatric surgery (stomach stapling, bands etc) often have amazing reversal of most labs!
I can tell you all the medical conditions that can occur if you are consistently overweight. I can point out in blood work your risk factors and use them to really bring the issue to light. But what I can’t do is make you lose weight. All of these reasons are important but they are not the reason “WHY” people are successful in losing weight. Yes, a major life event like a heart attack is a great motivator to change your lifestyle but surely we can come up with a motivator before that happens!
Let’s talk about some of the WHY’s of losing weight.
- Maybe you would like to get down on the floor to play with your children
- How about waking up without pain or feeling rested
- Maybe getting in and out of a car is easier
- What about walking up stairs without getting winded
- Maybe you can do physical exercise better – think of your golf game, walking to sporting events, being active with your family/kids.
What is your why?
Next set your goal. Your goal is NOT to lose 100 pounds. That’s your final destination. It is to make ONE change to get you started in the right direction. What are you going to do to accomplish getting to your destination? If you set a lofty goal then this just sets you up for failure and discouragement. Baby steps will lead to the same great results and is more achievable.
If you recognize that you need to lose weight then congratulations. Awareness is key. Now take the next baby step….
If you need help with getting your health back on track. Please call us! We have some great programs that can guide you every step of the way.
To your health,