It’s simple, if it jiggles, it’s fat.
These past few weeks, I have been lacking a little in energy and bounce, and I decided that one reason for my lack of ‘get-up-and-go’ was that I’ve been putting on weight. So, I decided to look into what being overweight really was, and if I was actually overweight, what it was doing to me. Quite frankly, I was horrified at what I discovered.
I hate overweight, because it implies there is a weight standard I should be adhering to. ~ Camryn Manheim.
You know what? There is a weight standard, and we should all be adhering to it.
There are lots of health and fitness problems attached to being overweight ~ and the older you get the worse the health problems of being overweight become.
To begin with, are you overweight? How does one know the difference between a little curvier and softer than we used to be, and truly overweight? What is the difference between being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese. Well, the chances are you’re overweight or obese ~ in the UK 68% of men and 58% of women are overweight or obese. In the USA more than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.
One easy way to tell if we’re overweight is to forget the scales and just grab a tape-measure. Measure you height, and your waist at your belly button, (without sucking in your gut). Your waist should not be more than half your height. If your waist measurement is more than half your height you’re overweight with the worst kind of fat ~ visceral fat, (which will kill you). More scientifically you can calculate your Body Mass Index, (BMI), but that won’t tell you as much about visceral fat as will a tape-measure.
There’s also a cut-off point to assess the overall risks to health just by waist measurement. In men it’s 40 inches, and in women it’s 35 inches. So if your waist is bigger than that, you’re officially overweight / obese and in danger of suffering serious health and fitness problems. Having love handles is another bad sign, presaging heart and liver disease in your future.
Medically defined, a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, overweight is having a BMI of more than 25, obese is having a BMI of more than 30, while morbidly obese is having a BMI of more than 40, (or 35 if you also have something like diabetes or high blood pressure). There are plenty of online BMI calculators.
- Breathing problems. Asthma, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary hypertension.
- Cancer. Being very overweight or obese dramatically increases your chances of getting the following cancers; breast, cervix, colon, esophagus, gallbladder, kidney, liver, ovaries, pancreas, prostate.
- Type 2 Diabetes ~ after going blind and losing an appendage or two, this will kill you. Being overweight or obese dramatically increases the chances of you getting type 2 diabetes. Doctors now know this illness can be controlled and reversed through weight loss and exercise.
- Damage to your joints. Being too heavy will most likely give you arthritis in your ankles, knees, and hips. You will also suffer from lower back pain and something nasty called vertebral disk disease / degenerative disk disease.
- Lack of physical fitness. The chances are that if you are overweight or obese, then you’re pretty inactive and not physically fit. You probably have a desk job, and that’s killing you too.
- Heart diseases and circulation problems.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol and something even nastier called metabolic syndrome.
- Liver diseases ~ trust me, I’ve seen people with serious liver problems, and you never, ever want to go anywhere near there.
- Neurological disorders. Headaches, strokes, vision problems and blindness, ‘false’ brain tumors, neuropathy.
- Psychological issues. Dementia, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, sexual problems.
- Reproductive problems. In men being heavily overweight or obese can result in prostate cancer, infertility, and an inability to get a decent erection. In fat women there’s a long list of issues which include; period problems, infertility, several cancers, and something nasty called polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Sleep disorders. Nightmares, night terrors, sleep terrors, night sweats, sleep apnoea.
- Social problems. Not everyone treats overweight or obese people with consideration and compassion ~ and practically nobody likes to sit next to a fatter person in coach on a long-haul flight.
- Strokes ~ trust me, I’ve seen people who have had a serious stroke, and you never, ever want to go anywhere near there.
- Varicose veins. Nobody likes these, nobody wants varicose veins, and for fatter people they are damn difficult to treat. Varicose veins are also a lot more dangerous than most people think.
We know a great deal more about the causes of physical disease than we do about the causes of physical health. ~ M. Scott Peck.
The above are the worst of the medical problems. But look at it another way ~ just how fit are you? Can you walk up three flights of stairs without getting out of breath? Can you run for a bus? Can you walk five miles without collapsing? Can you easily find clothes that fit, or do you have to buy plus size? Can you still play sports, or are you limited to gentler activities? What’s your performance in bed like? The chances are if you’re overweight, then you’re not happy with your honest answers to any of those questions, because you know you’re not as fit as you would like to be. Maybe you should take an online test?
It turns out my BMI today, as I write this, is 25.7. However, according to another set of criteria I’m quite fit ~ much fitter than my chronological age, by 25 years or so. But do you know what? I’m going to lose some weight, starting right now.
I can do that yoga position, but I don’t look as good as that.