Obesity is a serious health concern in the United States that affects almost 42 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If left untreated, the medical condition can cause major health issues and even death. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health states, "Obesity causes or is closely linked with a large number of health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea, gallstones, kidney stones, infertility, and as many as 11 types of cancers, including leukemia, breast, and colon cancer. No less real are the social and emotional effects of obesity, including discrimination, lower wages, lower quality of life and a likely susceptibility to depression. a condition that affects." Eat This, Not That Health spoke with Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies who shares what to know about obesity and when to get help. As always, please consult your physician for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Be Aware of How Weight Affects Our Well-Being
Dr. Mitchell says, "Weight has become a controversial topic in recent years, with some people wanting to talk about it openly and others feeling triggered or flat-out refusing to address it. Regardless of where you lie in the debate, weight is still an important subject. After all, our weight impacts our physical health in various ways. It can affect our energy levels, ability to move and exercise, and mood. As such, it's essential to be mindful of our weight and to make sure that we are at a healthy level. This doesn't mean that we need to be obsessed with our weight or constantly dieting; instead, it simply means being aware of how our weight affects our overall health and wellbeing."
What is Medically Overweight?
Dr. Mitchell states, "Anyone who has stepped on a scale knows that weight is simply a number. But for many, that number can be a source of anxiety and shame. When it comes to medical weight, however, the numbers are much more than just a number on the scale. Doctors use a calculation called the body mass index, or BMI, to determine if someone is at a healthy weight. BMI considers height and weight and provides a more accurate picture of someone carrying too much body fat. For example, a BMI of 25 or higher is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. However, it's important to remember that BMI is just a tool and doesn't consider factors like muscle mass or bone density. As such, it shouldn't be used as the sole determinant of whether someone is medically overweight."
The Health Risks of Being Overweight
Dr. Mitchell explains, "Being overweight comes with several health risks. One of the most common is type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn't produce enough. This can lead to high blood sugar levels, damaging the gums, nerves, and blood vessels. Being overweight is also a significant risk factor for heart disease. Extra weight strains the heart and can lead to high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Additionally, being overweight increases the likelihood of developing certain types of cancer, such as endometrial, breast, and colon cancer. Thankfully, many ways to reduce the health risks of being overweight include eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. By making lifestyle changes, it's possible to improve your health and reduce your risk of developing severe medical conditions. As any doctor will tell you, being overweight has many health risks. From heart disease and diabetes to joint pain and respiratory problems, carrying extra weight can seriously impact your health. Here's three signs that indicate you're overweight."
Your Clothes are Tight
According to Dr. Mitchell, "If your clothes feel tighter than usual, it could signify that you have gained weight. Although many other factors can cause clothes to feel close (such as bloating or water retention), excess weight is often the most common culprit. When you gain weight, your body stores the extra calories as fat. This fat can build up anywhere on your body, including around your waist, hips, and thighs. As this fat increases, it can cause your clothing to feel tighter and less comfortable. If you suspect that you may be overweight, speak with your doctor. They can help assess your weight and guide you on how to lose any excess pounds. If you find yourself constantly pulling at your clothes or buying new clothes in larger sizes, it may be a sign that you are carrying too much weight."
You Feel Tired All the Time
Dr. Mitchell tells us, "Being overweight can take a toll on your body in many ways. One of the most common complaints from people who are overweight is fatigue. Carrying around extra weight can make it challenging to get enough restful sleep at night, and the added strain on your body can make it hard to feel energetic during the day. Even simple tasks like walking or climbing stairs can become more strenuous when carrying excess weight. If you are constantly tired, especially after physical activity, it could be a sign that you need to lose weight. In addition to fatigue, being overweight can lead to other health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and joint pain. If you are concerned about your weight, talk to your doctor about ways to lose weight safely and get back to feeling your best. Being overweight can lead to fatigue, as your body has to work harder to move around."
You Struggle to Breathe When You Exert Yourself
"When you are overweight, your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body," Dr. Mitchell shares. "As a result, you may experience shortness of breath after exertion (such as going up a flight of stairs). This is because your heart cannot supply enough oxygen to your muscles. In addition, being overweight can also lead to sleep apnea, which can further reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches your muscles. So, for example, if you are struggling to breathe after even moderate exertion, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about your weight. They will be able to give you more information about how being overweight affects your health and what you can do to lose weight. If you find yourself panting after climbing a flight of stairs or going for a walk, it could signify that you are overweight and out of shape."
How to Get Help
Dr. Mitchell says, "If you are overweight, you may be feeling frustrated and helpless. But there are many ways to get help and achieve your weight-loss goals. First, you can talk with your doctor. They can assess your situation and recommend a treatment plan that is right for you. Another great resource is a Registered Dietitian (RD). RDs are nutrition experts and can help you create a healthy eating plan that fits your lifestyle. They can also guide portion control and tips for making healthy food choices. Many online resources and support groups are also available, which can provide motivation and inspiration. There are also prescription medications for weight loss. Some people are skeptical, but in my clinical experience, they are often very effective, especially when coupled with a proper diet and exercise. So if you are struggling with your weight, know that you are not alone—help is available. You can reach your goals and improve your health with the right resources."
Dr. Mitchell says this "doesn't constitute medical advice and by no means are these answers meant to be comprehensive. Rather, it's to encourage discussions about health choices."