Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Why Should You Fight Obesity?

The question posed in the title is one that a lot of people ask. An even bigger question would be, "What is obesity?" An even bigger question than even that one would be, "Am I obese?" My question to you is, "Are you obese? Do you realize the severity of obesity? Do you want to change your situation?" If you have asked yourself any of these questions, then this blog post is for you! I know that I have asked these questions of myself.

Several years ago, about five or six in fact, I began to ask myself these questions as my doctor was concerned for my health. I was about 20 or 21 when I figured out that I had high blood pressure. Being a 20 year old guy, this isn't what I wanted to hear! I didn't want to hear the risks of having obesity and about how obesity was KILLING me inside my body. My heart doctor sent me to get an ultrasound of my heart and my kidneys, and to check my legs to see if there was any places my blood was getting stuck or caught. He wanted to make sure that my circulation was good. Being a VERY athletic person, I shrugged the ultrasound off like it was nothing. I did it simply to put my parents' mind at ease.

The fact was that I was a young man that ate terribly, drank the soda, ate the candy, did whatever I wanted to, and did everything that was bad for my diet. I was obese! My heart doctor put me on the Mediterranean Diet and told me to stop eating meat. I was a carnivore! Sometimes we are called to give things up in order to get through to our brains that something is wrong. Obesity is NOT good and WILL kill you if you don't resolve it immediately, if not sooner! Not to worry, we will talk about the risks of obesity, why you should fight it, and how to fight it. Let's begin!

~1. What is Obesity?
Obesity is simply characterized as being grossly overweight or having huge amounts of fat. When I heard these characteristics come out of my doctor's mouth I thought, "How rude!" Obesity is also characterized as having 20% more weight on your body than what is normal. This is calculated through BMI or Body Mass Index. (Check your's here!)

There are many, many ways or reasons that you are obese. These include, not getting enough sleep, eating too many calories, eating high fructose corn syrup, and even having the obesity gene. Obesity is genetic, but we can learn to beat obesity. If your mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather was obese or overweight, you more than likely have the obesity gene. If you burned 100 calories a day more than what you consume, through walking, it would take you 35 days to burn 1 pound of fat. If you did it every day for the whole year you would burn 36,500 calories which equates to a little under 10.5 pounds of body fat. That is just by WALKING to burn 100 calories. 3,500 calories is 1 pound.

My point being that if you sit on your butt and drink 1 can of soda in a day, that soda goes into fat that goes right to your butt or another unfortunately fatty area. Obesity is caused by eating more calories than what you burn off in a day. If you are an office worker that rarely moves, you are in big trouble. If you are a computer major like me, than we are in trouble as well. I will tell you that I am still obese and have been for most of my life and it is a battle, but we CAN beat obesity if we stick with it!

~2. Risks of Obesity
Now that we have looked at what obesity is, let's take a peek at some of the risks of obesity. Here is a somewhat limited and not by any means, exhaustive list of the risks of obesity. The risks are: gallstones, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, triglycerides, stroke, sleep apnea, and coronary heart disease. This is NOT an exhaustive list. These are a FEW of the hundreds of health risks that are involved with obesity and being overweight.  

I was quite frightened by the fact that I may have had some of these because I really didn't feel all that well at the time all of my ultrasounds were going on. I encourage you to heed this small list and to take your obesity seriously. It is only scary if you have no discipline to change yourself and your ways when you know that you are in trouble.

~3. How Do You Fight Obesity?
The risks mentioned above are extremely serious and you are at risk for these diseases and conditions. How are we going to fight obesity? We are going to fight fire with FIRE!

The first way to fight obesity is to get off of your butt and get to exercising. I didn't want to do it either, but I knew I had to! Get up and walk for 30 minutes to start, then the next week do an hour, and then after that jog for 30 minutes...etc. Pick up a new sport to burn the calories. Basketball is good for burning large amounts of calories. Ultimate Frisbee is also good if you can get your friends to be involved or can get some people to throw the disc with you.

The second is to journal what you eat. Journal everything you eat or drink, calorie wise, and cut back the calories. If you are a guy, you should be eating no more than 2,500 calories if you are losing weight, and if you are a gal, you should be eating no more than 1,500 calories if you are trying to lose weight. Women have it harder than men because women do not burn calories as easy as men do. Make those calories count!

The third way to fight obesity is to cut out the junk! Cut out the potato chips, pizza, soda, candy, ice cream, donuts, sugar, and whatever else you have in your diet that is exceedingly high in calories. Drink water instead of soda or something else that is high in sugar. Eat wheat bread instead of white. White bread is enriched with yeast and other enrichment ingredients that make you fat. If you like celery, eat it by the ton. Eating celery keeps you full while virtually having no calories to mention.

Now that we have looked at obesity, the risks, and how to fight it, I STRONGLY urge you to take action against obesity! Get off of that couch, throw the TV remote away, and GET GOING! You may be in danger of stroke, or diabetes and tomorrow might be too little too late. Fight obesity with me as I am with you every step of the way. This is why we fight obesity!

~Obesity Overload       

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