Can being overweight healthy? Many believe that you can still maintain a healthy body while being overweight, obese ... or just fat. Howev...
Listen, on a personal level; I don't care what you do with your body. It's your right to be dangerously overweight. But on a person-to-person level, do you truly understand what's happening to your body? I find much too often that a subject of poor eating and lack of exercise is under these current conditions because of absence of knowledge about your body. We're going to break down for you what it means to overweight, unhealthy, the dangers of being like this ... and furthermore, what's happening to your body when you consume those unhealthy, unsafe foods that are presented to us by fast food companies on a daily basis.
NCEP: ATP III Diagnostic Criteria for Metabolic Syndrome
Straight from science itself, the "NCEP: ATP III Diagnostic Criteria for Metabolic Syndrome" breaks down exactly what we need to know about whether or not we are at risk for fatal diseases from being overweight, such as diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. According to NCEP, if you have 3 or more of the syndromes, you have Metabolic Syndrome -- which is not a natural occurrence and only can be diagnosed if the subject is dangerously overweight.
Abdominal Obesity (Increased Waist Size) - 40 inches or greater waist length for men, 35 inches or greater for women
Elevated Triglycerides (Fat in Blood levels) - 150mg/dL or greater (milligrams by desi-liter) or drug treatment on going to obtain normal triglyceride levels
Low HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) Cholesterol - 40mg/dL or lower
Elevated BP - 130/85 or higher, or drug treatment ongoing to maintain lower levels
Elevated Fasting Glucose - 100 mg/dL or greater, or drug treament ongoing
If you have any of these symptoms, or believe you could have them, it's highly suggested to take a visit to the doctor and get a medical rundown. Holding on to these symptoms puts you at a greater risk for fatal disease each day it goes un-cared for. Thankfully, with a healthy diet and consist exercise, you can steadily turn your body around.
The previous and fore coming/following sources used in this article are from numerous microbiologists, medical technologists, and clinical laboratory scientists who contributed to this article and TheGymHerald is working with on this subject who uses research from NCEP, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, files and PDF's from NHLBI, and National Institute of Health, and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
What It Means To Be "Fat"
There's three exact terms that classify a person as "fat" -- overweight, obese, and morbid/extreme obesity. The most common among American adults is overweight, totaling 43.1% of the population falling under the category of a BMI (Body Mass Index) greater than 24.9 (1). According to the NIH and NIDDK, 35.7% of adults are considered obese, totaling over 1/3rd of the population. You are considered obese if your BMI is 30 or greater. Atlanticare reports that around 11-20 million American adults are morbidly/extremely obese with BMI's of over 40.
[Test Your BMI here]
Being fat doesn't mean you're less of a person, if anything it makes you more if it (pun intended). But all jokes aside, who you are as a person isn't affected by your weight and how healthy you are ... or is it? Scientists have discovered alarming psychological consequences of being overweight, meaning an overweight, obese, or morbidly obese person is more than likely a different person than they were to be at a healthy weight. Researches say that being overweight leads to low self esteem, anxiety, and more serious disorders such as depression and eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating. Along with these life threatening mental disorders, the task of being overweight also "fat-shaming". From MentalHealth;
"Psychological consequences of being overweight or obese can include lowered self-esteem and anxiety, and more serious disorders such as depression and eating disorders such as binge eating, bulimia and anorexia. The reasons for why this is so aren't hard to fathom. Modern culture is singular in the way that it worships youthful slim, toned bodies. With rare exceptions, only thin, proportional bodies are considered sexy. Obese or overweight people are looked down upon. It's easy to feel bad about one's self, to become depressed or anxious or to to develop obsessions around eating control when one's culture makes it clear that the way one appears is wholly undesirable."
Scientists have also said that being overweight takes the "joy out of life" because overweight people "tend to have less energy than their normal weight peers", leaving an empty spot in the ventures and explorations of life. While a healthy person may be able to enjoy a walk in the woods, hike in the mountains, social events, or even just a brisk walk down the street, an overweight person is practically confined to a certain isolated environment due to their inability to produce energy to get up and do something. Thankfully, this problem is not hereditary nor is it incurable. Being overweight is a simple choice one makes to overweight and live a sedentary lifestyle, often times from childhood from negligent and/or unknowledgeable parents who feed their child unhealthy foods since birth and allowed them to live a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle.
From MentalHealth's "Psychological consequences of being overweight":
"If the negative health and shame aspects of being overweight aren't enough, overweight people also tend to have less energy than their normal weight peers. Because it takes them more effort than their peers to be active, they tend to gravitate towards low-activity lifestyles and become sedentary. An unfortunate circle develops wherein the less active people become the greater their risk of gaining still more weight, and the more weight people gain, the less likely they are to become more active. Life stresses seem more overwhelming as exercise (which could begin the process of reversing this downward spiral of decreasing energy levels) is avoided and a major opportunity for the reduction of muscle tension, stress and anxiety is lost. Over time, even ordinary tasks of daily life like going up a flight of stairs can lead to exhaustion and a sense of premature aging."
NHLBI, being overweight remarkably puts you at a higher risk to become a smoker ... which leads to hundreds of other potentially fatal health risks. Why? Smoking is known for killing ones appetite, so those with little-to-none self control, yet determined to lose weight, will choose the cigarette to kill their craving stomachs. Combat this by eating small meals throughout the day such as celery with peanut butter, apples and bananas, salads with no dressings, carrots, and any other veggies and fruits to your liking. Whenever you feel a craving coming on, kill it with a quick swab of sweet fruits or yummy tasting veggies.
[RELATED: How To Stop Eating Junk Food for once and for all]
You're Fat? You're Addicted Just Like A Drug Use
"Rats given access to high-fat foods showed some of the same characteristics as animals hooked on cocaine or heroin--and found it hard to quit even when given electric shocks"
Quite literally, a person that can not break the habit of their extremely unhealthy eating ways is just as addicted to the substance as a user of hardcore drugs such as cocaine, heroine, and meth. Remarkably, the eating of fatty foods release "feel good" chemicals such as the ones a person would receive from engaging in sex or drug use.
From Katherine Harmon from ScientificAmerica:
"Like many pleasurable behaviors—including sex and drug use—eating can trigger the release of dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain. This internal chemical reward, in turn, increases the likelihood that the associated action will eventually become habitual through positive reinforcement conditioning. If activated by overeating, these neurochemical patterns can make the behavior tough to shake—a result seen in many human cases, notes Paul Kenny, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Therapeutics at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla., and co-author of the new study. "Most people who are overweight would say, 'I would like to control my weight and my eating,' but they find it very hard to control their feeding behavior," he says."
This is why when we bite into a doughnut, McDonalds burger, or cake it just tastes so. damn. good. Dopamine nuerotransmitters, aka "feel good" chemicals, are being rushed to our brain basically saying "Yes, yes, yes this is so so wonderful." Quite literally, the same cells are released when we induce drugs in our bodies, or engage in biological necessities such as intercourse. The more you do of either of these things, the more you get addicted to it; and the more you need of it to get the same feeling. A person who is of normal health and eating habits can indulge in a couple slices of pizzas and get a great happiness and taste from it whereas a overweight person indulging in poor eating habits often will need to eat the entire pizza to get the same feeling.
Another example is doughnuts. Who doesn't love doughnuts? But the best of us stray away from the fat filled, sugary candy because they're as addictive as they get. If you attempt to have just one doughnut with your coffee every morning, it won't be long until that one doughnut turns into two, which turns into three ... now, you're consuming thousands of empty and unhealthy calories simply because your taste and dopamine levels are sky high. The saying "everything in moderation" comes in to play greatly for how we eat, as indulging in the joyous and extremely tasteful foods we're lucky enough to have at our fingertips everyday has serious, life alternating and threatening consequences.
Now you know why when you keep stuffing your face with crap and think "Why can't I stop?!" -- simply because your body is, quite literally, addicted to it just as much as a user of cocaine or other drugs. THANKFULLY, withdrawing from eating crap will actually make you feel better, whereas withdrawing from, say, heroine, will leave you a mental breakdown state for months and have your body throwing up and doing just horrible, nasty things.
Is It Ever Okay To Be Overweight?
No. I suggest reading above once again if you still think it's okay to be overweight.
The "Big" Myth
"I was born this way, I got big bones!"
Ah, the biggest myth in being overweight. While some subjects have bigger bones than others, there's no such as big enough bones to make you overweight. From HealthStatus:
"So is there truth to the heavy weight, big bones, big frame? Not really. Bone weight depends on how much a person”s entire body weighs. Bones make up around 15% of a person”s total body weight. While people do have different frame size, most who weigh too much for their height do so because of excess body fat. Body builders are the exception. Remember muscle mass weighs more than the same volume of fat and lean muscles make you look thinner (so if you have lots of muscles you may weigh more but look thinner)."
How Do I Tell If I'm Overweight Without A Doctor?
If you're considering this question, it means you've broken through the fictional barrier that being overweight is okay -- and for that, I applaud you. However, now it's the next step in the journey of the body: "Am I overweight". While it may be obvious to some, our brains can trick us into believing that we are of healthy nature when we truly are at a great risk. Thankfully, there's unbeatable ways to decide if you're overweight and at risk:
- Use the BMI tool to gather your Body Mass Index information
- Compare yourself to Body Fat percentages. Estimate your own body fat weight, and google image search and see how you relate. A person above 25% body fat is overweight, over 30% body fat is obese, and above 35% is morbidly obese. If you compare to these pictures, it's time to get on the ball (no pun intended) of things
- Make the final call; you can't lie to yourself. Don't be a clown and call yourself overweight when you know inside that you're not, and go on a rage of dangerously under eating. On the flip side, don't be a clown and convince yourself that you're not overweight when you can't see your belt buckle and you have panckae folds in your hips -- it's not rude, just the truth.
- In conclusion, being overweight, obese, moribidly obese ... just generally fat, is never, ever okay and never going to be okay no matter what anybody tells you. The physical and mental risk factors are too great to be ignored, and the fact that over 2.8 million people die a year from obesity shows that negligence is all too real. Don't become another statistic.
This was a guest post submitted by Steven Silverman. To submit a guest post, click here.