Years ago when I was in college my roommate and I were taking a required fitness class together. I remember the day they pulled out the old skin calipers to measure our fat percentages. The female anxiety was tangible. When it was my roommate’s turn she was horrified to see her number cross into the official obesity range. I laughed. It was truly laughable. My roommate was maybe 130 pounds and 5 foot 7 inches. She considered it over eating if she had seconds and seemed happiest after a long run.
Clearly there was no danger of obesity there. Danger for obsession with weight, yes. Obesity, no.
So, what about this obesity thing? Why does it seem as a society we worry ourselves so much about weight that it often leads us right into obesity? And why does it matter?
Clearly obesity is not just an image problem. It’s not just about our society caring too much about looking perfect, and the resulting weight obsession. It’s about what that obsession is actually doing to us.
Obesity is tied to diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and more. And, that’s just physically. Emotionally we feel inadequate and our self-esteem sags; which affects our relationships, productivity at work and general happiness in life.
We’ve heard the solutions. Eat healthier, exercise more. It’s simple. And yet, it’s not. When we’ve formed certain habits we fall into them without realizing it, like when my kids stress me out and I find myself eating a handful of chocolate chips. I have found in my own life that when I recognize my weak spots and then consciously and calmly (I can’t feel panicked or it all backfires) work through them I find success.
The first key to actually eating healthier and exercising more is in forming new habits in place of the bad ones. Some essential parts to forming new habits include recognizing your triggers, learning about what and why you need to change, committing to your change, and creating a support group. Once you have a handle on making change its easier to put in the eating right and exercise that personally fits you best and that will help you avoid or come back from obesity.
There are some cases, however, where the change we need doesn’t come quickly enough to save us from some of the life threatening side effects of obesity. In these cases it is comforting to know that there are reliable hospitals and doctors, like St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, that provide surgical options. Here the doctors understand the risks and can knowledgeably recommend appropriate procedures such as a lap belt and gastric bypass and then see you through to complete recovery.
In combating and preventing obesity we can rest assured that the complete, whole and personal answer is out there for us to find and put in motion.