Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The constant focus on weight makes me mad!!!

From your doctor to The Doctors and everyone in between, you're getting the message that weight (or more specifically overweight) is a huge problem.

But it's not overweight that's the problem -- overweight is a symptom of the problem -- A more highly visible symptom than the real problems.

Insulin insensitivity -- when you need your pancreas to release more insulin to do the same job it used to do with much less insulin.  Those insulin producing cells are wearing out -- they can only make so much insulin in a lifetime!

High triglycerides -- instead of burning the fuel that we eat, we're eating so much extra that it needs to be stored.  But in the meantime, it's floating around your body in your blood stream gumming up the works.

Hypertension -- the extra work your heart has to do to pump all that blood through arteries that are clamped down tight put extra stress on the heart.  Like the insulin producing cells of the pancreas, the heart wears out when it has to work this hard all the time.

Low cardiovascular fitness -- regular stimulation through exercise makes the heart able to pump blood more efficiently (use less energy to get the job done) and more effectively (able to pump more blood out with each beat).  Hearts that don't get regular exercise are less efficient -- that means they have to work harder and are doing a worse job -- all the time.

Stress -- stress literally causes the muscles to clamp down on your blood vessels causing higher blood pressure.  It makes us crabby and less able to enjoy our life which suppresses our immune function and increases our risk of getting sick (both with little things like a cold and big things like a cancer).  It throws our hormones (the ones that control sleep, appetite, energy regulation, etc) all out of wack.  Which, many times, leads to more stress, more eating, less sleeping, less happiness, less motivation....

These are problems. 

Weight is a symptom of these problems. 

And yet, according to research by COMPsych, 43% of those they surveyed said reducing their weight was their top health concern this year.  (only 20% were concerned with getting more exercise and 18% were concerned about reducing their stress level)

At a glance, you may not think that the semantics matters.  But it matters a whole lot!  You can't fix a problem by tiptoeing around it.  And although you can improve you high blood pressure by losing weight, it's the behavior changes (eating less/moving more/managing stress) that play a huge role in how that blood pressure comes down.

Name your enemy!  Pick your battles.  But look in the right direction so you can win that battle.  Health is much more multifaceted than your pants size.

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