Someone recently asked me if it is really so terrible to be overweight. This person mentioned her grandmother, who live to age 91 and was always pudgy. And so I got to thinking about her question. And the bottom line is that it is hard to argue with statistics all of which indicate that for the general population, being overweight diminishes your quality of life and even shortens your life. There are people who live long who are overweight, but how is the quality of their life?
Being overweight is known to cause heart disease, various cancers, digestive problems, fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. It also shortens your lifespan. So, maybe you happened to be one of those handful of lucky people who have great genes. Well, even that will only get you so far, because when it comes to sleep apnea and osteoarthritis, that won’t help you too much.
We live in a prosperous society. Even during the recent financial crises, nobody had to wait in line to receive handouts of bread as in the great depression. Food abounds everywhere and fast foods are relatively cheap and quick. There is hardly an establishment today that doesn’t deliver and burger places and pizza shops are on every corner, or at least relatively close by. And for a working person, taking out is easier than cooking. And most of all, we have lost our awareness of true hunger and of what feeling full is. Even those that try to eat healthy food, tend to eat too much of it. In the United States alone, Americans pay 400 billion dollars a year just on cardiac related illness and the costs of health care are soaring.
What is normal weight? This is not as easy a question as it seems. Most people measure weight by a number on a scale. And you can certainly access normal weight charts online. The most common and easiest way to ascertain normal weight today is the Body Mass Index, or BMI. BMI is determined by calculating the individual’s body weight divided by the square of his or her height using meters for height and kilograms for weight. Using a BMI chart simplifies this process. A reading of 18-24 indicates that your weight should not affect your health. In addition, your percentage of body fat plays a key role in assessing a healthful weight. The best way to determine your body fat is to have measurements taken of skin folds at certain locations on your body. This should be done by a professional with experience.
There will always be people who can “get away with being overweight.” But as we get older and carry around weight that our body is not really built to be lugging around, we WILL begin to experience soreness in the knees, ankles and lower back. Summer weather will cause us to feel several degrees warmer than others. So even if you are fortunate enough to have those protective genes against the numerous ailments caused by overweight, somehow you will still feel these effects.
Keeping a normal weight, within the realm of good and nutritious eating and exercise, is integral to your health and quality of life. It is another way to “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”
Alan Freishtat is an A.C.E. CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER and a LIFESTYLE FITNESS COACH with over 14 years of professional experience. He is the co-director of the Jerusalem-based weight loss and stress reduction center Lose It! along with Linda Holtz M.Sc. and is available for private consultations, assessments and personalized workout programs. Alan also lectures and gives seminars and workshops. He can be reached at 02-651-8502 or 050-555-7175, or by email at email@example.com
Check out the Lose It! website at www.loseit.co.il. US Line: 516-568-5027
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