I recently read that the obesity rate in the U.S. has gone up again. We are now hovering around 40% of the population being obese, while 70% (!!!) of us are overweight. Do these statistics blow your mind? I am both saddened and terrified for our nation.
I also read a study which said fewer of those who are currently obese are actively trying to lose weight. Have they just given up? Is it too demoralizing to keep trying without success?
Although I have never been obese, I understand how hard it can be to lose weight. We would all love a magic bullet, a pill made out of ground unicorn horn or fairy dust which could instantly shrink our fat cells down to nothing. Scientists keep trying to come up with this magic pill because it would make millions (even billions!) for its creator. As yet, no such pill exists.
So if losing weight is hard, involves sacrifice and change, demands that we examine our habits and clean them up, why do it at all? I mean, what is so great about losing weight?
Well, we all know that obesity goes hand in hand with disease. Even if you don't have any symptoms yet, it is highly likely you will develop diabetes, insulin resistance, and/or metabolic syndrome. People who are obese are more likely to die from all of the diseases of inflammation: heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer's, etc. But maybe you are young and the threat of illness and/or death seems exaggerated.
There are MANY other reasons to lose the weight:
1) You want to meet your soulmate. Sure, you can meet members of the opposite sex, get dates, possibly even get married while staying obese. But when searching for love while being obese, you have automatically cut out a portion of your potential mates based on your current shape. Wouldn't you prefer to have the option of choosing from the widest possible selection?
2) You want to cut your own toenails. Or tie your own shoes. These might seem like small and meaningless activities, but who is going to cut your toenails if you literally cannot do it yourself? Will you need to pay someone?
3) You want to travel. But it is too difficult and embarrassing to squeeze yourself into a coach seat on an airplane. These days even small people are squashed in these seats! First class air travel is prohibitively expensive. And it's a very long drive to New Zealand, Hawaii, and Thailand.
4) You want to get pregnant. Maybe not quite yet, but someday. Little known fact: obesity has a huge effect on hormone levels. Fat cells make estrogen. Excess estrogen can throw off all the other hormones. This is true for both men and women, so a couple where both parties are obese could end up having significant challenges when attempting to become pregnant.
5) You want to stop hurting--physically. Carrying around an extra one hundred or more pounds makes absolutely every activity more difficult and more painful. A simple walk on the beach, let alone trying to exercise in a more vigorous fashion, just hurts. And ongoing damage is constantly being done to all the joints carrying that weight, as well as the organs trying function under the burden of excess fat. Every system in the body is put under excess stress and strain.
6) You want to stop hurting--psychologically. You might be brilliant, funny, educated, talented, and all that, but it is impossible in our society not to be judged by how you look. People will wrongly believe all kinds of negative things about you because of your weight. I'm not suggesting you should live your life based on what others think of you. I'm suggesting that these judgements can cause pain.
Although I could go on, I believe I have made my point. Losing weight is much more than a cosmetic issue. It's not just about looking cute in a pair of skinny jeans. Every aspect of your life will improve when you drop the weight. Why wait???