Obesity is a term that means you weigh at least 20% more than what is considered a normal weight for your height. It makes you more likely to have conditions including:
Heart disease and stroke
High blood pressure
Gallbladder disease and gallstones
Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing for short episodes during sleep) and asthma
There is a new term referred to as “Sarcopenic Obesity”. Sarco means muscle and Penia mean loss so Sarcopenia is loss of muscle. As you lose muscle, you gain fat and being a “skinny” fat person puts you at as much risk as being an overweight (high BMI) fat person. The real problem is loss of muscle and the accumulation of fat, particularly in our visceral region, which is our mid-section. Where you hold your weight matters. If it’s mostly around your stomach (the “apple” shape), that may be riskier than if you have a “pear” shape, meaning that your extra weight is mostly around your hips and buttocks. Research suggests that fat cells — particularly abdominal fat cells — are biologically active. You must think of fat as an endocrine organ or gland, producing hormones and other substances that can profoundly affect your health. Although scientists are still deciphering the roles of individual hormones, it’s becoming clear that excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, disrupts the normal balance and functioning of important hormones.
Here’s a closer look at seven conditions that are linked to obesity, overweight or skinny-fat. Do you or have you had one of these diseases? Could it be linked to your extra body fat, particularly in your mid-section?
Heart Disease and Stroke
Extra fat makes you more likely to have high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol. Both of those conditions make heart disease or stroke more likely.
The good news is that losing a small amount of fat can reduce your chances of developing heart disease or a stroke. Losing 5%-10% of your fat mass is proven to lower your chance of developing heart disease.
Type 2 Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes
Most people who have pre-diabetes and full blown type 2 diabetes are usually overweight or have obesity. You can cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight, losing fat, and changing your lifestyle to include sound nutritional changes, exercise, stress management, better sleep and good supplementation with healthy essential fats. We’ve seen MANY patients over the years who can completely reverse their diabetes and get off medication with these changes.
Cancers of the colon, breast (after menopause), endometrium (the lining of the uterus), kidney, and esophagus are linked to obesity. Some studies have also reported links between obesity and cancers of the gallbladder, ovaries, and pancreas.
Gallbladder disease and gallstones are much more common if you are overweight. Ironically, weight loss itself, particularly rapid weight loss or loss of a large amount of weight, can make you more likely to get gallstones. Losing weight at a rate of about 1 pound a week is less likely to cause gallstones.
Osteoarthritis is a common joint condition that most often affects the knee, hip, or back. Carrying extra pounds’ places extra pressure on these joints and wears away the cartilage (tissue cushioning the joints) that normally protects them. Weight loss can ease stress on the knees, hips, and lower back and may improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Gout is a disease that affects the joints. It happens when you have too much uric acid in your blood. The extra uric acid can form crystals that deposit in the joints.
Gout is more common in overweight people. The more you weigh, the more likely you are to get gout. Over the short term, sudden weight changes may lead to a flare-up of gout. If you have a history of gout, check with your doctor for the best way to lose weight.
Sleep apnea is a breathing condition that’s linked to being overweight. Sleep apnea can cause a person to snore heavily and to briefly stop breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea may cause daytime sleepiness and make heart disease and stroke more likely.
Weight loss often improves sleep apnea.
o now you know the serious problems that occur with being overweight and over fat, what can you do to help yourself? It turns out that we can do A LOT!
We suggest that you focus on 3 areas of your lifestyle; Movement and Exercise, Nutrition, and Stress Management. Changing these 3 things will have a significant impact on your weight, body fat, energy level and overall health.
Let’s start with Movement and Exercise. The starting point for bringing weight under control, in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity — at least 30 minutes per day (up to 60 minutes per day) to control weight. Strength training (exercising with weights) may also help fight abdominal fat. Spot exercising, such as doing sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles, but it won’t get at visceral fat.
Remember that muscle burns way more calories at rest that fat. A pound of fat represents 3,500 stored calories and this represents unused energy. To lose one pound, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories by either consuming 3,500 less calories over a period than your body needs or by doing 3,500 calories worth of exercise. Remember, increasing muscle mass boosts metabolic efficiency. This means that, by increasing your lean muscle mass through resistance and body weight training, you will help your body burn more calories.
These women all weigh 160 pounds, the national average weight of women in Australia and Britain / © Marie Claire
The key to great exercise and movement should be that it includes some form of flexibility training, cardiovascular training and strength training. The best forms of exercise according to Harvard Medical School are Swimming, Tai chi, Strength Training, Walking and Core Exercises such as Yoga. The best way to do exercise is in H.I.I.T form which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This is where you do intervals of high intensity (60 seconds) followed by lower intensity (60 seconds) intervals. Working out this way for 20 minutes seems to have the most significant impact on burning fat and increasing muscle. Click HERE for easy beginner H.I.I.T training.
Let’s turn now to Nutrition. What you eat, when you eat and how you eat your daily intake of food matters. Simply put, the fuel you put into your body will result in either good or poor health. Don’t get us wrong, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the food you put into your body. Eating is not just for pleasure and entertainment, to which Americans have become accustomed.
Our bodies are continually in a state of breakdown and renewal. The body you have this year will be completely, chemically different than the body you have next year. 98% of all the cells in your body will be completely replaced within one year. Where does the body get the raw materials it needs to regenerate itself? You guessed it … the food we eat and liquids we drink.
You are what you eat, quite literally. So, we implore you to begin thinking differently about your nutritional program. Ask yourself: Will this food I’m about to consume nourish my body and provide energy, or will it tax my body and weaken it? When you think of it like this, we know, innately, that God-made natural whole foods are better than man-made processed foods. The farther the food is down the chain from its original form (processed), the less likely you should eat it. In fact, an easy rule to remember is the 3P Rule. If you can Pick it, Plant it, or Pet it, you can eat it. Now don’t let your imagination on go too far there. You get our point.
Robert Frost so eloquently taught us that “two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Choosing to eat healthy is indeed the road less traveled now in this country. We would like to remind you it is still a choice: your choice.
While we feel that people’s hearts are in the right place, they simply don’t know how to eat correctly. Who could blame them? We are bombarded daily with mixed messages through multi-million-dollar ad campaigns. Just look at the advertising directed towards children. Research shows that young children can identify Ronald McDonald® more readily than the President of United States. There’s something very wrong with that.
With all the mixed messages in advertising, who knows where to begin? Even the so-called nutritional experts don’t all agree. Fat-free foods, low-salt foods, low-carb foods, high-protein foods, heart-healthy foods; which do we choose? The bottom line: Food is fuel and we need to understand how the fuel affects our body. The nutritional program we recommend is an eating plan encompasses the best of many dietary plans on the market. The most sensible eating plan is a plan for life and not simply a diet to follow for a few months. With that said, there are certain dietary restrictions that we would advocate and certainly encourage you to discuss with your doctor as to which food restrictions may best serve you. For example, going gluten-free is very logical since at least 1 in 6 people have a gluten sensitivity.
Gluten is found in wheat and other grains, such as bread, pasta, and cereal. Gluten also has made its way into many products that you might not suspect, such as ketchup and soy products. Soy is another allergy with many people. Almost 60% of processed foods have soy in their ingredient list. We advocate non- GMO (genetically modified) soy products. However, please discuss with your doctor whether you should be totally soy free.
For vegetarians, you’ll need to ensure that you are getting enough protein and not excess carbohydrates at each of your three meals. Beans are usually a way to accomplish this.
Another nutritional program gaining lots of momentum is the Paleo Dietary plan. We advocate many aspects of this way of eating. Specifically, the Paleo plan permits fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats. Paleo avoids dairy, soy, grains, vegetable oils, legumes and beans, and any refined sugar.
Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Paleo Pyramid ©
The bottom line is this: The best person who knows how your body reacts to certain foods is you! While there are certain foods to always avoid (refined sugar and processed foods), other foods may or may not be right for you. Remember that your body will function better and will send you signals such as gas, indigestion, and the inability to lose fat when you are consuming foods that don’t work for you.
The last part of your weight and loss program must include Stress Management.
Want to know how stress makes you fat? Anytime you are under a stressful situation, your brain sends a signal to your adrenal glands to release the hormone cortisol. The purpose of cortisol in to release energy from the liver, fat and muscle tissue to give your body the energy it needs to “fight or flight” in this time of need. In the short term, stress triggers the fight or flight response and shuts down our appetite. This bodily reaction, rooted in our ancient DNA, allows energy to be routed to tissue repair and movement. Back 10,000 years ago, when our ancestors were being chased by a saber-tooth tiger, that stress-induced reaction would allow us to get away and not be hurt. Digestion and the immune system takes a tremendous amount of energy to run in the body and so the body will “down-regulate” those systems in times of stress to preserve energy. The problem is persistent stress. Over the long term, high cortisol levels due to prolonged stress will cause you to keep dumping sugar into your bloodstream from the release of energy from the liver and muscle. However, now days we are not being chased by the saber-tooth tiger, we are usually sitting there or inactive when the stress hits. We are literally stewing in our own juices (cortisol, adrenaline, etc.). The energy that is release gets unused and reconverts back to stored energy. Where does that energy get stored? You guessed it, in the belly (visceral fat). Also, this chronic down regulation of the digestive and immune systems leads to all kinds of health problems related to improper digestion and lack of proper immune function.
How about stress’s impact on sleep? Many times, we just can’t get a good night’s sleep when we are stressed. Why is that? When we are stressed and cortisol is released, it down regulates the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Without melatonin, you simply can’t get the deep sleep required to release other important healing hormones such as growth hormone. Research shows that people who don’t get a good night’s sleep can increase their caloric intake by as much as 300 calories the next day and crave high-carb processed foods because of a disruption in insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. You must honor a good night sleep and make it a priority in your life. Consider the following for getting a better night’s sleep.
Finally, one of the best ways to manage stress and your responses to it is through meditation. There are so many wonderful benefits to meditation practice and it is just that, practice. When you make a commitment to taking time to become aware of your persistent thoughts and emotions, you will be amazed at how much we are all always thinking. All of this thinking usually revolves around the past and the future and has a lot to do with fear, worry and thoughts that simply do not serve us. We can use meditation to change that. Commit to practicing meditation each day for 10-15 minutes and be sure to pick a time, such as first thing in the morning or just before bedtime, that you can stick to. Try using one of the many apps that are available such as Calm, Headspace or Insight Timer. When you begin meditating you will realize how much you are thinking and how we can stop the incessant thoughts that cause stress in our minds and bodies.
Here at Wellness Solution Centers, we recognize that health is truly your number one asset. We also recognize how many things you must juggle and how many priorities you have on your plate. You simply can’t and won’t be productive in your life without your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It’s impossible because you can’t be in growth in defense at the same time. You can’t be in a state of worry all the time, fatigued, tense, in pain, etc. and expect to be able to handle all the responsibilities coming your way. Energy is defined as the “ability to do work”. However, Albert Einstein taught us that energy is neither created or destroyed. So therefore, it just transfers forms. Are you expending energy or are you conserving and renewing your energy on a regular basis? It makes no sense to drive your car into the ground without stopping for gas, changing the oil, changing the tires, getting the car washed and tuned up. So, we must take time for ourselves and get leverage over our schedules to starting caring for our health.
What we have taught you so far is common sense, right? However, it is not common practice because if it we’re, we would be a lot healthier and chronic disease would not be so rampant in this country. Common sense must become common practice. You must get leverage over your schedule and just do it! Our motto is “that which gets scheduled, gets done”.
Here is what we believe that you MUST do on a regular basis to function vibrantly and have the energy and mobility to have a great, healthy life.
Get Adjusted- There are so many benefits to getting adjusted. Mobility in the spine sets the tone for brain function and neurologic communication in the body. We find that are healthiest patients have great posture from great spinal alignment. There are 53 movable joints in your spine and they need to MOVE and have proper alignment to function well. Your nervous system literally communicates via spinal movement. Our center has 3 Chiropractors on staff that all have been in practice for more than 20 years. That’s a lot of experience and we have all types of techniques to serve our patients from light touch and soft tissue techniques, to techniques for those patients that like a firmer structural adjustment. We also believe strongly in traction and decompression of the spine and have tools and techniques to open up the spine and disc spaces. This type of decompression is very helpful to those suffering with chronic pain and disc degeneration.
Get Moving- Our functional training center helps patients regain their mobility, endurance and strength. We all could exercise more and some of our patients aren’t formally exercising at all. This is unacceptable if you truly want to live a long life. Exercising properly is a skill and like any skill it requires coaching and commitment. Our functional fitness program is truly unique because the trainers and Chiropractors are in constant communication about what is best and what is not best for each patient. We meet you where you are, as some patients need to focus on mobility before they focus on strength. We never want to “load” a dysfunctional movement pattern. This is how people hurt themselves working out. If you can’t do a movement properly with your body weight, you certainly should be doing it weighted. We have 2 different tracks and sessions in the functional training facility. One that focuses on posture and mobility, this is where many patients start. Especially those who have spinal or joint problems or who are in pain. After we get patients out of pain and improve their posture and mobility, we are not ready to focus on other health goals such as losing weight, gaining strength and muscle, improving endurance and energy, etc. We all have a love-hate relationship with exercise. We hate doing it but we love the results it produces. That’s why exercise must become a non-negotiable habit in your life and you must have a good trainer that will coach you up, and push you beyond your own comfort zone.
Get a Massage- Massage is a wonderful gift that we give ourselves. It’s a passive way to say thank you to the muscles that we stress day in and day out. We all accumulate tension in our bodies and usually in predictable places, our neck, shoulders, lower back, thighs, feet, base of the skull, etc. This tension will restrict our ability to move properly and movement is the foundation of life. Tension accumulates in the body and something that is tight will strain or snap much easier that something that is loose and flexible. Our massage therapists are well trained and do “targeted” massage focusing on the tight muscles of your body using different techniques.
Nutritional Counseling and Supplements- We all need more discipline and coaching when it comes to the way we eat, and what we eat. This, more than anything, requires a plan and a coach to hold us accountable to that plan. Many people simply are confused and don’t know what to eat or how to eat properly. Obesity and nutritional related diseases are a real problem and we believe that 70-80% of the chronic diseases in this country such as heart disease, cancer, auto-immune diseases, thyroid problems, etc. are directly or indirectly related to the food we eat. Schedule some time with Alex, our resident nutritional coach and let her guide you. We have created a robust nutritional program and guide to coach you on the how’s, what’s and why’s of good nutrition. All you need are a road map, a coach and the motivation to get started. We can help but the journey of a thousand miles begins with step number one, which is always the hardest. Schedule a time with Alex and let her help you get your eating under control and back into balance.
8 Week to Wellness- If you are looking for a program that ties everything together, then 8WW is for you. We created this program almost 15 years ago so that the most important dimensions of health, namely eating better, moving better and thinking better were wrapped up into one program. We wanted to create an infrastructure for people to succeed because we knew that people needed support, guidance, coaching and most importantly they need to be held accountable to better choices. The changes that we have seen in thousands of patients over the years in nothing short of phenomenal. Lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar, increased energy, better sleep, less pain, clearer head, less anxiety, better weight are just some of the changes that we hear on a regular basis from patients who have participated in the 8WW program. 8WW is now in over 80 clinics in the USA, Canada and the UK. We believe it is the best way to get your health back on track and make a commitment to your future. We are all going to become a blessing or burden as we age. Your health will be the direct determinant of whether you age with grace and functionality or you die young or end up in a nursing home way too early because of chronic disease.