Being overweight places an enormous strain on your entire system. Every aspect of your life is affected. Most people are aware of the social discrimination being overweight causes…every now and then some narrow-minded fitness fanatic appears on talk show television, and accuses people who are overweight of being greedy and lazy, with mixed responses from both host and audience. Most people are outraged by such faulty preconceptions, and with good reason. They know what statements like these can do to someone’s self esteem.
Unfortunately, these are not the only problems facing people who are overweight. There are many physical complications that result form carrying excess weight around. Aching backs, and arthritic knees are examples of the so-called mechanical side effects of being overweight. And so is sleep apnoea, an alarming condition for partners, where the person affected stops breathing while they are sleeping, due to the relaxed tissues in the neck pressing on the airway, cutting off air flow to the lungs. As a result of this, sleep is disturbed, both for the person with sleep apnoea, and for their partner, who often spends wakeful nights elbowing them in the ribs to get them to breathe again. In the short term, this can lead to overweight people being tired, grumpy and bruised in the morning. Other effects include morning headaches, loud snoring and poor sexual functioning. But the long-term effects are far more dangerous. Sleep apnoea is associated with death due to heart disease, and half of all people who suffer from sleep apnoea have high blood pressure.
Which brings us to the most important issue regarding health and excess weight : insulin resistance. Most people are aware that being significantly overweight is a risk factor for heart disease and sudden death, but few seem to know that insulin resistance is responsible for most of this risk. Insulin resistance is an exceptionally common condition, affecting at least one in four people, and is the cause of Metabolic Syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It is associated with high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood glucose, clotting tendencies, and inflammation within the blood vessels, all of which contribute to an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks. And more than half of all people who are significantly overweight have insulin resistance.
Which is why conventional diets and diet pills seldom work. Insulin resistance makes it almost impossible to lose weight on low calorie, low fat diets, and yet doctors and other healthcare workers continue to prescribe these diets, with the underlying message being “EAT LESS!” This lack of insight is responsible for so many failed diets, as well as the loss of self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness that these failures cause. People with insulin resistance should not be eating less food, but rather eating different types of food!
Aside from these more common health risks are a number of rarer, but even more unpleasant conditions that can result from being overweight. These include various cancers, such as those of the breast and ovaries in women, the prostate in men, as well as the colon, oesophagus, liver, gallbladder and pancreas.
As you can see, being overweight can have terrible consequences for both your psychological, as well as your physical health. But it is not all bad news. Weight loss is an attainable goal, and is something that will decrease your risk of getting any of these conditions. As far as preventative medicine is concerned, weight loss is one of the few measures that really can save your life.