Every day I have to have difficult conversations with patients. And, some of the most difficult dialogues are those that involve a person’s weight. All too often people will tell me that they “just didn’t know”. It’s my belief that we need to start the dialogue so we can get on the road to meaningful change. Ignoring this problem doesn’t make it go away. It’s a conversation we need to have because I care about you and want you to have long, healthy, pain-free life!
The good news: Even losing 10-15% of excess body weight can have quality improvements on your blood sugars, blood pressure, and total cholesterol. So just take that first step.
Obesity is an epidemic. We have been served poor information by the food industry and have struggled to incorporate exercise into our everyday lives. If this trend continues, over half of the US population will be classified as obese by 2030. HALF!
Obesity is linked to over 60 chronic diseases. According to the CDC, obesity is associated with:
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
- Sleep apnea and breathing problems
- Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver)
- Low quality of life
- Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
- Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning
While online “ideal body weight” calculators are not always entirely accurate, they can give us a good jumping off point. Are you realistic about your current weight?
What I tell my patients:
Step 1: Look at yourself in the mirror and be realistic about your weight. No sense in ignoring this problem. Google “BMI Calculator” and see what range you fall into.
Step 2: Focus on your weight before you focus on fitness. It’s been my experience that changes in your diet have more meaningful change that incorporating exercise (early on).
Step 3: Come up with a plan.
-Stop drinking soda (yes, this includes diet drinks) and sugary juices
-Limit yourself to eating out one time a week
-Prepare the majority of your meals using fresh vegetables and lean cuts of meat. No boxes!
Step 4: As you being to lose weight, integrate low-impact exercise into your daily regime. Shoot for 25 minutes four to five times a week. I usually recommend brisk walks, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, and pool workouts.
Step 5: As your fitness improves incorporate other forms of fitness like yoga and strength training.
More reading: Why I Used to Grunt When Putting on My Socks, by Aaron Hewitt, PA-C
Aaron Hewitt, PA-C is a physician assistant with the OrthoCarolina Sports Medicine Center. He is a former assistant athletic trainer with the Minnesota Vikings (NFL) and is an orthopedic provider for UNC-Charlotte and Myers Park High School. He also is a physician assistant manager for OrthoCarolina's PA department and a clinical and surgical preceptor for Physician and Physician Assistant Students. In his free time, Aaron is an avid marathoner, CrossFitter, and yogi and serves as an ambassador for lululemon®.