Metabolic Syndrome can slowly grow on us.
Heed Early-Warning Signs
Physical activity is on a decline. Assembly-line jobs have been globally outsourced or replaced with robotics. Occupations that strengthen calf muscles and biceps are being replaced with those requiring manual dexterity. Desk jobs, where people gaze for hours at computer displays, contribute to a sedentary lifestyle.
Our battle with the bulge has several contributing factors. Many blame weight gain on sugar and fat intake; these are contributing factors. Dehydration from insufficient water intake, particularly when paired with consuming diuretics containing caffeine or alcohol, can slow metabolism.
Most people downplay preventative measures and respond more to crisis situations. An unexpected surgery or emergency room visit can shock us into sauntering around the block or joining a local gym. Don’t wait until your life is on the line. Heed early-warning signs.
Reasons to Start Exercising
- Your shirt collar extender needs an extender.
- A belt is required to keep pants up that won’t otherwise fasten.
- “Over 40” describes your waist measurement, not just your age.
- Your seat belt strap seems further away from the fastener.
- You misspell “waist not, want not” on purpose.
- A sale on trouser waist extenders excites you.
- The best foot forward is attached to someone else’s leg.
- You can no longer fit your hands in your pockets.
- When looking just below your waist, people can’t tell if you're coming or going.
- If you ask a seamstress to let your garment out, she opens the door.
The levity is a warmup exercise. You can’t be thin skinned when you are thick waisted. Being the butt of many jokes, you need to learn to laugh at yourself—to a degree. More importantly, if you want to own your full-figured self, be healthy in it. Now let’s get serious.
Keep Your Fat Cells
The average human body contains between 10 billion and 30 billion fat cells. If you gain a lot of weight, you can grow more fat cells (obese people may have as many as 100 billion). These cannot be lost (barring liposuction to remove physical cells). When you lose weight, you are shrinking the fat cells. But they will always be there—waiting to be refilled.
Video: Fatphobia is the real elephant in the room
Visceral fat accumulates around organs and your midsection as opposed to just beneath the skin. It secretes biochemicals that increase your risk of heart-attack, stroke, liver failure, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Additionally, visceral fat inhibits a very important hormone called adiponectin that regulates body metabolism. The more visceral fat you have, the slower your metabolism will be, and so the easier you gain more fat.
Obese patients have a greater risk of falling and breaking bones, a syndrome that researchers at Florida State University call osteosarcopenic obesity. Abdominal fat (which is more toxic than fat found in other places in the body) has a more negative impact on bone and muscle strength and can also boost inflammation.
As smooth cartilage on the ends of bones becomes damaged or worn, you will start to feel pain and stiffness. Weight also puts pressure on the connecting tissues around joints, such as tendons. Tendonitis can cause swelling, redness and pain around the joint. Bursitis can develop after an injury or due to frequent repetitive motions (overuse), but it can also be the result of obesity.
Control Metabolic Syndrome
According to the American Heart Association, one out of every six people have metabolic syndrome. It is not a disease in itself. Instead, it is a group of risk factors (or symptoms)—high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat. When combined, these factors double your risk of blood vessel issues and heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. They increase your risk of diabetes by five times. Fortunately metabolic syndrome can be controlled, largely with lifestyle changes.
Cardiovascular training releases dizzying fatigue-causing toxins from our system through the sweat glands so we can think clearly. Professor Traci Mann offers a controversial opinion on the obesity epidemic. In a BBC video, she explains how data supports that you can be overweight yet physically fit. Before you write her off completely, Mann does acknowledge issues with morbid obesity and lack of aerobic exercise. She underscores that lab results should support an “obese” label.
Fat, Obese, or Porky?
In a randomized Twitter poll, a significant number of people indicated the word “fat” is more offensive than “porky” (least favored designation). Overweight, obese, extremely obese, and morbidly obese are medical categories describing people who exceed standard Body Mass Index (BMI).
Whether you feel content within all your your skin or are striving to trim down an run a triathlon, you can stop accumulating fat cells or stretching the ones you have. If you need a little help in the interim, corset style body shapers are easier to get into than elastic compression undergarments. For healthier skin and longer life, eat better, drink better, and regularly workout. Progressively increase aerobic exercise (walking) with the goal of staying A Bit More Healthy regardless of your size.
- The Science of Fat. gizmodo.com
- What Happens to Fat Cells With Weight Loss? livestrong.com
- How Obesity Can Rob You of Bone Density and Muscle Mass. healthline.com
- What Your Weight Means for Your Bones. obesityaction.org
- Think Again: 'There is no obesity crisis.' bbc.com
- ‘OK, I’m fat - and this is how it feels.’ bbc.com
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