The Elephant In The Room

Welcome back to another Thinking on Thursday topic. While I was going to do a Dementia article today, I have been reading a lot about Obesity and how it is affecting people who get Covid. This has kind of been known in the medical field, but now others are starting to talk about it more with data becoming more available. But, in general, people don’t want to discuss the issues of obesity and Covid or any health-related issue. Did you know that body fat is important, but that you should not be carrying more than 20% body fat on your body? There will be 3 websites for you to visit and read more about this, with all of the various studies done.

Did you know, regardless of age, if you are obese you have a 48% increased chance of dying from Covid 19? Even if you are overweight, and not obese, your chances of getting a serious infection and becoming hospitalized increase exponentially. Plus, according to this article, fast food in 2020 increased by like 40%. Fast food is one of the worst things you can eat if you are trying to avoid obesity. In general, and I would say almost all, fast food is high in fat, salt, calories, and sugar.

So, when I thought about this I thought well it must be due to breathing issues due to obesity and chest wall expansion. But, it actually is way more complicated than that. Excessive adipose tissue increases inflammation which can cause the Cytokine Storm that is so deadly for people who get Covid. It also decreases Immunity, causes thicker blood which makes you more prone to blood clots, and other complicated factors. They think this is why younger people are starting to die from Covid, due to Obesity. Plus, if you are obese you are more likely to have other comorbidities like Heart Disease, Cancer, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome in general.

So, why should you care? Well, for one thing, if you are overweight or obese, you may not be ready to die or be in the hospital for an extended period of time. It is imperative that you socially distance, wear a mask, and get vaccinated at least until Herd Immunity can be reached. While none of these things are perfect, used together they can protect you quite well. I also think due to the massive mishandling of Covid in the US we are most likely heading towards seasonal bouts of Covid. That means we most likely will need to learn to watch for flare-ups and take proper precautions as needed. While masks are a huge, contentious issue, I don’t see them going away any time soon.

This should be a wake-up call to anyone who needs to work towards a healthier weight and better metabolic health. Trust me I am one of those people, too. I have never been thin, and I carry the pudge around the middle especially after having children. But, I also work hard every day to modify my diet, lifestyle, and exercise habits to constantly improve. You can too! It is hard work, no doubt, but it is worth it.

https://immunityageing.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12979-020-00212-x

https://www.science.org/content/article/why-covid-19-more-deadly-people-obesity-even-if-theyre-young

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/if-you-are-at-higher-risk

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Sugar and Obesity!

Hello, and welcome to another Healthy Tips on Tuesday post. October is Obesity Awareness Month, or improve your Metabolic Syndrome Health Marker if you prefer. You will find two videos below. I urge you to watch them both. Remember not only fat people have Metabolic Syndrome, and not all Obese people do either. But, if you are on a weight loss journey you simply can not ignore sugars.

Why can you not ignore sugars if you are on a weight loss journey, especially added sugars? I will give you some examples below, and what to try to limit your sugars to, to lose weight. Please note if you are a Diabetic this could be dangerous for you. Please talk to your doctor about Carb control, rather than sugar consumption.

Here is an example. When I look at a box of pasta, which is high in carbs, it only has 2 grams of total sugar per serving, zero of which are added sugars. The same thing with a baked potato, not sweet potato though. A baked potato has only 2 grams of total sugar, per potato, and of course none are added sugars. I used those two examples because pasta, and potatoes, are the arch nemesis of many weight loss diets. Pasta, enriched pasta especially, is a good source of nutrients, as are baked potatoes.

Now, the evidence is mixed on whether added sugars cause Obesity or not, or at least that is what the sugar industry say. I think the evidence is stark. Since the 1980’s when Obesity really started to take off, is when Americans started to eat more processed, readily available, easy to make meals. Watch the videos the stats are right there.

Quitting sugar is hard. It might even be addicting, read my post on this topic. My research shows that discretionary sugar may be the very reason you can’t lose weight. Wait, what? Discretionary sugar, what is that? After you have consumed all of the nutrients your body needs for a day you might have discretionary sugar left to eat in your day. WTH! That sounds horrible to have to try and track, understand, or even care about. Here is an easier method. For women you can eat up to 50 grams sugar, total, in a day, only 25 grams of that 50 should be added sugars. For men just double it. One thing to be careful of, though, is like for me I drink a Welch’s juice that does have sugars, but they are not added sugars. This does not mean I can drink as much as I want. I add only a small amount to my regular water to add flavor. Most processed foods, even organic processed foods, will most likely have added sugars in them. For me, right now, I am not focusing on the total sugars, but rather the added sugars. I am tracking that, ok only 1 day so far, to see if I notice any difference in weight loss, and more importantly waist circumference, as that is actually my goal. It is going to be tough to stick to 25 grams today, because it is family cookoff challenge night and I have to eat two sandwiches. But, I think the bread I bought will be OK. Yesterday, my tracking app said I ate 59 grams of total sugars, but I didn’t keep track of added sugars. But, I still lost some ounces when I weighed myself this morning.

I will be looking more into this sugar topic in upcoming posts, especially in relation to Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Stop Calling It Obesity?

Hello, and welcome back to another Thinking on Thursday topic. For the whole month of October I am discussing Obesity. But, as you can see in my title I posed the topic as a question. However, by the end of the post I think you will see why I think it should be a statement. If you feel like you will be triggered by this topic, please stop reading now.

If we should stop calling it Obesity, what do I think influencers, health coaches, fitness coaches, doctors, etc. should call it? I think it should be referred to as Metabolic Syndrome. Why? Keep reading.

Obesity is a word that implies fat, unhealthy, lazy, over eating, etc. Instead we should be focusing on obesity as a health marker, because honestly that is all it is. You can be obese and be fit, and even healthy, especially in your younger years. You don’t have to like that statement, but it is technically true. It doesn’t mean you will be fit, or healthy forever, though, if you stay obese. Fat shaming, fat phobia, name calling, berating, using other people’s struggles to make yourself money on Youtube, Instagram, Tiktock, Snap Chat, I don’t even know what all of the platforms are, but you really should be ashamed of yourself. First of all, if you really care about obesity as a topic, and a health marker, bringing attention to the healthy at every size, feeders, mukbangs, and other such content that so offends you, is only making them more money and gives them no incentive whatsoever to change their undesirable health marker, ie. obesity. Plus, for all you fat shamers just because you might be thin does not mean you are healthy. The public sees weight visually and it implies health to them, but that is not necessarily true. You can be thin and have Metabolic Syndrome, and make no mistake once you have allowed your body, through bad lifestyle choices to put on a lot of fat, it is extremely hard to get it off. Please do not read part of this post and then leave me a nasty comment. Read the whole thing and make sure you understand what I wrote.

So, for the rest of this month’s topic on Obesity, I will refer to it from here on out, as Metabolic Syndrome Awareness, and yes, Obesity is a huge part of Metabolic Syndrome.

Now, before I go into what Metabolic Syndrome is, and how to tell if you have it, let me say a word about waste measurement, or the dreaded BMI. If you are short, whether you are a man or a woman, keeping a normal BMI is going to be a much bigger challenge than if you are tall. That does not mean it should not be a goal for you, just because it is hard. 140 pounds on a 5 foot 4 woman, is going to be much different looking, and measurement, than on a 5 foot 10 woman. It is very easy to carry excess weight in your abdomen when you are short. However, again, this does not mean you should not have a goal to decrease your abdominal fat, even if it is subcutaneous fat, vs visceral fat.

Metabolic Syndrome in it’s easiest to understand definition is a set of health markers that point to an increased risk of Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes etc. The markers are below is how the US defines Metabolic Syndrome, other countries use other markers.

To be diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome you must have 3 out of the 5 markers listed below. If you do not know your markers, then you should. If you are claiming Health at any Size, or whatever mantra people use, then you can’t claim that without knowing your health markers.

  1. A waist measurement of more than 35 inches around in women, and 40 inches around in men. To measure your waist accurately use a tape measure on naked skin right above the belly button. Pull it snug, like your jeans would fit nice, not tight like your jeans will make you not breathe. That is your waist measurement. I personally have this marker, and I am working hard to get it below 35. I am 5 feet tall, on my tiptoes, lol, and I carry my weight in my abdomen and chest. I have already lost 3 inches off my waist, but I still have a way to go.
  2. A fasting glucose of 100 or higher, or if you are taking medications to control your blood glucose. You should fast, ie not eat for at least 12 hours before doing a glucose level for this purpose. I do not have this marker.
  3. A Triglyceride level at or above 150, again you should be fasting for at least 12 hours for this number to be accurate. I do not have this marker either. However, I must mention that when I was eating a low carb diet, and had increased my fat intake to get enough calories, my Triglycerides were quite high. I have since corrected this with diet modification. If you are on the Keto diet you should be monitoring this marker. Being thin, but ending up with Heart Disease, or Stroke, is not exactly a healthy thing now is it. There are different types of Keto diets, so there is that.
  4. A HDL Cholesterol level below 50 for women, and below 40 for men. This is the so called good cholesterol. This is a hot topic issue, but again it is a marker or risk. My HDL was 46, three months ago, and I am going to be retested tomorrow and I am hoping it has gone up. If you take medications to improve HDL then you are also considered as having this health marker.
  5. A blood pressure at, or above 130/85 regardless of gender. Systolic is your top number, and Diastolic is your bottom number. If you are young, you may only see your doctor yearly. So, measuring your own blood pressure regularly at home should be an important health goal for you, especially if you have any of the other markers. Be sure you are not in an excited mood, sitting comfortable, and legs are not crossed at the knees or ankles to get an accurate blood pressure. Your arm should be at heart level. If you already take medications to control blood pressure, than you are automatically positive for this marker. Even with Kidney Disease I do not have this marker, nor do I take medication to control it.

So, if you read all that, I have 2 out of 5 of the markers. I can not make myself taller, so I have to work harder to reduce my waist measurement. I do not have Metabolic Syndrome, but I am overweight, and by the charts obese. I am not ashamed of that. The best I can do is keep trying to improve. But, I am active, and fitness goals are a huge part of my regime. I do not smoke, genetics do play a role in some of my markers, and I can not change that either. I will discuss more about that in the coming weeks as we continue down the path of preventing Metabolic Syndrome, and how to treat it once you have it.

That should be the focus of anyone who is concerned about the health of others. Not their body size, what they think of how they look, how they feel about what they eat, etc. Your feelings do not matter when discussing someone else’s health and wellbeing. Feeling are just that, and opinions are feelings, by the way. It is not tough love, either. It is intrusive, that is what it is. Start revealing your own numbers, and put it as a disclaimer, if you really feel the need to criticize someone you see as obese, fat, disgusting, lazy, or whatever. Please don’t call me a Snowflake, politically correct, or whatever other label you might want to give me. You don’t have to agree with me, just as I find some of these infuencers content dangerous, inappropriate, and having nothing to do with promoting health.

If you are looking to start a gentle exercise regime, towards a goal of being more fit, check out my Walking Buddy Plan, and take advantage of the discount available.

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What the Fructose!

If you read this blog then you know I have had my own struggles with weight loss especially since reaching menopause. You also know I promote organic foods, when possible, and decreasing sugar. So, if you read my post from the other day about sugar being addicting then you got a good feel for the science. However, more explanation is needed especially when it comes to Fructose and sneaky names for sugar on food labels. Not only should you check for how many added sugars there are foods you buy in the supermarket, but also at the ingredients on each label. If you are having a hard time losing weight, or have Type 2 Diabetes, Pre-Diabetes, or Metabolic Syndrome, watch all of the videos below and learn about Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, added sugars and how the body metabolizes sugars. You may have to pick your jaw up off the floor. None of them are long, and if you are at a high risk for Cardiac Disease pay particular attention to how high sugar amounts are leading to Cardiac Disease. This is not a paid post and I get no credit for sharing the videos. They are to help my readers learn.

There is one link, here, and the video is awesome, but be sure to read it all too. Do it last, though, after the other videos. It will make more sense.

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