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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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