So often, what motivates us to lose weight is external: how people look at us, how clothing looks on us, and how we look at ourselves in the mirror. While the extrinsic motivation is valid, it’s what’s happening inside that should truly motivate us. Whatever the cause, obesity can lead to heart disease, which remains the number one cause of death in the United States.
What Is Obesity?
“Obesity” is used to describe anyone who is significantly above their healthy weight: a Body Mass Index of 30 or higher or 20% or more above ideal weight. About 35% of American adults fall under this category. The problems with obesity (other than the obvious external concerns) is that it can:
- Raise LDL (bad) and lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels, as well as triglyceride levels
- Raise blood pressure, increasing the risk of stroke
- Increase the likelihood of diabetes, which increases all other risk factors
- Increase the occurrence of obstructive sleep apnea, which is a risk factor for heart failure.
Excessive fat tissue – around the waist, in particular – has a direct effect on heart function. This fat (known as visceral fat) can make it harder to lose weight and battle depression and dementia, plus it can increase inflammation, which is the cause of a host of disorders that affect the entire body.
How Do I Fight It?
Most people assume that the only way to lose weight is by creating a calorie deficit: expend more calories than you consume. That’s not quite true, however; the quality of the calories you consume is vital to your ability to lose weight and regain your health. The following is a list of foods you should avoid and what to eat instead:
- Processed Foods – Processed foods (those found in boxes on the shelves of your grocery store) are full of toxins. When toxins are present in your body, your liver focuses on eliminating toxins before it gets around to eliminating fat. Instead, stick to fresh, preferably organic foods around the perimeter of your grocery store.
- Artificial Sweeteners – Aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and the like may be calorie-free, but they are loaded with toxins. There is no benefit to zero-calorie foods if they prevent your body from functioning as it should. Instead, opt for natural sweeteners like stevia.
- High-Glycemic Vegetables – What? Stay away from vegetables? Not quite. Vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas contain higher amounts of sugar which then gets turned into fat in your body. Instead, eat leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables like brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Heart health is a great reason to lose weight, but there are other benefits, as well. Your heart affects everything from blood pressure to mood disorders – all of which should see improvement after weight loss. And let’s not forget how much better you’ll look and feel about yourself!
If you’d like to learn more about how obesity affects your heart, contact KadileAtric Power Principle® to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kadile.