It’s important to have a positive self-image and to love yourself regardless of your size, but don’t mistake that as permission to let yourself go.
Being overweight or obese is a serious health condition that can endanger your life. Dr. Darrien Gaston at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Consultants in Chicago, Illinois, is one of the area's top weight-loss experts. Here, he explains the reasons for attaining and maintaining a healthy weight.
The obesity epidemic
Obesity in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly 42% of Americans are classified as obese, and the prevalence is steadily rising. The condition takes a toll on your overall health and your wallet — people with obesity spend about $173 billion annually in medical costs.
As the epidemic progresses, Americans are becoming more accustomed to larger bodies, which may contribute to the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity. Some clothing manufacturers and retail outlets have even developed campaigns to make obesity acceptable. Unfortunately, that message of self-acceptance is hazardous to your health. If you think striving for a healthy weight is pure vanity, consider these benefits that have nothing to do with your appearance.
Benefits of achieving a healthy weight
In addition to feeling more comfortable in your clothes, losing weight offers a long list of perks. Here are a few of them.
More energy to do the things you love
Are you sitting on the sidelines of your life watching others do what you can’t? For many people, extra fat prohibits them from exploring new places, playing with their children, participating in sports, and simply taking care of their household. Fat’s burden on your body zaps your energy and quality of life. Losing weight can reverse that and increase your energy level.
Increased desire and ability to exercise
An overweight, sedentary life creates a cycle of inactivity and more weight gain. Lack of energy keeps you at home on the couch, and the less you move, the less you’re able to move.
When your muscles flex and move, they send nutrients and oxygen throughout your body, but when you don’t use them, your heart works overtime, hormones get off-kilter, and muscle tissue atrophies. However, as you work toward a healthier weight, your motivation to reach your goal increases, you exercise more, and you kick-start a healthier cycle that benefits your overall health for life.
Better sex drive and performance
Sex is a healthy part of human life, but up to 30% of people with obesity report problems in the bedroom. Being overweight or having a related medical condition, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or heart disease, can impact your sexual desire and performance by narrowing your arteries and hindering blood and oxygen flow. Overweight men and women can both improve their sex lives by losing weight.
Fewer fertility problems
If you’re trying to get pregnant, obesity may get in the way. Studies show that being overweight messes with your menstrual cycle, which can interfere with the reproductive process. Up to 80 million women around the world experience weight-related infertility that can be reversed with weight loss.
More restorative sleep
Your body recharges every night as you sleep, but only if you sleep soundly and long enough. If you’re overweight, your lungs have to work harder to expand fully, and if you can’t breathe deeply, you can’t sleep well. Carrying extra weight also puts you at risk for obstructive sleep apnea, which robs you of quality sleep.
Sound mental health
Living within a healthy weight range won’t guarantee sound mental health, but it reduces your risk of mental health problems. Researchers estimate that people with obesity are 55% more likely to develop depression, and people with depression are 58% more likely to develop obesity.
Get help losing weight
Dr. Gaston can help you lose weight to improve your health, lower your risk for chronic diseases, and have more energy. In addition to nutritional counseling, medical supervision, and personalized exercise plans, we also offer two nonsurgical solutions to stubborn weight loss:
- AspireAssist®: a procedure that lets you empty a portion of your stomach contents
- Orbera™: an inflatable balloon that takes up space in your stomach
Both procedures are reversible and help you lose weight fast as you transition to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
Call us or book an appointment online to find out if you’re a good candidate for AspireAssist or Orbera.