By Rona Scott and Lloyd Stegemann, MD
Weight affects all bodily systems. Without a doubt, a healthy weight is always better. For someone who has never attempted or experienced significant weight-loss, a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater typically means there is an ongoing upward trend in body weight. As one would expect, continual weight gain results in added stress on the body. Yo-yo dieting is even worse.
While society would pressure us to look like supermodels, the reality is that we should move out of a DIET mentality and move into a HEALTH mentality. A number on a scale does not validate who you are as a human being. It is merely a reflection of your lifestyle. Good health is why your weight should matter to you.
Consider common co-morbidities experienced by individuals affected by obesity or severe obesity such as diabetes mellitus, obstructive sleep apnea, etc. There is a greater occurrence of these conditions at a BMI of 30 than there is at a BMI of 25, though not tremendously greater. However, knowing that a BMI of 30 is indicative of a person’s weight being on the rise, it is important to know that the co-morbidities increase drastically as BMI increases past 30.
According to the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, it is not gross overeating resulting in overweight and obesity. Instead, a slight increase on weekends, special occasions, stressful times and holidays can seriously impact a person’s weight. The average American aged 19 to 50 consumes 115 more calories on a weekend day than on a weekday. The startling results of this slight increase in calories combined with a slight decrease in expended energy can result in an annual weight gain of five pounds, or 100 pounds, throughout the course of 20 years. This is why your weight should matter to you.
When we move out of the diet mentality and into the health mentality, we realize it is essentially effortless to simply substitute a diet soft drink or bottle of water for one high calorie beverage. This one small effort is a step in the right direction.
For individuals who lost a substantial amount of weight and lowered their BMI from 40 or 50, a BMI of 30 can be a healthy and successful result. Just as a BMI of 30 prior to significant weight-loss is typically indicative of ongoing weight gain, a BMI of 30 after significant weight-loss can be a reflection of ongoing weight-loss. A reduction in BMI of five points can result in greatly increased health.
Ideally, both professionals and individuals will evolve from basing weight-loss success on weight or BMI. Instead, an overall improvement in health and improvement/reversal of co-morbidities will be the true indicator. The goal for anyone struggling with obesity is to be healthy. Live your goal!
About the Authors:
Rona Scott is the director of the bariatric surgery program for New Dimensions in San Antonio, Texas. Prior to this, she spent two years as a national consultant with iVOW, inc. facilitating the implementation of new bariatric programs and the enhancement of existing ones. She served as interim administrator of Sound Health Solutions, a medically managed pre-operative and post-operative program. Ms. Scott presents educational lectures throughout the country for caregivers of the patient with obesity or severe obesity. She is active in advocacy issues facing those affected by obesity. She is founder and host of the support group F.A.C.E.S of WLS.
Lloyd Stegemann, MD, is a private practice bariatric surgeon with New Dimensions Weight Loss Surgery/Weight Wise in San Antonio, TX. He is the driving force behind the Texas Weight-Loss Surgery Treatment Options Introduction Weight Loss Surgery Summit and in the formation of the Texas Association of Bariatric Surgeons (TABS) where he currently serves as President. He has been very active in the Texas state legislature trying to increase patient access to weight-loss surgery. Dr. Stegemann is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the OAC Advisory Board.