Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Weight of the Nation: 7 Criteria for Ideal Cardiovascular Health

It's official, I'm sick.  I have a bona fide cough and a sore throat.  I dug out some old (expired) cough syrup and that helped but I figured I'd better get a new prescription so I made a doctor appointment for the afternoon to get more.  Myra was still a bit under the weather too so she was home with me yesterday.  So my plane is grounded for a few days.  What am I doing?  Watching the HBO documentary Weight of the Nation.  I watched Part I: Consequences and Part II: Choices.  Scary stuff, lots of dire statistics.  I think I knew that obesity was an epidemic in this country but I don't know that I appreciated just how bad it is or how serious the consequences are becoming. 

The documentary listed the 7 criteria for ideal cardiovascular health.

Less than 1% of people in the US meet all 7 of these criteria.  Less than 1 out of 100 people.  Wow.  I'm not that one person, not yet, but I'm getting there.  I need to get my body mass index down and my "bad" cholesterol is 1 over normal so I need to get that down a bit.  I plan to meet all 7 of these by this time next year.  There were other statistics that alarmed me: 
  • Overweight and obese people are 80% more likely to develop dementia.
  • Fatty liver is being seen in children.  13% of all kids have it.  38% of overweight kids have it.  This is a problem that used to pretty much not exist in children.
  • Going up from 2% overweight to 5% overweight increases your risk of diabetes "substantially"
An overweight woman they interviewed said the eat right and exercise recommendation is not as popular as fad diets because "It's like a boring story, no action - it's not a gotta have a hook or a gimmick."  They asked these overweight/obese people how many diets they'd tried and how much weight they've lost/re-gained over time.  Needless to say, it was a lot.  In talking about maintenance they referenced the National Weight Loss Registry in saying that people who have successfully lost weight "...need to be vigilant over a long period of time" in order to keep it off.  "It's a lot easier to lose weight than it is to keep weight off" and  most "diets" don't focus on keeping weight off.  They are selling weight loss, after all, not weight maintenance.  It's a multi-billion dollar industry ($58 billion!) and yet the overweight are gaining at an ever-increasing rate. 

This all reinforced my focus on maintenance.  In Where My Journey Began I said maintenance is "the only reason I'm back" and that is as true today as ever.  Weight lost and re-gained is almost worse than weight never lost at all.  Except that I learned something each time I lost and re-gained weight.  And I became convinced that losing weight is not the goal, change is the goal - and a byproduct of that change is weight loss.

Ok, that's it from me.  I'm going back to being sick.  I will have to tell you later about eating a bunch of corn nuts (17 points!) and chinese food for dinner (5 million points).  Between being sick and skipping workouts and these less than stellar food choices, I don't think I'll be logging a weight loss this week.  Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes.  I haven't been really sick in ages so I can't complain.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I so need to check out that documentary. It sounds like it's enough to scare me into staying motivated! :-)

    You are right. I found maintenance soooo much harder. There was nothing to focus on. While losing I was utterly focused on losing and that end results. I got there and just shuffled around looking for something to focus on. Sadly, I focused on food and regained. I'll have a better plan in place this time around!



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