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There’s more to Being Overweight than Meets the Eye

I decided to choose this topic of discussion this month because of a recent conversation I had with one of my clients. I was telling her that I hadn’t chosen a topic for my newspaper article yet and she suggested that I write an article about how difficult it is to be overweight. She went on to tell me that her husband had replaced several hinges on their toilet seat. A little confused I asked, “Why would he have to replace your toilet seat hinges?” She said because when I sit down on the seat and shift my weight even a little bit, they break.


At that moment I realized that as a personal trainer I’ve always focused most of my attention on the health related aspect of being obese. I guess I never completely understood just how much these people carry around on their shoulders. There’s definitely more to being overweight than meets the eye.

belly2It’s no secret that Americans continue to gain weight and increase their risks of health related disorders. Many of us are sedentary, have terrible diets, work in high-stress environments, and don’t know what a good night’s sleep is. We seem to think it’s normal to be carrying around an extra 30, 40, 50 pounds.

Nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Let’s not forget about our children. Mortality experts project that kids who are overweight will live shorter lives than their parents. Sad, isn’t it. Most of us are aware that our condition is dangerous, but few of us are willing to do anything about it. The truth is, exercising and maintaining a balanced diet requires work and self-discipline. These are two words that seem to have disappeared from the American vocabulary.

Let me point out some of the problems that being heavy can create. The struggle is real.

Breathing can be Difficult

Ever notice how heavy folk’s huff and puff just doing simple tasks? You may notice that someone who is overweight has to sit down and rest after walking up a short flight of stairs. They may be tired after doing a few laps around the grocery store. Excess fat restricts the expansion of the rib cage and leaves less space for the diaphragm to move downward as it should.

Walking is Hard

Most heavy people aren’t first in line when someone suggests they go for a walk. Imagine carrying a backpack filled with rocks around on your back all day! If you’ve ever watched the hit TV show “The Biggest Loser,” you’ve seen some of the contestants do a challenge carrying the weight they were at when they first arrived on the ranch. It’s hard to even watch! Extra weight makes moving difficult and the puts extra stress on the hips, knees, and feet.

Normal Daily Tasks Can be a Challenge

Being overweight makes it a struggle to bend over and tie a pair of shoes. Trimming toenails can be a chore. You may know someone that is overweight who pays for a pedicure because he or she can’t do it by themselves. It’s really not all that uncommon. Not having to bend down or reach just makes life easier.

Health Related Disorders are Common

Most of us know that extra fat puts pressure on the heart, lungs, and other internal organs. We also are aware of the increased probability of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stroke. If you are overweight diabetes is a near certainty. If all this isn’t enough to make you squirm, it is also well documented that heavier people die younger.

Back Pain is Prevalent

Proportionally greater numbers of heavy people suffer from chronic back ailments. Extra weight stresses the back making it more difficult to maintain fluid, pain-free movement. Chiropractors, physicians, personal trainers, and surgeons will tell someone who is overweight to lose weight. Less weight, especially in the belly area will help alleviate some of the added stress that is being put on the back.

depressed2Depression Sets In

Depression is complicated, but it can result, in part, from being overweight. When someone isn’t comfortable in their own skin they may feel unattractive, socially unacceptable, and see themselves as a failure. When your physical appearance begins to set you apart from mainstream society, you may lose self-respect or even worse, fail to demand the respect you deserve from others.

It’s Hard to Shop

When you are overweight, it’s hard to find clothing that looks and feels good. Buying bigger clothes to compensate for your expanding waistline is NOT the answer. What you need to do is accept the fact that you can no longer squeeze into your existing clothing and do something about it.

Finding a Mate Can Be Difficult

Many people will not consider a serious relationship with someone who is overweight because of the unhealthy lifestyle they lead. Once a relationship is established, it may be easier to put on a few extra pounds and get away with being a couch potato, but in the beginning not so much.

Discrimination Still Exists

I don’t care what anyone says, discrimination still exists in the workplace. I believe that one’s physical appearance weighs heavily on an employer’s hiring decision. A lot of employers believe that an overweight employee is slower, more careless, and will get tired more quickly than their thinner counterparts. Few people look better heavy, and many employers want the sharpest-looking, fastest moving employee they can find. The better the employee looks, the better the company looks.

Seats in Planes, Theaters, and Automobiles are crampedairline2  

How about those good old fashioned seat belt extenders? I just had a client today tell me how embarrassed she was the first time she had to use one on an airplane. Have you ever sat next to a large person on an airplane, in a theater, or car? No matter how many times they appropriately apologize to you, the whole traveling experience is not going to be a comfortable one.

Knee and Hip Replacements are Common

Every year, more people seek hip and knee replacements, and a majority of these folks are overweight. Unfortunately, because of the high risk involved, most surgeons won’t touch a patient until they have lost some weight. This can delay a much needed surgery for weeks, months, and even years; which will only create more problems in the long-run.

Perspiration and Body Odor

Although overweight people don’t necessarily have worse body odor than anyone else, the fact is that many of them do. Folds of skin decrease air flow and cause perspiration, both of which contribute to body odor. The bigger someone is, the less energy they will usually have. They may lack the motivation needed to bathe and change clothes as often as necessary to eliminate odors.

In Conclusion:

A life of gasping, wheezing, and sitting in doctor offices is not any way to live your life. Sure, modern medicine, with its blood-pressure pills, cholesterol medications, stent insertions, pacemaker implantations, organ transplants, and joint replacements can extend a life for a surprisingly long time, but should this be the answer to this crisis?

I am aware that some of you may take offense to a few of the points I have made in this article. However, it is not my intention to belittle or scold anyone who has a weight problem! My hope is that this article will open your eyes, and encourage you to be more compassionate, considerate, and understanding. Maybe you will even make an effort to help, motivate, and inspire someone you know who is struggling with their weight. It can change someone’s life and prompt you to re-evaluate your own.

Did you or someone you know become noticeably healthier, stronger, leaner, and more physically fit from a new commitment to exercise? Go to Champions Fitness-Center on Facebook, request us as a friend and share your personal success story! Inspire others to get in shape! We want to hear all about it.

I am currently certified by the National Sports Conditioning Association, Apex Fitness Group, and the International Sports Science Association. If you have a question and/or topic you would like me to discuss please e-mail me at isellgraphs@aol.com. If you would like to set up a free consultation with one of our certified fitness professionals please call Champions Fitness at 452-5522.

Jennifer Nastasi Guzelak
I have been a personal trainer for over seventeen years and I absolutely love what I do. I honestly feel that I have one of the best jobs out there! The most rewarding part of my profession is helping one of my clients succeed at reaching their personal fitness goals. Making a difference in someone’s life makes it all worthwhile. I am currently certified by the National Sports Conditioning Association, Apex Fitness Group, and the International Sports Science Association.