In the first post I wrote about how other people feel about obesity shapes how they treat an overweight person.
The reality, of course, is that aside from the judgments and preconceptions and perceptions, being overweight does have health repercussions. I am in no way advocating that being fat is healthy or desirable. We know that being obese puts a strain on your body, physically, chemically, hormonally, emotionally… this isn’t opinion, it’s medical science. This post is going to go into what being obese means to my health and wellbeing.
A little background, I am 52 years old, about 6 feet tall, and 300 lbs, which means I am “morbidly obese”. I am diabetic, hypertensive, and hyperlipemic. I take a fist full of medication twice a day to maintain the functioning of this overtaxed body. They are mostly successful, but I am on the highest dose of multiple drugs, if things continue to degrade, there’s not many other pharmacological options.
I’ve just gotten my latest bloodwork results. The biggest problem is my cholesterol. My HDL (the good kind) is about half of what it should be. The rest is fairly normal except for my achilles heel – triglycerides. Untreated, my triglycerides run very high, 1500 to 2000. “Normal” is under 160. I am currently taking a statin, fibrate, and omega 3, and yet my triglycerides right now are still around 750, putting me at risk for pancreatitis and cardiovascular issues. Tomorrow I will also start taking niacin in an attempt to bring them down further while I work on getting my weight down. Losing weight is the most effective way of dealing with hypertriglyceridemia, but it takes time, so I’m hoping to buy a little more.
Beyond that, with the help of the medications, I am reasonably clinically healthy. My comprehensive metabolic panel is normal, my diabetes is on the higher side of well controlled, my liver and kidneys are functioning. But those test results are not static, things are slowly moving towards the unhealthy range, even though my weight remains stable, and that is because there is a long-term price for obesity.
However, there are quality of life considerations as well. I can walk and I can do easy hikes, but honestly, it takes very little time before I’m feeling too worn out to want to do so. I also hurt all the time. Chronic aches and pains are one of the costs of carrying more weight that we’re designed to do. Imagine carrying around an extra 100 pounds while doing your everyday life, you can probably guess that it can be exhausting! There have been two many times that I’ve been on a multi-state road trip, and have only seen what can be seen from the car window, because I just don’t have the energy and stamina to go hiking to where the real vistas are… how much have I missed just over that hill…
So long story short, this journey is not going to be only about seeing how the perceptions of others change as I lose weight, it’s also going to be about how my health, wellbeing, and life experiences change as well. Come along and see where it goes.