A Weighty Issue

I’m going to go on a little rant, here. It’s something that’s been bugging me for ages and it came at me again this past weekend in my booth at the Galactic Expo.

I get countless people asking me for an herb to “cure” this ill or that. They’re on prescription medication(s) but want to get off it/them. I don’t have to do any research to decide which herb would help – their problem is visibly apparent to me. Ninety percent of all these people are 50 to 100 pounds or more overweight!  There’s a commercial on TV for a weight-loss plan where one of the participants quotes her doctor as saying, “you need to lose weight or you will die“.  It’s not far off the truth.

No, no one is ever going to die from being overweight. It’s the complications from the stress you’re putting on your body that’ll get you.  Complications of obesity (from the Mayo Clinic) include cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Let me give you some statistics: if you’re 30 pounds overweight, you’re 53 times more likely to develop diabetes and 30% more likely to develop high blood pressure, both of which can contribute to heart disease.  The stress the extra weight puts on your joints (especially knees and ankles) makes you up to five times as likely to develop osteoarthritis.

The people I see in this condition do nothing but get PO’d at me for suggesting they lose weight. “You sound like my doctor,” they say.  For a change, I’m going to agree. Losing just 10 percent of body fat can lower blood pressure by the same percentage or more. Same goes with blood sugar levels. The other retort I get is “You’re skinny. You don’t understand.” These people have never seen my little mother with the wide butt and a couple of weight-related health issues. Someone I don’t want to look like when I get to be her age.

So, I’m going to continue to suggest that people quit eating unhealthily and get some exercise. Cutting just 100 calories a day from the diet or utilizing 100 more calories per day leads to a weight loss of 10 pounds in about a year. Changing from mostly meat to mostly vegetables (just rearrange portion sizes) helps. Eat 5-6 small meals a day instead of three huge ones.

I know it’s pretty difficult to move a lot of weight around (we have two obese cats – wish I could have this conversation with them) but just getting up off the couch and going for a 10 minute walk each day, or taking one flight of stairs once a day instead of the elevator is a start.  When we moved into our new house (that I designed), I cursed myself for putting my shop in the basement and my office in the loft.  Two flights of stairs between each and I make many trips each day. Although I’ve been fairly active my whole life, that was a lot of exercise! However, after a couple of weeks of being forced to take the stairs to work, I discovered my leg muscles had toned and I wasn’t quite as out of breath from each trip. I can now make the trip from office to shop and back easily. The same thing holds true for people who are overweight.  When the 10 minute walk becomes easy, make it 15. When the stairs once a day is no problem, do it twice.  Just a little bit leads to a little more.

Some herbs that can help with weight loss are noted here. However, you need to be aware that many of these herbs are diuretic or laxative in nature – do your research and think of the consequences before starting on any herbal therapy (talking with your doctor isn’t a bad idea, either). One that’s not mentioned is Hibiscus Hibiscus sabdariffa. A couple of research studies in the last few years have suggested that Hibiscus could indeed help with weight loss.  We already know it can help with high blood pressure.

So, instead of hating me for saying the same thing the doctor says, I wish these people would get off their rear ends, pay attention to their diet and start moving a little.  I think they’d be pleasantly surprised at the results.


  • Mary Posted May 20, 2010 12:48 pm

    I agree!!!!!! 100%! One thing that I noticed the other day while looking an old photograph of Trade Day in Collinsville back in the 60’s was that EVERYBODY was skinny! Granted it was mostly men there in those days, but they were all “wirey”. They worked hard, ate food they raised (in season or put up) and burned the calories they ate. Granted, sometimes they died early from heart attacks or something, but it wasn’t caused by excess weight. Kids no longer play outside, and us adults sit at desks all day. A person I know who is overweight had a DNA test done to see what kind of diet she should be on… I almost laughed when she got her results back. It said “eat less, exercise more”. Her excuse is she can’t exercise anymore than she does because it hurts. *sigh* Anyway… good article!

  • Samantha Posted June 1, 2010 7:33 am

    Amen. I get irate on an almost daily basis about people who are clearly overweight (I mean seriously obese) and are either complaining about health issues or whining about how they don’t like exercise. It’s just so … disrespectful. To themselves! To the body and the life that they have. News flash: you don’t get another one when you wear this one out. Not really.
    Now, understand, I loves me some junk food, and would gladly live on ice cream if I could. But I like being healthy, and like being active, so I curb my desire for bagels with loads of cream cheese, and french fries, etc. and I try to get some exercise every day. I’m not skinny – never have been. But I am fit, and I like it that way. AND, I’m healthy – a fact that I’m sorry to say seems to surprise most doctors. It saddens me, the look I get when asked the question “…and what medications do you take?” Um, none. I take vitamins. Doctors (Doctors!!) actually look somehow surprised that I have somehow managed to reach 35 years of age without any sort of allergies or health complications.

    Having a body and keeping it healthy is a responsibility. It takes work! Sometimes, you play, but you can’t play all the time … I think people don’t realize that. I wish I’d realized it sooner, really. But, better late than never.

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