Do I need to lose weight?
This is the most frequently non-asked question I hear in my practice. I say “non-asked” because this is the most under-addressed problem in healthcare. Many patients take offense to doctors addressing their weight, and others simply ignore advice.
What wrong with a little extra weight? Is it really that big of a deal? Well the phrase “little extra” is poorly defined. Humans should have body fat, but body fat can build to unhealthy levels due to poor habits. We require it as a natural means of cushioning, and energy storage. Natural amounts of body fat does vary due to body composition and genetic heritage. Having body fat is remarkably healthy. However, the amount of body fat is what needs to be addressed. The heavier a human is, the harder the body must function to simply exist. The space occupied by organs is reduced by external body fat, while the joints and muscles receive and increased amount of strain as body weight increases. The latter part of that sentence also applies to humans with a high level of muscular definition. Weight is weight, but muscle takes up much less space than fat. As shown in the image below, bodyfat not only fills out the outside of the body, but will also compress organs on the inside as well. This can potentially alter their function to less than ideal. Any time a human crosses the 27-30% mark for bodyfat, is a problem that needs to be addressed. This isn’t meant to be alarming or offensive, but at that point it’s no longer “by accident” and that person’s health will be continually, negatively impacted.
(Body fat isn’t just an external problem)
An interesting fact about weight loss, when body weight (typically in the form of fat) is lost, 90% of it is lost as CO2. CO2 is blown off at incredible rates while exercising, both cardiovascular and weight lifting (anaerobic) exercises. Extended bouts of exercise raise the heart rate, thus also increasing the respiratory rate. This overall increase in energy use, for repeatedly increasing durations (as previously stated, more METs per week) [Use hot-link from Activity Article) increasing overall wellness and decreases body weight.
As a matter of reference, think of a rusty hinge. Did it rust because it was used a lot? No. It rusted because the hinge rarely moved. Don’t let your body “rust”. Move fast, move often. The more you move now, they easier it will be later. If you don’t move now, the more you’ll have to move later. (and it won’t be easier, later!)
An excellent (general) calculator for your overall fitness is linked here. (https://www.worldfitnesslevel.org/#/start) By answering a couple of questions, you can easily determine your general level of fitness for your age. If the level is outside of the ideal, it’s highly recommended you start moving. If you’re at the designated level, GREAT! Keep it up! If you’re more fit than you should be, even better!
If you want to get active and can’t due to pain, then it’s high time you call my office and make an appointment. Moving shouldn’t hurt. I specialize in restoring proper movement to the body and achieving problem muscular balance to get people moving again.
Changing your diet is ideal and useful, but simply losing weight doesn’t increase muscle. You need both, a reasonable body weight, and a reasonable amount of muscle to live happily. If you want to get started with both, call my office and start your journey to a better you!
Dr. Herrington is always accepting new patients. Call 716-308-2881 and schedule you’re appointment!