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A man with weight problems (Obese)

The best ways to avoid being obese and live happily

Being obese is one of the most common health concerns today. It’s not an easy problem to tackle as it requires a lot of self-control and discipline to slim down. But the good news is that there are ways to avoid being obese, and if you do your part, it can be conquered with time.

However, it’s not that easy since there are so many factors that influence our eating habits. In addition to that, obesity isn’t something we can just will ourselves to stop doing. There have to be some external factors working in our favor in order for us to change our habits for the better.

Even though being overweight poses several health risks, it’s not always easy to admit that you have an unhealthy weight. There are many reasons why being obese can be detrimental to your health, but being aware of them is the first step towards recovery.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a condition where an individual has excess adipose (fat) tissue, and this can lead to a wide-ranging list of health and social consequences. Being obese can cause numerous issues, including an increased risk of developing certain types of cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

Obese individuals are also more likely to experience depression and social stigmatization. So, what is obesity, exactly? According to the World Health Organization, obesity is “a serious chronic disease characterized by excessive accumulation of fat mass in the body leading to insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and elevated risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”

Understanding the Body mass index (BMI)

Body mass index (BMI) is often used to diagnose obesity. To calculate BMI, use the formula BMI = kg/m2 where kg is a person’s weight in kilograms and m2 is their height in meters squared. A BMI of 25.0 or more is overweight, while the healthy range is 18.5 to 24.9. BMI applies to most adults 18-65 years.

BMI infographics to help understand what range is considered obese

For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. However, BMI doesn’t directly measure body fat, so some people such as muscular athletes may have a BMI in the obesity category even though they don’t have excessive fat.

Causes of Obesity

Causes of obesity are probably multifactorial and include genetic predisposition. Ultimately, obesity results from a long-standing imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure, including energy utilization for basic metabolic processes and energy expenditure from physical activity.

However, many other factors appear to increase a person’s predisposition to obesity, including, endocrine disruptors, gut microbiome, sleep/wake cycles, and environmental factors.

Unhealthy eating lead to Obesity
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Risk factors that make people obese


It is said that there is a 66% chance of an individual inheriting BMI from his/her predecessors. The various signaling molecules and receptors that the gastrointestinal tract and the hypothalamus utilize to control food intake may be impacted by genetic factors.

Fetal circumstances or heredity may influence a person’s genetic makeup (called genetic imprinting). In Layman’s terms a child is at a higher risk of being obese if his/her parents are obese.


Weight is gained when caloric intake exceeds energy needs. Important determinants of energy intake include Portion sizes and the energy density of the food.

The use of high-calorie foods (such as processed foods), refined carbohydrate diets, soft drinks, fruit juices, and alcohol all contribute to weight gain. Diets rich in fiber, complex carbs, lean proteins, and fresh fruit and vegetables, together with water as the primary fluid, reduce weight gain.

Regulatory factors

Obesity in pregnant mothers, prenatal maternal smoking, and intrauterine growth restriction can interfere with weight regulation and cause weight gain in children and adults later in life. Weight loss in old age is more challenging when obesity lasts through early childhood.

Antibiotic usage in childhood and other elements that change the gut microbiome’s makeup may encourage weight gain and obesity in later life.

Early exposure to several chemicals (such as flame retardants, bisphenol A, smoke from cigarettes, and air pollution) might change metabolic set points through nuclear activation or epigenetics, which increases the likelihood of developing obese.

Adverse childhood events or abuse in early childhood increase risk of several disorders, including obesity. The centers for disease control and prevention`s adverse childhood events study demonstrated that childhood history of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse predicted an 8% increase risk of BMI of above 30 and 17.3% of BMI of above 40. Certain types of abuse carried the strongest risk. For example, frequent verbal abuse had the largest increase in risk (88%) for BMI of above 40. Being often hit and injured increased the risk of BMI above 30 by 71%.

Eating disorders

Obesity may be linked to at least two pathologic eating behaviors:

  • Binge eating is the rapid intake of a big amount of food accompanied by a feeling of lack of control and distress afterwards. The compensatory actions associated with this condition do not entail vomiting. About 3.5% of women and 2% of men experience binge eating disorder throughout their lives, and 10% to 20% of those who enroll in weight-loss programs do as well.
  • Night eating syndrome includes eating in the middle of the night along with morning anorexia, evening hyperphagia, and insomnia. After the evening meal, at least 25% to 50% of the daily intake is consumed. This disorder may be present in 10% of individuals seeking treatment for severe obesity. A hypnotic drug like zolpidem is occasionally used to cause a disorder similar to this one.

More people presumably experience excessive weight gain due to similar but less extreme behaviors. For instance, many people who do not have night eating syndrome gain excessive amounts of weight as a result of eating after a meal in the evening.

Complications of being obese

There are many reasons why you should avoid being obese. Firstly, being obese poses serious health risks. Obesity is a risk factor for several conditions and diseases. Here are some complications of being obese:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Liver disorders (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis [fatty liver], which may lead to cirrhosis)
  • Gallbladder disease (presence of gallstones in the gallbladder [cholelithiasis])
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (episodes of partial or complete closure of the upper airway that occur during sleep and lead to breathing cessation)
  • Reproductive system disorders, including infertility in both sexes and a low serum testosterone level in men
  • Osteoarthritis (disruption and potential loss of joint cartilage along with other joint changes, including bone hypertrophy)
  • Tendon and fascial disorders
  • Social, economic and psychological problems
  • Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor body image, stigma, and discriminations
  • Metabolic syndrome (characterized by a large waist circumference [due to excess abdominal fat], hypertension, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia)

How to avoid being obese

Dietary management

Balanced eating is important for weight loss and maintenance. Strategies include;

  • Eating small meals and avoiding or carefully choosing snacks
  • Substituting fresh fruits and vegetables and salads for refined carbohydrates and processed food
  • Substituting water for soft drinks or juices
  • Limiting alcohol consumption moderate levels
  • Including no-or low-fat diary products, which are part of a healthy diet and help provide an adequate amount of vitamin D

Physical activity

Exercise raises basal metabolic rate, energy expenditure, and diet-induced thermogenesis. Additionally, it appears that exercise controls appetite to better match calorie requirements. Other advantages of physical activity include;

  • Increased insulin sensitivity
  • Improved lipid profile
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better aerobic fitness
  • Improved psychological well-being
  • Decreased risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Increased life expectancy
Physical exercise helps to stay fit
Photo by Chander R on Unsplash

Behavioral interventions

With the help of medical professionals there are various behavioral interventions which can help patients lose weight. They include;

  • Support: this may come from a group, a friend, or family members. Participation in a support group can improve adherence to lifestyle changes.
  • Self-monitoring: this includes keeping a food log (including the number of calories in foods), weighing regularly, and observing and recording behavioral patterns.
  • Stress management: involves learning from your clinician how to identify stressful situations and to develop strategies to manage stress that do not involve eating (eg, going for a walk, meditating, deep breathing)
  • Problem solving: involves identifying and planning ahead for situations that increase the risk of unhealthy eating (eg, travelling, going out to dinner) or that reduce the opportunity for physical activity (eg, driving across country)
  • Stimulus control: involves identifying obstacles to healthy eating and an active lifestyle and developing strategies to overcome them. For example, avoid going by a fast food restaurant. For a more active lifestyle, like taking up an active hobby (eg, gardening), enroll in scheduled group activities (eg, exercise classes, sports teams), walk more, make a habit of taking the stairs instead of elevators.

Treatment Options for the obese

There are drugs that may be used by obese people to help them with their treatment. The drugs include Orlistat, Phentermine, Lorcaserin, Naltrexone/bupropion, Liraglutide, and Semaglutide.

These drugs may be used if BMI is from 30 and above. However, talk to your doctor and he will guide you on proper use of these drugs. Don’t administer these drugs before consulting a physician.

For severely obese, there is a surgery treatment. The procedure is referred to as Bariatric surgery.

Summary on being Obese

Being obese is a serious health risk. It poses multiple issues for both the individual and their loved ones. This is why you should avoid being obese. Obesity can lead to decreased productivity, pain, orthopedic issues, and an increased risk of certain diseases. The good news is that there are many ways to lose weight and improve your health.

It takes discipline and determination to live healthier and avoid being overweight something that anyone can achieve. You should always do your absolute best to stay within the healthy weight range.

That’s it for this article, if you have anything to add or questions kindly write them down and we are going to do our best to answer them. If you find the information in this article useful, share with others. Until next time.

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