There are many ways to define obesity. Some are based on research; others are on culture and societal standards.
Some focus just on weight without talking about its causes or effects. Some sources define obesity as a condition based on a BMI of 30 and above. Weight can affect all areas of a person’s life and affects everyone differently.
For some people, obesity is when your weight affects the quality of your life, the way your body functions, your enjoyment with family and friends, and your ability to do your job.
Something to think about ...
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How is your weight affecting your life?
Check the statements that you relate to:
It affects my:
Identify How Your Weight May Be Affecting Your Quality of Life
If you look at steps forward in terms of the quality of your life and health, you’ll see it as more than numbers on a scale. Although your BMI measures health risk, your health can’t be limited to one number. If you think about your weight within the bigger health picture, what does a healthy weight look like to you?
The scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That’s it. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love.
Adapted from Steve Maroboli
Your healthy weight is what you can reach and stay at while living the healthiest lifestyle that you can truly enjoy. This may not be your ‘ideal’ or ‘normal’ weight. For example, ideal weight may be the weight you would really like to be or the weight the charts say is ‘normal’ for your age and height.
Although changes to your life might take time to begin and get comfortable with, you can find a weight that improves your health and reduces your health risks. Here are examples of how others came to terms with their weight expectations.
Todd wanted to reach his target weight so he quit going out for beers with his buddies and didn’t go to family events where meals were being served. Todd also started going to the gym every day after work. He realized that his lifestyle choices didn’t line up with his values. He needed social and family interactions as part of his social support and healthy lifestyle. So instead, he planned how to handle certain events with his buddies and his family and adjusted his weight target to one that suited him best.
Sue once wanted to lose weight to fit into her favourite jeans from high school. But now she really wants to have more energy to play with her kids. Her healthy weight was actually between the weight she is now and her ideal weight. It was more about improving her fitness and health than the number on a scale or clothes size.
At her yearly doctor appointment, Peggy talked about her concerns and her wish to lose weight. After making some lifestyle changes and losing about 15 pounds (about 5% of her weight), her blood pressure went down to normal. Peggy found a healthier weight where she felt good and her test results were normal even though her BMI was still above the normal range.
You may not need to lose a lot of weight to feel healthy.
For some, a BMI still above the normal range can mean enjoying life and being healthy. Your healthy weight is something you can feel good about and stay at over time.