obesity

Obesity & Type 2 Diabetes

By Kelly Ann Raver, MS
NAMSCP.org Art & Marketing Director

A Little About My History

I used to be obese. I grew up with a lot of restriction on food. My mother would make us ask if we were going to open the refrigerator for anything we wanted, even a glass of milk. My mother was obese, too. She ended up with Type 2 Diabetes. I ended up having pre-diabetes, sleep apnea, plantar fasciitis, high blood pressure and many other factors that come with obesity. I made a decision after spending most of my life unhealthy to have weight-loss surgery, and have for the most part, kept the weight off for four years now. Weight-loss surgery is not a decision you take lightly, nor is it a decision everyone would make. But there is a direct link between obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, and the end game for Diabetes is not pretty.

Statistics

The CDC National Center for Health Statistics states that between 2017-2018, with an irrelevance in regard to gender, obesity in adults had reached 42.4%. Severe obesity was calculated at 9.2% affecting more women than men.

Inside Your Body

In our bodies we have cells that contain a network of membranes known as endoplasmic reticulum. When we over-eat or eat foods with too many of certain nutrients, it overwhelms the ER, and triggers the cells to reduce the insulin receptors on its surface. This is what is called insulin resistance, and chronic excess of sugar glucose concentrations in our blood which are symptoms of diabetes.

The Reality

While this sounds alarming, it also sounds very scientific. The things that are important, that without getting on a healthy diet, or making changes in your life, diabetes can lead to changes in your skin such as bacterial or fungal infections, neuropathy (pain, pins and needles and numbness of the feet), glaucoma and cataracts or retinopathy in the eyes, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

You can put off your health only for so long. If you are struggling with weight related issues, go to your general practitioner and discuss getting a referral to a registered dietician. You will have to take control of your diet. I know it is difficult because you are so used to making your stomach “full,” that it doesn’t feel natural to feel hungry. Hunger is a natural feeling. Our bodies were never meant to continuously feel full. I have learned that when I am feeling hungry, I drink a glass of water to fill the emptiness until I am supposed to be eating my next meal.

Changing Your Lifestyle

When I decided to have weight-loss surgery, it was a personal decision, but it was just a reset for my stomach to when I was in control. I still need be mindful of what I am eating every day and how much, otherwise I will end up obese again. I know that exercise builds good muscle, but the real key to weight loss is in the diet I eat every day.

We all have decisions to make with regards to food. If you have just spent $40 on junk food in your cabinets, take it all out to the trash. Your health care costs are going to be way more than $40 if you eat all of that. It really is best to just clean up the kitchen of all the stuff you have that is unhealthy. Start looking at the dietary recommendation on labels and aim for the lowest sugar content on EVERYTHING. You would be surprised what contains sugar. It is everywhere. Try to eliminate it from your diet.

Just Do it!

Obesity is a slippery road into Diabetes. Make changes. Make small ones if you must, but you want to be alive to see your children graduate, get married and have their own children. You want to be able to do things you cannot do when you are exhausted from carrying the extra load. Envision yourself thin and see your doctor. Then be strong and commit to your health.

References:

American Diabetes Association (n.d) ADA. Complications. https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/complications

Caroll, M., Fryar, C., Hales, C., & Ogden, C. (n.d) CDC National Centers for Health Statistics. Prevalence of Obesity and Severe Obesity Among Adults: United States, 2017–2018. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db360.htm

Medicinenet (n.d.) Medicinenet. Why does obesity cause diabetes. https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=39840