What are the Effects of Obesity?
When considering the effects of obesity: fat makes us lazy, being lazy doesn’t make us fat.
Interesting chicken and egg thought…so is that true?
In my humble opinion, very much so.
This is important to understand because it impacts how we approach fat loss. As we mentioned before, obesity isn’t a character flaw as much as it is a genetic and chemical condition. As we grow fatter, or are genetically disposed to gain more fat, are bodies hit a wall.
While it takes strong character to make the right health decisions, it is also true that as you have an easier road ahead of you if you already have less fat or are genetically gifted to do so.
This is important as we go through some of the results of gaining fat. It means you shouldn’t beat yourself up for being a bad person, but it also helps you to know there are actions you can take to gain control of the situation.
There is no doubt that the health effects of obesity are devastating both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Let’s talk about how impactful this disease is and lead into what you can do about it.
Gluttony and Sloth
These two seem like a “duh” statement when it comes to side effects of obesity, but gluttony and sloth may not be what you think. Gluttony and sloth have a higher chance of happening because someone is already fat; it is not the cause of fat as many would have you believe. This is why you see so much psychological and hypnotic therapy to help fight this battle. You also see a lot of depression, guilt and medication because people feel like a failure.
The truth is you shouldn’t be that hard on yourself. Yes part of it is your choices, but part of it is just who you are. You may lose fat slower than others or put it on more in certain areas compared to others. It is worth understanding, but not getting down about.
In either direction you go, it physically and emotionally becomes easier to keep going down that path. As you gain fat it makes it harder to lose fat because your body craves more and more grains and sugar, while wanting more sleep and less exercise. With more fat cells trying to preserve energy, it becomes harder to exert energy because your body wants to rest more often.
The exact opposite is the case for people that are lean. They have less fat cells, and therefore a stronger desire to exert more energy. They will be apt to eat less bad food because they are already lean.
Whatever will make us fatter and heavier, will also make us overeat or expend less energy. This is something all of you dealt with at least one time in your life: when you grew up.
As children and teenagers grow, they are stacking body tissue like a drug cartel stacks dollar bills. That means they probably need excess calories to counter the effect of their growth hormones. It is like their bodies are having daily workouts without their approval. They get hungry and they also get really sleepy. They need both badly to deal with the rollercoaster their bodies are putting them through.
So yes they have an excuse now why they lay on the couch until noon and then wake up only to go to town on your fridge. Their bodies are literally pleading for more food and sleep.
Based on decisions we make when faced with the type of foods we eat, will dictate how our body responds both short term and long term. Either way you go; fat or lean, there is one thing for certain: it gets easier to keep going down that path.
This is the process of your body becoming sensitive to insulin. This is a very bad thing and maybe one of the worst physical effects of obesity on the body.
It leads to a condition that is known as metabolic syndrome. Two of the first signs of metabolic syndrome are obesity and diabetes. As you get more obese, you also have a higher percentage chance of becoming diabetic. Both of these lead to long term chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and dementia.
As you secrete more insulin, the more likely your cells and tissue will become resistant to insulin or desensitized just like a manager that gives up on the high maintenance employee. Now it will take even more insulin to keep your blood sugar under control as your body gets pummeled with more and more glucose. Your cells make the decision after a while that they don’t want any more glucose, because there can be even too much for them. The situation becomes toxic.
Your pancreas responds by pumping out more insulin. When a lot of insulin is secreted, your body becomes used to it and as it needs more insulin, the amounts increase to keep blood sugar in check.
Cells then respond differently to insulin. Fat, muscle, and liver cells don’t become resistant at the same time or in the same way. This means that certain cells(fat cells) will take on more fatty acids and potentially get bigger, at a faster rate and release less fat into the blood stream.
As you get older, you get more insulin resistant. Your hormones aren’t as strong as they used to be. Muscle cells tend to become resistant faster. That means you will produce more insulin and more carbs will be stored as fat in your body. Your metabolism starts to slow down because you are more prone to getting fat. Your LDL cholesterol and blood pressure tend to go up, while your HDL levels tend to go down.
Your heart and arteries are paying the price. They get more and more clogged by plaque. This leads to a stroke or a heart attack. All in all obesity is a tough job to deal with.
Sins of the Parents Passed to the Children
Debt isn’t the only thing you can pass on to your children. Genes, whether good or bad come as well. We often think this just applies to only things like disease and height. We for some reason ignore that hormones, enzymes and how cells respond are major factors in that genetic offering we give our kids. Whether you believe it or not, we actually have a huge say in the matter as far as what sort of genetic disposition we give our kids.
More children are obese now than ever before. What is crazy is that there is now an epidemic of obese infants. These infants obviously didn’t make early conscious efforts to overeat Krispy Kreme doughnuts. No that is on mom and dad.
Our genes control insulin secretion. By eating poorly a parent will negatively impact the genetic makeup of the child, especially the pregnant mother as studies have shown. Children in the womb are provided with nutrients through the placenta and the umbilical cord (I am sure you all knew that). This means the higher the level of the blood sugar by the mother, the more glucose that unborn child gets. The child produces more insulin and insulin secreting cells based on the higher blood sugar in the pregnant mother. It also impacts how quickly and aggressively a child becomes insulin resistant as they grow up.
So why the infant obesity epidemic? We did it. As we got fatter as a society, we began to program our children from their first few months to even get fatter still. Our children and their children will pay a price for our sugary sins and each successive generation will pay a price for our decisions. This is why obesity rates have skyrocketed.
This is also why the negative effects of obesity are so catastrophic not only for ourselves, but also for the ones that we love. This can lead even to psychological effects of obesity between parents and children. Each of them blaming or feeling at fault for their heavy situation.
Getting Hungry and It Isn’t Even Your Lunch Break
Just thinking about food causes us to secrete insulin and makes us even more hungry (scary huh?). It temporarily moves nutrients out of circulation and into storage in the fat tissue. Oh goody. This makes us savor the first bite more than we would.
The greater the insulin response, the more we like it and the better we think that food tastes. We crave it at almost any cost. It is as though we would hug our hated boss for it!
Well I don’t need to tell you if you have struggled with fat loss before. The craving grows larger as we become larger because we have to secrete even more insulin to handle the amount of energy we need with the large weight we are carrying.
Not only does this insulin release in the liver result in cravings from our stomach, but there are also effects in the brain. We already talked about the research Eric Stice, a neuroscientist at the Oregon Research Institute, is performing on the brain connecting sugar and addiction coming from the brain.
Also according to researcher Bartley Hoebel at Princeton University, when you eat sugar it triggers the same response mechanism (reward center) in the brain that is also triggered by coke, alcohol, and nicotine. Sugar and grains seem to impact this reward center to a much higher degree than other foods, while blocking the hormones (leptin and PYY) that make us stop eating. Simply put, sugar is a drug that leads to obesity.
As you can see obesity is a dangerous proposition. You can influence it greatly, but your level of influence is dictated by your genetics. You can break this cycle and build momentum toward getting lean just like you built momentum toward getting fat. It is just going to take some diligence and patience.
The Cause of the Effects of Obesty
In the next post, we will talk further about grains, sugar and some other sneaky obstacles that make use fat so we can further understand the cause and effects of obesity.