Like many people, I struggled with my weight for years before finally getting serious about improving my health. At 5’4” and nearly 200 pounds, I was considered obese with a BMI over 35. I knew carrying extra weight put me at risk for things like heart disease and diabetes, but I didn’t really understand how significantly obesity could affect my health and shorten my life until I faced a major health scare.
After suddenly ending up in the ER with heart palpitations and shortness of breath at age 38, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that put me at high risk for stroke. This was a huge wake up call, and I’m now learning first-hand just how many aspects of health are impacted by obesity.
Being obese, especially in the range of “morbidly obese,” significantly raises your risk for numerous chronic illnesses:
I developed two of these conditions, AFib and high blood pressure, as direct results of my obesity. Just 30 pounds overweight put my health in real jeopardy.
After my ER trip, I met with a dietitian and came up with a plan to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way through calorie counting and carb reduction. I also started exercising 4-5 times a week.
In 6 months, I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds so far and have 30 more to go. But more importantly, I’m already seeing positive impacts:
My BMI decreased from 35 to 31, still obese but no longer morbidly so.
My blood pressure normalized and I was able to stop medication.
My heart rhythm is maintaining sinus rhythm according to my cardiologist.
I have more energy for everyday activities and exercise.
Tests show early improvements in my cholesterol profile.
Losing weight not only helps prevent major diseases, but can reverse some conditions. I still have a ways to go, but feel empowered knowing I have power over my health.
The key points I want others to take from my experience are:
You don’t have to be extremely overweight to face severe obesity health risks like I did. Even 30 extra pounds was enough to trigger major issues.
Losing just 10% of your weight can lead to meaningful health gains like improved cholesterol, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health.
Reversing obesity improves your lifespan and quality of life. I don’t want to cut my life short and miss seeing my future grandkids grow up.
There are obesity treatment options and weight loss support. You don’t have to figure it out alone. I found an obesity medicine specialist who provides guidance.
If you are struggling with obesity like I have, don’t wait for a health crisis to take action. Even small steps create positive momentum. Prioritize your health today for a happier future.