I have a few friends who are morbidly obese. Having experienced the garden variety of obesity going through 60 pound weight fluctuations and trying to diet, I reached 240 pounds. At 5'5.6" my BMI was listed on Table 2. That table was for the morbidly obese. My BMI was around 40. For my height, a normal BMI should be between 19-24. I was so out of control, but I couldn't get out from under the emotional, psychological and physical suffocation of my overeating. I loved to eat. And eat I did!
So I understand what the obese are going through up to a point. Fortunately, I never experienced the physical disabilities my two friends experienced a good part of their lives, finding it difficult to walk or move. I remained active, though I was easily winded climbing 3 flights of stairs. I played tennis, but it was Doubles and I let others run the ball down, happy to cover half a court. My knees did ache. I had to take two Advils before and after I played. I had reflux when I overate and would wake up having aspirated food into my lungs. I had asthma. I also had yearly colds which developed into bronchitis as well as sinus infections. Still, I overate.
|I was addicted to gluten products like scones, pastries, pasta and especially breads.|
|Weight Watchers didn't work for me. I used my own weight loss plan; no pills, nada.|
With my normal weight, 20-21 BMI, I can climb 5 flights of stairs without breathing heavily. I have won three tennis leagues in first and second place and I continue to enjoy great health and happiness. How are my friends?
My friends are still obese even though two had lap band surgery. One lost about 60 pounds and the other close to 90 pounds, but they have gained and lost the same 10-30 pounds after the initial weight loss because they have learned to accommodate their lap bands; they graze during the day, eating foods that they can get down easily with the lap band. My morbidly obese friend has had hip replacement and now has to have knee replacement. My friend used a golf cart to get around because her hip had disintegrated from a combination of weight and arthritis. After the hip replacement she was better, but now her knees and back are going. Unless they can arrest their obesity they will most likely have to use handicapped motorized devices to get around indefinitely. They may even have to outfit a new accessible vehicle to accommodate their condition, especially if it becomes very painful or impossible to get in and out of a car. Many find such vans the only way to negotiate debilities safely, especially if individuals are not in large urban areas that have accommodating wheelchair buses or community accessibility conveyances. My friends are with it baby boomers and are not incapacitated. Handicapped accessible vehicles will provide hope for them to stay mobile and connected to friends and community in the next decade if they are unable to alter their current lifestyle path.
|An obese man with dangerous weight around his middle.|
My fear for both is the known complications that can arise from obesity like Type II diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart ailments (my friend needed a pacemaker at 61) and cancer. One high school classmate who had been morbidly obese and was walking with a cane when I last saw her had cancer and died. She was in her 50s. The downward cycle can happen quickly if one is relegated to a wheel chair after a limb amputation and one continues to overeat.
|A patient being treated for morbid obesity; a view of the foot and leg.|
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