Weighty Woes

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Photo by John Canelis on Unsplash

Thin is in

I have been watching This Is Us recently, and the character Kate is obese. She has been overweight since she was a child, and she has constantly struggled with it, not just as a physiological health problem, but in the way it has affected her self image and confidence.

In modern society, thin is associated with sexy and beautiful and the idea is reinforced by models, actresses and advertisements. In a society where women are judged by their looks, there is a lot of pressure on them to be thin.

Yet, the World Health Organization reports higher rates of obesity in women worldwide with it being twice as much as in, men in some parts of the world.

Truth is that obesity can cause lot of serious health problems. But unfortunately the spotlight is on the optics, instead of health, and that causes teenagers, as well as older women to resort to unhealthy desperate measures of quick weight loss, like crash diets and sudden and intense exercise routines. These approaches can do more harm than good.

A weighty problem for women

When it comes to our bodies, women have been handed a pretty raw deal. We menstruate every month for about 3 decades, go through pregnancy that puts a huge strain on the body, and then endure a host of uncomfortable symptoms that lasts for several years during menopause.

And now I learn that women's bodies are designed to store up fat for hard times and food shortages so they can create and nurture new lives. On average healthy men have 15 to 18 percent of fat while women have 22 to 25 percent. Estrogen reduces a woman's ability to burn energy after eating resulting in fat being stored in the body. So during puberty, when the body starts getting ready for child bearing, estrogen levels rise. While this may have been an advantage in prehistoric and nomadic times, when food was in short supply, in modern food rich environments, it puts women at risk for obesity.

Surprisingly, according to this post, being in a relationship also increases the risk for women being overweight.

It's quite serious

If you have been reading all my posts, you already know that being over weight increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and gestational diabetes. It also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, some cancers, gallstones, gout, osteoarthritis, insomnia and lung disease.

Postpartum struggle

During pregnancy, I had a really hard time putting on weight, because of severe morning sickness and managed to put on only the bare minimum. On the bright side I had very little to shed and was back to my pgre-pregnancy weight in a couple of months. When I walked in the evenings carrying my daughter, many women told me I was really lucky to lose the weight so quickly.

Ideally, one should lose excess pregnancy weight within 6 to 12 months after child birth. But for many women, losing pregnancy weight can be a challenge. As a new mom, sleep deprivation along with little time to devote to healthy eating and exercise complicates matters. Breastfeeding can help but doesn't always work out.

At this time, it is important to take it easy, and figure out a long term plan for healthy weight loss and be patient and not give up or lose hope. If in spite of consistently following a healthy diet and exercise routine, one is not able to shed the weight, one should consult a doctor to rectify any underlying problems like hypothyroidism. Postpartum depression too could make it harder to lose pregnancy weight.

Menopause

Menopause and the last couple of years of perimenopause, is a time the estrogen levels in the body come down and so you might think it would prevent weight gain, but it is also the time when metabolism slows down, sometimes quite dramatically, leading to weight gain.

I am thrilled to be participating in the A to Z blogging challenge 2018.

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Tags: social, women, AtoZ Challenge, teen, gender bias, health, pregnancy