*The content of this post is not meant to be taken as medical advice. Please, ask your medical provider for recommendations and precautions before starting any new exercise or diet plan. This is intended for informational purposes only.
Did you go to the doctor for your regular check-up and discover you have metabolic disorder? It's an odd, increasingly used term. Maybe you're thinking it's the cause of your weight gain. But reality is, weight gain is linked tightly to the chronic health conditions you may face.You aren't alone. According to the CDC, about 1/3 of Americans are overweight to obese,and that number is rising. Obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or more. Doctors are diagnosing patients with metabolic syndrome more often. Now it is directly affects you and the people you love. The good news is you can improve your health and get metabolic syndrome under control.
What is it?
Metabolic Syndrome, according to the American College of Sport Medicine, is a group of conditions linked to people considered obese- high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high levels of LDL cholesterol, low levels of LDL cholesterol, and high body fat in the mid-section. Men with a waist circumference of 40 inches and women with 35 inches are at greatest risk. Also connected with these factors are increased overall inflammation which can lead to other chronic diseases, such as kidney disease, fatty liver disease, and cancer. This has come about as the result of unhealthy eating habits and low activity levels. When these are coupled with low levels of physical activity, it is only a matter of time before a heart attack or stroke can happen. Our sedentary lifestyle is slowly killing us because we aren't moving as much as God intended. Our easy to grab foods certainly aren't helping. Jobs, modes of transportation, cost of food, among many other reasons, have changed the outlook on our health.
What does that look like for you?
You may be on blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cholesterol medications, or at least warned to change your eating habits and exercise. This syndrome is expensive for you in a number of ways. Americans with this syndrome pay out at least $1,429 more a year than those without it. It also costs through lost work days and reduced mobility which affects our time with our kids and spouses. I've done a lot of fitness assessments with people who fit this category. Sadly, quite a few of them were under 40. You are at risk for heart attack and stroke at a younger age. It can ultimately cost you your life. What a scary prospect!
What can you do now?
A lot, actually. You will need to follow the doctor's orders: exercise and change your diet. It sound easy, but it really isn't because it will require a total lifestyle change. Your family and friends are used to you as you were before. It will take time for them to adjust. When they realize how it important it is for you to be around longer for them, they are likely to support your lifestyle change.
Sitting most of the time is horrible on your health. Walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and weight training all help reduce your risk factors. I usually recommend working with a personal trainer who understands how to help individuals with metabolic syndrome. We are all trained how to work with people who are overweight, but this takes someone understands how to work with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and the toll your body is taking from the excess weight. It also requires no intimidation, but lots of motivation and encouragement for a successful start.
If you decide to start out on your own, you need to understand the effects of exercise on people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and higher body weight. With high blood pressure, if you are on medications, your heart rate will not reflect what is really going on with your heart. It will not be accurate for the exertion you will feel. Your blood pressure can drop when you finish cardiovascular exercise, so there are precautions you need to follow. With diabetes, you need to avoid causing your blood sugar to crash. With the additional body fat, it puts a strain on your cardiovascular system and your joints. You may also feel very self-conscious in the gym around people who exercise regularly.
Second, you need to stay out of the fast food drive through lane and the prepared food section of the grocery store. There is a lot of fat, sugar, and salt in these foods. Follow the diet plan your physician recommends. Also, the DASH eating plan and MyPlate.gov are very helpful. Eating meals at home together as a family that you prepare will help tremendously. If you need help finding recipes that are healthy and tasty, try WebMd Healthy Recipe Finder.
Third, start looking up. It's easy to let life get us down. We have a God in Heaven who cares about what bothers you. You are worth more than the numbers on your scale or the size clothing you wear. Many of my clients who were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome suffered divorce, job loss, or death of a loved one that overwhelmed them. These events triggered unhealthy eating habits which triggered their weight gain and health conditions. If you feel depressed about this condition, your pastor or a licensed Christian clinical counselor may be very helpful. They can help you sort what is eating at you and help you find an effective action plan, as well. You are a very valuable person.
Here are some basic exercise guidelines for people with metabolic syndrome:
Helpful tips for food:
This syndrome can be brought under control. If you start feeling dizzy more often, talk to your doctor since your blood pressure is likely to improve with regular exercise. Test your blood sugar regularly and record it every time. You may need your medications adjusted at some point. Take this information to your doctor's appointments. You will notice a big difference in how you feel and look within a month or two of regular healthy eating and exercise. May God bless you in your pursuit of health!
Sites to see:
American Diabetic Association
American Heart Association