Obesity, the biology behind it, and its health effects

If you are overweight, weight loss will improve your health because it is easier to breathe when you are within the normal weight range.

Overweight lowers immunity, makes breathing more difficult, and causes shortness of breath. Since abdominal fat interferes with the mechanics of breathing, weight loss will relieve shortness of breath. 

Some people are more prone to becoming overweight than others. Genetics and learned habits affect appetite regulation. As a result of human evolution, the body is biologically programmed to resist conscious efforts to lose weight. When you lose weight, your gut will secrete more hunger hormones and fewer satiety hormones. Your body will also try to lower the basal metabolic rate. 

Overweight people have fewer satiety hormones in the bloodstream after a meal than people within the normal weight range. What this means in everyday terms is that overweight people still feel hungry after eating, which makes estimating the right portion size difficult. Emotional eating complicates things even further, as food triggers emotions in us that are connected to the brain’s reward systems. 

Excess weight puts a strain on the joints and makes physical activity more difficult. Being overweight also increases the risk of developing more than 30 diseases, the most common of which are type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, asthma, and sleep apnoea. Being overweight also increases the risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms and the risk of hospitalisation.

Individuals should not be blamed for being overweight since obesity can be the result of various biological, social, and cultural factors. 

Body weight is a very personal and complex matter. It is not just a health issue, because everyone wants to be in good health.

When we think or talk about our own weight or someone else’s weight, our intentions are often good and health-related. There are situations where it is necessary to bring up the subject of weight and other situations where it is better not to talk about it at all. People’s relationship with food, nutrition, and their own bodies varies.

Body weight and size are never just about how much you eat and exercise. Even getting on the scale can trigger an emotional reaction, positive or negative.

Other people telling us to restrict our eating in one way or another or us trying to fit our bodies in a mould that they do not fit into only takes us further away from intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is all about learning and finding the eating habits and rhythm that are right for you and your body, and eating a varied and balanced diet without guilt.

If a person is overweight, dieting rarely leads to good overall well-being and permanent healthy lifestyles that support weight management. Instead, you can find the road to feeling good and finding your ideal weight if you learn to take care of yourself and get support from your loved ones. 

Although there are health risks associated with body weight, it is also important to remember the importance of mental well-being for overall health. That means learning to respect your body’s needs and cues and saying nice things about yourself, no matter what the number on the scale is. People are more than their weight, so drawing conclusions based on someone’s body weight and size is questionable.

Things that support well-being: 

  • appreciating yourself and your body; mental well-being 
  • getting enough rest and sleeping well 
  • having a healthy relationship with food and finding the right exercise routine for you.