What’s concerning in America is that almost everyone is overweight, obese, or borderline overweight. The coronavirus pandemic has greatly highlighted how dangerous it can be to be overweight or obese. As I grow older and now have two kids to raise, I’ve found myself slowly gaining weight as well. As a result, I’d like to use this post as motivation for all of us to get in better shape!
Besides going through my new year financial checklist every year, I also like to see a doctor at the beginning of the year as well. I figure worst case, if I get extremely unlucky and get cancer, the most I’ll live with the disease untreated is 364 days.
I also spend about $9,120 a year on insurance premiums for a “silver plan.” $760/month seems like a lot for a guy who is relatively healthy. So I figure I might as well get at least something out of it while helping subsidize some of my brothers and sisters who pay less.
MOST PEOPLE ARE BORDERLINE OBESE
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 35.7% of adults are considered to be obese. 6.3% have extreme obesity. While 74 percent are considered to be overweight or obese! These statistics are crazy and have me worried about my own weight.
One of my goals is to get down to 163 lbs from 168 lbs. I’ve always felt that 163 lbs or less was a reasonable weight for someone 5’10”. 163 lbs makes me look and feel good. After all, isn’t how you feel what matters most?
163 lbs isn’t exactly light, but I’m athletically built given my legs and calves are larger than average due to playing so much tennis. Lighter weight means better performance on the court and less stress on the knees. I discovered I had a torn left meniscus about six years ago.
So imagine my surprise when my Ear, Nose, & Throat doctor told me nonchalantly during our conversation about sleep apnea that I could lose a few pounds!
I asked her whether there was a strong correlation with sleep apnea/snoring and weight gain, and she said absolutely. “The typical profile of someone who snores and has sleep apnea is a 50+ year old male who is overweight. Left untreated, sleep apnea is linked to heart disease, cancer, and memory loss. There’s no direct link between sleep apnea and such problems, but there is definitely a correlation.“
Concerning! She asked for my height and current weight to punch into a BMI calculator. I came out at 24.2. She said a BMI above 25 = obese.
I was shocked! She went on to say that I should shoot for a BMI of 20. We went through the calculator to figure out how much a 5’10” male should weigh with a BMI of 20, and it came out to 140 lbs! WTF? I haven’t been 140 lbs since I was in the 7th or 8th grade!
When I told her that 140 lbs sounds ridiculous, she responded, “The problem with living in America is that we have a warped sense of what looks like healthy weight. Most Americans are overweight.“
I agreed with her about perception equaling reality, and told her that instead of trying to shoot for 163 lbs, I’m going to try and get down to 155 lbs (22 BMI) instead per her suggestion. I remember being ripped in high school at 155 lbs, so why not unwind 20 years of fat accumulation to help cure sleep apnea and all its associated problems!
She sardonically responded, “Good luck! You’ve got to change your lifestyle, and that’s no easy task.“
For those wondering, my doctor was female, and around 5’3″ tall, 125 lbs = 22 BMI.
EVERYBODY CHECK YOUR BMI
If you care about your health, you should check your BMI index by punching in your height and weight in this BMI calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
What I realize from the chart is that my doctor misspoke. 25 or greater is characterized as Overweight, not Obese. But I’m not sure being “borderline overweight” makes me feel any better because being called “borderline obese” makes me more motivated to lose weight.
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = 30 – 39.9
Morbidly Obese = 40+
For a healthier life, my doctor recommends everybody shoot for a 20-22 BMI.
Shooting for a 20 BMI is particularly important for those who suffer from, or have a history of, or don’t want to get:
- type 2 diabetes
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (excess fat and inflammation in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol)
- osteoarthritis (a health problem causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in one or more joints)
- some types of cancer: breast, colon, endometrial (related to the uterine lining), and kidney
- memory loss
Besides all the health benefits of being thin, here are the financial benefits I’ve thought of:
- No need to buy an economy plus, business class, or first class airplane ticket
- Sitting in an economy car will feel like sitting in a S550 Mercedes
- Health insurance premiums are cheaper
- Life insurance premiums are cheaper
IDEAL WEIGHT CHART FOR MEN
For those who are too lazy to click on the BMI calculator and punch in two digits, here are two ideal weight charts for men and women based on a BMI of between ~21-25.
* Definition of medium-frame: Your middle finger and thumb just touch when you hold your wrist. You are large-framed if your fingers do not touch. You are small-framed if your fingers overlap.
IDEAL WEIGHT CHART FOR WOMEN
NEED TO HEAR THE TRUTH TO CHANGE
It’s hard to face the truth that I’m borderline overweight/obese, but I had to hear it straight from the doctor’s mouth. We weren’t even talking about my weight when she slipped it in that I could lose a few pounds.
The difficulty of getting to a 20-22 BMI in America is that life is way too easy here. Food is cheap, and we are bombarded with sugar and diary products. An easy life is also another reason why so many of us don’t bother to save or invest as much for our future. We wait until it’s too late to create our mid-life crisis fund or save for retirement.
I’m not sure all our medical advancements can bail us out when we start contracting diseases related to obesity. I surely don’t plan to find out. I’ve revised my 2016 weight loss goal to 155 lbs from 163 lbs. I don’t want to die young!
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Updated for 2021 and beyond.