The reaction to my last post was not what I thought it might be. I think most of my anonymous commenters took the wrong message from it. While I do agree that obesity is a growing problem (no pun intended) in this country, that was NOT the point of my post.
My point was, that the body image associations our society teaches women, is unrealistic and psychologically harmful. Not that I think people should eat what they want and be obese. But, I do think that a healthy body attitude is what is needed, you can be fit and healthy and eat right and exercise and wear a size 14 or 16, or even more.
I think that as women in this country, we are taught that if we are not a size 2 then we are fat, and fat is bad so we are bad. Think about how we talk about food. We eat a piece of chocolate cake and say, "I'm being bad" You are NOT being bad, you may be making a bad food choice but you are not bad yourself. Somewhere along the line I think, we pick up the idea chocolate cake equals bad. I eat chocolate cake equals I am bad. And then we feel guilty or whatever and are hard on ourselves about it. It's not a healthy cycle to be in.
Or think about the clothing industry. If you are larger than a size 10 and have tried shopping, it can be really difficult. Clothing is often cut for smaller women. Or stores don't carry larger sizes. Certain stores (and it's becoming more popular) do not carry sizes above a 12. If you wear a 14 or larger, they tell you to go to a "Women's" store. Well, I am a size 14. And the smallest size at any "Women's" store is WAY too big on me. So I often have a very hard time finding clothing. And the stores are losing out on a lot of business, because there are pleanty of women my size. So what does it teach us? If we're not thin enough then we're not good enough to shop in a regular store, we have to go to a special store. Even if the clothing in the special store doesn't fit. Not a great message.
And we are teaching it to our children. It scare me that young girls are more afraid of being fat than they are of nuclear war, or cancer, or losing their parents. It's scary that eating disorders exist, let alone kill 20% of their sufferers. Isn't it sad that three quarters of this countries women are on a diet, and that we're teaching it to our children younger and younger, high schoolers dieting when they don't need to, 10 year olds dieting because they're so afraid of fat. What is wrong with our society when we teach these things to our children like that? I think, it's just as big of a problem as obesity, if not larger. (Again, no pun intended)
So what is wrong with some fat? Why do we all have to be a size 2 to be beautiful. I'm plagued by these issues as most women are, and I really think it is unhealthy and we need to put some sort of stop to it. THAT was the point of my post. Awareness.
And now onto Anonymous #4's Question: Carie, do overweight people experience additional difficulties recovering from the various conditions that require your PT services?
Anonymous #4, yes. And no. Obesity puts you at higher risk for High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Sleep Apnea, Arthritis, and a whole host of other things. And yes, it will decrease your life span. And yes, obesity in children is becoming a problem and getting worse, which makes all of the above risks higher. So it is a factor in your medical treatment.
I work in a hospital, so I don't usually see the orthopedic end of things, but in my experience, if one is overweight or obese, and has arthritic knees, or hips, or back problems, losing weight will ease the pain, will help the recovery from a joint replacement or back surgery, or maybe prolong the time before the surgery is needed. It definately helps orthopedic wise. Think about this, gravity pulling down on more weight pulls stronger than on less weight. When you walk, your feet exert force onto the ground, but the ground exerts force onto your feet too, which travels up your body. The heavier you are, the more forces exerted, the more likely to have arthritic joints.
As for the not, well I suppose a case could be made that obesity makes it harder to recover from medical stuff. But I'd say it's a factor, not necessarily the whole truth. I've seen both obese and non obese people with the same complications. I think that with obesity the risk facors increase and I think its more the combination of the risk factors that give the real medical healing determinant.
On a similar note, I do see a lot of people post gastric bypass surgery. Which I have mixed feelings about, and could say a lot about. To make it short though, I think it can be a useful tool for weight loss as a LAST RESORT Because it is NOT the easy way out. It's probably the hardest way out. You can't eat more than a few ounces of food at a time for the rest of your life. Exercise is just as if not more important. Diet and nutrition is EXTREMELY important. You are at higher risk for vitamin deficiencies, and osteoporosis. And there are a TON of nasty complications that can go with it. I think it is a useful tool that has become too popular and therefore is being abused. Many patients are shocked whed I tell them the day after surgery that they need to get up and walk with me, and then they have to do it on their own 3x a day. "I walk to the bathroom a lot" "I sit in my chair" (as opposed to the bed) It's hard sometimes to get people to participate, they don't realize that exercise starts day one and it's important. And on that note I'll end my shpiel on gastric bypasses.
So Obesity is a problem and health risks are there. I think what we need to do is educate our children at a young age about the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. No more fast food and video games. We need to show by example to our children these things. And we have to teach them that not everyone can be a size 2 and that's ok.
I hope questions were answered and understanding granted. And on that note, it's time for dinner!