Tipping the scales…in your favor

feeling green & great   Are you fit or fat?  There are any number of devices to help you determine what you should already know.   Commentary from the “What’s your excuse?” FACEBOOK fit mom, or stick figures which could double as wire hangers, need not apply.  From body mass index to waist to hip ratio, skinfold measurements to scales, choose your poison.

Equally, there are just as many apps and gadgets which measure heart rate, count your steps, map your run, etc., to get you fit.  Yet the question still plaguing me is this:   Why do we still, have such difficulty losing weight? AND keeping it off?

This is my third installment regarding women & heart disease.  Therefore, I’m really interested as to why women, more so than our male counterparts, still end up on the losing side of this struggle.  I realize men face their own issues.  Not making light of that.  Women however, as I’ve stated before, are woefully understudied.   However they succumb to complications of heart disease as much if not more than men.  Why?  And why are we endlessly pursuing the “weight quest” with marginal success?

STOP & DROP

I realize this topic goes beyond that of a fitness blog, even for a registered nurse.  Who better though, to address the correlation between weight, stress, women, and heart disease–if not a registered nurse AND personal trainer?

As covered last post, we face unique stressors.  Starting at puberty and ending with menopause, and for many of us pregnancy, women face many challenges.  But we already knew that.  It often translates into weight woes.  But does it have to be this way?  Does this extra baggage carry more ominous repercussions? More than disliking ourselves in a dressing room mirror?  Yes it does.  Does it have to be that way?  Absolutely not.  If you stop and think, you drop the link.  Let me explain.

There is a correlation between insulin resistance and obesity.  Insulin is what keeps your blood sugar in check.  For every pound for which you are overweight, your insulin sensitivity shifts to the negative; meaning resistance.  That is the link/theory behind Type II diabetes and being overweight.  For every few pounds you drop, your insulin sensitivity rises.  What does this mean to women specifically?  Some research suggests obese women are more insulin resistant than men.  While theories abound as to why, the above mentioned, uniquely female stressors may play a role.  For me, this represents PART ONE of STOP AND THINK.

What is PART TWO?  Tune in next time, for discussion of one of my favorite things.  BBQ ribs and sweet potato pie will have to wait.  Let’s get the weight off first.  Then..we can talk.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

Taking the risk out of risk factor; keeping the factor

healthy living beach heart    We’ve all heard this before.  Stop smoking.  Lose weight.  Make better food choices.  Exercise more.  If you haven’t been exposed to these ad nauseam, not sure where you’ve been.   If lulled into a deep sleep by their repetition; WAKE UP.

THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES

Women have been neglected woefully so, when it comes to heart disease–especially risk factors.  Clinical trials as well, are usually based upon white males.  That’s changing–but not soon enough.  Being non-white and non-male, this is a topic I choose to spend time on.  You may ask “what place does this have on a fitness blog?”  I could respond in many ways; but I’ll set aside my sarcastic self, at least temporarily.

As a dialysis nurse, I was confronted daily with the effects of diabetes and hypertension.  These two respectively, are the number one and two contributors to kidney failure.  If you are African-American, possibly Hispanic, start with high blood pressure.   But what does this mean to women specifically? How does this affect women and heart disease?  Does weight play a role?  Short answers–more than you know to the 1st and 2nd question; yep to the third.  If you’re up for more in-depth info, read on.

According to one study, women face obesity challenges more than our male counterparts.  When I first read this, I was skeptical.  However think about what we as women face, that men don’t.  Onset of puberty accompanied by menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth (often more than once or twice), and menopause.  Some of these are controllable, others not so much.  Now the add-ons.  Stress, depression (diagnosed more often in women), and food choices; perhaps lack thereof.  Clearer picture of why we face weight issues?  One more–allowing societal images to dictate how we should look–most likely male driven.  Ok, scratch most likely.  Darn that old sarcastic self–it rears its ugly head again.

OUR UNIQUE STRESSORS

WOMAN, perhaps mother, wife, entrepreneur, breadwinner, and caregiver, not to mention the expectation of being a size 2 five minutes after childbirth…you get the idea.  Again, these are the add-ons.  Think these are major contributors to elevated blood pressure?  What about diabetes?  Obesity?  Is it any wonder why statistically, women are more at risk for heart disease?  We haven’t even touched on ethnic differentials, sleep deprivation and effects on BP, alcohol consumption, and metabolic syndrome–to name a few.   All of which have far different ramifications for women, than men.

Other stories though, for another time.

So what is the factor, minus the risk?  Time for some more short answers.  You, choice, and targeted education.  Short enough?

All for now. Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com