What is Obesity?

Overweight, obesity and morbid obesity result from the excessive accumulation of fat that exceeds the body's skeletal and physical standards. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase in 20 percent or more above your ideal body weight is the point at which excess weight becomes a health risk. Body Mass Index (BMI), a number calculated from a person’s weight and height, can reflect a person’s level of body fat. The formula for calculating BMI is a person’s weight (in pounds) divided by their height (in inches)² x 704. Using BMI, overweight is defined as 25-30, obesity is 30-40 and morbid obesity is BMI over 40.

Morbid Obesity

Obesity becomes "morbid" when it reaches the point of significantly increasing the risk of one or more obesity-related health conditions or serious diseases (also known as co-morbidities) that result either in significant physical disability or even death. According to the National Institutes of Health, an increase in body weight of 20 percent or more above desirable weight is the point at which excess weight becomes an established health hazard.

As you read about morbid obesity you may also see the term "clinically severe obesity" used. Both are descriptions of the same condition and can be used interchangeably. Morbid obesity is typically defined as being 100 lbs. or more over ideal body weight or having a Body Mass Index of 40 or higher. According to the National Institutes of Health Consensus Report, morbid obesity is a serious disease and must be treated as such. It is a chronic disease, meaning that its symptoms build slowly over an extended period of time.

I have struggled with obesity for over fourteen years. I tried Weight Watchers, Optimum Weight Loss Center, Weight Loss programs with professionals, exercise programs, being hypnotized, Bible studies wanting to help people lose weight, the whole gamut. I felt like this struggle would never end. I HAVE to eat in order to survive but the feeling of being out of control when it came to food was never ending.

It wasn't until I walked into an introductory seminar for bariatrics in January 2014 that I truly found HOPE! As I sat and listened to the information being presented, I felt an excitement rising inside of me. HOPE Bariatrics was going to be my lifeline. I started making the appointments necessary to begin this process. I wasn't sure if I would qualify for this program, but I was going for it. As I began to go through the check list and six months of doctor visits, I grew more and more excited about it. I began going to the support group meetings and hearing the stories of others who had bypass surgery. I knew that this wasn't going to be a walk in the park, but I was ready.

It was at one of the support group meetings that I found out that a friend from church was also on this journey to have surgery. It was wonderful to have someone to go through this with. We found out that we were both approved through our insurance and a date was set. The SAME date, we would have surgery on the same day and share a room in the hospital together. Only God could work out something like that! The surgery went well and recovery was difficult, but every day I felt a little better. I had a whole new way of eating, drinking, taking vitamins and exercising. I needed to set alarms on my phone to remind me to take vitamins. I was now looking at labels to check for the amount of sugar, calories and protein. I needed be eating/drinking 60-80 grams of protein a day to help with the burning of fat.

With the support of those from HOPE Bariatrics, family, friends and those who have had the surgery, I have come a long way. I am one year out from my procedure and have gone down 14 sizes and 90 pounds. I have so much more energy and I feel better. I actually look forward to exercising and showing my kids that I can water/snow ski. I enjoy jumping on the trampoline and being active with them.

I know that I still have to follow the program and watch what and how much I eat. This will have to continue for the rest of my life, but it's worth it. I don't ever want to be obese again! If you are reading this and wondering if this is something you should do, I say, YES, DO IT! The only regret that I have is that I didn't do it years ago.

- Kristan

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