A few years ago, I needed a new pair of blue jeans, and what I ran into at that Beall's department store was devastating.
Although I was rail-thin in high school, graduated to slender in my young adulthood, and then worked myself into terrific shape with regular gym visits and excellent eating habits throughout my 30s and 40s, things began to slide a little as I moved through my fifth decade.
The pounds began to accumulate, and my waist size slowly increased -- from 32, to 34, to 36, to stretchy-36, then 38, and stretchy-38. I vowed never, never, ever to get so fat that I would have to buy size 40.
Then came that shopping trips for new jeans.
Long story short, I nearly cried when I lay those 40-waist Levi's across the checkout counter.
At that time, I'm sure I qualified as obese. My BMI (body mass index) was no doubt well above the minimum 30.0 number that classifies a person as obese, which is defined as grossly fat or overweight. Although BMI is a common measurement used to determine whether someone's weight is within normal guidelines for their height, it can also be misleading -- if a person has a lot of muscle mass, for example. Such was not the case for me, unfortunately. My excess weight had nothing to do with muscle.
If you're interesting in determining your BMI, click HERE for a calculator.
Things have improved tremendously for me since then -- although I still have a few pounds to go -- but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 93.3 million U.S. adults are considered obese, and related health problems include such things as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
Of course, exercise is one solution for being overweight, but the primary culprit in most cases is the simple fact that people eat too much. There are exceptions, in the case of certain health conditions, but basically, If you consume more calories than your body uses, you gain weight. It's that simple.
Tomorrow, I'll talk some about nutrition, and what it takes to hang up those fat pants for good.