Like millions of other Americans, I struggle with my weight. Unfortunately for my figure, my mother (as was her mother before her) is a world class cook. I wish I could say that the food we consumed growing up was “healthy” but it was, in fact, sin on a platter and the federal government would probably have stamped cholesterol warnings all over it. As a result, consumption of rich (and totally delicious!) foods, became a part of our family ritual which carried over into adult life in terms of a little more natural padding than most would care to carry. Not surprisingly, what was a little extra padding in my 20s eventually became a weight problem.
There is certainly no doubt that obesity is not only bad for your overall health and contributes to the development of many serious diseases and conditions, but it’s also a risk factor for heart disease. Like so many before me, when an early menopause hit, risk factors for heart disease took on a whole new meaning as I struggled to lose those extra pounds. Despite the fact that I may look like the stay-puft-marshmallow-girl, I’m religious about exercise and work out an hour a day five times a week. The problem is that even though I’m working out and working hard (resistance training, cycling or spin classes, aerobics, NIA, kick boxing and so forth), I’m not really losing any significant weight. Even though I love the exercise classes, I’ve been left wondering just how beneficial they are to my health, particularly with respect to improving my heart health, if there’s no accompanying weight loss. Researchers at the University of Missouri have answered that question.
There’s certainly no doubt that losing weight is beneficial to your health. Keeping the weight off long-term is problematic for most of us. Keeping the weight loss-weight gain yo-yo cycle in mind, the University of Missouri Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology took a different approach to health by asking a simple question: Other than weight loss, what steps can be taken to maintain good health even when there is weight gain?