Creating a new norm isn’t always a good thing. We’re either pushing the envelope toward a greater good or spreading complacency toward our own demise. Given that approximately 50% of Americans over 40 are living with metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes, we would do well to contemplate what kind of new norm we have created.
Metabolic syndrome isn’t a new catch phrase. It first came on the scene in the 1940’s when Jean Vage recognized a relationship between obesity and metabolic abnormalities. In the decades that followed, its definition has broadened and evolved.
Those living with metabolic syndrome have a cluster of metabolic disorders that increases their risk of future cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. While any one of the risk factors can be problematic in and of itself, it is the combination of three or more that defines metabolic syndrome.
- Abdominal obesity.
A waist circumference (taken 1” above the top of the hip bone) greater than 40” for men and 35” for women is high-risk.
The danger of belly fat is that it wraps around organs and pumps out dangerous hormones and chemicals. Those nasty agents go to work increasing blood pressure, worsening cholesterol levels, slowing metabolism and increasing inflammation.
- Triglyceride levels equal to or greater than 150mg/dL.
- HDL levels less than 40mg/dL in men and 50mg/dL in women.
- Blood pressure greater than 130mmHG for systolic, 85mmHG for diastolic, or both.
- Fasting glucose equal to or greater than 100mg/dL.
It’s important to note that, if any of these conditions is controlled with medication, you may still technically be living with metabolic syndrome. Statins and other drugs may control the individual risk factors, but they don’t fix the larger problem. And all pharmaceuticals come with their own potential risks and side effects.
The culprit behind this menacing syndrome is, ironically, one that is largely within our control. We may have no power over aging and genetics, but we do decide what we eat and how active we are. And those two decisions alone can make the difference between living with metabolic syndrome and living a healthy life.
Unfortunately, the typical American diet is laden with refined, processed, high-fat, high-calorie “convenience” foods. And the American lifestyle, especially for those prone to or living with metabolic syndrome, isn’t as physically active as it should be.
So what’s the solution? How can you reverse your chances of acquiring metabolic syndrome and start living a vital life?
If all you did was focus on losing weight in a healthy way, you would inevitably chip away at the remaining risk factors for metabolic syndrome. In the majority of cases (and yes, there are exceptions), the risk factors are directly related to being overweight or obese. Losing even 5% of your body weight can restore insulin sensitivity lost to pre-diabetes.
Instead of trying to figure out a big life change by yourself, consider a medically proven system that will guide you through dietary and exercise changes. In the SprintSet Energizing Weight Loss System, we walk the journey with you.
Shifting your diet is imperative if you are living with metabolic syndrome and want to reverse it before it turns into diabetes or heart disease. Eliminating processed foods and choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, quality proteins and poly- and monounsaturated fats is the first step.
Increasing your physical activity is also imperative. Finding activities you enjoy and doing more of them is the easiest way to stay moving and burn calories without dreading your next workout.
Looking in the mirror and seeing the task ahead can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start, and especially if you feel alone to figure it out. Losing weight isn’t about a short-term reprieve from poor habits and poor health. It’s an educational journey into a new, sustainable, vibrant life. And it needs to be embraced both physically and emotionally.