The Effects of Obesity on Health, Happiness, and Self-Esteem

The effect of obesity on health is a frequent topic of conversation on TV talk shows and radio broadcasts. It is often written about in magazine, newspaper, and internet articles. Almost everybody knows by now how obesity negatively affects health.effects of obesity

But those of us who struggle with our weight know that obesity affects much more than our health. How about you? In what areas of your life do you feel the impact of extra weight? Does it zap your energy? Does being obese make you feel sad, depressed, ashamed? Do you lack confidence because of the extra pounds you carry around, the pounds that won’t go away no matter how hard you try to starve or exercise them away?

How is your health? Have you experienced any obesity-related illnesses or diseases? If not, congratulations! But are you constantly afraid that obesity is going to make you seriously ill one day, that it may even kill you? And there is a thought behind that, something you try not to think about…a thought similar to this…

As you become seriously ill with an obesity-related disease — or as you lay on your deathbed dying from one — someone somewhere is blaming you for your condition. “She brought this on herself,” they’re self-righteously telling their family and friends. “If she hadn’t eaten so much food. If she had just eaten less and exercised more…”

Shame, blame, ridicule…these are the effects of obesity that oftentimes go unspoken, the ones that leave invisible but lasting scars.

We’ll discuss the effects of obesity on several areas, and then tell you the SANE way to view obesity, destroy the lies you’ve been told about weight loss, and tell you the truth about how to permanently lose weight.

The Effects of Obesity on Health

We’ll start with the effects of obesity on health since that’s the one everyone else seems to concentrate on first. health. You don’t have to try hard to find statistics on obesity. The internet makes it fast and easy. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide, but let’s focus on the numbers of obese individuals in the United States.

The rate of overweight and obesity in the U.S. is now more than 70%. Any amount of extra body fat is unhealthy. However, obesity is a condition in which an excess amount of body fat significantly increases the risk of many health conditions.

Doctors use body mass index (BMI), which is based on height and weight, to calculate obesity. Though it is a great screening tool for health conditions, it is not an exact measurement of body fat. (Only an MRI or CT scan can diagnose levels of body fat.) Below is the BMI chart for the 4 weight categories:

  • Underweight                Less than 18.5 BMI
  • Normal Weight        18.5 to 24.9 BMI
  • Overweight                25 to 29.9 BMI
  • Obese                        30 or greater BMI

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 39.8% of American adults (93.3 million) suffer from obesity, which increases the risk for many serious health problems, including:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Gout
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Asthma
  • Gallstones
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Some Cancers
  • Type 2 Diabetes — Especially Diabetes

Obesity is the leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not properly use insulin. This causes blood glucose levels to rise higher than normal.

There is a link, a symbiosis — between obesity and type 2 diabesity. Having one of these conditions significantly increases your risk of developing the other one. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control reports about 90% of those who are obese will develop type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, studies show 90% of those with diabetes are also obese.

Obesity and diabetes have become worldwide epidemics, which is not surprising given that they are both symptoms of the same underlying cause — disruption of the body’s biochemistry, specifically hormonal dysregulation of insulin. Consequently, one disease feeds the other.

The term  “diabesity” has been coined to show the interrelationship between these two diseases.

The Effects of Obesity = Diabesity

Diabesity affects 100 million Americans, 50% of whom are over the age of 65. Diabesity has become a worldwide epidemic, reflecting the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

Doctors knew about the link between obesity and diabetes for decades but didn’t know the reason for this link. Recent studies shed light on the reasons for diabesity and why obesity increases the risk for diabetes.

For instance, some studies show the effects of obesity cause insulin resistance. Other studies show obesity is caused by insulin resistance. Still, other studies show fat cells release chemicals that cause inflammation, leading to insulin resistance. Regardless of the reasons, however, the fact is that there is a definite interrelationship between the two diseases, making diabesity a serious problem that needs to be solved.

After all, if obesity turns into type 2 diabetes, it significantly increases your risk for many serious health problems/conditions, including,

  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol/Triglyceride Levels
  • Stroke
  • Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)
  • Kidney Disease
  • Skin Problems
  • Eye Disease
  • Amputations

The Effects of Obesity on Happiness

Though health is a big concern and a huge area of your life, it is not the only area of your life affected by obesity. Obesity significantly affects the quality of your life, your happiness. Studies show the effects of obesity dim happiness in many areas. Here are just a few of them.

The Effects of Obesity on Sexual and Relational Satisfaction

Many studies show those who struggle with their weight also struggle with relationship problems much more often than those of normal weight.

One study shows extremely obese people are 25 times more likely to report problems in their sex lives compared with normal-weight people. (This goes for men and women.)

The problems obese people reported in their sex lives varied. Some noted a lack of enjoyment in physical intimacy. Others avoided sex because they were ashamed of their weight and appearance. Still, others lacked desire, up to and including sexual dysfunction. (The latter is particularly true for men, as many studies show obesity can cause reduced testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction in men.)

Meanwhile, obese individuals, especially women, have more difficulty finding a romantic partner. According to a 2010 study, obese women were 30% less likely to have had a sexual partner in the last year than normal-weight women.

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The Effects of Obesity on Employment

Obese individuals often suffer weight discrimination in many areas, and it is particularly harmful when employment discrimination is one of the effects of obesity.

Employment discrimination can take many forms, and it can be spoken or unspoken. Whatever form it takes, however, it always deprives you of access to employment opportunities based solely on your weight. Examples include not being hired, not getting a promotion, being terminated, etc.

Employment discrimination on the basis of weight is not only occurring, but studies show it is increasing. One study examining trends of weight discrimination from 1995 to 2005 found instances of weight discrimination had increased 66%. This study also found that a person’s chances of not being hired increased as their body weight increased.

Other studies show obese people earn lower salaries than “normal-weight” people and don’t receive many promotions.

Self-Esteem: One of the Effects of Obesity that Can Destroy Your Life

Self-esteem is one of the effects of obesity that is particularly horrendous. If you are obese, you face constant judgment from strangers — sometimes even from friends and family — about your weight. Fat shaming and bullying are all too common, and it eats at your soul and your self-esteem.

When your self-esteem is damaged, it opens the door to so many terrible mental and emotional problems. Here are just a few of them.

the effects of obesityEating Disorders

Eating disorders are several types of mental illnesses characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 10 million American women suffer from eating disorders. (Statistics also show approximately 1 million American men suffer from eating disorders.) There is a strong genetic component to most eating disorders.

Though all eating disorders involve food, the focus is usually negative body image and fear of weight gain. The symptoms of each eating disorder manifest differently. For instance, in anorexia nervosa, the person is usually terrified of gaining weight. To prevent weight gain, they give their body as few calories as possible. A distorted image of their body — seeing themselves as fat when they are actually sickly thin starvation dieting, and/or excessive exercising are hallmarks of this disorder.

In bulimia nervosa, the person is excessively concerned with their weight and body image. To control their weight, they have periods where they eat huge amounts of food in a short period of time (the binge), and then they purge the calories just consumed by forcing themselves to vomit, using laxatives and/or diuretics, or excessive exercising.

Because eating disorders affect nutrition, they can be fatal. Indeed, anorexia nervosa is the most fatal mental illness, with an estimated mortality rate of around 10%.


Depression is the most common mental disorder in the world. Studies show obesity and depression often go hand-in-hand. One study found obesity increases the risk of depression by 20%. It is not only the leading cause of disability, but it is also the top risk factor for suicide.


Low self-esteem can also manifest in sexual promiscuity, substance abuse, violence, and many other harmful behaviors.

The SANE Way to End the Effects of Obesity

There is only one way to end these terrible effects of obesity on your health, happiness, and self-esteem — the TRUTH.

The truth is that your weight problem is not your fault. You did nothing wrong. You were simply given the wrong information.

You were following the calorie-deficit theory of weight loss, which treats the metabolism like a scale; ie, calories in = calories out. But that is incorrect. The metabolism is like a thermostat, with your brain, digestive system, and hormones talking to each other through a variety of feedback loops to synchronize the activities that automatically maintain body fat at a specific level. This is known as your setpoint weight.

When this system works correctly, you will never become too fat or too thin. But if the system breaks down, the setpoint weight becomes elevated, and your body fights to keep you at that higher setpoint weight.

This setpoint weight varies by about 15 pounds, and your body defends it at all costs. If you try to cut calories, it will make you hungry and cold and weak. It will make your body burn muscle instead of fat. It will slow your metabolism. When you go off the diet, you will gain all the weight back plus several more pounds. You just can’t win against the setpoint weight. The only way you can permanently lose weight is to work with your body by lowering your setpoint weight. Once you do that, your body will work to keep you naturally thin.

Eating Sane: The Delicious Way to Avoid Overweight

One of the biggest reasons for an elevated setpoint weight is eating a poor-quality diet of highly processed foods, starchy carbs, and sugars. These foods dysregulated your hormones so that they cannot send or receive correct signals. This is called a hormonal clog. Your hormones do not know how much fat you need, so they just give you more fat.

You can remove this hormonal clog by eating more SANE foods and fewer inSANE ones. Below are the 4 SANE food groups. Eat the first 3 at every main meal. These foods have been scientifically proven to work together to heal the hormones and lower setpoint weight.

Non-Starchy Vegetables

10+ servings per day

Nutrient-Dense Proteins

3-5 servings per day

Whole-Food Fats

3-6 servings per day

Low-Fructose Fruits

0-3 servings per day

Gradually reduce or eliminate heavily processed foods, starchy carbs, and foods with added sugar. Before long, you won’t have to worry about the effects of obesity in any area of your life.

Next Step: End the Effects of Obesity with SANE

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