Losing the extra pounds will usually result in lower blood sugar, reduced blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, increased energy, improved breathing and, in some cases, less dependency on medication.
The medical community has long recognized the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight. Losing the extra pounds will usually result in lower blood sugar, reduced blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, increased energy, improved breathing and, in some cases, less dependency on medication.
| Charlotte Cavin, a registered nurse and manager of a diabetes education program at Baptist Rehabilitation in Germantown, explains the importance of eating healthy during the official launch of The Healthy Church Challenge 100-day weight loss competition at Southwest Tennessee Community College on March 10. Yusuf Boyd, owner of Biomechaniks, provided comments as well. (Photo by Wiley Henry)
“Obesity is increasing and there are all sorts of reasons,” said Cavin, who spoke about the importance of healthy eating during The Healthy Church Challenge 100-day weight loss program weigh-ins.
“It’s more fast foods; it’s bigger sizes,” she said. “People are eating without thinking. When you are obese, you’re probably from an obese family. So it’s familial. It’s not as much genetic, but how you’re raised.”
To get patients on the right track to losing weight, Cavin insists that they stop drinking sweet drinks. “Sweet tea and cold drinks; those things are just calories,” she said, recalling a woman who lost 100 pounds in one year after giving up Cokes.
Hundreds of men and women of all shapes and sizes are participating in the Healthy Church Challenge and working on losing as much undesirable weight as possible. The extra weight, Cavin says, is the result of overeating and not making the right food choices.
“It’s not always what they’re eating but how much they’re eating,” she explained, adding, “Inactivity causes obesity. When you don’t exercise, the food just sits there and turns to fat. I tell my patients that they only have to exercise on the days that they eat.”
There is a correlation between obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and any other chronic disease, Cavin said. “High cholesterol, for example, causes strokes and heart attacks. High blood pressure destroys the eyes and kidneys – so does diabetes. Exercising helps the bad cholesterol to come down and the good cholesterol to go up.”
Cavin also notes that people who suffer with sleep apnea are likewise at risk for having a heart attack. And if a person is overweight or obese, she says, a chronic illness may not be too far off in that person’s future.
The key to good health is to exercise, Cavin said. The need for more of it in our community prompted Baptist to sponsor the Healthy Church Challenge.
“I recommend five minutes a day, every day,” said Cavin. “Walking is probably the best. You need to exercise while you’re healthy enough to do it.”
She said doctors don’t really recommend that their patients exercise if they’ve been sedentary for years without doing a stress test first. But if they choose to, “they don’t have to walk fast to begin with, just one foot in front of the other.”
Though Cavin’s work at Baptist is focused on diabetes education, she stressed the importance of losing weight, eating healthy and exercising to prevent the onset of diabetes. They’re inextricably linked together, she said.
“The more weight you have the more insulin resistant,” said Cavin, a diabetes educator since 1987. “Things that impact insulin resistance are exercise and weight loss. For example, 80 percent of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have a weight problem.”
For those who are taking medication, Cavin said it’s best to remain under the doctor’s care until you are healthy enough to stop.
The next weigh-in is Saturday, May 5, at Church Wellness Center, 1115 Union Ave., from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Healthy Church Challenge will hold an Obesity Summit on Saturday, June 16, 2012, at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave. The finale is June 17 at the Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival in Douglass Park. Both events are free and open to the public.
Along with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the Challenge is sponsored by Baptist Memorial Health Care, News Channel 3, Hallelujah 95.7 FM, The New Tri-State Defender, and the Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival.
For more information, call 901-278-0881 or visit www.facebook.com/thehealthychurchchallenge for health tips and weight-loss testimonies.