Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday - Unsettling, But Not Surprising!

 Little Greenbrier Trail - GSMNP
February 12, 2013

I have enjoyed some amazing hikes since returning from Florida although my loss of stimina has certinaly been a lesson in humility.  Walking two hours each day on flat, paved surfaces in Florida was good exercise, but not even close to the same thing as walking for two hours on a mountain trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Thankfully, I knew this and was prepared.  I started out with short hikes on trails with less of an elevation profile and have gradually increased both distance and difficulty.  I'm not yet back to the level of confidence I had last fall, but soon will be.  Interspersed within some nasty, windy and wet weather days have been pockets of warmer, sunny days perfect for winter hiking.  It's my favorite time to hike as the clear blue skies and long range views are simply gorgeous. 

You may or may not have noticed a theme I quietly introduced on Wednesdays.  As I approached maintenance weight levels, I began a subtle change from the blog being totally about my weight loss journey to a lifestyle blog covering any and everything that came to mind.  It was at that time that I merged my separate travel journal into this blog and opened it up to people in my "real" world.  That was also planned and I've never regretted it!

But the blog was begun as a weight loss journal and many of you became my friends when losing the weight and writing about it was the number one priority in my life.  And the thing is.......I've always known that losing the weight didn't end the journey nor did it even lessen the battle.  So for those who are really only interested in that aspect of the blog and for me to retain a specific platform for us to always talk about weight loss issues, I've decided that the subject on Wednesday will always have something to do with weight loss.  I know Weight Loss Wednesday is not even remotely original to me, but I'm using it anyway although my WLW post title will always have a subtitle.   My plan is to post something every Wednesday and hope that you will come on Wednesday knowing there will be something there to ponder.  See, I'm even making it easy for you to remember.  Wednesday!  Weight loss! 

I'm still working on a set posting schedule and other ideas, but let's get this one well established first!

Sometime back in January, I heard a report on the NBC Nightly News which troubled me.  I'd like to say that it surprised me, but I'm not sure that it did.  I just think it was the first time I'd heard a statement about obesity and a link to cancer that was this bold.  Here is a link to the report which was entitled, "War On Cancer."   The statement you are looking for comes very near the end at about the 1:22 minute marking.

In essence, the report states that although there is much good news in the war on cancer with some cancer rates falling to all-time lows, the battle on some fronts just keeps getting scarier.   The gentlemen from the American Cancer Society states that (I'm not quoting) in 10-15 years, obesity will replace tobacco as the leading cause of cancer in America. 

What are your thoughts on this?   Do you believe it?   In your opinion, how does that happen?  Do you think we have all the information we need or do you think there is still much to be learned as to what does and does NOT cause cancer?  Do you have a personal story to share of someone whose obesity directly contributed to a cancer diagnosis?  What was the outcome?   What can we do?

Doesn't it just make you feel kind of helpless?   So many people that I love are obese and I feel unable to help because I know that they will only help themselves when they are ready.  But maybe there is more we can do to get messages such as this one out.  It is so easy to hide our heads in a hole while tearing the paper off that candy wrapper or pulling open that bag of chips.  No stone-throwing here.   I've done it and am certainly not immune to being right back there again.

The trail I walked last week and shown in the first picture is rare.   To find a stretch of trail in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park THAT straight and THAT flat is highly unusual.  It just doesn't happen.   More often they look like this.........

 Little Greenbrier Trail - GSMNP

Our journey through this life is rarely going to be straight and flat.   It isn't often that we are able to see this far beyond the curve.  Or through the trees.   Or how far downhill the path is going to go before it flattens out again.  We don't know everything that cause cancer.  But we know SOME thngs and we know that obesity is NOT harmless or without consequences.  You ALL, everyone of you, matter to me.  Do what it takes to get yourself out of that category that defines you as "obese."  Let me know if there is anything I can do to help or encourage!

(click to go to the post)

Talk to me.....................


  1. I do see obesity as being a huge influencer of health, including serious diseases like cancer and cardiovascular events.

    This is one of the reasons I continue to blog, write, and speak about obesity - it's going to take a community effort to get things to change.

  2. I think the research Is really clear that obesity is well on the way to being the number one health problem is the US and other Western countries as well. Scientifically, I do not know how obesity increases the risk of cancer. But it is not just cancer there are many other diseases that one is at risk for in being obese. In my case, I ignored and was in denial about the impact of my own obesity on my overall health. I do not think I am or was that different from others in those beliefs either. I had to come to my own understandings and decision making. Yes, it is a health crisis, but if we ignore it or deny our own complicity in it how can we move forward? Very complicated issue as you know. No simple answers.

  3. Yep. Obesity , diabetes, and the chronic diseases that come with a slow , painful life are very near and dear to my heart after a 40 year struggle.

    I'm encouraged by work being done in the low carb, nutrient food dense area of cancer research areas as well as Alzheimer's being a type of diabetes.

    The high rate of disease will effect us all, if not personally, in higher medical insurance rates and coverage to cover others out of work with obesity related illnesses. My medical insurance was reduced 30/ month for maintaining a normal weight ( or reducing 1 BMI) and a waist size < 35 inches.

    It will be an interesting 5-10 years. Getting well myself was one step I could take to lower my disease risk, my daughters risk, and save my family finances for vacations and not medical care. Win- win.

    More studies should help as we go forward for cancer research.

  4. I think obesity is related to far more health issues than cancer. That is the big scary one to be sure. But there are a plethora of other issues directly related to being obese/overweight.

  5. I think there is a cause and affect - when you are obese you are most likely not eating healthy and are not exercising - all leading to health issues. As a diabetic, I worry about risk factors, but can only do the best I can to be as healthy as I can.

    Your walking trails are beautiful :-)

  6. I don't necessarily think obesity is a direct cause for cancer, but I think there are a lot of lifestyle habits that can lead to cancer. Obesity is a lot of times not the disease itself, but a symptom of something else going on.

  7. My belief isn't that obesity itself causes cancer... I believe the lifestyle that leads to obesity introduces toxins into our body through eating all that fast food, chemically processed garbage which in turn causes the cell damage and which leads to mutation into cancerous cells.

    Our bodies don't know what to do with all the chemicals in food, so it is stored in fat cells... I believe those stored chemicals are doing the damage. I really makes perfect sense. Think about how cells normally split. If you have a fat cell with chemicals stored in it...wouldn't it make sense that when it splits it could become damaged...leading to mutation? Just a thought. I really should do more research on it.

    Here's a good website for getting the basic understanding of cancer formation:

    I had a great time hiking with you friend!! Please do continue to encourage me to get out of obesity, and I'll continue to encourage you to never go back to it!

  8. Hi Sharon! Well, I think this blogging change was a natural progression out of a primarily weight loss blog. You found out that the secret to a good weight and its maintenance is to put food at a much lower priority and living well at a much higher one. Hence, living well is now the blog, with weight only being a small part of it.

    It is my understanding that fat especially stores toxins well. So the more fat on a body, the more toxins held.

    :-) Marion

  9. Oops. I hit the enter button. :)

    I meant to include...And a great way to make a point and encourage change!

  10. I agree that the stats are frightening and although Canadian stats aren't as bad as the US ones, I do think that some Canadians havenn't woken up to it and are just basking in "whateverness"! I do think that there's a vast difference between health and obesity and I can honestly say that even though I am still in the "obese" category on paper, I am way healthier than many people around me, not even using weight as a comparison. But as I like to say - it's still not enough! Working on it!

  11. Hi Sharon, Unfortunately, I believe that obesity is just getting worse and worse. Everywhere I look--people are obese... It's the fast food industry --and the snacking --and the lack of exercise...

    I'm more concerned about Diabetes and things like that when it comes to obesity --instead of cancer. Not sure I believe the connection between cancer and obesity ---other than the normal health problems one has because of carrying all of that weight.

    We love the Greenbriar area also--in addition to the Tremont area. Of course, we are there to take pictures as much as to hike...


  12. I agree with others here that it is, in part, the unhealthy, processed food that obese folks often eat that might contribute to cancer rather than the obesity itself. I've known people who drink sugary soft drinks all day long, in addition to always super-sizing at the fast food places. All that sugar and fat have to be toxic to your body in such huge amounts.

    A very sobering statistic to ponder...

    I love your hiking pictures, Sharon. Having grown up in eastern N.C., I can testify to the greatly increased difficulty of mountain trails versus coastal ones!

  13. I don't believe it's obesity per se, but rather the processed food that is the main culprit. Unfortunately obesity gets lumped in with causation, and that's not quite accurate. Oftentimes obesity is not the cause but the effect. There are studies that show, for example, that diabetes is not caused by obesity, but rather that obesity is caused by diabetes. Obesity is a separate issue from disease. There are "thin" people who have diseases attributed to an unhealthy lifestyle (smoking, fast food, lack of exercise) as well as technically "overweight" people who live a healthy lifestyle and have the numbers (cholesterol, blood sugar, heart rate, blood pressure, etc.) to back them up.

    Now, I am not advocating eating whatever whenever and living a sedentary lifestyle. I am not pro-fast food or pro-processed food. But it's important to get at the fear we have of not looking a certain way (which is narrowly defined by our media). It's also important to understand the flow of money and power amongst big food, big diet, big pharma, and big media.

  14. What Lori said and what Karen said.

    When I first started W.W. I was given the stats on the link bet/obesity and cancer. That was a big motivation for me to lose weight. But I agree--to say that the fat itself is the cause of cancer is over-simplification.

    Let's just say, eat real food, not too much, and move purposefully every day or so.

  15. Lifestyle have more influence in life than obesity.

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