If we're sick, we don't think twice about seeing a doctor. Health experts say we need to start looking at obesity the same way. One woman has turned her life around. And as she's lost weight, she's gained so much more.
"We're grazers," Marcie Weiler recalls. "I was brought up just (hands to mouth motion) mindlessly. Totally mindlessly just pop it in."
That's how Weiler grew up thinking about food. And after a few serious injuries?
"My coping mechanism was soda pop and food of course," Weiler says.
At her heaviest, she weighed 300 pounds.
"I just thought, 'Oh my God, I'm going to keep getting bigger,'" Weiler says
She's not alone. Obesity rates in the United States are at all time high. 40 percent of all Americans are considered obese and 20 percent morbidly obese.
"It affects cardiovascular health," says Dr. John Weaver, a general and bariatric surgeon with Presbyterian / St. Luke's Medical Center. "It affects you know pulmonary health and diabetes it affects joint pain and problems."
Dr. Weaver says the effects can be serious, and potentially deadly. A new study found improvements in mortality rates are slowing, obesity is the main cause, and many people look the other way.
"Only 20 to 30 percent of people who are obese had even talked to their doctor about their obesity," Dr. Weaver says. "And the problems that go along with being obese."
Dr. Weaver says it is possible to be overweight and healthy, but your body mass index can let you know for sure. And once you've figured that out, beating obesity isn't just about cutting calories and working out. There's a new understanding that the biggest challenge, is revamping your lifestyle.
"It's an entire body change," Dr. Weaver says. "It's not just an eating habit it's changing your eating habits but it's changing how you perceive food. And everything that goes along with food."
That's what Weiler has done. Along with bariatric surgery, she has lost more than 100 pounds. But that's not the only thing that's changed.
"My general opinion of myself," Weiler says.
Reversing a trend, for a healthier and potentially longer life.