There is an assumption that is so prevalent that no one stops to question it. That fat equals unhealthy. But there is startling evidence now that feeling upbeat, good eating habits and fun physical activity may not give weightloss but it always increases health.
You can be fat and healthy all at once.
I am a mind-body wellness coach. I enter my weightloss clients’ lives when they are fed-up of diet and exercise advice. It is upto me to separate their holistic health goal from their weightloss goal. And create a separate path for each.
Very often my clients are under the spell of beauty industry tips, masquerading as health advice. They are afraid of almost everything -afraid of their weight, of foods they love and of weekend stress-busters like watching a movie with friends. Reason? They believe each of these is a one-way to excess weight, ill-health and ultimately a shorter life.
So here are some medical research results that I wish all my clients knew. These may shock you. You can read about them here -Health at Every Size.
- The bulk of epidemiological evidence suggests that five pounds “underweight” is more dangerous than 75 pounds “overweight.” (= Being skinny is cause for alarm more than being chubby is)
- Multiple studies are suggesting that a focus on weight as a health criterion is often misdirected and harmful (= Don’t make weightloss the goal, when you start eating healthy or exercise)
- Using BMI as a proxy for health, traditional approaches misidentify those who need intervention (= Measure more than just BMI to check fitness)
- A recent government survey indicated that over half the “overweight” adults (51.3%) being targeted are metabolically healthy, and one in four “normal weight” (23.5%) metabolically unhealthy adults are overlooked. (= Just because your weight is normal doesn’t mean you don’t have any medical problem)
- Singling out larger children and youth for weight-related interventions in schools increases both anxiety for the child and stigmatization, prejudice, and harassment towards the child (= Even for kids, health is more than just their waist size)
- The only achievement of the belief that FAT is to be FEARED is that 81% of 10-year-olds admit to dieting, binge eating, or a fear of getting fat and we are now seeing eating disorders in children as young as five (= It is time our whole culture changed from fearing weight to understanding health more holistically)
There is lots more where that came from. (If you are shocked now, you will be scandalised to read this in The New York Times. The bottomline there is that according to a huge amount of data of United States normal weight people have higher risk of death than overweight or somewhat obese people).
Isn’t ‘normal’ supposed to mean the ideal weight giving you most longevity and health?
So what exactly is going on? Why can’t we say that weighing more than normal is bad? It is because what is NORMAL WEIGHT is redefined to suit the business interests of a few. Till the mid 1990s a normal BMI was 28 for men and 27 for women. Then the powers that be decided there ought to be a new normal -25, for both men and women. Suddenly half of America was recategorised from normal to overweight. And no, this was not because too many people between BMI of 25-28 were sick and needed to lose weight to be healthier. That range was actually quite healthy, with low risk of death. Apparently it isn’t just illness which is big business. Re-labelling people so that more and more fall into the category of diabetic/ obese is HUGE business. Creating fear and preying on it is even more so.
God created people in different sizes.
Each of us has a size that is right for us. (See this WebMD article) But mine may not be the same as yours. All said and done, we MUST FOCUS only on HEALTHY BEHAVIOURS – unclutter our mind, feel grateful, eat fresh, avoid processed / artificial foods, get out and get fresh air, move our body in the way that we enjoy. This is ALL that matters. Size doesn’t. Weight doesn’t. And if all these healthy behaviours do not lead to weight loss, do not despair!
Weightloss is not an indication of increased health.
Stay abreast of inner measures of health like your thyroid status, lipid profile, anaemia, breast or cervical or prostate health, blood pressure etc. HEALTH IS MORE THAN WEIGHT.
Life is more than the pursuit of a tighter belt. Enjoy Life!