Don't Diet in 2019 - Reason #24: FAT and FIT are not mutually exclusive
Cosmo is lying to you.
Recent studies show that body weight is not necessarily correlated with health. A recent study comparing obese adults with those of “normal” weight showed that if the obese patients were metabolically healthy they had zero increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease!
What is metabolic health? Metabolic health means you have normal measures of the following biomarkers: cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure — without medications. I have personally met and worked with many overweight clients who have perfectly normal and healthy blood panels! That means if you are heavy but generally eat well and exercise, you can be just as healthy as a person of “ideal weight”, and you may be more healthy than someone who is skinny-fat!
The diet industry has flourished on the idea that you can’t be healthy or happy until you reach an “ideal body weight”. But that weight often isn’t based on health. It’s based on appearance (and getting you to buy stuff). And if you remember back to this post, we’ve been bombarded by unrealistic “ideals” of what our bodies should look like….which have nothing to do with health.
If you’re 4’ 2” with a heavier bone structure and a genetic predisposition to deposit body fat around your hips and thighs, getting down to someone else’s “ideal” body weight will not only drive you crazy because it’s not maintainable, but could also be unhealthy! Did you know that Venus and Serena Williams are considered obese according to BMI charts? I doubt anyone would say these two amazing athletes are fat or unhealthy.
Trying to reach an arbitrary number or size may cause you to take extreme measures (like crazy diets or inappropriate amounts of exercise), or it may cause you to throw in the towel completely and say “I don’t give a shit anymore”. Neither of those are good options when it comes to health!
What’s happening inside your body is more important than what it looks like on the outside, so don’t fall for the idea that you can’t be healthy if you’re overweight!
What you should do instead…
Anti-Diet Wisdom: Focus on health first. Exercise regularly and eat well to make your body healthy, not thinner. If you are exercising and generally eating well, your body will eventually reach it’s most natural and healthy weight…but that weight may not necessarily be the “ideal” on a doctor’s chart or in Cosmo.
The other thing you need to do? Go to the doctor and learn the numbers that really matter: cholesterol, thyroid, blood glucose, and blood pressure. These are the numbers you need to be concerned with.
By the way, most doctors are still operating under the old standards of weight and BMI, so if you do fit into the “overweight” category, don’t be surprised if your doctor tells you that you need to lose weight – even if all of your markers are within the healthy range! If you are worried about being “weight-shamed” by your doctor, tell them you don’t want to be weighed – yes, you can – and they’ll get over it.
Blog Author: Kelly Bailey, IIN certified holistic nutrition coach, and NPTI certified personal trainer
Learn more about the author here.