A study was recently released reinforcing the idea that it is more important to be healthy, exercise and eat right, than it is to be thin.
Someone who is a little heavy and who exercises will be healthier, and feel better, than someone who is thin and not exercising.
This is not permission to gain weight, and it’s not permission to be overweight and do nothing about it. You have to exercise to be healthy and to feel good, no matter what you weigh. If you are heavy and exercising and just can’t seem to lose any weight, you will still be healthy and feel good and still get the benefits from exercise. You just won’t look like a toned, tanned, Greek god or goddess. No matter how much most of us exercise, we just won’t be able to achieve that look or body type.
A comprehensive study was released in the Journal of the American Medical Association that confirmed that obese people tend to die younger than people of average weight. This finding was expected. The study also found that those who were overweight and not obese (those with a body mass index [BMI] of 25 to 30) had a lower risk of dying than that of people who were of normal weight, if they were exercising.
Researchers analyzed the findings of more than 100 studies comparing the statistics of over 2.8 million people. They found that overweight people had a 6% lower risk of death than those of normal weight. Those people who are obese, a BMI of over 35, do have a higher risk of death.
These findings reinforce that it is much more important to be fit, than it is to be thin.
Professor Glenn Gaesser, author of “Big Fat Lies” and the director of the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center at Arizona State University, said that Americans overemphasize the importance of being thin.
“We have had for decades now an obsession with thinness and an obsession with weight and how to lose it”, Professor Gaesser said. “I think the forces in our culture- in fashion, in fitness, in health and wellness-all have been predicated on, ‘A thin body is a good body and a fat body is a bad body,’ and that’s wrong. I have always believed that a good, healthy body can come in many shapes and sizes.”
Gaesser goes on to say that fat, fit people tend to be better off healthy wise than thin people who are unfit. He reinforces the notion that it is more important to be fit, than thin. “I think in general, America is still not ready to accept this notion that fitness comes in many shapes and sizes. It’s a good message, but I still think that people would rather be thin,” he says.
Michelle May, a physician and author of “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat” said that “It is challenging to shift a paradigm that has become so deeply entrenched, that being overweight by BMI category automatically puts you at high risk.” She goes on to say that “this concept that thin is healthy and fat is not healthy is clearly not true.”
BMI and actual weight can be helpful in determining how heavy you are, but they have little basis on how healthy you are and how well you feel. As you exercise it is only natural that you will put on some muscle mass. Muscle weighs more than fat, and so as you exercise, it is normal to not lose much weight, and to even gain some weight. The important component to focus on is how your body will be changing. As you become fitter and healthier, your clothes will fit you differently as you lose fat and gain muscle. You will be able to walk up and down stairs easier. You will be able to grocery shop easier. You will be able to run around after your kids or grandkids easier. And you will have less pain overall.
It can be discouraging to exercise consistently, possibly for years, and not see much difference in your waist line or overall weight. Not everyone is meant to be have ripped, toned, 6 pack abdominals. There are variations in nature. Everyone is different. We are bombarded by advertisements and products that push us to want to lose weight and be a thin societal ideal. This is just not realistic. We are not all meant to have the same body type; and we can’t change the type we were born with. Someone who is short can’t make themselves tall, and someone who tall can’t make themselves short. Someone who is bog boned and large will never have 5% body fat and be ripped and lean. And someone who is genetically thin can have a lot of trouble with gaining weight and putting on muscle.
We are bombarded by all of these images of starlets looking great and looking ripped and toned. But what we don’t see are the extremes that there people will go to just to make themselves look good for 1 night at the Oscars or for the filming of a movie. What we don’t see is how they look when they aren’t doing these extreme diet plans and workout routines. They eventually have to stop the extreme changes that got them thin temporarily. That is when they will gain their weight back and look like a regular person. These extreme changes can’t last long, and aren’t meant to. They just can’t maintain an extreme change to their lifestyle long term.
These extreme diet plans and workout routines can actually be very unhealthy overtime. Sure they can make you thin in the short term, but long term they wreak havoc with your body and metabolism. I feel that these extreme diet plans and exercise routines actually produce lots of free-radicals which will cause you age prematurely.
Dr. Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, professor of medicine and public health at the University of California, Irvine, said that “The fat is bad principle is a very recent approach. Body stored fat has helped us for hundreds of thousands of years to survive hardships. That should tell us evolutionarily there was something good in that.” A higher BMI can actually protect your body in certain situations. He goes on to say that “Once you are in your 70s, 80s, or 90s, or if you have a chronic disease like heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic lung and kidney disease, a larger body size gives you longevity”.
When exercising and eating healthy, try to remember that your body is changing. As you get into better shape you will have more energy, be able to be more active, breathe easier, move easier, have less pain, and your clothes will fit differently as the shape of your body changes as you replace fat with muscle. So even if you aren’t losing any weight, look for the other signs that you are getting into better shape. Maybe you will be able to walk up the steps easier. It is important to look for those other changes, rather than just look at what the scale says or your BMI says about you and your body.
Exercising and eating right will help you to feel better and move better. The Pain Free Lifestyle system lays out for you step by step how to exercise without hurting yourself, and which exercises are the right ones to do. It also lays out step by step how to incorporate eating healthy into your lifestyle in a consistent and sustainable way. It gets you focused on how you feel and how much activity you are able to do, rather than just what the scale says about you. This is, the Pain Free Way.