I was thinking about something someone (a relative) told me, when I weighed about 214 pounds. She said, "You have got to get that weight off. You are really unhealthy! Think of your children!" At the time, I had lost 64 pounds already. I had cut junk food almost completely out of my diet and replaced it with local, organic, fresh produce and free range lean meats and eggs, whole grains, and healthy fats. I was biking 6 days a week, about 7 miles each ride. I was lifting weights three times a week. Many of the health issues that plagued me at 278 pounds had completely disappeared, including high blood pressure, acid reflux, and plantar fasciitis. I was able to hike up steep terrain for two miles with my children with no problem at all.
But was she right? Was I "really unhealthy" because of the weight?
Am I healthier now, almost 30 pounds lighter but NOT biking or exercising as much, and eating less whole, healthy foods?
Is WEIGHT, or BMI for that matter, really an accurate indicator of a person's health? I don't think so. But by definition, obesity is (according to Wikipedia) "a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems.... Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties during sleep, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis." How can an obese person really be healthy, then?
There is the whole "fat and fit" mindset, where people who are (according to BMI charts) obese are still very active and *feel* wonderful and healthy. I am not talking about bodybuilders or professional athletes, for whom BMI charts are completely inaccurate. I mean your standard "heavy" person, who by society's standards could stand to lose 30 or 40 pounds, maybe more. Do you think an obese person *can* be healthy and fit? Or must they lose weight to reach their full potential?
How about someone who is *morbidly* obese (about 100 pounds or more overweight)? Do you think *any* morbidly obese person can be fit and healthy?
I am curious to see what your views are on this topic, so feel free to leave a comment here, or continue the discussion in my new community that I just created. It's a BlogFrog community, which is like a message board where we can post discussions about weight, diet, health, etc. and connect as bloggers and readers. I set this up after seeing the fiery discussion in the comments of this post, and I thought it would be neat if we could continue discussing things like this on a message board forum rather than just in the comments section. I hope you guys will find the forum useful and fun, a way to connect and discuss things that are on our minds. You can weigh in on this question by clicking on the Escape from Obesity Community link on the left side of this page under my progress picture links, or by clicking here: Can an obese person be healthy? Those who join the community will also be able to have their own blog posts listed and linked on the forum for others to read and connect with them! Let me know what you think. I have never tried to set up a message board forum before, so I hope this is something we'll all enjoy.
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