While obesity is a problem in America, many myths about it lead to even more problems. The fear of gaining too much weight often leads people to think that being “thin” is good and being “fat” is bad. We forget about our overall health and focus too much on how we look in the mirror.
Weight is part of your overall fitness level, but not the whole story. Being “thin” or “fat” doesn’t define how healthy you are. When measuring your overall health, you need to keep a lot of things in mind.
What is fitness?
We hear the word “fit” all the time. But what exactly does that mean? Your physical fitness refers to your set of fitness qualities or skills. Some people have certain things that are stronger than others. Dr. Dana Ellis Hunnes is a senior nutritionist at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She is passionate about fitness and nutrition to promote your overall health.
“For me, fitness really means, ‘From a physical standpoint, can I do all the activities I want to do? Can I walk 5 miles a day without having trouble breathing? Can I keep up with my kids? Play football? If the elevator comes out, can I climb a flight of stairs?’” she said. “The point is, can you do all the activities that you both want or may need to do?”
“You can be skinny and have a terrible diet. You can eat so little that you can actually be very weak,” Hunnes said.
If you have low muscle mass, you are more prone to falls, fractures, poorer quality of life and a shorter lifespan. “When did we
We have very little muscle in our arms and legs, and we tend to have even less heart muscle,” she said. “That can be dangerous for heart health. “
Likewise, if you have excess body fat, you may not be able to do all the activities you want or need to do. But while you may need to lose some weight, being “skinny” doesn’t make you healthy.
“Losing weight is a healthy goal, and [one] I won’t ignore it. But focusing on that particular goal and focusing too much on it can be counterproductive,” says Stephen Devries, MD, a preventive cardiologist and associate professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “The quality of your diet also matters. Even if people are unsuccessful in losing weight, it would help if they could switch to a healthier quality of diet.because of the target [of fitness] It is to enable people to live fuller and longer lives. “
Why are we so concerned about being thin?
While there are plenty of other fitness factors we should be focusing on, many people are still obsessed with losing weight. “I really believe that the media, social media and the way celebrities talk about being thin and looking — which I think is a pretty superficial view of health — is making a lot of people miserable,” Hunnes said. “We tend to say: ‘If I’m thin, I’m happy.’ “If I’m thin, people want to be my friend. “And what we should really be focusing on is our overall health, happiness and wellbeing.”
American women aim to lose weight due to media and peer pressure, a study has found. This thinning trend doesn’t just affect women, though. This is a problem for anyone, regardless of gender. In many cases, people resort to unhealthy ways to lose weight or stay lean in order to avoid the fear of gaining weight.
“I think one of the problems is that people want to see results quickly,” Devries said. “They’re incentivized by very unrealistic and deceptive advertising – telling them there’s a quick fix for their weight.”
“The drive to lose weight doesn’t always come from a health standpoint,” he says, “but from an aesthetic ideal that you’re trying to conform to.”
How can the focus on thin body be harmful?
It is impossible to judge a person’s health from appearance alone. A thin person may have several health problems, while an overweight person may be moving towards a healthier lifestyle.
“Fitness is a much better indicator of our quality of life, mental health, physical health and longevity than just losing weight, which is a very short-term achievement for many people,” Hunnes said. “A lot of times people lose weight and then put it back on, or even more. I believe this focus on losing weight is really working against us.”
But in many cases, people opt for the flashy weight-loss avenues we see on screen and in magazines.
“These kinds of suggestions coming out in the media — quick fixes and silver bullets — are leading people down a path that not only doesn’t work, but doesn’t have any side-effect health benefits — that should be the goal,” Devries said.
“A lot of these quick fixes are not sustainable. They’re not healthy,” he said. “You can eat a poor-quality calorie-restricted diet and you can lose weight. But it certainly won’t have any health benefits because you’re adding unhealthy parts to your diet.”
These unhealthy methods of reducing body fat can also affect your mental health. When we develop harmful habits, we increase our risk of:
- eating disorder
- feeling insecure about our body image
What should we do to keep fit?
“The best plan is to look for approaches that have a set of positive side effects, rather than focusing only on weight loss,” Devries said.
This means you need to incorporate fitness into many areas of your life.
“I think it’s important for people to be balanced. Balance your diet — three meals a day — balance your physical activity, balance your life,” says Dr. David Creel, a psychologist and registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic. “A big part of all of this is not focusing too much on any one part of our lives. Instead focusing on what’s important to someone’s overall life.”
To maintain or lose weight in a healthy way, there are many steps you can follow:
get moving. “Physical exercise is very effective in preventing weight gain and, for people who have lost weight, maintaining it,” Creel said.
Eat and drink well. “Just exercising, without changing your diet, doesn’t lead to significant rapid weight loss. It’s not that obvious,” he said. For long-term and healthy results, it is best to do both.
“In general, eating less processed food has really helped us. Don’t drink a lot of sugary drinks, because we know people tend to overconsume them. Then add lean protein and lots of vegetables and fruit to your diet ,” Creel said. “Overall, these things tend to lead to healthier outcomes.”
Listen to your body. “We want to have a healthy relationship with food. Be aware of hunger and fullness. Have some kind of regimen and structure to your eating,” he says.
How do we measure our health?
Often, people judge their health by their Body Mass Index (BMI). While this can give you insight into your health, it can also be misleading. You probably have more muscle than the average person of your age and height. This means your BMI may be “too high” even if you are fit and healthy.
To turn our attention to fitness, there are a few other tools we can use to understand our overall health:
body fat percentage. “This will give us a little indication of the breakdown between muscle and fat,” Creel said.
waistline. “Another really easy thing to do is measure your waist,” he says. “If someone is carrying their weight around their midsection, that puts them at greater risk. Especially fat around the organs.”
Metabolic measurement. “What does your blood pressure look like? What does your blood sugar look like? Do you have high cholesterol? Things like that,” says Creel.
your ability to be active. “From a cardiovascular standpoint, what can you do? We know that lack of cardiovascular fitness also puts people at risk,” he said.
In a country where we focus too much on our looks, it’s good for us to shift and value health over looks. Not only is it better for us, but it allows us to live fuller, more stable lives.
“I encourage the people I work with to consider nourishing their bodies to maximize their vital life experiences,” Creel says. “If we take this negative approach — this fear of being overweight and compulsive behavior — that kind of thing can take us away from living a full life.”
“The idea that everything we do is about improving quality of life is important,” he said. “It’s not just about reaching a certain weight. The broader goal is to have a high quality of life.”