Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

Did you hear about the new study released last week about the risk of death from obesity? No? Iím not surprised, because the American media were abuzz with the latest sensational news from the CDC and from JAMA declaring that being overweight is actually healthier than being thin. Even the venerable NY Times chimed in with headlines such as ĎWith Potbellies Back In, Buffet Pots Are Humming.í Just do an online news search and youíll be inundated with article after article interviewing Americans who are thrilled to hear that losing weight is not good for your health.

Letís face it, this media-granted license to overeat isnít surprising. Years and years of telling people who are overweight that its risky, life-threatening, cancer-causing and simply dangerous to be fat have not exactly been motivational or inspiring. Those of us who have spent a lifetime struggling to come to terms with our weight, our eating and our health are already suffering from self-esteem issues and lack of respect. It just doesnít feel all that great to follow the research, read the articles and listen to the news reports that cast such a dark view of obesity and overweight.

I think of being healthy as my job, so I try and investigate the things I read, see and hear on nutrition about weight management, especially since I have no nutritional credentials or medical training of any kind. I want to make sure that I stay abreast of as much information as I can so that I can make up my own mind about what makes sense and what doesnít. And let me tell you, most of it is rather depressing.

In my heart of hearts, donít I wish that eating a box of donuts was healthier than going for a five mile run? Donít I wish that the spare tire Iím trying to slowly work off is really a buffer against disease? Wouldnít it be wonderful to sit down to a fat-laden, sugar-rich smorgasbord and have at it with the sense that I was doing myself some good?

Fact is, thereís just no chance that those fantasies are true. It may be debatable what specific weight would be ideal for my 5í6 frame, but Iím pretty sure it wouldnít be 205 pounds. We can debate about the efficacy of artificial sweeteners, free range beef, and organic vegetables all we want, but its got to be clear that an apple is healthier than a bag of chips.

Like you, I want to live a nice, long and healthy life. But I donít think Iíll do that based on a fear of all of the risks and dangers of being overweight. The only way Iím going to keep working at weight management is to know how great I look when my body is fit and trim, to recognize how much better I feel when Iím eating right, and to remind myself about the amazing cholesterol numbers I saw at my last doctorís appointment. Iím not into carrots, per se, but they are way better than sticks.

5 thoughts on “Good News Bad News

  1. jane says:

    you KNOW I had to go read the abstract, at least…

    My take on the message is NOT that we have a license to be heavy, especially when I looked at the NEXT article in JAMA. It reported that cholesterol levels and the prevalence of high blood pressure had dropped in all BMI groups over the past 40 years. Now, THAT’s the real reason for the improved death rates, IMO.

    But other comments were also very interesting, especially the statements that it’s not necessarily the weight that’s killing us, but rather the lack of exercise.

    very very interesting stuff. who knows where it will lead?

  2. Quinn says:

    It’s been real fun reading and listening to all the blather in the Main Stream Media about this report. So far, I’ve not seen even one article that looked as though the author had actually read and understood the JAMA article. The report in JAMA only addressed the issue of longevity, NOT disability — diabetes, congestive heart failure, arthritis, kidney failure, stroke, etc. Also, the JAMA report did NOT compare obesity to thin, but overweight to underweight. And their conclusion that people who are overweight are more likely to live a long life than people who are underweight? Well, duh! Since when did anorexics outlive people ten to twenty pounds over the limits of those insurance tables?

    I mean, really!!!

    Sigh.

    Way back in my mid-twenties I managed to get myself down from 155lbs. to 135. (I am 5’8″) At 135lbs. I caught every virus that passed by. The excema that I’d thought I finished with in adolescence returned and literally took over every inch of skin on both of my legs from the ankles to the upper thighs. (The dematologist almost put me on oral steroids to control it. Fortunately I decided to start eating red meat again, rather than deal with the long-term hazards of oral steriods.)

    And all the women around me told me that I looked great! Yeah! I felt miserable and thought I looked too thin, but hey! what did I know?

    Yup, I surely did regain what I’d lost. And in the twenty years since then I slowly but surely moved that scale up to a good 240lbs. (As of yesterday morning.)

    Uh huh.

    Okaaaay. Now that I’ve experienced both underweight and overweight AND obesity, I think I’ll work my way on back down to about 145, maybe 155lbs. Yeah. That is where my body was at it’s most comfortable and happy and healthy. And, at the tender age of almost 48, I’d REALLY like to return there.

    Never mind the nitwits weightloss/fat acceptance industry!

    jeez louise.

    /rant

  3. Melissa says:

    As usual, the media is distorting the truth. Not that that’s a surprise to anyone! A “few extra pounds” i.e., if you are 5 pounds over your ideal weight, (NOT 105!!) is not a BAD evolutionary thing; in case you get sick, you have some reserves to keep you alive until you get well. However, it’s NOT a license to go wild and eat everything in sight. We are constantly bombarded with conflicting information concerning different weight issues; you really need to focus and THINK about all the nonsense that’s flying around out there. Use your common sense. Just because it’s in the media, does NOT make it true.

  4. Denise says:

    I often hear Dr. Dean Edell say something like, if we only had good habits… we’d only add 4 months to our lives.

    But… but that doesn’t address quality of life…

    OK, realistically, I may not live any longer if I exercise and eat well on a regular basis… but I’m going to enjoy the time I’m here much more!

  5. Debbi says:

    It’s always good when dealing with media reports to remember what drives them. Only one word really comes to mind, and that’s money. The pharmaceutical industry has come under attack in recent months for its advertising practices. The news about this issue has coincided with a marked reduction in prescription drug advertising, leaving room for food manufacturers to fill the gap. Quinn’s comment that the JAMA article deals with longevity, and not disability, is correct and will certainly be ignored by most media outlets. After all, the longer we live — no matter our state of health — the more we can consume. And the drug industry will be applauding anything and anyone who extends our lives. They’re always looking for the perfect condition or disease that keeps us dependent on medicine. Melissa said, correctly, that just because it’s in the media does not make it true. The media panders to the lowest common denominator of viewer. They’re feeding us what we want to hear. (That’s the “editorial” us — not you and me!) Grrrrr.

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