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.