Thursday, October 28, 2010

Does Being Fat Really Mean You're Unhealthy?

In a word, No.

You hear it all the time on the radio and TV. Get fit! Be healthy! Well, I'm sorry health gurus of the world- I'm fat, and I'm healthy. If you look at my medical charts, I'm darn near perfect, at least concerning blood chemistry.

Take a look in the dictionary- the definition of healthy is having good health; well; sound. in fact, in my edition
(Websters New World Third College Ed.), it even says large and vigorous! That last one surprised me a bit.

The definition of fit is to be the proper size and weight; in good physical condition; healthy. Yes, it does say healthy, but if you look under healthy, you do not see the word fit.

What I'm not is fit. And there's a huge difference, if you excuse the pun. I can only run so far before I get out of breath, and I'll never win a triathlon at this weight. But being thin doesn't mean you're well, and that's where the problem lies. I can run circles around some of my thinner friends. Just because people are thin (though they may look good), doesn't mean they're fit. But people tend to lump together fit and healthy as if they're the same thing, and that's just plain wrong.

Let's take a look at my medical chart. My blood pressure is low/normal (I forget how it goes, but it's either 80 over 110 or 100 over 80) and my heartbeat is 60-70 beats per minute. In some health circles, that's close to being athletic! That is, if you don't look at my weight.

I have no issues concerning blood chemistry- sugars, cholesterol, triglycerides..all that good stuff is within the norm. I'm just under the bar concerning iron, but a little spinach or broccoli can fix that. I also have hypothyroidism, which means my thyroid is a lazy bum and won't do it's job- so I have to take a supplement to compensate. It contributes to being overweight to a certain degree, but it isn't the only factor.

And my weight? I am a svelte 312 pounds. Do I like being this big? No. Am I working on losing weight? Yes. Am I unhealthy? Absolutely not! And I know there are others out there just like me.

I walk two miles a day taking my daughter to and from school for a total of ten miles, and as a family we go for walks when we can on the weekends. I do eat more than my metabolism can handle, but I eat very little junk food. I cook at home (so I'm aware of every ingredient) and we have veggies and fruit aplenty in the house. In fact, I'm eradicating as much sugar from the menu as possible, and limiting how much my kids eat of it.

And thank the Lord, I'm hardly ever sick. And my family is healthy too. And I'm the only one who isn't a normal weight.

We need to realize that words have power. They can be used to manipulate others into thinking the wrong way about things. Being fat isn't the best body type to be, but that doesn't mean that person suffers from a ton of health issues. Being thin doesn't mean you don't suffer from health issues! In the past, insurance companies have stopped fat people from getting health insurance (or any kind of insurance for that matter), without even glancing at their medical history. All they saw was the weight and crossed us off as a risk. Laws are being passed now to stop this, but it will take time before people understand we are not a walking health hazard just because we're fat.

I'm not saying that there isn't an epidemic of weight gain in this country- I'm not saying that everyone should be fat, and that fat is wonderful- or that it doesn't carry some risks. I would love to be thinner- but I'm not going to starve myself to do it- or take diet pills, or skimp on meals. That would make me unhealthy in the long run! I'm just pointing out that 'fit' and 'healthy' are two very different animals, and should be treated as such.


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