Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why Fat Acceptance Needs to Happen Now

A friend of mine recently got diagnoses with pre-diabetes. Looking at her numbers, they are actually better numbers what a lot of diabetes counselors would want their clients to achieve. She admitted she went to her doctor to talk about weight loss earlier so the doctor was on high alert for signs of "weight related" complications. As someone living with diabetes, I responded that it's always better to get into shape BUT her numbers were actually decent. Not great and not something to blow off but decent.

The big part of the conversation was about unpacking the fat hatred and fear she was experiencing. My friend is a big woman. She doesn't exercise regularly. And i don't know what she eats on a regular basis. My response was - it's always good to make healthy changes in your lifestyle no matter what you weigh. Your health will improve if you exercise more, eat more fruits and veggies and less starches and fats. But NONE of that guarantees you will lose weight.

Right now, I am about 12 pounds heavier than I was at my lowest weight. My blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels are what you see in athletes. And guess what, I am an athlete. My BMI stays in the obese range and I'm an athlete. I run 18 miles a week. I am preparing for my first half marathon after running a 12k and a 10 mile at an 8:30 minute/mile pace. And I'm fat. And that's not just my story. "STEVEN N. Blair, one of the nation's leading experts on the health benefits of exercise, is short and fat. Those are his words. The president and chief executive officer of the Cooper Institute, a nonprofit organization in Dallas dedicated to research on the relationship between living habits and health, Dr. Blair, 65, is 5-feet-5 and weighs 195 pounds. He's also a dedicated runner who habitually takes off for an hourlong jog. 'I'm a short, fat guy who runs every day,' Dr. Blair said in a recent phone interview. 'I've run tens of thousands of miles over the past 40 years, and in that time I've gained 30 pounds.'"

I asked my friend, "how would you feel if you could run 10 miles easily and regularly ran 18 miles a week and you were exactly the same weight?" Her response was - "pretty pissed."


Pton98 said...

BMI is just a stupid number, It wasn't even invented by a doctor, but by a statistician in the 19th century. There are a lot more illuminating, and relevant numbers, like, as you say, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol. If you want more sophistication or the numbers that matter more for athletes, body fat % and lean muscle mass are relevant.
Unless you are (a) going to run at sub-6 minute pace for more than 5 miles in 90 degree weather, or (b) going to go run a marathon or 3+ hour endurance event in 85 degree plus heat, I don't think that overall body weight is that relevant.

Missa said...

I never went into this game to be thin. I went in because I wasn't healthy. I am so much fitter now, and I can only hope that means my body will reward me.