Is having a healthy body something you value? If so, you probably make mindful choices every day to obtain a healthy body weight. But many people develop unhealthy weight goals thanks to the increase in obesity and diabetes in the United States.
Instead of finding the perfect weight for their body, many people simply aim to “be thin”, and they make this their number one health goal.
But thin doesn’t always mean healthy. In fact, a body that’s too thin can have detrimental effects on the rest of your health.
Skinny Fat People
Do you believe that overweight people are more susceptible to diabetes than thin individuals? While it’s very common for overweight people to develop type 2 diabetes, it’s also a risk for skinny people, too.
In fact, studies from the American Medical Association are showing that 25% of skinny people have pre-diabetes and are “metabolically obese”.
Health issues like high blood pressure, unstable blood sugar levels, and high cholesterol can affect thin people just as they do overweight individuals.
What does this mean?
It means that even if you don’t have a lot of body fat, you can still store fat in the midsection, and that is particularly unhealthy. What’s more, your blood sugar levels can be quite high, even if you’re not overweight.
Don’t Take Advantage of Your “Good” Metabolism
Some people can get away with eating a crappy diet, loaded with sugary drinks and empty carbohydrates. They can eat unhealthy fare without seeing any noticeable weight gain.
But don’t be deceived by this “good” metabolism.
Your body just might not store excessive fat right underneath your skin. Instead, you may have a genetic variant that makes your body store fat in other parts of your body. It can be especially dangerous when your body stores fat in your midsection, where all your vital organs are.
If you have this genetic variant, you might look “healthy” on the outside because you’re skinny. But if your body stores fat within the rest of your body, this can lead to serious health problems.
When people believe being thinness is a sign of true health, they can do just about anything to obtain a slimmed down body. This explains why countless diets come and go. This is also the reason behind so many extreme diets, too.
For example, some diets eliminate or remove nearly all fats. Other approaches favor high-fat diets and limit sugar, in both its natural and artificial form. The HCG diet goes so far as to encourage the consumption of human growth hormone to help you drop pounds.
The problem with extreme dieting, as everyone finds out sooner or later, is that this kind of lifestyle is incredibly difficult to sustain. Sure, you might be able to stick with it for a couple of months, but then, you just fall back into unhealthy eating patterns because it’s simply too hard to stick it out.
Another insidious side effect of extreme dieting is that it can pave the way to eating disorders. These psychological battles are incredibly difficult to overcome, and they can have a life-long impact on their victims.
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia, just to name two disorders, can begin as simple yet extreme measures to control one’s weight. Before you know it though, individuals can become far too thin, and start to face health problems due to their underweight condition.
Why BMI Isn’t Always Reliable
If you’ve studied nutrition, or have an interest in fitness, you’ve probably heard about the BMI, or Body Mass Index. It’s a calculation that’s supposed to indicate healthy body weight based on your height.
If you have a BMI below 18.5, you’re underweight. A BMI of 18.5-24.9 indicates normal weight. From 25.0-29.9, you’re overweight, and 30.0, or higher means obesity.
The first problem with the BMI is that it was first invented to assess the average body weight of a large group of people, not an individual’s weight.
The second problem is that while it takes your weight into consideration, it doesn’t take into account where the fat is stored. Furthermore, it doesn’t differentiate between fat weight and muscle weight.
Therefore, if you’re a fit and healthy athlete, with lots of muscle mass (which weighs more than fat), you will have a high BMI, and this can make you seem unhealthy.
Similarly, your BMI may indicate that you have healthy body weight, but it doesn’t consider your diet, lifestyle, exercise routine, or where your fat is stored in your body.
Every Body is Different
Even though diet and exercise are very important for maintaining a healthy weight, our ancestry and genetic makeup also play a huge role in your size. For example, your genetic makeup might determine that you’re petite and thin. For others, you may be more prone to an ampler figure.
That’s why it’s so important to honor your body and its nutritional needs. You might get to have a thin body, but you might also feel lethargic, have a hard time concentrating and simply not eat enough.
And even if you do succeed in eating a limited diet and committing to an extreme diet, do you think you’ll have any fun? Sure, you’ll be able to fit into that tiny bikini, but will you enjoy the beach once you put it on?
Instead, it’s important to eat a balanced diet that makes you feel good. And to find the perfect exercise routine that supports your body. Your friend might love spin classes, but you might prefer Pilates or a daily walk in your local park. Whatever it is that supports your health and wellness, that’s what you should do.
You might not end up looking like a supermodel, or even like your best friend, but that’s okay. It’s more important that you look like the healthiest and best version of you.
In order to be healthy, it’s important to allow your body to enjoy its perfect weight. Maybe this means you’ll be “heavier” than most cover girls and models, but numbers are only one component of healthy body weight.