- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Is it Okay to be Fat?
Being fat has always been seen as a health risk, not only due to its physical effects but also in relation to emotional and mental aspects. However, the term ‘fat’ has also been loosely thrown around, making you wonder sometimes if it really is a physical condition or merely a state of mind.
You are considered to be overweight if you have a body mass index of 25 to 29.9. Body mass index (BMI) is used as a means to measure if a person’s weight is right for his height. Although it is true that BMI cannot be solely considered as a direct measure of body fat because it looks at your weight as a whole, it also serves as a warning to become more conscious about the food you eat and the kind of activities you engage in. The state of being overweight takes you nearer to the state of obesity and could trigger a number of other health conditions as well. The risks include high blood pressure, heart disease, and a number of other similar illnesses.
Obesity is the next step once you cross the line of being overweight. You are considered to be obese if you have a BMI of 30 or higher. It is usually a product of eating more calories than you burn, especially if what you eat is not good for you. Although your genes could play a big role on just how big you would get, it is mostly an issue of keeping your health and lifestyle balanced. Some risks that come with obesity include:
- Heart disease
- Other diseases that could stem from cholesterol build-up or the lack of physical activity
With 69% of adults in the US being overweight (as of 2012) and 35.1% of all adults considered as obese, the issue about weight has definitely become a big concern. Although it can be argued that some people, especially athletes, have the tendency to step beyond the recommended BMI because of the amount of muscles in their body, those who have a serious problem with the amount of body fat would still make up the bigger part of these numbers. In fact, it is also alarming that not just adults are in trouble with weight issues but younger generations have been exposed to the threat, too. As of 2010, obesity has been seen in 12.1% of children aged 2 to 5, 18% of children aged 6 to 11, and 18.4% in children aged 12 to 19.
Dealing with Perception
Although there are serious issues about a big percentage of people having weight problems, this does not mean that the rest of the population is free of worries. A large number of people also deal with issues about their weight not because of their actual mass and physique, but because of the general perception of what a person should look like. This does not deal with physical health anymore. Rather, it is more of a mental, social and emotional issue.
Because of the evident negative attitude that a lot of people have towards those who are seen as ‘fat,’ the social stigma that comes with it could be even more harmful than the physical risks that overweight people are exposed to. People have been given a set of standards on what a person should look like, mostly through media and pop culture. Especially in younger generations, those who do not meet the standards of what is generally believed to be a beautiful body are often left to become outcasts. This social stigma gives a huge blow to a person’s emotional well-being, especially for those who do not have a healthy emotional foundation to begin with. It has often become the source of depression and could even be blamed for the physical well-being of some. Some who grow into obesity are discouraged from trying to be healthy because of the fear of being ridiculed when they step into gyms or fitness centers.
Weight as an Obsession
The sad part about the weight debate is that even those who can be considered as fit or even skinny have weight issues to battle with. Anorexia and bulimia have become common issues as people become extremely unhappy with the way they look. In this case, it is not an issue anymore of how other people see you or what the weigh scale tells you. It becomes an issue of how a person sees himself or herself in front of the mirror, seeing unwanted bulges where there are none. Some people have also become addicted to dieting, going on one crash diet after another in degrees that become unhealthy. Diet pills are also a big issue, with some of them proven to be harmful to the body.
The Real Issue
Ironically, the best way to reach your proper weight and physique is to stop obsessing about your body and the food you eat. Research shows that being fat, overweight, or obese is not the actual problem. These are only symptoms of the actual problem. This is why a lot of people lose weight over a short period of time, only to gain all of it back. And sometimes, the weight gained after severe weight loss is even worse than when they first started. Obsessing over food and weight is the actual problem, as this hinders your ability to become healthier. Remember that just because you are skinny does not mean that you are healthy. Some diets deprive the body of the nutrients that it needs to function normally, causing problems that are even bigger than just calorie count or cholesterol intake.
Shifting your focus away from your weight could be difficult, but not impossible. Learning how to appreciate who you are as a person should always come first, because this will eventually translate to the longing to become healthy instead of merely being thin. Once you have established this, you will finally be able to have more wisdom and be able to eat healthier and engage in activities that could help you burn off the excess. This would also allow you to have better relationships and enable you to focus on the things that matter the most.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to who you are doing this for. If trying to stay healthy is something that you do for other people, chances are, you will never achieve long-term results. Staying healthy because it is something that you want to do for yourself is always the key, as this would give you the degree of passion needed to achieve great results. Surround yourself with people who care enough to support your goals and start from there.
Once you feel that you are emotionally ready to go into this journey, consult a health expert who will not set goals for you just to make you thinner; rather, look for someone who will genuinely want to help you become healthier. Steer clear of diets that focus only on making you thin. Instead, look for diet plans that would give you all the nutrients that your body needs to function normally. Look for physical activities that you think you would enjoy. Start off with something fairly easy to allow your body to adjust first, especially if you have not been physically active for a long time. Respect your body and learn how to listen when it communicates with you. With all these steps, you would finally find yourself on the road to freedom from the state of being fat, whether perceived or actual.