Thursday, January 12, 2012

Can Fat Be Fit?

Today when I was getting my oil changed I picked up a Health Magazine to thumb through. As I was reading I came across this article.

The title was, "The burning question. Can you be fat and fit?" My interest was immediately peaked because this was a topic that came up in one of my nutrition classes in college. I remember my teacher was VERY set in her opinion that you could indeed be fat and fit, and she believed heavily (no pun intended) in the HAES movement. (HAES = health at every size.)

Many individuals agree with my teacher. They say that improving your fitness at any weight is, "enough" to consider yourself healthy. Their arguments often include the idea that we have become so obsessed with size and weight that we have completely gone of the deep end towards, skinny being the picture of health. This size of the argument would say that being active means being healthy.

The other side of the spectrum disagrees. There are health professionals on both sides, but most would fall to this end. They would argue that although it is beneficial for individuals of all sizes to be active, weight is weight. In the end, too much of it can kill you.

Where do I fall with my beliefs on the matter? 

Well...I'll bullet point it for you.

- The world has become overly obsessed with "skinny" and often equates that with health. I am one who likes a little muscle tone and definition on a person and not just a skeleton; to me, that is healthy. - I have worked with clients in the past who fully support the idea that size doesn't matter, and beauty is on the inside. I COMPLETELY agree with the notion that beauty comes from the inside, but i don't agree with the idea that size doesn't matter. Statistics don't agree with that idea either. The truth of the matter is too much weight on a person is dangerous to their health. The list of health concerns that come from obesity is a long one, and it is only getting longer. Unfortunately, a few of the clients who wanted to scream from the roof tops that size doesn't matter weren't willing to put in the work to feel better and to become healthy, which meant losing weight. Sadly, in some cases it was as if they were lying to themselves.
- The BMI chart is not always right. It can be a decent guideline, but it is not the end all. It cannot tell you your body fat percentage. It works for the average individual, but not all of us are the average individual. An athletic person with excess muscle mass may have more weight on them because of it. This by no means makes them unhealthy or obese. Using correct means such as a DEXA scan or a BODPOD to determine where your body fat percentage is and what your goals should be is a better method to go by.
- I think it is AWESOME and important for people of all sizes to be active and "fit." I think those who are overweight can still be fit, and I commend ANYONE who puts effort into exercise. It is not easy.
- I know plenty of men and women who would look to appear, "skinny," and some would equate that to healthy, when in reality they are completely un-fit, and have high percentages of body fat. Skinny DOES NOT always mean healthy.

The bottom line for me is...We are all different shapes and sizes. I don't care about pounds on a scale from one person to the next because that could be like comparing an apple to a box of cereal. We shouldn't go by the worlds standards of beauty to be determined healthy, BUT the fact of the matter is there are certain statistics and healthy measurements that can determine health. Reaching THOSE goals is what is important. My desire is for people to live their lives to the fullest, and to me this means having the most optimal health possible!

Where do you stand on the subject? Do you believe that fat can be fit?


Laurie said...

Yeah, I think fat can be fit but I believe that if you're truly trying to be fit/ won't be fat for long. Does that make sense?

In that vein, I've lost 33 lbs!

Nichole Barney said...

Love this post! I agree 100%! We all come in different shapes and sizes for sure. I have seen them running marathons! From experience with Denny's dad fat will slowly destroy you if you don't work at becoming healthier. Dennis tried later in his life and it bought him some time but it was after years and years of neglect and was too late. So sad!

Kristabel@RaceReady said...

I think fat can be fit if you do hard workouts on a regular basis but consume excess calories. Fit does not always mean healthy though.

Anonymous said...

Check out my blog and you will know EXACTLY where I stand! The most fit people I know are not a size 6 or smaller, but boy can they kick ass!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I agree with you fully. I love seeing people of all shapes and sizes running and/or walking 5k's to marathons. Any kind of exercise is great. I have a friend who is very active and works out consistently but is quite overweight. She can out exercise another very thin friend who can't run 1/2 mile without having to stop. Having said that, weight does matter and impacts so many aspects of your life.

Christina said...

I can only speak from my experience in running races and triathlon races - especially triathlon races. In both instances I have learned that you cannot judge a book by its cover. You can just never tell how well (or not well) someone will do judging by weight/size. That being said, I wonder how even MORE athletic someone would be if they were fit AND had a decent BMI.

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