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Opinions? Somewhat "fat" is OK?

People can be 'fat but fit' and should focus on exercise rather than dieting for a longer life, experts say!
Researchers have found that "a weight-centric approach to obesity treatment and prevention has been largely ineffective" and that people should concentrate on exercise not dieting when it comes to cutting the risk of dying early.

They said "a weight-centric approach to obesity treatment and prevention has been largely ineffective", adding: "Moreover, repeated weight loss efforts may contribute to weight gain, and is undoubtedly associated with the high prevalence of weight cycling (yo-yo dieting), which is associated with significant health risks."

They pointed to studies suggesting that exercise was better for a longer life than just losing weight.

"But shifting the focus away from weight loss as the primary goal, and instead focusing on increasing physical activity to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, may be prudent for treating obesity-related health conditions," they said.
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Replies

  • SnifterPug
    SnifterPug Posts: 740 Member
    This suggests there is nothing imprudent about exercise but points out that it is not always feasible for the very obese to exercise effectively.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2811477/

    The British Heart Foundation has suggested there is no such thing as "fat but fit":

    https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/news/behind-the-headlines/weight-and-heart-risk

    Personally, exercise was the key to my weight loss. Not the doing of the exercise - the weight loss was managed by diet. But the enjoyment of the exercise and the desire to do more of it and achieve my goals. Ultimately it comes down to individual motivations, though. I used not to live a healthy lifestyle and I became overweight because I didn't care enough to change my behaviour. Now I do care enough. But I had to find that within myself and even if a doctor had looked me in the eye and said "you must do XYZ and stop ABC" I don't think that would have given me the will to do it.

  • barefootbridgey
    barefootbridgey Posts: 58 Member
    edited September 20
    I imagine that I probably fall into this category. I'm 39, I've weighed as much as 240 lbs (not pregnant, anyway) and as low as 180 which, arguably probably would still put me in this category, even though that's my ideal weight (personally, I liked how I looked and felt at that weight). Currently I'm about 217ish.

    I'm healthy - quite, actually. I have a sedentary job, but outside of that, i'm very active at home (i''m on my feet and moving until about 45 minutes before I go to bed) and workout 5-6 days a week. My blood sugar is good. My blood pressure is great, and even on the low end of great. I do not feel tired and slovenly and gross - I did at 240, but I do not currently. I lift weight, I run, I do a lot of Les Mills classes. I don't get out of breath going up stairs or anything. i have many friends who either are or were overweight and not active and they all talk about being so tired and exhausted at the end of the day and on weekends, so much so that it keeps them from living life. I don't ever feel like that. My joints and back dont hurt - i don't notice the aches and pains that a lot of people seem to have as they get near 40.

    I'm sure that there's an argument to be made that eventually those things will happen to me at some point, but I suspect that argument can be made for a lot of people. My work friend down the hall, for example, is in very good shape...but has high cholesterol and blood pressure.

    I surely think you can be fat and fit. I also don't think that being fat allows me to be as healthy as I could be - surely I COULD be healthier. But that doesn't mean I'm not fit and healthy like this.

    That being said -re: the original post. Those excerpts in quotations are great points. Focusing on being "fat" never once made me feel better about myself. what it normally does is throw me into a cycle of emotional eating and crying. I surely have needed "mirror checks" before - I surely have had to recognize that i NEEDED to lose weight, and that was a starting point. But anytime I've ever actually been successful it was by understanding myself as capable of whatever it is that I wanted to do and whatever goal I actually set. Paying attention to the non-weight benefits of exercise is leaps and bounds ore healthy and helpful for me to focus on and it's what keeps me going back to do more of it.
  • HoneyBadger302
    HoneyBadger302 Posts: 1,587 Member
    Regardless of the source, I could see the approach being another tool in the tool belt to fight weight issues depending on the individual. Using it as a blanket statement to remain overweight, that would be the issue IMO - being overweight has a plethora of health issues associated with it, so someone saying they are "fit" while still carrying significant fat could be very problematic.

    That issue aside however, for someone working with overweight individuals, it could be another tool to consider - but it's about approach, not end results...

    I'll just use myself as an example here:

    I am HORRIBLE about losing weight if I am trying to do it by primarily focusing on diet. If, however, I am primarily focused on fitness and working out, I find it a lot easier to get my diet to follow. Therefore, focusing on fitness first does help me lose weight a LOT more effectively than just focusing on food.

    Some of it is the mental shift from "I can't eat x, can barely taste z, and c is a straight up no-no" to "because I did y, I can now eat x, and z, and maybe even a little bit of c."

  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 39,841 Member
    I think we'd have to define "somewhat fat". I would consider myself right now to be "somewhat fat" with the 20 Lbs I put on during COVID lockdowns. I'm around 20% BF right now. In maintenance I'm around 15%. Aesthetically I prefer leaner, but from a health standpoint (I'm active and exercise regularly either way) it has had no meaningful impact.
  • KosmosKitten
    KosmosKitten Posts: 10,463 Member
    edited September 22
    juanwilly1 wrote: »
    People can be 'fat but fit' and should focus on exercise rather than dieting for a longer life, experts say!
    Researchers have found that "a weight-centric approach to obesity treatment and prevention has been largely ineffective" and that people should concentrate on exercise not dieting when it comes to cutting the risk of dying early.

    They said "a weight-centric approach to obesity treatment and prevention has been largely ineffective", adding: "Moreover, repeated weight loss efforts may contribute to weight gain, and is undoubtedly associated with the high prevalence of weight cycling (yo-yo dieting), which is associated with significant health risks."

    They pointed to studies suggesting that exercise was better for a longer life than just losing weight.

    "But shifting the focus away from weight loss as the primary goal, and instead focusing on increasing physical activity to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, may be prudent for treating obesity-related health conditions," they said.

    I think emphasizing and prioritizing the benefits of exercise (even low-impact exercise) and eating a varied, moderately healthy diet is probably going to go a lot further for most overweight folks than constantly reminding them that they are fat or "ugly" by society's fickle standards. It doesn't seem to work for most people and instead tends to make their mental health plummet unless they really have that spiteful streak that allows them to do things just to piss off their detractors (we admittedly do not all have this trait, sadly).

    Focusing only on weight leads a lot of people to feeling like they are "less than" because they aren't at the goal they should be.. or the goal they think they ought to be based on arbitrary things like people's opinions or the whims of mental health on a day-to-day basis. Taking the focus off of weight and appearance and putting it more on the benefits of exercise and how it can make a person feel during/afterward is probably going to do more for keeping people engaged, especially if you can make that exercise not seem like exercise (like taking a fitness class, swimming freestyle, playing a game with friends or colleagues or even going on a long walk in the evenings).

    I'd be interested in seeing long term studies of a focus on health in overweight individuals that didn't focus mostly on weight or appearance and more about their endurance, enjoyment and longevity, but I'm sure that would take several years at the soonest, probably decades at the latest.

    Personally, I fall into the fat but relatively healthy category (I don't categorize myself as fit). I get blood work panels yearly and go in for a physical at the same time. I've been overweight my entire life (now in my mid-30s), but my blood work always comes back just fine and my physical numbers are always in the green. I attribute most of that more to long walks (even though I've been around 205 for a decade now.. which makes me obese at my height and age) and the fact that due to having a GI condition, I have to be a tad mindful of what and how much of certain things I can eat, but.. I still overeat which is why I'm here.. fighting the good fight and logging calories. As we do.
  • SnifterPug
    SnifterPug Posts: 740 Member
    This is one of those things I have mixed feelings on. Because yes you can be overweight (significantly so, even), and have 'perfect' health metrics across the board- except for that number on the scale. I'm on that spectrum, myself.

    And having those metrics, despite what the scale says, is a fantastic thing.

    However, that does not negate or remove the fact that increased weight, not speaking of vanity pounds, or possibly 20-30 extra pounds (though that might be getting borderline, I don't know where the cut off would be exactly), puts a person at increased risk for any number of health issues including cardiovascular disease or heart attacks and diabetes- even with no previous issues or warning. That is simple fact.

    What we also don't know (or at least I don't know if there have been any studies) is whether there are cumulative effects of obesity. Younger people with obesity are, I suspect, living with a health time bomb.

    Anecdotally, my father in law was obese and in rude health for many years until he died suddenly of pancreatic cancer in his early 70s. My husband is morbidly obese (has been for years) and all of his health metrics were totally fine for years. Until one day they weren't. And now the unhelpful habits are deeply ingrained in him and nothing will change. He would maybe exercise more but his knees won't permit it these days.

    I was thinking about this thread again today because the study was reported in our mainstream press. I wonder who funded the study. Because it is a total gift to the fitness industry. They for years have peddled the myth that you can lose significant amounts of weight by going to the gym. People are beginning to rumble that. But now they can say "Meh. Lose weight or don't. But you need to be fit, whatever. So come to the gym." I have no axe to grind with gyms as I (now) love exercise. But it seems to me that very few big studies are not funded by someone with some sort of vested interest.