Although some of you are using the Gain Great Health site as a tool on your journeys to weight loss, I have resisted the discussion of weight for the past month and a half for a distinct reason. As mentioned on the About page, focusing on gaining great health will pave the way to your body’s natural, biologically determined size. Besides, it’s not where you want to get that matters, but how you will realistically get there and stay there! Likewise, whether you are trying to nip your weight gain in the bud or (to extend the analogy) trim an overgrown pasture, the eating patterns, physical activity regiments, mindsets, and determination are similar in nature.
Many have the false perception that being smaller in size is automatically synonymous with being healthy. My days of eating French fries and drinking soda for lunch certainly counter this faulty, black-and-white way of thinking. The reality is that risk for diet- and lifestyle-related diseases spans all weights and sizes. Health problems can creep up on anyone who isn’t looking (and even for those that are!) and no one is immune. Ultimately, your lifestyle combined with your genetic background have a unique relationship in determining the fate of your health no matter what your size. A recent article featured on MSNBC highlights this fact by introducing vignettes of young and slim women recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Years of not exercising, indulging in sweets, skipping meals, and downing sugary beverages, paired with genetic predispositions, were bound to catch up with these seemingly “healthy” women.
Both amusing and worrying, after reading the aforementioned article, I immediately thought of my skinny-fat friend–currently on a mission to deflate her spare tire! Although she is “apparently” skinny, she measured in at a whopping 30.5% body fat this summer. This came as a shock when she compared her values to the recommendation for women her age, which is 20-25%. Irregardless of her weight, which is normal for her height, she has now seriously taken up running and is becoming more conscious of her eating habits. Not only will eating more fruits and heart-healthy fats help on her mission, but these subtle changes will likewise reduce her risk for diabetes and hypertension, both of which run in her family. Health has become her primary issue and not weight!
What truly matters is our health, which is determined by what we eat, the movements we make, and our mindset and outlook on life. By focusing on these aspects of our existence, we pave the way to great health. It’s not necessarily about losing weight, but instead it’s about gaining great health!