Blog Archives

Forget thin–just get healthy

A friend of mine sent a link to this article.  I find it very problematic, for a whole bunch of reasons.  Someone commented on it (my response is below):

Funny – I have heard this from a couple of different sources recently. Perhaps there is a new “public” strategy to just get people to reduce their intake and control weight as an easier first step to a healthier society. Obesity is a major problem for the western world. I suppose the concept is that someone who goes from 300 pounds down to 180 pounds is going to be better off (whether they have exercised or not).
 
In fact, some of the so called medical weight loss programs focus 100% on reduced calorie intake with little or no exercise component. Then once the pounds are off, I guess the question would be whether the non-exercising 180 pound person is as healthy as the exercising 180 pound person – my guess is that the exercising person would be “healthier”. But it seems to make sense that both of the 180 pounders are overall healthier than the fatty…!
 
And what about the choice of foods that make up the reduced calorie diets…?
 
My two cents,
XXXXXXX 
My own response to the comment:
The whole slant on this article I don’t have faith in is the “thin equals healthy, exercise equals thin, therefore exercise to be thin” non-logic.
 
How about, moderate and healthy eating + moderate and healthy exercise (+ other moderate healthy variables)=healthy? If we think of exercise as only a route on the way to losing weight, and weight loss as the key to health, I think we’re missing the boat.  Because exercise is JUST A GOOD THING. 
 
The 300 lb person who shifts to a regimen of healthy, balanced, moderate eating is probably going to lose weight. And be healthier. Ditto if that person exercises, as long as they are safe and careful about it.  The 200 lb or 175 or whatever technically overweight person might not lose weight, or much of it, doing either of these things–but they’d still be healthier.  And I suspect they’d be much healthier than the really thin person who eats garbage and doesn’t exercise at all.  The problem is that we as a society look at a thin person and think they are healthy and “take care of themselves” and a not-as-thin person (I’m not talking morbid obesity here–that is its own set of health problems) and think they are less healthy, and don’t.  Doesn’t always follow.
 
(I know lots of healthy exercising good-food-eating overweight people, lots of eat garbage don’t exercise thin people, and not a single healthy exercising good-food-eating obese person. Just for the record. I’m not advocating obesity at all, or dismissing its importance as a huge health problem in this country. But I firmly believe that focusing on lifestyle, not weight, is the key to addressing it.)
 
Off soapbox now.
Advertisements

Novel forms of exercise

I’m attending a big convention thing this week.  At one of those convention centers where all the hotels are connected by Habittrails…er…skywalks…and you can get wherever you want to go without actually leaving the building. (Aside from not quite loving breathing nothing but a/c air for ten hours at a stretch, this is a good thing, because at ground level you can’t necessarily get where you want to go due to construction, busy streets, buildings, etc.)

The catch is that the parking lot is a good quarter mile by habittrail from the convention center, and the nearest hotel almost double that.  And every room seems to be far away from every other room. And despite there being plenty of time to get where you need to go, one seems to always be in a hurry.  And one is also usually carrying a couple of bags of heavy Stuff one picked up or purchased in the exhibit hall or at a showcase or something.

One way or the other–this week I’m going to be walking A LOT.

And I’m re-reminded of why you don’t so often see fat Europeans or New Yorkers; the whole “walking as best and most efficient method to get where you want to go” mindset is something we’ve lost in the burbs, or the Midwest, or wherever we’ve lost it from–that convention center is designed so that walking is the best way to get where you’re going.  Life in the suburbs is not–it’s really hard to walk most places, with no sidewalks, busy intersections with no “walk” signals, strip malls with fences in between them so you have to wander for days to even find a route…

I need to walk more. Seriously.

–J