Hey, those people are FAT! THAT is what OBESE looks like…..I am not that bad…….WRONG!
Perspective is everything. How we perceive our environment determines how we interact with it. Our interaction, or in this case lifestyle, is what determines our health, weight, and the genetics we pass on both biologically and in learned behavior.
When people see 400 and 500 lb people on the Biggest Loser and think, “that is unhealthy,” “that is morbidly obese,” “that means my 250 lbs are not that bad,” they are often fooling themselves.
This is a vey dangerous comparison to make. On the other side of this self weight assessment equation is the fact that there are very few actual pictures and references of what it really looks like to be technically overweight, and technically obese. A lot of people will be surprised when they actually look into it.
I prefer to use body fat percentage as my ruler, but if you use BMI, go for it. But here are the numbers:
Did you read that? Over 20% body fat for men and 24% body fat for women is the starting point defining being over weight, and considered acceptable, NOT healthy.
Over 24% for men and 37% for women is the point when you are technically considered obese. And morbidly obese line is roughly considered 20% over your ideal body fat level.
On this chart a good body fat percentage, what I am calling healthy, is 11-14% for men and 16-23% for women. So, morbidly obese would start at 34% for men and 43% for women.
Look, in today’s American culture the GOOD/HEALTHY standard body fat seems very low….comparatively, but honestly it’s not. We have become accustomed to seeing much higher body fat percentages over the last 5 generations and larger bodies have become very common, but should not be confused with normal.
As it stands the CDC says 35% of Americans (officially reported) are obese, 35% are just overweight. that is 70% of adults are either overweight or obese….are you one of the 30% who are not? How about your kids? Over 20% of adolescents are obese, almost 18% of kids 6-11, and 8.4% of kids 2-5 years old.
I have been in this game for myself and in practice for 22 years and I know that for me to get my body fat into the 11-14% healthy range for men is hard. I can do it, and have done it, but it takes very strict efforts and adherence to a long term, multifaceted plan. I tend to fall in the 17% range most of the time, especially if I am lifting heavy weights. If I am not on my game, not structuring my efforts then I can easily drift up to the 22% plus range. Honestly, I have been in the obese range, as in the 25% body fat range three times in my life.
So I get the struggle, I live it, and I research, teach and practice this stuff. I have read over 1,000 articles on weight loss, read over 150 books on weight loss alone, gone to multiple seminars and conventions, launched group programs to thousands of people, worked one on one with a couple hundred by now at least, my most successful client lost over 185 lbs, we had a number lose over 100, and the fastest lost 100 lbs in 10 weeks……AND I still am learning, I still need to work hard, and I STILL have set backs. What I am saying is, THIS AINT EASY!
Here is the million dollar question: Is extra body fat alone unhealthy?
My answer: “NO!”
BUT, what causes extra fat accumulation and keeps fat on us when we try to lose it in a healthy manner, is NOT healthy and CAUSES chronic disease. Extra body fat would not be much of an issue if it wasn’t driven by and consequently contributes in return to high toxicity levels, cellular oxidation, systemic inflammation, and multiple hormonal problems.
The main drivers of all that makes extra fat unhealthy:
- Chronic metabolic sugar burning
- Exposure to artificial chemicals/poisons (by the way, natural damaging chemicals are called toxins, artificial, man made ones are technically poisons)
- Continual Neurological Tone in Stress Mode
- Hormonal imbalances and resistance
- Liver, pancreas, visceral fat and scarring
- Lack of appropriate movement and muscle development and glycogen storage capacity
Then there is the cosmetic turn off we have for extra body fat. Hey, let’s be honest, that can be a strong motivator, so I say use it to your advantage.
In the meantime, just be honest with yourself. Go online and try and find actual pictures of people with both overweight and obese body fat percentages and get a REAL perspective of what that looks like and understand what it means to you, your health, and family. It is not going to be a picture of the biggest loser, I promise!
Awareness is step one. Increased awareness promotes a change in thinking. Change your thinking on health and your behavior will follow. Change your behavior and you can change your very life and future.
Oh, and if you are getting healthy and losing weight and people get weird and say things like, “you look fine, you don’t need to lose weight,” understand why they say that. Whether they are trying to support and love you or it is a reflection of what they think of themselves, they simply just might not know what you do. So, it is important to set your own goals and follow what you need and want to do based on what YOU now know.
Don’t settle my friends and don’t compare yourself to the masses to feel good, get healthy and you will feel good and look better and the masses will start to compare themselves to you!
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