Un-Fat Is Not All That:  Being Overweight May Have Some Health Benefits

Survey Says:  Fat Could Help You Live Longer

According to an article in the May 25, 2018 Austin American-Statesman a new study finds obese patients are more likely to survive certain conditions and illnesses when hospitalized.  It originally appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and is by by Najja Parker.  It says that while of course being fat is bad for your heart, blood sugar and more, “the extra fat could have some benefits, according to a new report.”

img_20180526_171527858323874829.jpg
A recent pre-bike ride snack included plain Greek yogurt, cranberries, raspberries and pumpkin seeds (top) and rice cakes with tahini, spices and honey.

Researchers from the European Association for the Study of Obesity recently conducted a trial to explore the survival rates of those admitted to hospitals for infections.”

The findings?  If you’re overweight, you’re 40 percent less likely to die from an infection compared to underweight people,” and “50 percent less likely compared to normal weight people.”  That’s pretty cool, right?

Along with three other studies saying pretty much the same thing, and past studies about some benefits to being a person of girth (see below), that extra flab could be fab if it helps you survive a trip to the hospital.  In the Netherlands, for example, really sick people who were overweight were less likely to have muscle wasting.

More Studies Say Being a Fathlete Isn’t So Bad

I won’t go into all of these studies, but you can read them for yourself.  But the upshot is that being active is more important than popular media images and stereotypes about what a healthy person looks like.

In fact, so many people are overweight now – a third of the world’s population – that it’s really time to move past these old stigma.  I love Hollywood movies as much as the next red-blooded American, but sometimes regular people are more interesting than celebrities who have personal chefs, trainers, massage therapists — and it’s in their contract to spend hours a day “looking good”.  Not even pro athletes are 100% perfect — everyone has some sort of physical challenge.  And we all die.

102916 Armadillo Classic finish line photo
Due to fog and arriving at the start line late, the director said she didn’t think I could do 100 miles.  Here I am finishing 50 miles.  I went on to do another 57, for 107 total.  See my Strava feed for the rides.

This is a major point of my blog:  being fat doesn’t mean you can’t be fit! Yes, being overweight is a problem in many ways.  It can affect your health badly, like being prone to diabetes, heart disease etc.  Or your self-esteem and confidence.  In worst cases, there are eating disorders, which are serious medical conditions.

But even if you do your best to diet and exercise, you may still be fat.  And at some level, that has to be OK.  I am not advocating people passively accept that they will always be fat and so don’t have to do anything about it.  But I’ve cycled almost 15,000 miles in the last three and a half years, have radically changed my diet in some ways, and been extremely active, and I still have not lost any significant weight.  I’m a work in progress, just like everyone.

 

But my recent trip to the cardiologist showed A Dude’s ticker is in great shape.  I can do things many thin people my age and younger can’t.  Like bike 650 miles in the last six weeks, walk daily for 30’ virtually every day this year, and do 30’ of yoga for over 4 years.  So am I fat?  Yes.  I am an athlete?  Yes.  Can I eat better and be in better shape?  Yes.  Should I feel ashamed and hide because I’m overweight?  No.  Skip that tasty treat because of some Puritan Judaeo-Christian they’re starving in China BS?  (Yes, I know that poverty and hunger are real problems, and I’m not minimizing them.)  But blame ourselves for every little thing especially when chronic medical issues, age, genetics, environmental pollution and more are involved?  HELL NO!

You Can Do *SOMETHING*

And neither should you blame yourself.  Do what you can.  Start where you are.  Take it one step at a time.  Build on your successes and recover from your defeats.  You can do it!  Do you know how I know this?  Because if I can, so can you.

6 weeks 650 miles
My short recovery ride after a lotta miles biking and walking.

Speaking of activities, it’s time for today’s bike ride, and then I’m going to reward myself with a movie.  How about you take a walk around the block?  Do 1 push-up and 1 sit-up?  Or dance around to some music you like?  Do some stretches and deep breathing from your bed or wheelchair?

While I’m not a doctor and you shouldn’t start any exercise program without your doctor’s approval, most people can do *SOMETHING*.  Get moving, and I promise you, good things will happen.  Maybe you won’t end up looking like some anorexic supermodel, but science tells us those people are not healthy.  You’ll get a sense of accomplishment, fresh air, Vitamin D, and a whole lot of other benefits.

Here’s a post by a fellow blogger I just found to help inspire you:  Average Joe Cyclist – Guide for Fat Cyclists.

Thank you for believing in me, and I believe in you. 

  • What are your thoughts on these studies? 
  • Your struggles with being fit and being fat?
  • What can you do RIGHT NOW FOR 5 MINUTES to be a little bit more healthy?

 

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9 thoughts on “Un-Fat Is Not All That:  Being Overweight May Have Some Health Benefits

    1. Glad to be of service. I’m grateful you read this. Maybe you’d like to read it MWF? Feel free to subscribe via email or via WordPress. I’m looking forward to interviewing J, how about you? Maybe it should be done in, ahem, tandem?

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      1. Cool! I’ve talked with her about it and think there is plenty for two different ones. Or maybe two parts. I’m not sure. The tricky part is finding time to do it and getting to the pro photog. May be easier to skip that (though he’s really good) and use my own point and shoot. Ideally it will be my second book. Can I reach you via Gmail? Mine is the same name.

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  1. I agree, Dude. Weight is but one aspect of conditioning. Numbers are often misleading. There was a famous athlete in my neck of the woods in the 90s; he won the Heisman Trophy. According to his BMI, he was obese. BMI calculates mass; it does not care if that mass is fat or muscle.

    Liked by 1 person

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