Thursday, January 5, 2012

Obesity in America

Happy New Year!  I guess the focus of this blog is again, health and fitness.  That's right.  HEALTH AND FITNESS.  Not trying to fit into an ideal body image, no diet advice, and I'm going to try to not talk about myself in this blog (maybe a little, haha)

So, I just finished reading this interesting book that has changed my thinking about the "Obesity Epidemic" in America.  Now, within my major, I have learned about 3 different bodies types-the ectomorph (thin, lean, light muscles, hard to gain weight), the mesomorph (gain muscle easily, athletic, muscular, hour glass body shape), which, I think mostly describes my body haha, and the 3rd, endomorph (more stockier, also gains muscle easily, maybe softer skin in terms of thickness).  Or perhaps I'm a combination of all 3, who knows.  Take a look at this website-it's legit.

So, now that we know the 3 body shapes, it is very hard for one to change that body shape.  Which, I believe, is why some people are better runners, swimmers, cyclists, weight lifters, etc.  The book I read is called "The Obesity Myth," by Paul Campos.  He had a number of good arguments that the fear of getting fat is hazardous to your health.  For 1, those BMI tables?  No scientific value whatsoever.  You can still be fit and "fat" with a BMI of 28.  Heck, someone of 130 lbs and 170 lbs at 5'5" can be the same in terms of health.  As long as your triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, and all that stuff your doctor tests for each year are within the normal range, folks :)  It's the truth.

Of course, it's also bad for health to be thin, or fat, or at any weight, actually, if you do NOT eat healthy and do NOT exercise.  In other words, like I said, you can be thin, average, or bigger, but still be healthy and fit, hence the 3 different body types :)

What has America done?  We label foods as "good" or "bad."  We constantly limit ourselves, try the newest and greatest weight loss drug, constantly cut calories or fat.  Well, guess, what, we NEED fat.  Not the fat in processed foods, fast foods, convenient foods, etc, but the fat in almonds, walnuts, peanuts, avocados, meat, oh and sugar?  Not so bad, as long as we don't over do it.  So go ahead and eat some ice cream, as well.  Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full, don't deny yourself your favorites foods or you'll go crazy and binge later-not good for health.  Did you know the French have the highest fat diet, yet they are the slimmest?  That's because they know how to eat in moderation, eat 5-6x a day, and get the satiety they actually need from foods.

Low fat and fat free?  Those foods often have additives, preservatives, chemicals, etc that our bodies do not need, and probably don't know how to process, making us gain unnecessary weight, or worse, develop some sort of disease that maybe we carry the gene for, but would have never turned the gene on had we been eating a healthful diet in the 1st place and exercising.

Now, I have been a culprit of that thinking.  Yep.  I would recommend this book to anyone.  Helped give me a better idea of what's going on in the food, diet, and weight loss industry.  Now, I have never taken any diet pills, have always believed to keep healthy from good eating and exercise, but if I ever considered diet pills (which I have not-why would u waste $ on something that doesn't work?) they are terrible.  People who go on them will lose the weight, but almost all of them gain it back and then some.  While also doing other negative things to your body.  Not getting enough nutrients.  Or the right nutrients.  Stay away from low carb and low fat diets (of course, unless your Dr. tells you this).
Also, it would benefit us to balance omega 3's and 6's!  A lot of American's eat mostly 6's and virtually no 3's!

Anyways, I'd like to share some numbers of mine.  I recently went to the Cleveland Clinic for a physical, hadn't had 1 in yrs.  (Bad!  You should go once a year!)  My total cholesterol is 138 (should be under 200).  My HDL cholesterol is 60, for women, should be above 55.  My LDL (bad cholesterol) is 68.  Should be under 130.  My triglyceride value is 48, should be under 200.  My blood pressure was 100/62 (should be 120/80, or, even more optimal, which the medical field is trying to push to be 110/70, but that won't work with the insurance companies, at least that's what I learned through a class)  And resting heart rate is 44bpm.  Current weight=147lbs.  at 5'5".  Which means I have a 24.5 BMI, meaning if I gain 3lbs, I'll soon be classifed as overweight, according to our stupid government tables.  I was between 150-155 this summer with training, it was crazy!  lol :)  But what I'm getting at here, is the focus should be on eating healthy and being active (and you DON'T have to be as active as me, only moderately active!  My sis, who exercises for maybe 30-60min 4-5x a week had similar values :)  Even though I have been "overweight" this summer, and close to it now from those BMI tables, means nothing.  Look at the true evidence.  Oh, and 20% body fat-very good for my age and gender.  My obsession/passion is health and fitness, not trying to fit into a virtually unrealistic ideal that society has molded.  I have big hips, yay!  They help me do what I want to do-have great endurance while enjoying the outdoors.

A teacher of mine just sent me an email about a summer internship (pretty decent pay, yeah!!)  for a behavior coach opportunity at weight loss camps across the U.S. for kids/teenagers who are overweight/obese.  I was reading about it, and the focus is on mentoring, teaching about healthy eating, and physical activity.  If I do happen to get this awesome internship, I would be so greatful because then I can truly pursue my dream of helping others through health and fitness to enjoy life :)  (Although I am still unsure of my future job, this will help because it's in my field!!)