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You Don’t Have To Be Thin To Be Healthy

We’ve dedicated a lot of articles to weight loss and ways to achieve weight loss goals. However, I believe that lost in all those articles was that while achieving a “healthy” weight can help reduce the incidence of obesity related diseases, health is not necessarily determined by the number on your scale. You don’t have to workout daily to be healthy and you most certainly don’t need to look like a Cosmo or GQ model to be healthy.

I’ve been thinking about writing this article for quite a while because as I looked back over the history of weight loss articles I’ve posted, never have I made the important point that there’s far more to leading a healthy life than your weight. In fact, some thin people are actually very unhealthy. Weight doesn’t always tell the real story of what’s going on inside. That old metaphor of not judging a book by its cover can apply to health as well!

In a study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, obese people who eat well and exercise live just as long as their slimmer counterparts and are less likely to die from heart disease than those who are less fit. “Being fit means being able to perform physical activity, having energy and strength to feel as good as possible,” says Registered Dietitian Marjorie Nolan. “Getting more fit — even if you’re overweight — will improve health. And being fit has less to do with weight and more to do with physical ability.”

In other words, fitness is considered a much better indicator of your health than your dress size or the number on the scale.

With this in mind, we asked Nolan, who is also a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, for a few tips on how to determine how “fit” you are:

𝟭. 𝗖𝗵𝗲𝗰𝗸 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗯𝗼𝗱𝘆 𝗳𝗮𝘁: Your body fat is the percentage of your total body weight that is composed of fat. Women should shoot for 14 to 18 percent body fat, while men should strive for 10-15 percent (thanks to estrogen, women get a little extra cushioning).

𝟮. 𝗞𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗕𝗣: Blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, and it’s a great way to gauge your health and fitness level. The key to lowering BP: eating a healthful diet (low in salt and fat) and squeezing in regular physical activity. A blood pressure level of 120/80 is the target.

𝟯. 𝗚𝗲𝘁 𝗯𝘂𝘀𝘆: The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Strength uses a variety of assessment tools involving several physical tests — like push-ups, sit-ups, arm hangs, pull-ups, flexibility tests and a one-mile walk/run test.

𝟰. 𝗠𝗲𝗮𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘄𝗮𝗶𝘀𝘁: The thicker your waist, the higher your risk for poor health — even if your weight and body mass index fall within the normal range. A woman with a waist circumference of 35 inches or more is at greater risk of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease (men are at greater risk when they exceed 40 inches). It is not a direct measure of fitness, but it can be used in conjunction with other measurements and tests to determine your overall health and fitness level.

REMEMBER THIS! Thin means absolutely nothing and is not a determination of being healthy or happy. It’s also a terrible end goal and motivator. One that will undoubtedly leave you wanting more. Not to mention it’s a goal based on someone else’s looks, not your own.

𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂. 𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗳𝘂𝗹. 𝗕𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗯𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗼𝗿.

𝗕𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵𝘆 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗱… 𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁’𝘀 𝗮 𝗴𝗼𝗮𝗹 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗵 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴

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