There’s more to being healthy than having normal blood sugar and pressure; obesity cannot be any healthier than is smoking.

A clinically obese woman may be able to train for a 5K or go on lengthy hikes every weekend, and she’s definitely in better shape than if she were sedentary.

  • But how many very overweight people, who claim they’re healthy or fit, can actually hike for an hour or even jog 400 meters without stopping?
  • How many can briskly WALK the 400 meters without feeling punished at the end?

There are YouTube videos of very plus-size women striking challenging yoga poses. But let’s be realistic:

They are the extreme exception, and even then, the ability to perform impressive yoga poses does not mean that the increased risk of certain cancers due to the obesity has been eliminated.

Journal of the American College of Cardiology: New Study by Chang et al

• 14,828 healthy adults of varying weights with no known heart disease were involved.

• Obese people in this large sample had much higher plaque buildup in their coronary arteries.

• Obesity was defined, for this study, as a body mass index over 25. A BMI of 26 or 27 isn’t that fat, yet this relatively low cut-off point was included in those high rates of plaque buildup.

Did you know that you can have normal blood sugar and normal blood pressure and STILL have dangerous plaque buildup in your arteries?

Non-Scientific Evidence

Go to a busy medical center where lines of people are always in place to check in for doctor appointments.

An astounding number of them are obese – and are not looking too good. Many have difficulty walking. Many have supplemental oxygen. 

They tend to be older, but as a fitness expert, I’ll be the first to point out that young adults with obesity tend to get a free pass due to their youth. They won’t be singing the same song once 40, let alone 50, rolls around.

“I have great numbers!” is NOT protective against osteoarthritis of the knees or colon or breast cancer.

Obesity is an independent risk factor for heart disease, heart attack and congestive heart failure.

This means that having “great numbers” should never be reassurance that you’re healthy despite weighing 230.

Don’t Use the Thin and Unhealthy Defense

Pointing out that many skinny people are in poor health does not undo the deleterious effects of obesity upon the body.

You may as well point out that smokers are unhealthy in an attempt to convince yourself that you can be fat and healthy.

It’s just not relevant that many thin people have heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. NOT RELEVANT.

Set a Higher Standard

See how it goes by setting a higher standard for yourself. As a former personal trainer, my standard is exceptionally high.

I feel disabled if I can’t run 100 meters due to a sprained ankle.

If your standard is the ability to walk your 50 pound dog for 45 minutes, that is just too low. Set some loftier goals, such as:

• Jogging around the block without stopping (and build up from there)

• Performing 10 burpees

• Performing 20 body-weight squats (thighs parallel to floor)

• Incline treadmill walking without holding onto the machine

Heart disease and obesity are just too intimately intertwined to ignore the medical data. The concept of healthy obesity is a fairytale.

Yes, the obese woman who takes yoga twice a week, Zumba once a week and does machine strength training twice a week is in better condition than if she didn’t do structured exercise, but the obesity is STILL THERE. Just like if she’s a smoker, the smoking is STILL THERE.

You can’t erase it by not thinking about it. If obesity is there, you have a significant risk factor for a multitude of medical problems including:

• Increased risk of post-surgical complications

• Increased risk of deep vein thrombosis

• Increased risk of complications from childbirth

• Mobility problems down the road.

Obesity isn’t about size acceptance. It’s an unhealthy medical condition.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.