If obese people can be fit and healthy, then why don’t doctors ever advise their normal-weight patients to pack on some pounds?
It’s one thing when a very underweight patient is told to gain weight for better health.
Sometimes, thin people will ask a doctor to recommend ways to gain weight. Often, such patients are directed to a nutritionist or dietician.
But if a person of “normal” weight, that is, a medically acceptable weight and BMI, asks his or her primary care physician for guidance at gaining 50, let alone a hundred, more pounds of FAT…just how do you think their doctor is going to respond?
No doctor would ever tell a 140 pound, 5’5 woman that she should gain 50 pounds. But doctors will advise a 190 pound woman to lose weight for better health.
This phenomenon is a huge tip-off that obesity is never right for any man or woman.
Yet the “health at any size” movement continues to gain serious momentum, led by body positive influencers who are aggressively, cleverly and creatively spearheading this crusade.
“I’ve never said that skinny women should work on getting obese.”
This statement, and others like it, has been made by obese and morbidly obese bopo influencers. And it’s likely true.
Tess Holliday, for instance, apparently has never posted an Instagram caption instructing thin women to stuff themselves to acquire morbid obesity.
However, that’s not the issue. The issue is that Tess Holliday and like-minded very large influencers are telling ALREADY obese women that they are “perfect just the way you are.”
To an impressionable, disenchanted woman who’s easily suggestible, this translates to “Don’t lose weight. You’re healthy just as you are. Keep on eating all you want. It’s okay to be obese, even morbidly.”
The women who’ve been manipulated into believing this would be aghast if an ultra-thin Instagram star who’s admitted to having anorexia nervosa captioned her images with, “If you weigh only 80 pounds, even if you have brittle bones because of this, there’s no need to gain weight. You are perfect just the way you are.”
Imagine the revolt that would ensue!
Obesity Is not Perfect; It’s Packed with Flaws
“Obesity is associated with all sorts of health issues — some more obvious than others,” begins Susan L. Besser, MD, with Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore; Diplomate, American Board of Obesity Medicine and board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.
“There is, of course, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Those are obvious.”
Though high blood pressure is notorious for causing no symptoms, it can be easily demonstrated with a home blood pressure device.
Heart disease initially doesn’t present with symptoms, but over time it will – namely shortness of breath upon mild or even no exertion, and chest pain.
Many diabetics don’t know they have diabetes, because initially, the symptoms mimic benign conditions such as thirst and hunger.
Plus, the symptom of frequent urination may go unnoticed by a busy person who’s not tuned into her body’s signals.
Many body positive influencers and their followers focus strictly on diabetes, heart disease and stroke when defending their position, as in, “I know skinny people who’ve had heart attacks and stroke.”
But obesity causes all sorts of other problems that don’t get as much spotlight.
“There are hidden conditions such as fatty liver,” says Dr. Besser. When fatty liver is caused by obesity it’s called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
“There are no obvious symptoms of that initially, and you aren’t even aware — but over time fatty liver can lead to liver damage and decreased liver functions.”
A sick liver is nothing to sneeze at; this is very serious. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin (jaundice), extreme weakness, fluid buildup in the abdomen and even cognitive problems.
“Another issue that can happen over time with obesity is arthritis,” says Dr. Besser. “It doesn’t happen right away, but in time, the excess weight puts pressure on the joints and can cause damage.”
An obese woman of 30 may claim her knees feel fine, but she won’t be giving the same report when she’s 50 if she hasn’t knocked down her weight.
Fashion Isn’t Health
If you want to wear a bikini or tight mini skirt despite weighing 300 pounds then go ahead.
Do so because YOU want to, not because a stranger on Instagram is trying to make you believe that wearing a pantsuit that covers your body is a sign of poor mental health.
However, fashion choices have nothing to do with health. If you’re significantly overweight, you need to lose this excess body fat for much improved health.
Obesity is never right for any body.
Dr. Besser provides comprehensive family care, treating common and acute primary conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Her ongoing approach allows her the opportunity to provide accurate and critical diagnoses of more complex conditions and disorders.
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.