It's that time again. After having been sold on food and drink since Thanksgiving, the advertising cycle shifts and we are barraged with ads of gorgeous men and women with ripped abs. Which of course we can get too if we just buy the product or membership or diet plan.
Do you too feel used?
I've always been a bit overweight and seeing miles of ripped abs everywhere in January does nothing for my self image. I've got good abs, it's just that they are under a layer of fat; but you can feel them! Go on; feel my abs.
The news that it's healthy to be a little overweight makes us all feel better about ourselves. But maybe it shouldn't. There are some big holes or caveats about this study. Here's why.
1. Being overweight is not necessarily unhealthy. Being obese is. A third of Americans (and maybe 40-45% of Texans) are just plain no-excuses obese. No question that is a health hazard. So the first thing we need to ask ourselves is, "Am I obese or just a little overweight?" 5-10 lbs, no problema. 40-50 lbs, it's like--you got a problem, man. So what you think of as being overweight may really be obesity.
2. These studies are based on how Body Mass Index defines overweight. BMI does not tell how fat you are, only how heavy you are for your height. Muscular people -- whom studies have shown are at less risk for death -- have a high BMI even if they are lean. A better test for overweight involves caliper measurement of skin folds at various places on the body. ("Can I pinch more than an inch?") Far as I can tell these studies did not use caliper measurement. BIG FAT FLAW.
3. Weight loss can indicate disease. If you have unexplained weight loss, skip the self-congratulations, it's time to see a doc.