Last week I posted about the ‘skinny-fat’ phenomenon. And it sparked a lot of interest in our readers, including one who pointed out on our Facebook page that, while skinny doesn’t always = healthy, overweight doesn’t always = unhealthy.
And she is right: it is entirely possible to be overweight, yet healthy ‘under the hood’ so-to-speak.
While it may be true that some – or it might even be fair to say most – overweight people have unhealthy habits, there are some who are strong, cardiovascularly fit, and otherwise quite healthy.
But I will say that it’s rare for someone to be doing all the right things in terms of diet and exercise and still be overweight – there is almost always an underlying reason for the extra weight.
• A poor diet
• Metabolic/thyroid issues
• A hormonal imbalance
I’ve also worked with overweight people who are doing all the right things currently, but their bodies aren’t responding as fast as they would like. Bodies do sometimes take a while to ‘catch up’ and adjust to a healthier lifestyle. This can be incredibly frustrating, but I always advocate staying the course – weight loss is, after all, a marathon and not a sprint.
Bottom line: it is my opinion that it’s entirely possible for someone to be walking around ‘overweight and healthy’. Do I think it’s a good idea? I’d certainly recommend losing some body fat, and/or addressing the underlying issue. But even if there isn’t a desire to do so, that person is far better off than their unhealthy counterparts.
Lastly, another thing muddying the water of this debate is the fact that the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is used by most doctors to determine a healthy weight, isn’t always accurate. This is why we at Nielsen Fitness use several metrics to assess our clients. I’ll go into that in more detail in a future post.
Poul Nielsen is the owner and operator of Nielsen Fitness, Toronto's leading team of in-home personal trainers. He has 18 years' experience in the fitness industry and has taught courses in Fitness and Lifestyle Management at George Brown College.
In addition to exercise (obviously), he loves spending time with his family, playing the guitar, strong coffee - and dark chocolate!