Hi y’all! I hope you all are enjoying 2015. I’m back at work, so there’s that, but I had a wonderful break and a great Christmas, so I’m cool with it 🙂
When I was at my parents’ house for Christmas, my mom had a library book that I picked up out of curiosity and managed to read in TWENTY FOUR hours. I kid you not. Here it is:
This is The Obesity Paradox, by Carl “Chip” J. Lavie, MD (he holds multiple titles at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans and Ochsner Clinical School at The University of Queensland School of Medicine–he is legit, read his bio!) with Kristin Loberg. This book is seriously LIFE CHANGING, and I think all of my blog buddies out there should go read it as soon as you can get your hands on it.
Essentially, this book is a fascinating look at what is happening inside of our bodies regarding fat and metabolism. The obesity paradox is this: although obesity does show a proven CORRELATION (not necessarily causation) to certain diseases like heart disease, diabetes, etc…Dr. Lavie’s extensive research has shown that people who are in the mid range of the overweight and even lower range of the OBESE numbers on the BMI scale have BETTER odds of surviving diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes than their thinner (and even normal BMI range) counterparts. If being overweight or obese has a correlation to those diseases, how is it that then being overweight or obese can HELP you survive those things? In addition, there is a striking and growing number of “skinny” people out there who have conditions like diabetes and heart disease without ever having been overweight or obese. Therein lies the paradox, and Dr. Lavie uses this book to shed some light on the situation.
Dr. Lavie argues that the BMI scale should be taken with multiple grains of salt–I agree with him WHOLEHEARTEDLY. I calculated my BMI the other day online, and although I am now in the very tippy top range of the “overweight” category now and I weigh 182 lbs, the calculator told me that to be in a “normal” range, I’d have to lose between 20 and SEVENTY FIVE pounds. SEVENTY FIVE POUNDS, PEOPLE! That would put me at 107 pounds, ladies and gents. Um, NOPE. In addition, NBA players like Shaq are qualified as “obese,” even though they could run CIRCLES around other people in that same category. So Dr. Lavie’s main argument is this: it’s better to be fat and fit, than thin and out of shape. And guess what, y’all? When I first opened the book, I was like “ok well he is probably talking about ‘fat’ people being like 10 pounds (max) overweight.”
At one point, he talks about how his research has shown that even if you’re carrying around 10-50 (FIFTY!!!) extra pounds of weight, if you’re fit and that if your metabolic numbers are good, you’re good (there’s a big chapter on what he thinks it means to be “fit,” btw–and guess what–it’s not Crossfit). YOU’RE GOOD! So for God’s sake people, stop worrying about that last bit of weight. This has totally changed my mindset about where I am and what I’m doing weight-loss wise. My original goal was to be in the “normal” category on the BMI chart, but now after reading this book, I want to be in the bottom half of the “overweight” category. No. friggin’. joke. And this stuff is for real people–he talks about how obesity has had a war waged on it for multiple reasons, how our evolution has played into obesity, how assumptions about people (be they skinny or fat) are TOTALLY unfair, and how we as a society are valuing very unhealthy body types based on what we think is attractive.
I am VERY fit. I work out 4-6 times a week, and I weigh 182 pounds. I could run circles around some of the skinnier people who go to my gym. And you know what? I now know that it’s OK! I feel great about myself and although I’m still trying to lose the last 20-30 pounds to get down to the bottom of the “overweight” range, I feel super empowered and proud of myself after reading this book.
ALL OF YOU SHOULD READ IT ASAP! Seriously. It’s a fast read, and it really sheds some light on a very complex issue. At any rate, I know there will always be haters out there, but this book has basically changed my perspective about my current situation. I am now working out to be HEALTHY and to feel great, not necessarily *just* to lose weight as I have in the past, although I have always enjoyed how much energy working out gives me. If that added 20-30 lbs comes off, it comes off. If not, it doesn’t. I know where I am and how good I feel, and now I know that carrying this extra weight isn’t hurting me (btw y’all–this isn’t JUST ONLY because I’ve read the book–I have always had good cholesterol and other metabolic numbers even when I weighed 273 pounds and my doctor has always said that I’m a healthy person in general…there’s the paradox in action!)
In addition, Dr. Lavie makes sure to say MULTIPLE times that this book and research should not be used as an excuse for morbid obesity or for people to eat whatever they want and not be active. It is obvious that he thinks that the more fit a person is, the better off he or she is…so that’s just a disclaimer right there as well.
Welp, I’m out. I can’t give this book enough rave reviews. Will check in for Weigh-in Wednesday on Wednesday!