Opinion: Is Fat Acceptance Okay?

According to the New York Times, it seems that people are embracing a new normal when it comes to what a healthy weight is. More people are now inclined to view being overweight or even obese in a positive light. Calls for weight loss interventions are falling on deaf ears.

Believe it or not, I don’t have a problem with this. I think that part of the reason why fat acceptance is a thing now is because for years and even decades now, we have absolutely failed to define what “being fat” really is.

A prime example lies in one of the most prevalent indicators of being overweight or obese: body-mass index (BMI), which doesn’t even consider how much body fat you have! BMI only considers height and weight. Thus, two 5’10’’ 175-pound people will have the exact same BMI. However, they could have vastly different body compositions. One could be a chiseled athlete in peak shape with 7% body fat, and the other could be an average guy with 20% body fat.

In fact, the majority of professional athletes are overweight according to BMI, and a good number of them are even obese. Let’s face it, we all know that this just isn’t true.

Weight is just a number, and it tells us absolutely nothing about how lean or fat someone is. I understand why people are embracing a new normal when it comes to what a “healthy weight” is. We can’t even define overweight or obese properly. However, some people are taking this movement too far and completely neglecting the important place that fitness has in all our lives, whether we weigh 225 pounds or 120 pounds.

Studies have found that when it comes to health risk and death, low cardio-respiratory fitness could be worse than obesity. In fact, it doesn’t matter what your weight is; simply being fit has better health outcomes than being unfit. There wasn’t a huge difference in health risk between being “normal” or overweight.

Still, losing even a small amount of weight could alleviate high blood pressure, blood sugar, or bad cholesterol levels. But this doesn’t take away from the remarkable effects that good fitness has on any human body.

We need to do a better job defining what health is on the basis of body composition–not body weight. That’s why we offer hydrostatic weighing here at Halevy Life: it’s the most accurate way to determine your true body fat percentage.

Although weight clearly isn’t everything, “fat acceptance” shouldn’t be an excuse to skip working out. Reject BMI and abandon your weight loss goals, but don’t reject fitness and skip out on strength-training just because you’re okay with your weight.

by Jeremy Lau

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/26/well/more-fitness-less-fatness.html

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