Can you be Overweight & Healthy?
Bodies come in a wide variety of sizes and measurements. The most common measurement of health related to one’s size is Body Mass Index (BMI). This measurement takes into account your height, weight and gender and gives you a number that indicates if you are underweight, normal weight or overweight based on the calculation of the three measurements. Finding a BMI calculator on the internet is simple and much quicker than learning the calculation to do by hand; simply look on Google for a calculator.
The problem is that the weight on the scale used for BMI is a measurement of your pull to the Earth by gravity and does not take into account amount of muscle or fat a person has, bone density and a variety of other factors. The hip to waist ratio isn’t always an ideal measurement of healthy weight either, especially if you natural body shape is more apple than hourglass. Skin calipers might be inexpensive but the margin of error in their use is pretty high.
We all know the super-skinny person that eats noting but Reece’s Cups and Cokes and never ever exercises just like we know the person who has a little “meat on their bones” that eats by the book and gets their recommended daily workouts in each day. It all begs the question; can you be considered overweight and healthy?
Why Being Overweight Matters
One way to be considered overweight is when your BMI falls above 24.9. The concern is that being overweight, through any evaluation method, comes with a long list health concerns. Being overweight can cause high blood pressure, elevated risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gout, infertility in both sexes and gallstones. In addition, added weight can affect you psychologically; a person can be at a higher risk for depression, anxiety and eating disorders.
Are You Really Overweight?
The questions begin to arise if you are a person who quite often rides the line very close to being considered overweight or are an athletic or muscular person that often is labeled overweight. BMI can overestimate body fat. To get a true read on what your body is comprised of, one of the more common alternatives you can turn to is Hydrostatic Weighing. Hydrostatic Weighing is extremely accurate for measuring ones true body composition. It uses factors that have a low percentage of error and is considered the standard measure of body composition.
Finding the breakdown of your body composition will determine if you are overweight by common ways to measure due to your build or if you are really overweight.
Can You Be Healthy if You are Overweight?
The problem is that society , its research and its guidance, seems to jump from normal weight and overweight to the skinny and fat labels when there are grey areas. There will always be the extremes; the unhealthy anorexic and the morbidly obese examples but what about people that have a few pounds here or there? Do they matter? The occasional set of pounds can creep in on anyone and stay a little awhile. Many people experience very large swings in their average weight and do their entire life.
The focus should be less on the scale and more on the actions being taking by the individual on a regular basis. Are you eating healthy and exercising but the scale is simply showing a little heavier than normal? That’s going to far outweigh (pun intended) sitting around not eating healthfully, not exercising and being a bit lighter. Better choices make for better health. Assume all things were created equal in terms of activity and nutrition, the lighter you are the better but it doesn’t make the added pounds catastrophic to your health.
The question is not can you be fat and fit but can you be overweight and healthy. Taking weight out of the picture for a moment, what does the lifestyle of the person say? Do they smoke, excessively drink or overindulge? How is their work life balance? The answer to the question of can you be overweight and healthy really can be answered by the choices made by the individual and their overall lifestyle.
Running With a Few Extra Pounds
Most people have had a variety of weight ranges on their frame at some point during their running career. There is no question that a few extra pounds do increase necessary effort. Need a reminder? Just go on vacation, eat with reckless abandon and come back a few pounds heavier; your legs will feel like lead. Most runners also typically set their PRs when they are at their lightest average weight.
If you are running during a heavier phase you might notice your attire suffering. Your shoes are going to be the first thing that will bear the brunt of the weight. Just a few extra pounds will affect your inserts and the cushioning in your shoes shortening their life a little. The other apparel item with issue will be any item that has a constant point of contact like the inseam of your shorts. You might notice quicker wear.
Another side effect of a few pounds is tender feet. If you are in high mileage and your feet aren’t used to your current weight they could be a little more sore than normal. You might also notice your knees or surrounding IT band could be a little achier. If you are a person that gains weight in one specific area like your hips, the stabilizing tendons in your knees are going to feel the effects.
All of these are minor nuisances; do not let any of this deter you from running if you don’t feel you’re most svelte. Maintaining your running is one of the key items in ensuring your health stays on track even if the scale indicates your weight might not be.
You can hold a few extra pounds and be healthy just like you can be skinny and in terrible health, just look at a chain smoker. Your health boils down to choices you make on a daily basis, not necessarily the number on a scale.