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  • Jenny Maloney RD

Don't worry, fit doesn't always mean thin

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

Magazines, TV, social media – even some so-called health gurus – can lead us to believe that in order to be healthy and fit, we need to be thin.

And sure, carrying extra weight can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and, of course, complications with diabetes. However, most health experts will tell you that it’s more important to be fit than thin.

Ask yourself: How efficient are my heart and lungs? How much muscle do I have in comparison to fat? These are determined by fitness, not weight. For example, muscle weighs more than fat, but it’s also a great calorie burner. A study by the European Heart Journal shows that overweight, even obese, individuals who are metabolically fit lower their risk for many health problems at the same rate as “normal” weight individuals.

Our society often takes an all-or-nothing approach to weight loss: No sugar, no carbs, extreme cleanses, intense workouts. The “lose 10 lbs per week” or “fit into a dress” mentality. The reality is, genetics, chemical and hormonal balance, bone structure, metabolism – all help determine where you carry weight and how much. With regular exercise and a balanced, healthy diet, your body will do the best it can with your genetic makeup.

Losing and gaining extreme amounts of weight can cause a variety of health problems and be dangerous, especially for those with diabetes. So ignore any outside pressures to be thin, and focus on staying fit.

Think less about the scale and counting calories; more on living a balanced lifestyle. Find a healthy weight, regular exercise routine and diet that can be maintained realistically. Then stick to it!

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