From nursery books to movies we have been taught by society to associate larger bodies with laziness, sloppiness and in some cases, even evil. And whether or not we are aware, those biases shape how we interact with the world. Obesity is seen as the root of many diseases, however, there are MANY other factors that contribute to the whole health of a human being. Obese people are disproportionately either minorities or people with limited incomes. They may often lack access to fresh groceries, medical care and mental health support, and these limitations alone can be the cause of poor health.
The truth is that it is possible for someone in a large body to be just as, if not more metabolically healthy than someone in a very small body. The women that you see on instagram with rock hard abs and thigh gaps can suffer several negative health consequences including:
- Failing hormone production
- Increased cortisol
- Poor sleep
- Obsessive or disordered eating
- Lack of social life in order to maintain physique
Sumo wrestlers, on the other hand, some of the most obese human beings on earth, often have very stable metabolic health. Although they are very large in size, they have very little visceral fat. Visceral fat is the type that surrounds the body’s organs and is found in the midsection of the body. It’s this fat that can cause severe metabolic problems, sending signals of inflammation to the whole body. Subcutaneous fat, however, like a sumo wrestler has, lays just under the skin and is more benign.
Despite this, we have decided as a society that there are few things worse than being fat. Those in smaller bodies offer shame, righteousness and condemnation as tools to fight the obesity epidemic. But for all this praise of six packs and shaming of fat rolls we have done very little to change the health of our nation. We’ve tried everything from paleo to vegan and yet the focus on food tends to actually make the problem worse.
Right now more than 70 million people are obese in the United States, but instead of focusing on the inner health of those individuals, we automatically make a negative association with their size.
The vast majority of people who go on a traditional diet gain all the weight back and more. So it would seem that more body shaming and more fad restrictions will not make this problem any better.
On the flip side, there has been increasing success with implementing lifestyle changes over a long period of time, and removing the focus on food. It has also been helpful to focus on general improvements in health rather than attempting to reach some unrealistic idea of the perfect body. In fact, the greatest successes have come from a 5-10% of body weight loss with an increase in healthy habits.
In order to start a wellness journey in this more productive and successful way, start with these tips:
Focus on health
Start making changes that will lead to you FEELING better to start.
- Sleep Hygiene
- Stress Reduction
- Increased daily movement
- Increased intake of vegetables
Just a small decrease in fat tissue can make a huge difference in metabolic health. Learn to appreciate small changes.
Start with Small Habits
Instead of overhauling your entire existence, make change feel good. Start with tiny habits that fit within your existing lifestyle, doing things that seem easy at first. Success will build upon itself, allowing you to stay motivated.
All of this is easier said than done when society hasn’t caught up yet. As a whole, larger bodies are still deemed unacceptable, and so it’s no wonder that we gravitate toward an extreme and quick fix. This is why it is so helpful to engage with a coach or join a like-minded group of women for support.
If you're interested in exploring one of these options with Blueberry Nutrition, you can find out more about one on one coaching HERE, or let us know you'd be interested in joining a future Blueberry Reboot group HERE.
Inspired by John Berardi’s Podcast “The problem with weight loss”