A new poll by Gallup Healthway shows that as Americans’ waistlines quickly expand beyond control, their resolve to lose the excess weight is becoming smaller and smaller. A study conducted on 1,000 participants from year 1990 to 2011 concluded that the average weight in men and women had increased significantly over these 20 years. The average increase in weight was 16 pounds in men and 18 pounds in women.
Simultaneously, the ideal weight, according to the society’s perception has also risen. Male participants said that they wished they weighed 170 pounds at the beginning of the study but 20 years later, their ideal weight had changed to 181 pounds by 2011. Similarly, women who aimed for 129 pounds in 1990 had lowered their expectation to 138 pounds by the end of the study. Has something changed?
It’s obvious that people are in denial about their expanding waistlines. Although there’s no denying that excess fat can create a number of health complications such as diabetes, cancer and heart diseases, a few extra pounds aren’t as disastrous for your health as you may have thought. Here are some popular misconceptions about the ideal weight that aren’t true:
Myth: A High BMI Means You’re Overweight
Health experts often consider body mass index (BMI) to be a good indicator of your current physique, but since the only two parameters that BMI takes into account are weight and height, this method is considered extremely unreliable for people with heavier bone structure or higher muscle mass.
It is quite common for bodybuilders who are packing a lot of muscle to have a BMI in the morbidly obese range, despite being low in body fat percentage. Dieticians say that they often take BMI with a grain of salt since it overlooks several key factors that determine your total body fat – which is the real culprit behind diabetes and heart diseases.
Myth: It’s the Result that Matters, not the Process
Most people, who try to lose weight, focus on achieving the end goal and don’t care about the process. As a result, they fall prey to dangerous diets which are not only disruptive for health and metabolism, but also damaging for their waistlines.
Crash dieters tend to quickly regain all the weight, and, in many cases, even put on more pounds than what they had started with. Moreover, extreme dieting can weaken the heart, induce disorderly eating and can potentially be life-threatening. This is why experts advise that it is wiser to lose the weight slowly and keep it off for good than to remain in an endless cycle of yo-yo dieting.
Myth: Skinny is Always Healthy
Most women wish to have a supermodel’s slender figure, but just because skinny looks good doesn’t mean that it’s healthy. Even people who look thin can have unhealthy eating habits which can lead to accumulation of visceral fat around their organs, which may not be visible outwardly but does increase the risk of certain cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Myth: All Fat is Equally Bad
On the contrary to common misconception, not all people who are equally overweight are unhealthy. One study found out that your risk of certain weight-related diseases depends on where you store your fat. People who carry most of the excess weight around their abdomen are more likely to develop serious illnesses in comparison to their pear-shaped counterparts.
Fat in the belly area is considered extremely dangerous since it goes deep under the skin layer and envelops vital organs. Some people are even prone to accumulating excess fat in their liver which leads to insulin resistance, thereby increasing their chances of developing diabetes.
We already know that excess fat is bad for health, but it seems like it can be worse for some than others depending on genetics. However, a healthy diet and moderate physical activity can reduce the risk of certain diseases and keep their blood glucose and cholesterol levels in check.