Matt and Stacy, the two authors over at Paleo Parents, have graciously invited me to write a blog post at their site. Because the topic of weight loss, and especially from obesity, is so near and dear to their and their readers hearts, I thought it fitting to write about fitting weight status properly into our visions of health.
And two brief excerpts, here:
In July 2012, I wrote a guest post at the Whole 9 blog titled: “How Perfect is the Perfect Body?” The answer, fairly definitively, was “that depends.”
This is because a stereotypically ideal body does not in fact indicate anything definitive about the individual’s health. It is entirely possible to be a lithe, shiny machine of a human being, but still have some sort of internal metabolic disaster. It is also possible to be overweight and to have a healthy internal environment.
There are three primary phenomena that make this possible: first, many health markers other than weight status are crucial for lifelong health. Secondly, the conditions for women are a bit complex: having more fat can be healthier (within normal ranges), and fat loss can be less easy because of hormonal set-points. And finally, a person’s health status can never be truly understood without the context of her history.
Each human being is constructed out of two things: a genetic blueprint and environmental triggers. Unfortunately for us in today’s world, both of those factors can be easily and powerfully deranged.
The vast majority of children in America today are raised on processed, sugary, toxin-filled foods. This puts these people at an immediate disadvantage. No matter what sort of genes they are born with, the ways in which they treat themselves (and so often at no fault of their own) can permanently damage their health.
Consumption of trans fats, for example, has been linked to a long-term reduction in the ability to burn fat.
And seriously restricting calories has been shown to permanently increase the number of fat cells and the rate of fat storage in dieters.