This might seem like a strange question. After all, if you’re “overweight” then isn’t it a no-brainer that you should consider losing some weight?
Well, the first question to answer would be this … what is “overweight?”
Is it above a certain BMI? I hope not because according to BMI, I’m significantly overweight yet I am quite lean and fit.
Is it a dress size that determines what is a healthy size or overweight? Even as a man I know good and well that dress sizes for different bodies vary wildly.
How about a number on the scale? This one is probably the most ridiculous and arbitrary of all of the metrics for determining if you need to lose weight.
We see the impact of excess body fat on a number of health conditions and health markers. However, sometimes it has no negative impact. An example of this was my late wife who at her heaviest had allowed herself to hit over 400 lbs. Guess what? No diabetes. Not even pre-diabetes. Cholesterol was better than mine. No other health markers were off. Oh, she did have sleep apnea, but interestingly enough, at 165 lbs at the time, I did as well. Go figure.
Now, let’s assume she was comfortable in her own skin at that size and felt good about herself. She didn’t, but play along with me for a moment. No health markers were off so was there a reason that a goal of losing weight might be a good option for her?
The answer was yes. That size seriously limited the things she was able to do. She needed to be dropped off close to the door when we went out. She had to be careful of chairs she sat in to make sure it could support her weight. She didn’t fit in a single airline seat. It took excessive amounts of energy to move around.
Why was it good for her to have a goal of weight loss? Because she was missing out on life as a result of her size. She realized that and didn’t want to be in that place anymore. Apart from how some would view her appearance or how they might perceive her size, she was physically limited from enjoying certain activities that bring joy to many lives. Hiking, traveling, taking a walk on the beach, riding a bike, comfortably enjoying a movie, spending a day shopping or sightseeing were all things that were not available to her.
So, what happened after she lost 140 lbs, still at 300 lbs and significantly overweight by typical standards? She was able to hike, drive a car again, walk up stairs, and shop without a scooter or getting out of breath. Her energy was significantly improved so she was able to do experience more of life. Essentially, it’s as if she’d removed a 140 lb backpack that she’d been carrying around with her 24×7.
Long intro to make my point, but that’s how I roll. So, let’s wrap this up.
My point is this. I don’t think anyone should feel pressured to lose weight to meet some arbitrary standard of what is “normal” vs. “overweight.” If your weight is directly impacting your health, it’s probably a good idea to consider trying to do something about it.
However, if you feel comfortable in your own skin at the size you are now, it still may be worth considering a plan to trim down a bit. Here are some questions to consider:
- Are you able to enjoy the things in life that interest you?
- Are your interests limited by what you feel capable of doing at your current size?
- Is your energy level, and thus the effort you are able to give your family, friends, job, etc., negatively impacted by your size?
- Do you at times struggle to navigate your environment as a result of your size?
- Does your body ache and/or do you have any issues with your knees or back that you know are related to the amount of weight you carry around each day?
Notice that I didn’t mention one thing about appearance, clothes, scale number, or even general health. I am strictly asking these questions in the context of getting the most out of life and enjoying it to the fullest extent possible.
I want each of you to get all you can out of life. If you are in a larger body and are healthy, happy, energetic, and living life to the fullest, that is fantastic! If, however, your size is holding you back, it might be worth considering addressing that.