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Fat and Happy

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Fat people live longer.

That's what a brand-spankin' new study published in The Journal of The American Geriatrics Society says. The 9,000 person study showed that overweight (BMI 25-29)
elderly people were 13 percent less likely to die over a ten year period than those
who kept their weight within the recommended range.

Although we live in a society hell-bent on beauty, there are many millions of people

who are overweight and healthy as can be.

My personal theory is that people naturally put on ten pounds a decade, or a pound a year and there's nothing wrong with that.

My friend (let's call her Julie) is in her mid-forties. She exercises an hour a day,
eats well, takes care of herself and carries about 25 extra pounds. She is active and
looks very healthy. If Julie has bouts of mad dieting or extreme exercise, I have
never seen or heard of it. She's happy with herself.

Another 30-pound overweight, over 40-years-old friend surprised me one day when she told me she was an Ironman triathlete and getting ready to compete again. Shocked at the notion, I said, "when will you start training again?" She laughed and said, "I'm running 15 miles a day right now." She is also happy.

BMI and waist circumference should not be strong indicators of health and ability.
Some of the greatest athletes in history have been overweight. Shaquille O'Neal
would blow the BMI curve. So would George Foreman and Babe Ruth. Here is
a list of overweight athletes who won gold medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics:
Fupa + gold medal = Fat & Happy

In China, a chubby belly is an indicator of health and wealth. Rubbing the belly
of a Chinese Buddha is said to bring good luck. Chinese women prefer a man with
a paunch.

In many cultures, heavier women are the shiznit. In Renaissance art, the Rubenesque beauty of Venus on the Half Shell and the Mona Lisa portray the larger size as highly prized. This 20,000-year-old Mesopotamian sculpture says a lot about beauty in that time:

Add a Comment3 Comments

Fat and Happy! Great title. My take on this article is that a person will be happier without obsessing over the number on the scale. Live in such a way that you are eating/exercising/breathing for good sustainable health, not for our societies idea of beauty. Enjoy life, love yourself... buy bigger pants every decade? :)

Refreshing article Tommy!

February 3, 2010 - 3:32pm

Hi Susan,
I love that you contribute comments.
I admit I struggled with your comment
here today.
Most people are a little overweight.
I advocate a little chub.
I also tell everyone they should exercise
and eat well.
Like we discussed with your heels,
beauty is not sustainable. Health
and vitality can be prolonged.
That's it.

February 3, 2010 - 2:44pm
HERWriter Guide

Hi Tommy!

Great post, but as to your last question? Where have you been hiding?!

Weight bothers Oprah more than any issue she has ever had in her life. She has stated this over and over! She has spent 5 million dollars trying to lose weight. Oprah is a very smart business woman :$ 5 million on weight loss clearly indicates she has huge issues with her weight and she has never hidden that it has been her lifetime battle and despite her friends, fame and fortune, it has always been what keeps her up at night.

Culturally (and historically), being "fat" has far less to do with being attractive but everything to do with showing your wealth and fertility. Big women with huge breasts and wide hips and big bellies were considered more "fertile looking" and fat men looked like they had lots of money to buy lots of food : therefore could be a good provider for his big and fertile wife!

As we evolve more and learn more about health, we now see a huge shift in that thinking - heavy women often have a hard time with conceiving and difficult births combined with a higher risk of gestational diabetes. And heavy men are often far poorer - the combination of poverty and extra weight is very real and a very legitimate concern.

I agree with you that BMI's can be very misleading, since muscle far outweighs fat. It is very possible to be "over-weight" and very fit and many are!

However, the fact remains that most over-weight people are not doing triathlons or trailblazing the NBA. They are over-weight from bad food choices and lack of exercise and a generally unhealthy lifestyle.

If people "naturally" gain a pound every year, then by age 70, I'll be 40lbs heavier than when I turned 30? I don't find this "natural" even though I agree that some weight gain is probably inevitable.

We're not all meant to be a size 6 - but having 30 pounds of fat (not muscle) is not a good idea in general.
Happy? Sure! Who am I to set the criteria for the happiness of others?
But healthy? I don't buy that at all.

Thanks for your share, we'll agree to respectfully disagree!

February 3, 2010 - 1:42pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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