Saturday, December 25, 2010

Being thin does not always mean being Healthy

Being thin:
What is thin? It is the opposite of fat, right? It's what almost everyone wants to be, and will go lengths to be so, depriving oneself of food, walking the treadmill extra hours and denying oneself all the good things in life, from indulgent food to regular meals. Thin is what supermodels are, thin is what the mannequins at designer store are, thin is 'in'. But then, being thin is not the same as being fit.
Some of us are just naturally thin. And that makes us the object of envy in a society where obesity levels are rising. But as they say, the grass is always greener on the other side. Skinny arms and feet and a non-existent butt, plus the eternal fear that the weighing machine will display a "Where are you?" sign aren't very nice things to live by either. Doctors regard people with a BMI lesser than 18.5, or those weighing less than their ideal weight as being "underweight". And being underweight while growing up is as big a nightmare as being overweight is. For people who are underweight and trying to put on weight, life can be frustrating. And many will resort to eating just about anything to put on weight. That certainly can't be healthy.

Artificial Thin
And then there are some of us who will deprive ourselves of food and attempt to live on an apple or six raisins a day. That will eventually "tone down" the body but can also lead to a condition called anorexia. (Now, that's what supermodels are.) From digestive disorders to general weakness, anorexia serves no good to humanity except for letting you fit into that size zero gown. Just how much is it worth really?

The down side of being thin
Not being fat is attributed to a large extent to excellent metabolism, ample exercise and an active lifestyle. But being underweight or anorexic isn't the same. Thin people are prone to general weakness characterised commonly by a feeling of dizziness while suddenly standing up, they usually lack of physical stamina and also feel cold easily, thanks to the absence of a protective fat layer. Add to that the inconvenience of having to live with names like "bony," "skinny," "twig," "fly," "stick" etc, life certainly isn't a bed of roses this side of the fat.

"Thin Fat"
Here is the news. Being thin on the outside and not having a depository of fat underneath the skin does not guarantee a healthy life. Recent research suggests that in people without much fat under the skin, the fat may actually be deposited internally around vital organs such as the heart and the liver. The presence of such internal fat places these thin people at a risk of the same diseases that overweight people are likely to suffer from: Type-2 diabetes and cardiac arrests. Thin people with internal fat are equally prone to ergonomical problems faced at work, other diseases caused by sedentary lifestyles and smoking not to mention psychological problems like depression. Regular consumption in alcohol also leads to a flabby "beer belly" on an otherwise skinny body which, apart from being an unpleasant sight, is also unhealthy.

Here is a quick myth buster cum fact-sheet on being thin.

  • Losing a lot of weight through dieting and starvation is unhealthy as compared to losing it through exercise.
  • An overweight person with an active lifestyle is actually healthier than a thin person with an inactive one.
  • Being thin on the outside does not guarantee absence of fat around vital body organs.
  • Sudden loss of weight, and not through exercise, can actually be a symptom of a host of conditions and disease including tuberculosis, Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) or even parasites in the digestive system.
  • Eating junk food and food excessively rich in calories is equally harmful to a thin person as it is to someone who is overweight.
  • With proper diet and exercise, underweight people can gain weight and keep fit.
    The most important thing to keep in mind is to build body protein as opposed to body fat.

The secret lies in not allowing one self to get depressed, or frustrated. It is possible to gain an ideal weight. At the same time, it is necessary to do it the right way.





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