Fat people - is it unhealthy to be fat?
Let’s start with something shocking!! Fat people are not necessarily unhealthy.
Being overweight is an aesthetic issue, not a health issue!! That is, unless you are morbidly obese or the fat is in the wrong place.
Firstly, let's check if you are overweight (use the calculator below)
Your body evolved in an environment that was low in carbohydrates and fat and any food collected required physical effort. Your body is designed to put on fat in good times to improve your survival chances when there is a shortage of food. So thank it for doing what it was designed to do.
So the fact that your body puts on fat when food is abundant is not a bad thing…if you are a hunter-gatherer. Fat people were not common in our ancestral environment.
Due to a high level of estrogen it is common for women to begin to deposit fat cells on the lower regions of the body (e.g. thighs and buttocks) after they enter puberty. This is because it is necessary for women to have a critical amount of body fat in order to maintain the menstrual cycle and to be able to conceive.
Our evolutionary history is one of varying periods of famine and plenty, and given this environment, those women who were able to store surplus energy as fat were also the most reproductively successful. The extra fat stored on the female body is considered attractive to men and other women when it creates the classic curved female or hourglass (gynoid) shape.
However, fat people, extra fat alone is not attractive if it does not create this hourglass shape (see below).
Dita Von Teese exhibits the classic hourglass shape
This ability to store fat is very useful where the food supply may be erratic at times. Fast forward to the modern world where we arrive at supermarkets in cars and can buy as much fat and carbohydrate as we like, then go home and lie in front of a TV.
No wonder we put on weight, but is that extra weight unhealthy?
A recent analysis of three large, national surveys in the US showed that when you subtract the effects of smoking, alcohol, age, race, and sex from the death statistics of overweight people there was little difference in death rate between the overweight and the rest of the population.
In fact, some statistics show that overweight people have a lower risk of death than the rest of the population.
Given that cachexia (the wasting away of muscle tissue), is associated with premature death, especially in the elderly, it is no surprise that carrying some extra weight isn’t so bad. So fat people may not be in danger of poor health.
It is not the fat on your body that is unhealthy but the distribution of that fat that is the real problem for fat people. Recently, Researchers looked at data from almost 360,000 Europeans and found that men and women with the largest waists had around twice the risk for premature death as those with the smallest ones.
Where you store your fat is even more important than what you weigh. The study found that the ideal waist measurements were less than 34 inches for men and less than 28 inches for women. Every 2 inch increase in waist circumference increased the risk for mortality by 17% for men and around 13% for women. Other studies have shown an increased risk of stroke as well.
So basically from a health point of view you need to reduce your body fat from around your waist but your overall weight is not such a worry from a health perspective, only a beauty perspective.
Why is this? Studies of male and female perceptions of various body parts have shown that both men and women find a protruding abdomen to be the most unattractive body feature.
For females especially, fat deposits in areas that disrupt the Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) lead to a decrease in beauty perception by both men and women.
The Waist-to-hip (WHR) ratio is calculated by measuring the circumference of the waist and then comparing it to the circumference of the hips. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the WHR for healthy, pre-menopausal women is generally between 0.67 and 0.80, and for men between 0.85 and 0.95
For men fat around the waist beyond a certain point is not healthy and it will also distort the waist-to-shoulder ratio (the V-taper)which is attractive to women.
Men and women are constantly scanning each other (especially men) and the evolved template in our brains compares your body shape to an ideal that has the highest potential for fertility. So if your fat deposits destroy the gynoid shape, that is, the typical female hourglass or egg-timer shape, or the V-taper in men, then beauty suffers.
Studies have found that men and women between 18-85 years of age considered a normal weight female figure with a WHR of 0.7 to be the most attractive (see cindy above) and healthy when compared with women of a higher WHR, but the same, or lower body weight.
It was also found that women with a WHR of 0.7 were perceived as more attractive than women with a WHR of 0.8 and a WHR of 0.8 was seen as more attractive than a WHR of 0.9 (this figure is the ideal for men so if you have the shape of a man and you are female it won’t be good for you from a beauty perspective).
A WHR of 1.0 was seen as the least attractive (this is where your waist and hip measurements are the same). Beyond that ratio you are really going downhill fast in the beauty stakes.
Cindy Jackson is famous for transforming her body from a less attractive shape on the left (WHR 0.9)(she is not really in the fat people category but still not so attractive) to the hourglass figure she has today on the right (WHR 0.7) (www.cindyjackson.com)
Other studies found that normal weight figures were preferred over underweight, who were preferred over overweight figures. Support for the idea that the distribution of bodyweight determines attractiveness can be shown from the fact that overweight women with low WHR’s (hourglass shape) are considered more attractive than slim women with high WHR’s (a more cylindrical shape).
It doesn’t matter if you are overweight as long as you retain an hourglass shape (for women)or V-taper (for men). Fat women can still have an hourglass shape as seen in the diagram below.
It is very simple ladies, if you are fat and lose the gynoid shape, men (and women) will find you not as attractive as someone with an hourglass shape. Lose the fat and get your gynoid shape back and you become more attractive, or be overweight AND retain a gynoid shape and you will still be considered attractive.
So, if you have extra fat on your body and you don’t have an hourglass figure then you are going backwards in the beauty stakes and it will only get worse as you age unless you adopt a good lifelong diet and exercise plan. Answer honestly. Which figure of Catherine Zeta Jones below is the most attractive? Which would you rather be?
Even with exercise and a good diet you can still have areas of fat on your body which are very resistant to removal. This is where cosmetic procedures like liposuction can be invaluable. They are not a good treatment for obesity but are valuable for overweight people whose weight has remained constant for many years.
The procedures are great for problem-areas of fat retention that if removed will improve the body contour and bring you closer to the hourglass shape and a greater level of self-esteem and beauty. However, don't use lipo as a first resort. Try diet and exercise first.
Just remember though that the hourglass shape is only seen in around 8% of the population so you have to learn to work with the shape that you have and we will talk about the other body shapes later.
Fat people are not necessarily lazy people nor are they gluttons nor do they have a disease (usually) but if you are one of the fat people other people will perceive you as being a certain way regardless of the truth. However, fat people can also be fit people, and if you are fat and fit you are likely to live longer than thin, unfit people.
The Buddha said 'Be fit people, don't be fat people'...OK, maybe he didn't say that and he was certainly overweight if his statues are accurate but your life will generally be better if you lose some weight to look better.
If you are male or female and no longer want to be a member of the fat people group and want to change your body shape you need to know what to aim for. If you are male click
If you are female click
If you would like to lose weight in a twelve week programme that works and doesn't force you to starve yourself then I would recommend the Fat Loss Factor Programme which takes an evolutionary/biological approach to why we get fat and then counters it with some simple techniques and it is guaranteed.
As you can see below, it works.
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