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Should All Obese People Lose Weight?
Old 08-20-2011, 08:45 PM   #1
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Should All Obese People Lose Weight?

I found this study interesting. As one of the healthy obese (fair physical fitness, low cholesterol, normal blood pressure, active, pretty good diet, etc.), I love these studies. I mean, I really improved my over the last decade and tried to exercise more, but I just have a heck of a time losing weight. When I see stuff like this, I wonder if dieting all the time just to see my weight jump right back to where my body seems to be comfortable is really necessary?

Should All Obese People Lose Weight?

My favorite part:

Quote:
"The key message is I can't tell you how healthy someone is if you tell me height or weight on a scale," said Sharma, chair for obesity research and management at the University of Alberta. "I have to do additional tests for other health problems."

He designed the ranking system because of long waiting lists for obesity treatment on Canadian public health care. Doctors had to decide who should be treated first.

The ranking system shows not everyone is the same and helps "to identify who should actually lose weight and who are we torturing for no reason," Kuk said. (emphasis added)
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:33 PM   #2
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Believe me, I understand your frustration! I think all we can do is our best, even though apparently most people never manage to reach and maintain their goal weight (for a very long time, anyway). There is a LOT of money to be made in the weight loss industry and so that is something to mull over.

Just think, though - - if you were naturally slim, maybe you wouldn't be exercising as much, and exercise has its own benefits above and beyond weight loss. I honestly do believe that most people need more exercise than modern life provides. So, even if losing weight is an elusive goal, your health and maybe even longevity might be enhanced by the exercise you are getting.

Actually, this article is encouraging since at 63 with a lifetime weight battle, I am still barely "stage one" by their ratings system and was "stage zero" until I reached my 60's.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:07 PM   #3
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Not much point in being thin if the lifestyle leaves you unhappy. Quality vs. quantity, could get hit by a bus tomorrow, etc.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:10 AM   #4
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Not much point in being thin if the lifestyle leaves you unhappy. Quality vs. quantity, could get hit by a bus tomorrow, etc.
I'm at the point where every ounce of pressure I remove from my knees is a good thing. I'd be even unhappier if I weighed more.
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Old 08-21-2011, 02:49 AM   #5
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I'm at the point where every ounce of pressure I remove from my knees is a good thing. I'd be even unhappier if I weighed more.
As someone with a history of joint problems this is also my main goal for keeping off the weight. I have many obese close relatives that lived well into their 70's, but had all sorts of difficulties walking in their later years.

From the study:

Quote:
But the study looked at mortality -- not quality of life.

"Their study was largely mortality in the outcome," said Dr. Steven Heymsfield, executive director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who was not involved in the research. "It doesn't mean your knees and hips don't have to be replaced. I still think that's an issue."
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Old 08-21-2011, 04:37 AM   #6
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Not much point in being thin if the lifestyle leaves you unhappy. Quality vs. quantity, could get hit by a bus tomorrow, etc.
In the spirit of this forum, i guess i look at this as a matter of "living within your caloric means". Yes you can get all Jacob Fisker about it and overdo the whole budgeting aspect of it, but there comes a point where it should be getting clear you've moving in the "grasshopper" calorie camp. You're going to keep doing it because it keeps you in your present comfort zone? That's what my dad did and he clearly regretted in the end. I'm far from thin (real far) but between my dad's mobility problems and what i'm seeing with some of my old soccer buddies that haven't kept their weight in check, I'm sticking with the unhappiness of not keeping snacks in the house, limiting the beer intake, and (usually) two meals a day.
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Old 08-21-2011, 05:10 AM   #7
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Of course we should lose weight but not all of us can keep up the motivation. I am in perfect health but very heavy and know heavy is bad. I have lost massive amounts of weight and it comes back. It is very hard to stay motivated because nothing much is better thinner. I wear a smaller size but am still large and I am in good health either way so don't feel better. It makes it hard to restrict eating day after day especially when it isn't convenient to eat better.
I know it will be better to be thin and one goal in retirement will be to work at it again. It is a lot of work, more cooking and chopping veggies, it is easier to nuke leftover pizza or eat some cookies from a package. It also means shopping more often to diet since good food spoils quicker.
I know if I need care in old age lighter would be easier on caregivers. Also any problems you ever get people will claim is your own fault even if it isn't. Some problems are related and people are more mobile thinner.
Mom lost 45lbs last year at 83 and is keeping it off so far, she looks better but still fat but can walk a mile or more at a time now and couldn't before. Her mom was skinny but by the time she was 94 she couldn't walk 5-6 blocks without a place to rest. They put a bench in for her halfway to town with her name on it. The mayor dedicated it and the newspaper wrote it up. It is a very small town. Some people lose mobility even if skinny, grandma broke her leg at 96 and never walked again.
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Old 08-21-2011, 05:25 AM   #8
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Not much point in being thin if the lifestyle leaves you unhappy. Quality vs. quantity, could get hit by a bus tomorrow, etc.
Over the last few months of exercise, I've found that I can keep my old happy lifestyle with my weight in check if I exercise a minimum of 1 hour every day. The key is to find forms of exercise that are enjoyable.
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:19 AM   #9
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One's weight should be between oneself and one's doctor, I believe. I have obese relatives with many health problems, and normal-weight relatives who are fine. I care about them all, and think the obese ones should lose weight, if they can. I don't think they "choose" to be obese, after all! But I see no reason for someone to lose weight if their doctor says they are fine, and likely to stay that way.

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Old 08-21-2011, 06:54 AM   #10
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Should All Obese People Lose Weight? No. Obesity can be caused by hormonal problems for example (hypothyroidism). Nothing to do with lifestyle choices.
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:02 AM   #11
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Not only should obese people lose weight, but poor people should get more money.

Seriously, I too agree with the idea in the OP.
I have a friend who has been seriously overweight all his life, bordering on obese (if not actually there). Yet his cholesterol, blood pressure, and other clinical measures have always been well within normal limits, and he has always been able to run faster and farther than I could (OK, I'm naturally slow, but still ...).
He is still in excellent health now in his early 70s, still at his high weight (which is obviously "normal for him."
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:07 AM   #12
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Our society is obsessed with appearance and averages. Losing weight just to meet either of these social standards is unwarranted. There are very good reasons to lose weight, however, as pointed out already. As one ages extra weight is cruel and can have a negative impact on quality of life.
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:31 AM   #13
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Fat people live like fat people. They choose their build with their actions, even if it is not an intentional choice. The energy to make and sustain the fat has to be consumed.

One's body is a physical representation of one's lifestyle. This is what makes losing weight hard over the long term. Permanent change requires becoming somebody else. Hopefully it is a person you like.

I personally like to lift weights, but I also like to eat! My BMI fluctuates in the 30-35 range, and I don't see that changing for the long haul. I can (have) pushed it down to 24-25, but living like that sucks. With an office job, it means one of two choices:

1. Eat a diet of mostly lean protein, healthy fats, vegetables, limited fruit and limited whole grains. Beer, chips, ice cream, cookies, pizza, etc. can only be had once or twice a week

2. Eat the good stuff in limited quantities, but live constantly hungry

I'd rather be fat.
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:06 AM   #14
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Here's my tough love response: if you are obese, there is something wrong with your body. It's absolutely not your fault. That is, it's not because you are lazy or like to eat. You've just been sabotaged by the wrong foods and bad mainstream advice.

If you had a lump in your breast, but your cholesterol was good, and all efforts to eat better didn't get rid of the lump would you decide that it was OK?

Alright, that analogy is pushing it, but obesity isn't a natural state for humans.

If you are fifty pounds overweight, you are carrying five bowling balls around with you everywhere you go.

It's OK to give up -- perhaps you can't lose weight at this point. But deciding that it is healthy is denial.

BTW, the movie "Fathead" is currently free on hulu.com. It's very amusing.
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:08 AM   #15
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It makes it hard to restrict eating day after day especially when it isn't convenient to eat better.
It also means shopping more often to diet since good food spoils quicker.
Our daughter's starting her sophomore year of college. Spouse and I are still in the "woo-hoo!" phase of our empty-nester lifestyle, and a big part of that is no longer having to set a good example by cooking a family dinner. It's not that we like or despise cooking-- it's just that we don't care.

For the last year we've been microwaving frozen dinners. You might be surprised at how far they've come in quality and nutrition. Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, and Weight Watchers all have yummy offerings in the 250-300 calorie range. Chicken, pasta, & broccoli seem to be the main offerings but there are plenty of other choices. A big honkin' veggie salad on the side, a big glass of water, and sometimes it's not even necessary to have dessert. We keep fresh veggies & fruit in the house but still only need to go grocery shopping every 7-10 days.

We've also throttled way back on the carbs in favor of much more protein & fat. We don't feel as if we're "restricting" anything.

It can be done, but it requires a significant effort for a thoughtful redesign of lifetime eating habits. After 6-12 weeks the body begins to adapt and to move to new setpoints. My spouse's motivation to carry through that adaptation is watching all of our shipmates simultaneously blindsided by the "50 & fat" phenomenon...
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:09 AM   #16
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:39 AM   #17
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Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, and Weight Watchers all have yummy offerings in the 250-300 calorie range. Chicken, pasta, & broccoli seem to be the main offerings but there are plenty of other choices.
And most importanly (IMHO) is the idea of "portion control", which these meals deliver - assuming you only eat one at your meal ...

I use these whenever DW is off to one of her sojourns around the world (two weeks in Switzerland next month).

An additional perk is that there is nothing to wash. Plastic trays (which the pups make sure are squeekly clean) and go into the recycle bin.

I've told DW (who loves to cook, but we have a lot of food that we throw out since it sits in the fridge too long) that if I'm the one left behind (after her passing), that I'll never go hungry...
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:17 AM   #18
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For the last year we've been microwaving frozen dinners. You might be surprised at how far they've come in quality and nutrition. Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, and Weight Watchers all have yummy offerings in the 250-300 calorie range. Chicken, pasta, & broccoli seem to be the main offerings but there are plenty of other choices. ..

Check out the sodium in the dinners . It is usually extremely high .
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:16 PM   #19
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And most importanly (IMHO) is the idea of "portion control", which these meals deliver - assuming you only eat one at your meal ...
I've learned that 270 calories is a lower limit or I'll be snacking an hour later. I occasionally have a ~200 calorie frozen dinner for lunch, but I prefer nuking a hunk of fish filet instead.

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Check out the sodium in the dinners . It is usually extremely high .
We've checked, and I disagree for a number of reasons.

First, while people with high blood pressure may be advised to limit their sodium, there's questionable evidence for sodium causing high blood pressure in people who didn't have high BP in the first place. Limiting sodium in people with normal BP has not been shown to improve longevity. I think it's a 1950s medical equivalent of an urban legend.

Second, it's not as much sodium as you'd expect. The nutritional info usually comes in at less than a quarter of the daily recommendation and there are low-salt versions. Much of the flavor comes from pepper, cumin, & curry powder instead of salt.

Third, spouse and I don't cook with salt, don't drink sodium-content beverages, don't eat salty snacks, and don't use it at the table to flavor our food. We don't even (*gasp*) eat bacon. We eat so little salt that our weekly Costco veggie pizza tastes salty. Even if the frozen dinner's salt content is considered "high", by our habits we're still well below the guidelines.

Fourth, after a year of nearly a frozen dinner a day, my BP is still under 110/65. (It's a lot better than my working years of 140/85.) Spouse is frequently in double digits. I don't know of any other detectable effect of excessive sodium consumption. We may not be doing everything right, but I doubt we're doing something wrong.
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:33 PM   #20
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I have always had a problem with the BMI charts. They were developed in the 50's when many people had grown up during a depression and world war. They have not been changed much since. They tell me the most I can weigh is 185 at 6'1" and a large build. A simple body fat analysis shows I'd weight 220 with average body fat. Many modern Americans don't fit those charts but many doctors insist they should.

I also agree being overweight has other problems like joint issues, but that's where exercise comes in. Even if you don't lose weight, you do lose some fat and replace that with muscle that helps stabilize joints. But severe dieting takes a toll also, namely in losing muscle and in the long run what's worse? Yo-yo dieting has been shown to cause health issues too.

I'm not trying to justify my weight or say its a good thing, just that its not to bogy man so many zealots make it out to be. Just like anything else, so many factors play into health that anytime someone makes a blanket statement about something it should be suspect. How come some people can never work out, but be thin and healthy? How can one person eat red meat and potatoes and be healthy while another eats whole grains and fresh fruits and veggies but still is overweight and has high blood pressure?

When I had to find a new doctor because mine closed his practice, I decided it was time for a physical. I got all the blood work done and my new doctor was sure it would come back riddled with issues. It did not, I was right smack in the middle of normal for everything. He was astounded. He said that maybe 95% of people like me would have high cholesterol or high blood pressure and maybe 80% would have both and a significant majority would have other issues.

I don't doubt that. Many people are overweight and obese because of lifestyle alone. Hell, I got fat that way. But I've since changed my lifestyle and eating habits. I exercise more, but probably still not quite enough. My body likes being like this for whatever reason. I lost 60 pounds due to illness 5 years back and have pretty much kept that off, but losing more is tough. Now I wonder if losing more is worth it.

Everything is a trade off in life. Losing weight might help my joints in 20 years, might add some years to my life, but what would I have to give up to do it? Not to mention I might lose weight, look fantastic but die of another problem young. then I would have spent several years torturing myself for nothing. And studies like this support what I already know. Normal weight does not equal good health and overweight does not equal bad.
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