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Skinny Fat People

Aug 17, 2007
You've seen it on the television commericals: before and after pictures of people who 'lost weight' by simply taking a pill. The local radio station plays ads promising that you can 'lose weight' without dieting, or as they call it, 'sweaty exercise'. Your favorite magazine even tells you that dieting alone can help you reach your 'ideal weight'.

What do all of these advertisements have in common?

Products and ads that promise you 'weight loss' without exercise are only telling you part of the story. The first important point to realize is that not all diets or diet pills work, and even those that do work for some people do not work for all people. The government is constantly taking action against fraudulent weight loss claims.

Unfortunately for the American public, we don't hear very much about the difference between fitness and weight. The infomercials would have you believe that reaching your ideal weight automatically means that you are healthy, and that how you reach that ideal weight doesn't really matter. Nothing could be further from the truth!

In reality, weight alone does not equal fitness. Think about it. We all know someone who is thin but not fit or healthy. Simply being thin does not automatically qualify us as fit. As a matter of fact, the world is full of 'skinny fat people'.

What? Skinny fat people? How can that be?

When talking about overall fitness, what matters is the percentage of bodyfat we have. It is entirely possible for a thin person to have a high percentage of bodyfat. It is also entirely possible for a thin person to be out of shape.

The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) defines 'fitness' as: "The state of well-being consisting of optimum levels of strength, flexibility, weight control, cardiovascular capacity and positive physical and mental health behaviors, that prepare a person to participate fully in life, to be free from controllable health risk factors and to achieve physical objectives consistent with his/her potential."

Wow! Fitness means all that? Of course! Being truly fit doesn't simply mean the number on the scale. Think about it this way - some people who are thin still suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other maladies that we often associate with weight issues. Being thin does not necessarily mean that you are fit.

Doctors and medical associations have told us the truth time and time again: the only path to true fitness is through regular exercise.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily create a healthier heart, but regular exercise will improve heart health.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily lower cholesterol, but regular exercise will.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily lower the risk of some cancers, but regular exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of some cancers.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily prevent osteoperosis, but regular resistance exercise does.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily boost the immune system, but regular exercise will.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily lead to healthier pregnancies, but regular exercise does.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily prevent disability in seniors, but regular exercise does.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily help you keep the weight off for life, but regular exercise will.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily improve physical performance, but regular exercise does.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily prevent muscle loss, but regular resistance exercise does.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily increase metabolism, but regular resistance exercise will.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily decrease the risk of injury, but regular exercise does.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily prevent diabetes, but regular exercise will.

* Simply losing weight does not necessarily prevent estrogen loss, but regular exercise may.

This list could go on and on and on.....the point is that simply losing weight does not make us fit. The only path to true fitness, and all the benefits associated with fitness, is with regular resistance and aerobic exercise.

So the next time you see one of those advertisements promising weight loss without dieting or exercise, remember that weight loss is not the only goal that matters! Remember that the world is full of 'skinny fat people'.
About the Author
Tracie Johanson is the founder of Pick Up The Pace, a 30-minute exercise studio for women focusing on fitness, health and nutrition for maximum weight loss. Please visit http://www.letspickupthepace.com/ for more information.
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