Busting Nutrition Myths: #5 – You have to be Skinny to be Healthy

What’s going on everyone? Welcome to a new week! It’s time to take charge and face the week headstrong. I just wanted to say thank you for the overwhelmingly positive response I got on my recipe post last Friday. Not only did a lot of people tell me they were going to make it, I actually had a few readers messaging me pictures of them cooking it! It was amazing to see this…and they loved it by the way 🙂 If a weekly recipe post is something you all would like to see on the blog, please leave a comment below or like the post. I definitely want to give you all the content you find the most beneficial and enjoyable. With that said, this is the last post of the Busting Nutrition Myths series. Next week we will start a new month-long series, and I want it to be like a Q&A. So at the end of every week, leave a comment below regarding any questions you have about health or nutrition, and I will randomly choose one to be featured that Monday. I think it’s going to be pretty exciting, and I am looking forward to reading the comments! So without further adieu, let’s bust a myth.

Working and living in the health and fitness world, it seems like everyone wants to be skinny or shredded like the men and women featured on magazine covers. People think that just because these individuals are skinny, they are healthy. Diet culture preys off this myth. I mean there’s the Keto diet, the Paleo diet, the Atkins diet, juice cleanses, and the list goes on and on. All of these diets promise weight loss and a chiseled body in 30 days. Heck, some even make claims that your skin will glow brighter, but is this even healthy? I’d love to know how the association between skinny and healthy came about because it’s completely false. It’s like claiming that you have to wear glasses to be smart because only smart people wear glasses. Healthy is not a number on a scale or a six-pack. Healthy is being able to enjoy a walk in the park with your kids or significant other. Healthy is being able to live until you’re 80-90 years old and meet your great-grandchildren. Healthy is being able to walk into the doctor’s office and be told your blood work came back exquisitely. Healthy is being able to do the things you love in life with the people you love.

If you don’t believe me, let’s look at some research. According to Penn State University, being too skinny can have major health effects. It can lead to a loss of fertility in men and women, osteoporosis, decreased immune system functioning, fatigue, and the list foes on and on. Moreover, additional research has shown that being too skinny can lead to hospitalization and even mortality. Many of these health issues are due to the fact that the body is not getting enough nutrients because the individual is not eating enough. Thus, a person may look “healthy” on the outside, but they can be wasting away on the inside due to poor nutrition. Now, that’s not a cue to go out and each a bunch of donuts because you’re skinny. Some people are naturally leaner than others because of genetics and a higher metabolism. This is not a bad thing at all. These people just need to focus on proper exercise and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I’m also not saying that if you’re overweight or obese that you’re in the clear either. This population has a higher risk than the average American for contracting cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and experiencing pre-mature death. Also, the American Cancer Society has stated there is a clear link between certain cancers and an overweight/obese status.

So if being too skinny is not healthy and being overweight isn’t healthy either, what am I supposed to do? That’s the question of the century 🙂 Whenever people ask me this question, I like to give this answer…find a sustainable weight that you are happy and comfortable being at. You may find this is slightly lighter or heavier than that of other individuals, and that is okay. Each person is unique. Also, I would advise making sure that your blood work and other health markers are within normal ranges when you it at this weight. This can be done at any physician’s office. Moreover, speaking to a registered dietitian is always helpful. They can provide you valuable information on how to gain/lose/maintain weight safely, get your levels in check, and more. I will be the first to say they are an underused resource that many people do not know about. I’d also like to say that most doctors do not get nutrition training in medical school, but registered dietitians are educated, licensed, and certified in medical nutrition therapy. Best of all, many insurance providers will cover their services.

So, I guess to sum everything up…don’t trust magazine articles or crazy diets. Love yourself and find a weight that works for you. Eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Exercise. Take care of your body, and it will take care of you. Also, remember that mental health and physical health go hand in hand. A happy mind and a happy body…that’s the ultimate goal 🙂

Have a great week everyone!

Take Aways:

  • Do not trust the media or fad diets that portray being skinny as being healthy. You can be just as healthy (if not more) as these people even if you don’t have a six-pack.
  • Being too skinny can be just as dangerous as being overweight/obese.
  • Find a weight where your medical numbers are normal and you are happy…a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body.

Resources:

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/tdjan2008pg56.shtml

http://pennshape.upenn.edu/files/pennshape/Body-Composition-Fact-Sheet.pdf

https://www.centerforadvancedmed.com/the-down-side-of-being-too-thin/

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/body-weight-and-cancer-risk/effects.html

http://www.epi.umn.edu/let/pubs/img/adol_ch8.pdf

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