There was a lot of internet chatter last week about a new report on nearly three million people published in The Journal of the American Medical Association that found those whose B.M.I ranked them as slightly overweight had less of a risk of dying than people of normal weight. Well then… break out the wheat thins, I don’t have to be thin after all. Right? Not exactly.
It is still true that obese people had a greater mortality risk over all, while those at the lower range of “obese” on the B.M.I scale (30-34.9) were not any more likely to die than normal-weight people. But before YOU break out the French fries or pizza and cancel your gym membership, let’s look at the fat facts. Even if you are at the lower end of the “obese” B.M.I range, there are other factors to consider. Nutrition experts agree that factors like blood pressure, cholesterol profiles and blood sugar are also important when deciding whether or not you are at a healthy weight. In addition, where your fat is located is also a determining factor. If the majority of your excess baggage resides inside your belly versus your thigh and butt area, it can raise your risk of obesity-related diseases. In other words, if you only have 15 or so pounds to lose, but your cholesterol profile and/or blood pressure are elevated, and your fat is concentrated around your belly, you may be at a higher risk for obesity-related diseases (heart disease, diabetes, etc.) than someone who has 20 pounds to lose, but has normal cholesterol and blood pressure levels and fat that is evenly distributed.
With all this being said, to a certain extent our bodies have certain healthy “set points”, or points at which we are able to maintain a healthy weight without having to go to extreme measures. You will discover this once you move into later Phases of Atkins, and yes, for some, this healthy set point may be 10 to 15 pounds over what you had envisioned your “ideal” weight to be. And according to this latest study, you are just as healthy as someone at a lower B.M.I. So relax no need to go to extremes to get that last 10 lbs. off. Atkins will take you to your natural healthy weight eventually.
Ultimately a “healthy” weight depends on a variety of factors. If you continue to follow Atkins and incorporate some regular activity or exercise into your lifestyle, you will be well on your way to a weight you can maintain for the rest of your life. Don’t let the scale dictate your tactics. Look at all variables to determine your health risks. If those last 10 lbs. are very stubborn to leave, but the weight is evenly distributed, and all your markers is in healthy ranges, just relax, give your body a break. It may know better than you that you are at a healthy weight for your body. If you have 10 to 20 lbs. still to lose and the weight is all around your middle, and your lipid profile still has some level of potential improvement, stay on path, stay beneath your carb tolerance and stay the course to get that weight off eventually.