As seen in Medium.
There’s a very interesting article today in the Washington Post titled “The average American woman now weighs as much as the average 1960s man.”
The article goes on to point out that the average American woman weighs 166.2 pounds and that the average American man weighs 195.5 pounds today. The author does highlight that both sexes have gained roughly an inch in height over the same period to account for some of the weight gain. But, it attributes the growing girth primarily to three factors: we’re eating less healthy food, we’re eating more of it, and we’re not moving around as much.
What the article is missing is a deeper dive into the importance of BMI, which the American Heart Association suggests as a good indicator of the amount of body fat for most people. So, while weight matters, for many people it’s less about the actual number and more about being a healthy weight for your body type.
Why, because according to the American Heart Association, those who maintain a healthy weight are also likely to enjoy these quality-of-life factors too.
- Fewer joint and muscle pains
- More energy and greater ability to join in desired activities
- Better regulation of bodily fluids and blood pressure
- Reduced burden on your heart and circulatory system
- Better sleep patterns
- Reductions in blood triglycerides, blood glucose, and risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Reduced risk for heart disease and certain cancers
But, if it were that easy, more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) wouldn’t be obese, 80 percent of adult Americans wouldn’t be failing to get the recommended amounts of exercise each week, and 4 of 5 people wouldn’t be paying for gym memberships they never use.
With heart disease and stroke the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers, managing a healthy BMI is absolutely an important part of the mix and we know Fat Shaming Doesn’t work.
If you’re truly concerned about someone’s weight, especially if you know that health issues run in the family, WebMD has a wonderful list “10 Ways to Help a Loved One Lose Weight.”
Take a look for some great ideas that will inspire you to be helpful rather than hurtful.
- Be a cheerleader, not a coach
- Become an active part of their program
- Help develop healthy incentives
- Show them you care about the person, not the diet
- When they’ve had a bad day, listen but don’t judge
- Be “aggressively supportive”
- Find non-food ways to celebrate the small goals along the way
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle, not just weight loss
- Learn about their weight loss program
- Be positive!
At 41, I was at my highest weight, did not feel healthy, and knew I was on the wrong genetic pathway — with my dad having had two heart attacks and my mom having high blood pressure (you can see my transition Michele Mehl Weight Loss Excy Photos). When I started to think little muscle pains in my chest could be something worse, I kicked into a new gear to get my BMI down, but it’s never easy. Some of my friends and family have used the above approaches to cheer me on and it makes a huge difference! Now, if I could just get this Apple Watch to stop telling me to stand up all the time (just kidding, it’s such a good reminder to get off my butt).