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Rolling with the Paunches

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Perhaps the term “body acceptance” is a familiar one, but in a society where we celebrate the thigh gap it may be a pipe dream to assume it is achievable. We appear to be educating young people to love themselves just as they are yet turn around the next minute and dictate what foods they should (and should not) be eating to avoid getting fat.  As a result, the rate of dieting among children is rising with an estimated 40-percent of 9-year old girls on a diet to lose weight, according to the National Eating Disorder Information Center.

Although the common societal belief is fat is the enemy, research suggests the exact opposite.  Having a healthy layer of subcutaneous fat (that is, at under the skin) is good for us.  A study out of Norway examined 1.7-million people over a long period of time and found those with a higher body mass index (BMI) of 26 to 28 had a greater life expectancy that those within the normal “healthy” ranges of BMI.  So if having body fat is healthier, why are we so focused on thinness? Here’s how we can we roll with our paunches and get comfortable with ourselves (fatty lumps and all)…

 

1. Understanding the Fatty Facts

The first step to getting comfortable with body fat is challenging what we think we know about fat. While it is in fashion to be thin, and sport the latest in skinny jeans or pencil skirts, is it healthy (and since when did fashion ever consider health anyways?).  The surprising answer, based on years of research, is no, it isn’t.  It’s not the fat that harms our health; it’s the lack of exercise and healthy eating behaviors that are related to it that does most harm.

Dr. Steven Blair has been a pioneer in the study of exercise and obesity for over 30-years.  Through his research, he has demonstrated that only 30-minutes of physical activity a day is enough to drive down the rate of death by 50-percent.  In short, one can be fit, fat, and healthy.  In addition, Dr. Blair has suggested that our fear of fat is based upon faulty research that has failed to include exercise.

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