Written by Dr. Mark
I just came across this article from a couple years ago in Time Magazine. I thought it was a good reminder that we can not judge our health by only what we see on the outside or the scale along with how we feel. Remember, the top 2 disease killers in our country, heart disease and cancer, come quietly with not many symptoms, or at least one’s we’d be concerned with until the disease is fairly progressed.
People with stellar metabolisms and magical genes may not look the part, but they can have the same medical issues as an obese person: type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and out-of-control blood sugar. It should be obvious, but a culture obsessed with weight doesn’t always remember that appearances of health can be skin deep.
“I see these people all the time,” says Dr. Daniel Neides, medical director at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute and Chanatry’s doctor. “On the outside they look incredibly healthy, but on the inside they’re a wreck.” You likely know someone who’s “skinny fat.” They never eat vegetables, love steak, and haven’t exercised since eighth grade gym class—and yet they’re still thin. Perhaps it’s you. But while some of us are envious of our svelte peers who don’t count calories or think twice about having a donut for breakfast, doctors say we shouldn’t be. Skinny fat is a real, and remarkably common, phenomenon—deadly even.
A 2008 study found that about one-fourth of U.S. adults with normal weight have some form of an unhealthy heart, like high blood pressure or cholesterol. Older adults with normal BMIs (well-known to be an imperfect measurement) but high levels of body fat are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and death than previously realized, according to a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology. More recently, a 2014 report on people with “normal weight obesity”—normal BMI, high body fat—found that they have a significantly higher risk of metabolic problems and death from these diseases than any other group.
“When you’re eating a diet high in sugar and processed foods, it causes visceral fat storage, and that can lead to all sorts of risk factors of being overweight,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet. Sometimes a person may not have a lot of fat stored up overall, but what they do have is the most dangerous kind. So a person may not be heavy, but their organs could be coated with visceral fat, whose origins, researchers recently discovered, are genetically different from that of subcutaneous fat. This can cause metabolic syndrome—when someone has several conditions, like high blood pressure and high blood sugar, that put him or her at a high risk for heart disease, diabetes, or stroke.
I like this because it speaks to the fact that the 60 Day Turnaround we do is for EVERYONE. It can be really easy to view it as a weight loss program, because if you are over weight, you will lose weight doing it. But losing the weight is not the overall goal of the program. The goal is to get your body functioning properly again. The path for our culture is to cut sugar, excessive grains, and preservative rich foods but the results will vary on the person and what their body needs to do to heal itself. So if your weight is in the right range, if your BMI is normal, if you are skinny, or maybe skinny fat, you too still should be doing the 60 Day Turnaround with us.
Like I mentioned above, we can’t base our health on how we feel, or the scale, or even how we look in the mirror. And unfortunately there’s no perfect test to say if we are healthy or not. This is why we talk about the pursuit of health. Are you pursuing health with your diet? Do you prioritize exercise? Are you committed to the health of your spine and nervous system?
As we go through this Christmas season, we’re all going to be faced with all sorts of things that will impede our pursuit of health. I’m not saying don’t enjoy those treats that we have this time of year, but don’t forget the pursuit of health either. I was telling a patient the other day that my plan for this is that any food I make for myself or have at home with my family will still be 60 Day approved, but if we are at a Christmas party or with others, I’ll enjoy what’s being served. But always trying to stay aware of how much and what I’m eating.
Merry Christmas – Dr. Mark