Why losing weight alone can save your life

I’ve shared my gripes with the idea of being healthy at any size before. And I’ll be the first to admit that my opinions on the fat acceptance movement aren’t exactly charitable.

It’s not that I think we should hold ourselves to unattainable standards — you don’t have to look like a magazine cover model to be fit. I also don’t think that body shaming ever got anyone anywhere. I used to be an obese child myself — so if anyone understands the struggle, it’s me.

But the fact is that size does matter — to your health, at least. And ultimately, accepting your own obesity could prove devastating — even deadly. In fact, I wrote about this extensively in the June 2017 issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“Healthy obesity is not a ‘thing’”).

That’s why I was so thrilled when I saw the following analysis surface. Because it delivers this message loud and clear: Losing weight can and will save your life — even in the absence of any other risk factors.

Obesity is deadly all by itself

As part of this latest review, researchers looked at five studies, featuring upwards of one million subjects, with an average age of 60. Each study examined obesity’s connection to metabolic and cardiovascular risk.

Ultimately, results showed that for every unit increase of body mass index, diabetes risk rocketed by 67 percent. And coronary artery disease risk rose by 20 percent. There was no link between obesity and stroke risk — but I’d hardly call that reassuring, given the rest of these findings.

Because get this: These associations held independently of any other risk factors — like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or lack of exercise. And this would suggest that the fat itself is a culprit behind obesity-related death and disease.

This is obviously an important distinction to note. A lot of people believe that if they have their blood pressure or cholesterol under control with medications, they don’t need to lose weight in order to ward off heart disease. But as this study proves, that couldn’t be further from the truth…

And it’s not the only research to reveal as much, either. In fact, another recent study showed that over decades, obesity — but not a stable normal weight, or even stable overweight — paves the way to premature death.

“Acceptance” just isn’t an option

The medical community really needs to get its story straight on this. It’s high time they recognize — and more importantly, start emphasizing to their patients — that obesity is a disease. And that, while lifestyle factors contribute to it, we simply can’t dismiss a person’s weight as a “lifestyle choice.”

We all like to eat — even I can’t deny that. But what you choose to eat (and how much) has a tremendous and undeniable impact on your health.

That isn’t to discount the large influence genetics have on your weight. (In fact, there are nearly 100 genetic variations linked with obesity and related heart disease risk.)

But you can’t afford to dismiss these challenges as something to be “accepted.” No matter how many times you’ve tried and failed to lose weight. And no matter how many “fat genes” run in your family…

Trust me — I would know. Many of my patients look at me and can’t believe I once had a major weight problem. And many assume I couldn’t possibly understand the struggle of losing weight and to keeping it off.

But as I’ve mentioned time and again, I have, I can, and I do. The fact is that I was once 80 pounds heavier than what I weigh today. (Probably closer to 90 at this point, but who’s counting?)

True, we have multi-billion dollar food and beverage industries doing everything in their power to keep us eating. (I’ll talk more about that tomorrow.)

But the bottom line is that I found a better way to eat to my heart’s content — literally and figuratively. (I even wrote a book about it, called The A-List Diet. Click here to learn more.)

I know you can, too. And ultimately, you have to, if you want to live the disease-free life that you deserve.

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