Can You Be Thin and Fat?
By Steve Edwards and Denis
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
stories about body fat have hit the wires recently and both deserve a deeper
look than the headlines may indicate. The first is about a condition referred
to as "skinny fat," which means that though your body mass index (BMI) may be
normal, you're really out of shape. The second is about a book called
Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Lossand the Myths and
Realities of Dieting, which basically lays the blame of obesity on your
family history. So read on and we'll save you some time by getting to the
skinny on being skinny.
The inside scoop on inside fat
It turns out that those "lucky" people
you know who eat junk food all day and still keep their figures may not be as
lucky as you think. A study from London's Imperial College shows that they may
appear skinny to the naked eye, but in truth, they're fat on the inside, which
could lead to a rash of health problems.
Since 1994, Dr. Jimmy Bell and his
team at the college have done MRIs on nearly 800 people, creating "fat maps"
that show where they store fat. As it turns out, people who don't maintain
their weight with a combination of exercise and diet keep huge fat deposits
around their internal organs.
The exact consequences of this inner
blubber aren't clear yet, but it doesn't look good. We all have some of it,
which tends to increase with age in order to "protect" our organs. But
scientists theorize that excessive inner fat can confuse the body's
communication systems, leading to heart disease, insulin resistance, or type 2
What is clear is that fat, active
people have a much lower mortality rate than the skinny and sedentary. This
means that, as far as your health is concerned, a fitness test is a much better
indicator than a scale or what size dress you fit into. As Bell explained to
the Associated Press, "the whole concept of being fat needs to be redefined."
I blame my parents!
while we're talking about redefining the concept of fat, could it be your
parents' fault that you're obese? That seems to be the theory of a new book by
Gina Kolata titled Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Lossand
the Myths and Realities of Dieting. The book references a handful of
studies that show that those who are genetically predetermined to be obese have
greater rates of obesity than those who aren't, and that diet and exercise
can't change that fact. It cites some good science and interesting
studiesespecially those involving separated twinsto make its case. The book
also cites some studies where those who had lost a lot of weight all seemed to
gain it back. It's compelling reading, for sure, even for people like us who
know full well from firsthand experience that a piece of the puzzle was being
omitted. But before we could say "Hey, wait a minute... ," an interesting thing
happened. The New York Times ran an excerpt from the book a few weeks
back and opened up a forum for Kolata herself to field questions on the
article. The results of this forum may make you want to think twice about
purchasing Kolata's book or, at least, to read it with a skeptical eye and an
book, Kolata's premise is that genetics play a larger role in determining body
shape and mass than diet and exercise possibly can. And while she provides
scientific examples, she really hasn't covered the entire process in a thorough
manner. In the forum, she began refuting feedback with science, but as the
onslaught of responses became more technical and from varying points of view,
her responses reverted to her own anecdotal evidence. For instance, she used
the fact that her son only lost three pounds when he trained for a marathon as
a reason exercise can't make someone thin. Faced with many individuals who had
succeeded in greatly altering their body masses or inherited fitness states,
her tone ranged from first sounding incredulous to just plain being shocked at
the results people had gotten. Finally, under a mounting wave of pressure from
contradictory opinions, she stopped answering altogether.
This is hardly shocking news to the folks at Million Dollar Body.
If it were true, we wouldn't be in business. Kolata states that "very few
people lose substantial amounts of weight and keep it off for good," but we
have thousands of examples that have proven her wrong. In fact, if we were to
scour the Message Boards, we'd be hard pressed to find any scenarioinjury,
sickness, genetic obesitythat our clients have not conquered. While it's true
that you can't change your body type, your natural athletic ability, or the
genes you were born with, we have yet to find people who can't be made fitter
and healthier and who can't change the way they look, with the proper
prescription of diet and exercise. Our answer is to let 'em manufacture excuse
science all they want, nothing is going to "prove" our methods don't work.