By Elizabeth Narins, Kara Cuzzone
October 7, 2020
Wondering whether you’re at a “healthy” weight these days? Allow me to drop some knowledge: Unless you’re experiencing health issues directly related to the number on the scale, you do not need to lose weight, k?
More facts: Some of us naturally weigh more, some naturally weigh less, and neither body type is less valid. Yes, excess weight is associated with many health conditions, but being overweight isn’t a solid measure of health. Plus, weight loss alone won’t make you healthier.
So to get the whole picture of your health, you also have to look at factors, like how you’re feeling, whether you’re eating a balanced diet, and how your annual checkup with your physician goes, explains Loneke Blackman Carr, PhD, RD, assistant professor of community and public health nutrition at the University of Connecticut. As long as you’re happy with those aspects of your overall wellness, you should be all good.
That said, having a higher weight for your frame can make your heart have to work harder, putting stress on your arteries and joints, says Dr. Blackman Carr. Carrying around excess body fat can cause inflammation too, adds Myo Nwe, MD, an internal medicine specialist based in South Carolina. Over time, internal inflammation can cause side effects which include chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
So uh, how can you tell whether you’re at risk for developing health issues because of your weight? The best and, quite frankly, the easiest way is to make an appointment with your primary care doc or a registered dietitian nutritionist if you’re feeling concerned, Dr. Blackman Carr says. They’ll help you assess your eating and exercise habits to see if there’s anything you could change up. And since any new eating or exercise habits should be approved by a doctor or registered dietitian anyway, getting a professional opinion is a pretty important step.