Is that right? An extra 10 pounds won't hurt, might help?
I'd been thinking that shedding those last few pounds would help keep me healthy -- and more attractive -- as I age. Turns out that might not be the case at all.
Citing various studies, the article points out that a few extra pounds carried in places other than your waistline don't increase your risk of heart disease, cancer or diabetes. Those pounds may in fact help ward off osteoporosis, as your skeleton might benefit from having to carry the weight around. And -- this one just kills me -- people with a bit of extra padding, particularly in their faces -- tend to look younger than thinner people do as they grow older. It's like built-in Botox.
That's not exactly incentive for continuing to try to lose weight. But I'm going to keep at it, anyway. As of five minutes ago, I weigh 140.5 pounds. My body-fat percentage is 27, and my BMI is 24. My pants are looser than they were two weeks ago, and I just feel better about myself.
More important than the numbers, though, is the fact that in working to lose 10 pounds (I'm nearly half-way there!), I've made positive changes, big and small, in my eating habits. I've stopped eating after dinner, stopped automatically taking seconds and picking at the leftovers while I do dishes. I've shifted away from foods that don't provide a lot of nutrition per calorie and rediscovered the deliciousness of yogurt, apples, clementines and bananas. I've also changed up my exercise routine, adding some fun stuff (hiking, biking and hooping) and some extra-challenging stuff (Bikram yoga, anyone?) Sustaining those habits throughout the rest of my life just has to be a good thing, weight loss aside, right?
For my part, I know that hanging on to these 10 pounds for the rest of my life would have been an exercise in complacency. I sure wouldn't dictate to anyone else how they should manage their own last-few pounds, but I know I'll feel better -- and healthier -- without mine.
Upcoming Event: What will the health-care overhaul mean for you?
Join Washington Post reporters as they discuss the new law and its implications at a panel discussion on Monday, May 10, at 6 p.m., featuring Alec MacGillis, Ceci Connolly, David Hilzenrath, David Brown and Amy Goldstein, authors of the recently published book "Landmark: The Inside Story of America's New Health-Care Law and What It Means for Us All" (PublicAffairs). The event, to be held at the Kaiser Family Foundation, is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. For reservations, please send an e-mail to HealthRSVP@washpost.com with your name, phone number and the number of attendees accompanying you. Refreshments will be served after the discussion.
To order the book, please visit www.landmarkbook.com or Public Affairs Books Web site.
Jennifer LaRue Huget
April 30, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Aging , Cancer , Cardiovascular Health , Diabetes , General Health , Is That Right? , Me Minus 10 , Obesity , Prevention , Women's Health
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