Do You Have to Lose Weight to be Healthy?

We hear a lot about the connection between health and weight. It’s hard to argue that being overweight is healthy.dreamstime_l_44088166

Maybe it’s healthy to be overweight, maybe it’s not. Is health really a matter of how much you weigh or what you do?

I think there’s a lot of proof that weight is not the only indicator of health. I think it can be argued – proven even – that “healthy weight” varies from individual to individual and cannot be measured just by a Body Mass Index (BMI) number or the number on the scale.

I think when it comes to health, behaviors or actions count more than BMI.

There are a number of unhealthy behaviors in which overweight, “ideal” weight, and even underweight people engage. For a lot of people, but not all, the unhealthy behaviors result in obesity. I don’t think that makes the behaviors less of a health risk for anybody regardless of weight gain or not.

The question is, “do you have to lose weight to be healthy?” In my opinion and I am neither qualified to call myself a medical or scientific expert, I answer the question with, “No! You don’t have to lose weight to be healthy.”

You don’t have to lose weight to be healthy, but if you indulge unhealthy habits, you would be wise to change those habits to protect your health.

If you’re overweight or obese it’s very likely that changing your habits will result in weight loss even though that wasn’t the goal. You may not get to “ideal weight” but that doesn’t matter. A healthy weight matters more than some arbitrary ideal weight!dreamstime_l_3202894

The unhealthy habits include an unbalanced diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and perhaps the biggest threat to your health is poor stress management.

If you are aware that your diet is unbalanced because you mainly eat processed foods with a lot of added sugar and fat, fried foods, and fatty sources of protein and dairy you can change that.

If you think that it’s going to be hard, unpleasant (taste bad) or be expensive, it doesn’t have to be any of those things. I learned how to put balance and better nutrition into my diet and I enjoy my meals and snacks more now than I used to before gaining balance.

If you take fewer than 2300 steps a day, your lifestyle is sedentary.

You might want to get active but your job keeps you at a desk all day, and on the weekends you’re just beat and don’t have the energy to go to the gym. Forget the gym. You don’t need it and even with a desk job you can switch from sedentary to active easier than you ever thought. It’s a matter of taking more steps and finding active forms of entertainment. The biggest benefit you could get from getting more active is stress relief.

If you eat to try to manage stress, you know that’s not a great solution for stress relief.

Usually stress eating choices further unbalance your diet. For most people they tend to be fried, fatty, salty, sugary kinds of foods. There is nothing wrong with eating food that fits that description, but it shouldn’t be the foundation of your diet. It’s important to ensure they don’t represent the major source of your calories because that means they’re pushing the more nutritious foods out of your diet.

Weight Watchers is a commercial weight loss program and it helps people lose weight by teaching healthier eating, exercising, and stress coping habits. You don’t need to have much weight to lose to be eligible to join. It’s common for people who don’t even appear overweight to join because they want to establish healthy habits to avoid weight gain.

These healthy habits are taught in a meeting that lasts just a half hour. Meetings reinforce healthy habit changes through their unique environment of group support. It’s unique because it’s staffed by successful Weight Watchers members. Most meetings represent a varied group of people who may have nothing in common with each other but a desire to incorporate healthier habits into their lifestyle. That’s the only thing they need to have in common!dreamstime_l_44720047

 You don’t have to lose weight to be healthy, but you do need to establish healthy habits and it may result in weight loss!



Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.