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Monday, January 28, 2008

Hating the FA movement and the message it is spreading amongst young women by Mary45

The bloggist "She Dances On The Sand" asks in a recent post why so many formerly fat women hate the FA so much. I'm one of those formerly fat women who is very upset by them, so I'll explain the reasons for my hatred.

Here is a copy-paste form the homepage of The World Health Organisation

Online Q&A
16 November 2006
What are the health consequences of being overweight?

Question and answer archives

Q: What are the health consequences of being overweight?

A: The latest WHO projections indicate that at least one in three of the world's adult population is overweight and almost one in 10 is obese. Additionally there are over 20 million children under age five who are overweight.

Being overweight or obese can have a serious impact on health. Carrying extra fat leads to serious health consequences such as cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke), type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, and some cancers (endometrial, breast and colon). These conditions cause premature death and substantial disability.

What is not widely known is that the risk of health problems starts when someone is only very slightly overweight, and that the likelihood of problems increases as someone becomes more and more overweight. Many of these conditions cause long-term suffering for individuals and families. In addition, the costs for the health care system can be extremely high.

The good news is that overweight and obesity are largely preventable. The key to success is to achieve an energy balance between calories consumed on one hand, and calories used on the other hand.

To reach this goal, people can limit energy intake from total fats and shift fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats; increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and limit their intake of sugars. And to increase calories used, people can boost their levels of physical activity - to at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days.

I could leave it at that, but to clarify my very strong views I will relate my personal experiences. 15 years ago when I was at the age of 30 I came to a crossroads in my life. I had been thin through my university years, but had since married, settled down and started building my career in a demanding profession with long hours and little time for rest, exercise and caring for my health. My weight had crept up slowly but steadily about 3 kilos per year, and I had circa 15 kilos excess weight.

I wasn't feeling well and had difficulties sleeping, and at a health check was told by my doctor to lose weight and start an exercise regime. I was offended to have someone tell me I'm "too fat", but on the other hand I had to admit that it was the simple and honest truth. I decided to take my doctor's advice and found a form of exercise that suited my busy schedule and was said to be simple and effective. I started on a jogging-regime with the goal of running a 10k in one go. I also set out to find out about nutrition and how different foods affect your body and you weight. I managed to lose the weight and jogging became my favorite form of exercise and a hobby, something I still do almost every day because of the pleasure it gives me.

Today I'm 45 and my bmi is 21,5. My body is healthy and strong, and I can engage in almost any form of popular sport and physical activity that takes my fancy. I like to go sailing and kayaking, I'm a certified scuba-diver, I have been on a trek in Nepal, I can ski down mosts pists open to the public and I can challenge the guys at my golf-club. I don't need any form of medication whatsoever, and I have recovered from a hysterectomy in record time without any complications or difficulties.

I often wonder, what would my life be like today if I hadn't followed my doctor's advice? My weight would have continued to go up and today I could be morbidly obese. I can't say if I would be suffering from diabetes, cariovascular disease or cancer. Maybe I would, maybe I would not. But my lifestyle and quality of life would be very, very different. I see women of my age every day who are disabled and crippled by their weight. They suffer constant pain and their body has become a prison for life.

When I see young women who are on the brink of obesity I always wish I could walk up to them and tell them to do something now, before it is to late. It's not about how you look, it's about your health. You don't think about your weight as a health-issue when you are young, but when you are older good health is the most important factor when it comes to the quality of your life.

This is my reason for hating the FA and the message it is spreading amongst young women.

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