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Healthy Fat vs. Unhealthy Fat

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Scientists have found that some clinically obese people are metabolically healthy, while others are metabolically UNhealthy. In other words, some obese people are perfectly healthy at their elevated weight - no sign of heart disease, diabetes, anything.

And their fat cells even look different.

Full article here:

I'm been overweight most of my life. In fact, I look much smaller than my actual weight might indicate. My fat parts are solid, as opposed to jiggly - despite the fact that I'm almost 60 years old. I've had doctors who are surprised that I weigh as much as I do. I've had doctors be surprised that I actually have somewhat low blood pressure.

I've also always known that my struggle to keep my weight down, or at least in one place, is a fight against my biological destiny. I'm second-generation American, with all my grandparents coming from the Pale of Settlement - Poland, Russia, Germany - people who trudged back and forth across frozen wastelands for centuries, as they were thrown out of country after country, depending on the current political situation. Those same people also trudged through the frozen tundra to collect firewood, carrying buckets of water or milk, foraging for roots or berries or whatever, maybe carrying a young sheep or calf over their shoulders.

In other words, my family has been biologically engineered by years of working hard in cold cold places. We have tons of endurance and strength, and not a whole lot of speed. Not exactly short, not always tall, and built strong to last long.

Which means we have that healthy fat to insulate our bodies. Stays on the outside, keeping us warm like internal thermal undies.

So, if metabolically unhealthy (according to this article) is defined as having high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes - well, I can't think of a single relative who had high blood pressure. One grandmother who became diabetic early on. (And she was thin.) The rest of the older relatives either developed heart/circulatory problems in their 70s-80s, or developed cancer. And my mother developed Alzheimer's, probably brought on my a severe head injury in a car accident.

See what I mean about our family having healthy fat?

So what do I do with this knowledge? (Ah, there's the rub, as Shakespeare would say.)

I do NOT give up and say "It's my genes, I'm destined to be obese." I do NOT give up and say "I guess I'll always be like this, might as well eat a whole cake." (Which I've never done, my stomach would rebel.) I do NOT give up and say "I'll never be thin, might as well quit exercising."

Nope, if I'm going to always have that layer of small compact healthy fat cells, I want to muscle underneath to be strong and lean. I want that healthy fat to stay on the outside giving me curves. (They also make me quite buoyant in water, I float fabulously.) I want my internal organs and that lean muscle to have good nutrition and all the ingredients to stay strong and healthy. And I don't want those compact healthy fat cells to migrate to any less-healthy locations.

So I'll continue fighting my biological destiny.

But at least I'm happy knowing I'm healthy in my chubbiness.
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