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Weight and Fitness

27 January 2014

I’m back down to the low weight of my adult life. About 187. I’m about 5’10”, maybe 5’9.5″, putting my BMI about 27. Perhaps a shade higher. So, I’m overweight, and not by a little. I get a lot of exercise. That’s important. And many people will say that one can be healthy at any weight, if their cardiovascular fitness is good. Now, I’m not going to take a strong position on the “healthy at any size” movement. I’m no nutritionist or physiologist (though I did research these topics for grant submissions in the past). Except to say that as usual, it’s incredibly complex and we don’t know the whole story yet[1]. We do know is that both adiposity and fitness influence health dramatically. And for the primary health issue of concern for me personally, type II diabetes, adiposity is a stronger predictor than fitness[2].

My fundamental fitness goals have not changed. I’m running. I’m running in the “East Coast City Don’t Have a Stroke at 58 Like Your Father 1,000,000K.” I’m racing against diabetes. My family history and my personal blood work tell me that I am prone to it. And that I am almost certainly going to have it eventually. I’m forestalling it as long as I can. My father was diabetic, type II, at 19. I am 39, and still in the clear. But I firmly believe that the only reason I don’t have diabetes is that I treat myself like I have diabetes. Mostly.

And of course, I want to be fit because I have vain, shallow ideas about what it means for a man to look good, and I want to look like the man in my head looks when I think of a man that looks good. I want to be fit. I want to be able to take my shirt of at the beach without being self-conscious. I want to feel attractive. I want to look good in a suit – bathing or business. But really, mostly, what I want is to be able to hike mountains when I’m 75. To go to the grocery store for myself when I’m 85, if I’m lucky enough to be alive.

Fitness is hard. I run and I work out and I watch what I eat and I am still overweight. I have an unfortunate genetic predisposition to obesity and diabetes. But I’m fighting like hell. To be fit. To be slender. And to be healthy. Yes, it’s at least mildly (possibly more) narcissistic. I can own that. I’m grateful that the things I invest myself in now are about health and wellness, rather than smoke and obliteration.


[1] LaMonte & Blair Physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and adiposity: contributions to disease risk Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: September 2006 – Volume 9 – Issue 5 – p 540–546

[2]Racette et al Abdominal Adiposity Is a Stronger Predictor of Insulin Resistance Than Fitness Among 50–95 Year Olds Diabetes Care March 2006 vol. 29 no. 3 673-678

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 27 January 2014 18:01

    I recently read a headline (just the headline and the first few paragraphs) stating that “they” have found a gene protective against type 2 diabetes in Ashkenazi jewish populations. Perhaps that explains how I can be 80 pounds overweight for twenty years and have absolutely perfect A1C and fasting glucose numbers.

  2. 28 January 2014 10:10

    Keep it up. You work out a lot. I am 6 ft. and 170–been lean all my life but am strong. I do watch what I eat but could probably eat fast food every day and not gain. Odd how genes and metabolism work.

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