The “O” Word(s)

Have you ever been in the middle of two conflicting sides? Have you ever been the middleman (or woman)? Not fun, huh?

Say two of your friends, both very opinionated, are arguing in favor of their perspective. Who should be President or win the Super Bowl or get voted off The Bachelor or whatever… And there you are, impartial in the between them.

Every time someone (client, friend or stranger) brings up the “O” word(s), I always feel like the awkward middleman.

“There’s no way I’m overweight…” 

“My brother doesn’t look obese…” 

I get these types of comments fairly often. And in all sensitivity, the words overweight and obese are touchy subjects. No one wants to be tagged with either of them or have them attached to anyone they care about. I don’t blame those that carry that feeling at all, the negative connotations surrounding the two words are pretty depressing, emotionally damaging and at times endows a feeling of helplessness.

Perhaps, the most common misconception about these two words are their true meanings. Both obese and overweight are terms used by the government to classify American’s body health. There are also the classifications of “underweight,” “normal,” and “morbidly obese.” These classifications are all derived from the body mass index (BMI) scale, which is purely based on a person’s height and weight.

The predominant issue I have with the BMI classiciafication, is that it doesn’t take into account lean mass (muscle, bones, organs, etc). This is, perhaps, the source of the confusion people experience.

A male who has a body fat percentage under 10, but is classified as overweight, just doesn’t make sense to me. Not because he’s not overweight, but because the term has a preconceived stigma as being this incredibly unhealthy body type, when the guy, obviously, looks pretty healthy.

For overweight persons, the stamp of overweight, puts them in a foul mood. No one, likes to work their butt off in the gym, putting on muscle and loosing fat, just to be called overweight by the out-of-touch government. I have a lot of sympathy for these exercisers, they are a great example of why it’s much more constructive and up-lifting to focus on how you look and how you feel instead of a number on the scale or an erroneous classification by the government.




Those who are obese, on the other hand, fall into a much grayer area. In my opinion, they are the true overweight types, but on the same point, it’s wrong how they are labelled with such a heightened sense of unhealthiness. I have seen people classified as obese, run a mile in under seven minutes. I don’t care who you are, you can’t tell me that’s unhealthy. Not to mention, bodybuilders with less than 5% body fat, weighing over 300 pounds are considered obese because of their weight. With that said about the exaggeration of obese body types, they do still carry a heavy build that will likely catch up with them if maintained throughout life. And without doubt, there are obese body types out there that are largely comprised of far too much fat.





In closing, the next time you hear one of the “O” words, take a good look at the source it’s coming from and remember how people can turn it into a largely subjective term. Also , keep in mind how the government has, in my opinion, exaggerated the severity and use of the terms in many cases. Lastly, try paying more attention to how your body looks and feels instead of a spotty classification.

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