Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fat and Happy

Fat people live longer.
That's what a brand-spankin' new study
published in The Journal of The American
Geriatrics Society says. The 9000 person
study showed that overweight (BMI 25-29)
elderly people were 13 percent less likely
to die over a ten year period than those
who kept their weight within the
"recommended range."

Though we live in a society hell-bent
on beauty, there are many millions of people
who are overweight and healthy as can be.

My personal theory is that people
naturally put on ten pounds a decade,
or a pound a year. And there's nothing
wrong with that.

My friend (let's call her Julie) is in her
mid-forties; she exercises an hour a day,
eats well, takes care of herself, and carries
about 25 extra pounds. She is active and
looks very healthy. If Julie HAS bouts of
mad dieting or extreme exercise, I have
never seen or heard of it. She's happy
with herself.

Another 30-pound overweight, 40+ friend
surprised me one day when she told me
she was an Ironman triathlete, getting ready
to compete again. Shocked at the notion,
I said, "when will you start training again?"
She laughed and said, "I'm running 15 miles
a day right now." Also happy.

BMI and waist circumference should not
be strong indicators of health and ability.
Some of the greatest athletes in history
have been overweight. Shaquille O'Neal
would blow the BMI curve. So would
George Forman and Babe Ruth. Here is
a list of overweight athletes who won
gold medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics:
Fupa + gold medal = Fat & Happy

In China, a chubby belly is an indicator
of health and wealth. Rubbing the belly
of a Chinese Buddha is said to bring good
luck. Chinese women prefer a man with
a paunch.

In many cultures, heavier women are the
shiznit. In Renaissance art, the rubenesque
beauty of Venus on the Half Shell and the
Mona Lisa portray the larger size as highly
prized. This 20,000-year old Mesopotamian
sculpture says a lot about beauty in that time:

And who's more jolly than Old Saint Nick ?
Oprah's weight fluctuates more than the
stock market-- 
but with her friends, fame and fortune,
do you think it bothers her ?

I got married last summer and put on
20 pounds. I have never been happier.
And perhaps, healthier.

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