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Who says fat can’t be fit?

health-and-fitness Updated: Feb 21, 2011 00:58 IST
Shara Ashraf
Shara Ashraf
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Sandy Shaffer works out three times a week, eats lots of fruits and vegetables, yet finds time to teach in an aerobics class. At five-foot, five inches and 145 kgs, Shaffer is considered obese.

But the plus-sized sports enthusiast and administrator at a New York city labour union insists that the label says little about the excellent state of her health. And that is the biggest problem she has with Michelle Obama’s Let’s move health initiative that encourages kids to slim down by eating better and getting more active.

Closer home, Hetal Dave, India’s only female sumo wrestler who stands 5’7” tall and weighs 165 pounds believes being overweight doesn’t mean being unhealthy, if you eat a balanced diet and follow a good fitness regimen. , “I may be overweight but I feel much fitter than so many thin people around me. Being fit has little to do with your weight,” says the 24-year-old. Dave’s diet comprises sprout salad, a big bowl of daal, roti and green vegetables and working out means four hours of cardio exercises and judo practice every day. Chocolates, sweets and aerated drinks are a big no-no for her.

Eat less, work out more
Nutritionists and health experts also agree that it’s wrong to blame only your weight for health problems. Nutritionist Dr Shikha Sharma says, “More than weight, it’s the kind of lifestyle you lead that affects your health. You become susceptible to diseases when you are overweight, and live a sedentary lifestyle, eat junk food and have high stress level.” Citing the example of a pahalwaan who may be some 15-20 kg over weight, she says, “If he is living a stress free life, eats healthy food and indulges in workouts, his weight should not be the reasons to worry. But a call centre executive, who is over weight even by 5 kg, is always under stress, and gorges on junk, is many times more likely to face health problems.”

A bit of caution is not bad However, that doesn’t mean that you should junk your weight loss resolutions. “If you are not too overweight, you can take it a little easy. Keeping your weight under control is always a good idea,” says dietician Simran Saini. “Overweight people may be more prone to diabetes, heart strokes, and Polycystic ovarian syndrome if they do not maintain a healthy lifestyle,” adds Dr Saini. Dr Naini Setalvad, nutritionist and obesity health consultant seconds her opinion saying, “Being too overweight and living an unhealthy lifestyle is an invitation to diseases such as cardiovascular problems and even cancer.”

With inputs from AFP