Obesity is a big problem … literally and figuratively. More Americans are overweight now than ever before, and more of us are dying because of it. While no one will say being overweight is the best thing next to sliced bread, there is a prevailing myth that it is impossible to be fat and healthy.

Most of us assume that small equals healthy and big equals death, but the truth is your size doesn’t always 100% determine how healthy you are. Many people have achieved the ideal height-weight ratio and have a host of health problems that someone three times their size doesn’t deal with. Here are three ways to tell that you are overweight, but healthy.

You Move

No I don’t mean move as in from the fridge to the couch, move as in you get in a moderate amount of physical activity. Sure you don’t go hard in the gym 5 days a week and you most certainly had Popeye’s for lunch, but you do get in a good walk or workout DVD at least once a week and your daily schedule keeps you up and moving most of the day. No matter your size, if you aren’t up and moving the only benefit from your couch potato lifestyle will be a shorter life span.

Your Quality Of Life Is Good

Most times when a person is fat and unhealthy their quality of life suffers. They can’t walk or play with their kids because of knee or heart issues, they are constantly under a doctor’s care, sleep is impossible, they can’t travel, etc.

But if you’re fat and healthy, your quality of life shouldn’t be negatively impacted because of your weight. You should be able to do all the things that you need and want to do with little to no health restrictions. Now this doesn’t mean you should not be working on shedding the unwanted pounds, but it does mean that you have the opportunity to match your outside to your inside before anything goes wrong.

Your Doctor Said So

The best way to tell whether or not you’re healthy at any size is to have a complete physical. Going to the doctor regularly to check for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and any other ailment that may plague you because of your size is a good way to cut them off at the pass. Just because you’re a bit round on the outside, doesn’t mean you aren’t in tip top condition internally. There are a lot of skinny people out there with knee issues, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.


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  1. Although it’s totally possible to be fat and healthy, I would think acheiving and maintaining that balance would grow increasingly difficult the older you get. It’s easy for a 20-something year old to be healthy at nearly any weight. But as you get into your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond, the stress the weight puts on your joints and heart can start to catch up to you. I’ve seen many members of my family go through it.

    Of course, being skinny does not mean you’re necessarily healthy. We all know that. However, it’s one less major stressor for your body to deal with.

  2. how can you be “fat” and “healthy”? its one thing to be considered “fat” and another thing to just have “fat” on your body. if your “fat” your not healthy, just because you dont have heart disease and diabetes doesnt mean your healthy. your body is still carrying around unhealthy weight and fat.

    • @Shell: I understand what the writer is saying. You can be fat according to the medical doctors but healthy. You can be overweight yet healthy. Some of us arent meant to be a size 10. You can be a size 22 with no ailments and exercise, etc and still be unhealthy according to the standards that you have just stated. What exactly is unhealthy weight to you because everyone has their own definition. I know I have lived it.

    • @Shell:

      You can in fact be fat and healthy just like you can be skinny and unhealthy.

    • @Shell: Of course you can be fat and healthy, same as you can be skinny and healthy. Can’t tell how healthy someone is by judging their weight alone.

  3. This is so true and it is the reason why I started the Size Healthy Lifestyle. We are not all meant to be small regardless what the doctors say. People are killing themselves to get to a size 10 when they were never that size in the first place. Your healthy lifestyle is more important than a number anyway. So would you rather be healthy the right way or skinny and miserable because you cant keep the counterfeit you at that weight. Size Healthy beats Size Skinny any day of the week. Have a bless day!

  4. @nataisha:

    I think I hear where Shell is coming from. I think instead of the word “fat”, “obese” or “overweight” might have been a better choice because its the terminology used as the standard in the medical word…or at least in my doctors office. I’m 5’6, 164 lbs, and a size 8, according my doctor I’m overweight because my BMI is over 25, but I know that I’m healthy. “Fat” is too subjective of a word to be used to explain how a person may be categorize as obese or overweight and still be healthy, as nataisha said, anyone can have there own definition of what “fat” is. I think a article on the terms we use to described our bodies and how they are just social constructs would be nice.

  5. Darliene Howell

    For information on Health At Every Size, you can find a general explanation on Wikipedia or find in-depth research-based information in the book Health At Every Size – The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Dr. Linda Bacon

  6. Fatness does not equal unhealthy. There is more to the equation than simple 1+1=2 Lifestyle factors contribute to the issues many experience with obesity. There is a threshold but the majority of people who are overweight can still stay active and healthy.

  7. Fat is fat is fat. Stop it

  8. Sure. You can be “fat” (overweight and obese) and “healthy” (don’t clinically have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes). But your risk for developing hypertension, diabetes, and many many many other diseases in the future (sometimes not so near future) increases astronomically with weight. How do you know how fat is too fat? You don’t know what that cut off point is. Is it worth the risk? For me, it’s not. I’m working to lose weight so that I won’t have to deal with the medications that my parents have to.

    • @Caryn: Actually, if you are fat and healthy then your risk for developing hypertension, diabetes and/or other chronic diseases is the same or lower than skinny and unhealthy people. The key to good health is the healthy behavior, ie: good nutrition, exercise, sleep, etc. Good health and weight have very little to do with each other.

    • @Caryn:
      I think you have had the risks exaggerated to you. Yes fat and sedentary people have a higher risk of health complications but – and it’s an important one – so do thin and sedentary people. Fat and fit people actually have a lower risk of developing health problems than slim and sedentary people*. Is it not better to practice healthy behaviours and measure health as an outcome, not weight? In any case, I hope you continue to enjoy good health.

      *Here is a better explanation – I am actually over-simplifying when I say ‘sedentary’, the study was about four healthy behaviours.

  9. I like this article, thanks – as other commenters have said, yes you can be fat and healthy. Eating an extremely restricted diet and/or exercising for many many hours a day for the purposes of attempting weight loss are not healthy behaviours, I wish they wouldn’t be promoted so much. Let’s focus on health, not weight.

    Point three did make me chuckle though – unfortunately there are doctors out there who make snap judgements about health based on someone’s appearance. Sometimes they need convincing as much as anyone else that weight on its own is no indication of health. Insist on proper medical care, fellow fatties, don’t let them fob you off with ‘oh you must diet, oh you must have diabetes, oh you must have hypertension’ before they even check these things out using actual medical tests. I suppose doctors are human too and subject to the same biases and fat-hating culture as the rest of us, but it’s disappointing all the same.

  10. Doesn’t being fat mean storing an excessive amount of flesh because you are consuming more calories than you are burning. How is this healthy? I agree not everyone is meant to be a size 2, but people are making far too many excuses.

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