The Bizarro World – When Just Right is Too Thin

With close to 70% of Americans obese or overweight, normal weight Americans are often perceived to be abnormally thin.  In fact, according to a Harris Interactive/Health Day poll, 30% of overweight Americans don’t see themselves as overweight.  70% of obese Americans  see themselves as merely overweight and  39% of morbidly obese people say they are overweight, but not obese.

 It’s clear that many Americans have a distorted view of what constitutes a healthy weight. People that would benefit the most from transitioning to a WFPB diet don’t seem to have dietary change very high on their list of priorities.

 The poll also showed that  folks who believed that they weighed more than they should saw surgery as the most effective method of weight loss, followed by prescription drugs and over the counter diet/food supplements.   Dietary change didn’t make the top three!

  Diet’s poor rating as a means to lasting weight loss probably stems from years of yo-yo dieting experienced by the poll’s respondents.  It’s likely that these folks have tried numerous diets that work in the short term and fail in the long term.  Many studies have shown that 95% of dieters regain the weight they lost within 3-5 years.  Most diets are not sustainable because they severely restrict food and calories.

I’m pretty confident that most of the folks that were polled have never tried a WFPB diet.

 A diet filled with whole and minimally processed plant foods allows you to lower caloric intake without lowering food intake. In fact, a WFPB diet often allows for an increase in food intake while caloric intake is lowered.  It’s quite a nice deal.

 If you’ve begun your WFPB journey, it’s important that you are aware of the distorted perception that many Americans have towards weight as revealed by the Harris poll.

 I know more than a few folks who have made significant strides in regaining their health by transitioning to WFPB.  They’ve lost weight, increased their energy, and most importantly, their blood lipid profile and other biomarkers have improved.  Some who were on medications were able to eliminate or greatly reduce them. They all have been able to increase their physical activity and have made fitness and strength gains.  All of these people are within normal limits for their Body Mass Index (BMI).  BMI is the measurement of the relative percentages of fat and muscle mass in the human body. BMI is not foolproof, but for most Americans, it’s a good indicator of body fatness.

So these folks are at a normal body weight, they feel great, they’re fit and strong, and their doctors are thrilled with their progress.  Yet each of them has been told on more than one occasion that they are too thin.  This can only happen in the Bizarro World – where good is bad and normal is abnormal. When it comes to the perception of what constitutes a healthy physique, many Americans are now living in the Bizarro World.

When I first transitioned to WFPB back in March 2009, I went from 178 lbs to 165 lbs (my current weight) in about six months. During this time, I was amazed at how much food I was eating.  My sister Debby told me that my mother thought I was dying.  She was convinced that my sisters were hiding information about some insidious disease I had contracted.  What makes this even more remarkable is my BMI actually lands in the overweight category!

As you progress on your WFPB journey, you may be told by some people that you are too thin or that you’ve lost too much weight.  They may be genuinely concerned or they may have underlying psychological issues that compel them to make such a statement.   If your BMI is within or above normal limits (18.5 – 24.9), your appetite is good, your energy levels are fine and your Doctor has taken you off some or all of your medications, don’t be alarmed at such comments from others.   I believe the best response to the “You’re too thin” remark is:  “Thank you for your concern, but I’ll be fine”.


  1. Bob Pfeifer says:

    Thanks Dominik. You hit the nail right on the head. All is so true.

Speak Your Mind