Almost two months ago I started my annual task of taking off the excess three pounds weight I’d put on during the Christmas & New Year holidays.
So far I’ve lost two pounds – that’s an average of one pound a month. Our weather has finally turned the corner, and despite occasional cold and rainy days, we are clearly headed toward spring and working in the garden has increased my opportunity for faster calorie burn. So I expect to reach my goal by the end of the month.
My arguments with my two-year-old self, however, hit a barrier two days ago with the publication of research here in the UK showing that obese people are less subject to dementia as they age than groups with lower BMI’s.
“YOU SEE!”, said my two-year-old self. “That chocolate cookie would really be good for me. And you won’t let me have it!”
So I looked at the research a little more carefully. Sure enough, obesity – defined as a BMI greater than 26.5 – that begins in middle age, seems to provide some kind of protective factor against dementia, even when factors like alcohol and smoking are taken into account. Being significantly under-weight in younger years is an even bigger factor predicting dementia, but I’ve never had a BMI approaching 20, which was the dangerous bench mark. So my two-year-old is eyeing up that chocolate bar.
But there is also significant research suggesting that obesity is associated with increased risk of cancer.
And I do notice that nobody is recommending that people gain weight throughout middle age in order to stave off dementia. (Although, of course, researchers do think it’s worth finding out what the protective factors are in obesity that seem to reduce dementia risk.)
So right now, I think I’ll stick with my BMI where it is – minus a pound that is.
And No, two-year-old, you can’t have that bar of chocolate until you lose another pound! And I don’t want to hear from you again that chocolate is good for you.