Dear Uncle Mat 

I’m obese. Well, I don’t think I am, but my doctor says that I am. I understand that I’m not the skinniest I’ve been; I’ll admit, I’ve let myself go. But obese?! Come on!  I weigh 157 pounds and I’m 5’ 3”.  I’ve told my friends that my doctor says I’m obese, and they can’t believe it, either. I work out three times a week jumping rope for at least 30 minutes, and I’m still this weight. I’m Hispanic so I have the titties and the ass to match.  My question to you: Is there a different set of measurements for Hispanic women?  I don’t feel unhealthy at all, but the statistics are making me feel like a cow. 

— Not a Cow 

Dear Not a Cow, 

To quote the Smiths, “Some girls are bigger than others and some girls’ mothers are bigger than other girls’ mothers.” A dark and catchy tune, this little snippet of the song does hold some truth. You may be genetically a slightly bigger girl and would look ridiculous and maybe even unhealthy if you weighed 115 pounds. That is not an excuse to ignore your health, just a reminder that no one is really supposed to look like an Olsen twin.

I looked at a few different body-mass index scales (I didn’t find any that were just for Hispanic women), and none of them classified you as obese. You are, however, smack in the middle of overweight and looking down the road at obesity. You are already at higher risk for certain health problems related to body weight, like high blood pressure and heart disease.

A positive outlook and good self-image are important in life, and you seem to have that. Boobs and butt are awesome and can bring the boys to your yard, but don’t let them fool you; they can grow proportionally with the rest of you when you pack on weight and trick your eye. You can love yourself and your body and still want to make improvements. You like how you look, so make your goal about being healthy and not looking a certain way.

I noticed you didn’t mention your eating habits. I am going to guess they are somewhere between bad and native San Antonian. Breakfast tacos are not a food group, and you need to eat a cup of salsa before it counts as a vegetable serving. If you are exercising three times a week and still gaining weight, you may want to talk to a nutritionist and look for a balance in your lifestyle.

The ’80s ruined the word “diet,” and culturally we continue to warp its meaning. A diet is what you eat. There are special diets for losing weight, but everyone has a diet, good or bad or extreme. You just need to define yours and maybe cut back your consumption of certain foods. A diet should not be about a quick fix, but about changing your lifestyle in a way that is healthy and can be maintained over your lifetime.

Jumping rope is great cardiovascular exercise, and 30 minutes of it is no small feat. Unfortunately, your body gets used to routine exercise, and it will not work as a calorie-burner if you do the same activity all of the time. You need to mix up your routine a bit. Try some yoga or a cardio boot-camp-style group exercise class. These are great ways to burn some fat and build a little muscle. You’ll become stronger and learn new exercises you can practice on your own for the rest of your life.

Another great way to improve your health is to take up a sport and train to improve your performance. This way you stop looking at a scale and pay attention to your performance goals. Running, triathalons, tennis, golf, softball, and even frisbee golf are supposedly fun social outlets as well. You’ll make more friends, and the exercise becomes more engaging and about getting together and having fun or kicking someone’s ass.

Whatever you do, keep your positive outlook, your supportive friends, and take care of yourself. Don’t let a word define you.

Much love and luck,

Your Uncle Mat 

Uncle Mat answers questions about
relationships, sex, pets, and art. Email him at
dearunclemat@sacurrent.com, myspace.com/
yourunclemat, or check out the Dear Uncle Mat Page on Facebook. Your true identity is safe with him.


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