Why Women Need Fat: Okay to Gain Weight After Babies?

BlogHer Original Post

Why do men find women's hourglass figures attractive? That was the question that let William D. Lassek, M.D. and Steven J. C. Gaulin, Ph.D., down the path to their new book, Why Women Need Fat: How "Healthy" Food Make Us Gain Excess Weight and the Surprising Solution to Losing It Forever. It may seem like an unusual path -- from attractiveness to why and how American women have gained weight over the last forty years -- but it's more straightforward than you might have guessed.

Beale's Lard

Credit Image: Steve Snodgrass on Flickr

I feel I should start by saying that I've never been on a diet a day in my life. I've never felt the need to diet. I like my size, and I like the food I eat. Apparently, this makes me unusual. I feel I should also point out that I am pretty much the average size that Lassek and Gaulin mention in their book of 5'4" and 120 pounds. Well actually I'm 5'5" and approximately 120 pounds -- since I don't own a scale, I don't know exactly how much I weigh. According to my last check-up I'm in good health, though I could stand to be a bit less sedentary. I have no need to diet, and yet I found Why Women Need Fat rather fascinating.

When I was in college, I studied anthropology and history, which basically means I can be really nosy about other people's lives. I'm interested in what they do, how they live, and because I personally like food so much, I'm always interested in what people eat. You know that line about how social media is all about what people eat for lunch? I'm the person who replies with, "Yes, and isn't that fantastic?"

Why Women Need Fat is about how -- over the course of forty years -- American eating habits changed, why they changed and the consequences those changes have had on our bodies. Lassek and Gaulin argue that fat in and of itself isn't bad for us, but that the balance of different kinds of fats in our diet is really important. They specifically argue that we need more omega-3 fatty acids in our diet and fewer omega-6 fatty acids.

But the big thing, and perhaps the most surprising thing I read in Why Women Need Fat, is that Lassek and Gaulin theorize that putting on a few extra pounds, especially after we've had our first child, may not be so bad for us, after all. They suggest it may even be beneficial.

Intrigued? We'll be discussing Why Women Need Fat and the authors' theories for the next month in BlogHer Book Club. Join the conversation!


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