Finally, the mainstream press is highlighting the fact that diets don’t work.

In one of last week’s shares What You Think You Know About Obesity Is Wrong , Highline Magazine from Huffington Post decisively lays out the case that not only do diets not work, but everything else we think we know about obesity is wrong.

Their conclusion is to focus on habits that support wellbeing including paying attention to nutrition. But these aren’t the only factors we need to rethink. Here are a few more touched on in the article that I think are important:

  • The emotional costs of weight are a serious health factor that interferes with weight loss. Shame is never motivational and thus our system of looking at obesity as the choice of a person with a character flaw is not only cruel, but gets in the way of positive change.
  • An over-focus on weight by healthcare professionals keeps people with extra weight from getting the best care. There are way too many stories out there of times medical professionals failed to look further than weight and missed the real problem. It’s important to consider individual health factors rather than put a blanket condemnation on everyone “overweight.”
  • Our society’s obsession with thinness and weight loss is leading to eating disorders and poorer, rather than better, health outcomes.
  • While we look to doctors for nutritional advice, med school includes an average of only 19 hours of nutritional education. The lack of time, attention, and expertise going into what is often called our greatest health crisis borders on malpractice according to one doctor quoted in the article.
  • There’s very little support out there other than weight loss advice. Our focus at Women Eat on body acceptance, self compassion, and living your best life regardless of your weight is sadly lacking in society.

In fact, the entire paradigm of weight causing risk for disease is suspect. There’s evidence that at least in some cases it’s the disease (think diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome) that creates the risk for obesity and not the other way around.

It’s definitely past time for a rethink.

In the meantime we can keep reminding ourselves that there’s another way…and keep lighting little candles in the world to spread a more empowering message.



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In other news:

Don’t miss our mini-course. It will come down in November to be reworked, expanded, and turned into paid content. But for now you can find all five parts here.

This week on Women Eat we shared three messages that one nutritionist reinforces with clients, the controversy over eating on the go outside of the U.S., and a different view of sustainable eating. From the archives we shared a practice to replace the dreaded “portion control.”

I’d love to have your input. Join the conversation on Facebook at Women Eat Community or use this contact form.

For more resources, check out our Resources page. This week I’m reading:

Ditching Diets – How to Lose Weight in a Way You Can Maintain by British food writer Gillian Riley. I’m not finished but find some of her process and ideas to be helpful. Her motivational TED talk on The Mindset for Healthy Eating does a good job of explaining rebellion in eating even if the time restraints lead to some holes in her explanations.

We’ve got much more coming, so stay tuned!

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