Recent research shows that a “weight inclusive” approach outperforms a “weight normative” for well-being. This confirms that weight loss should not the top priority of health coaching. Why? And what does this mean for you?
The research states that there are two primary reasons. First, the benefits of weight loss are diminished by the negative health effects of weight cycling. And second, an emphasis on weight and weight loss fosters stigma among health care providers and society, and this stigma leads to negative health outcomes and risk for eating disorders.
A weight inclusive approach does not rule out weight loss. Rather it shifts the focus to process goals that support health and weight goals, rather than focus on a specific weight. It accepts that all bodies are different and that health is multi-dimensional. The result according to this research is better health outcomes along with greater self esteem from the weight inclusive approach.
Permanent weight loss is elusive for many and the reasons for this are not yet fully known. The picture is becoming clearer that weight is multi-dimensional and that eating less and exercising more is not the solution for many. It’s unclear at this point if weight is a cause of all correlated disease or a result. And it’s unclear if weight loss overall leads to healthier outcomes.
If you have struggled with losing weight, or losing and regaining, it’s time for a new approach. Consider process goals to address such areas as eating healthy, moving your body, and addressing stress rather than aiming for a number on a scale. Consider the non-diet approach to listening to your body and what it needs vs. relying on outside rules of what, when, and how much you should eat. And, and most of all consider being kinder to yourself in the coming year.
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Not receiving the apology I thought I deserved sent me right to the refrigerator earlier this week. That’s when I picked up a copy of Why Won’t You Apologize? by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. Dr. Lerner is the author of The Dance of Anger, among several other essential books about emotion. Her compassionate take on giving and receiving apologies left me with a much deeper understanding of forgiveness, my role in the dance, and how to move on with or without apology (and with or without chocolate).
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We’ve got much more coming, so stay tuned!
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