In this newsletter edition, I will attempt to challenge your view of fat as being equal to unhealthy.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized that all the information I had been fed about weight research was only one side of the coin. I didn’t even recognize that the coin fell on the side of the diet industry. I ate all that I was fed and only felt bad about myself when I wasn’t their “ideal weight”.
No longer! I now see the other side of the coin. To start to reveal the other side, I will allow the words of Katherine Flegal to help me (thus, I will not be the only one preaching here):
Katherine M. Flegal, PhD, Senior Research Scientist at the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC, explains, “Although people think there’s all this evidence out there showing a high mortality risk associated with (being) overweight, in fact the literature doesn’t show it.” Far from it. Flegal’s research, analyzing 30 years of actual deaths in the US, corrected an earlier CDC report that indicated severe risks related to (being) overweight. She showed instead that being clinically ‘overweight’ is associated with a lower death rate than so-called ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ weight. (JAMA 2005;293:1861-1867). It confirmed much earlier research that had been studiously ignored. -Taken from: Healthy Weight Network (www.healthyweightnetwork.com).
Further, I would like to point out that research telling us to lose weight isn’t even working! Instead, the more we diet, the more we become more and more obsessed with food, our bodies and our failures. So, even if you do believe that being fat is unhealthy, is dieting really working for you?
So many long standing, compelling messages are received every day telling us to believe that being fat is unhealthy and unattractive. It breeds size discrimination, fat shaming, fat-phobia, and self hatred. These are unhealthy traits that many obesity studies are creating, says me, and others agree.
“HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE (also known as HEALTH AT ANY SIZE) is a health-centered paradigm that focuses on total health and well-being, not weight. It promotes active living, eating well without dieting, and a nurturing environment that includes respect and acceptance for people of all sizes.” From: Healthy Weight Network (www.healthyweightnetwork.com)
To support the people I work with, one of the first steps we take is to help them stop dieting. The majority who do this experience an immediate freedom from food they have never before experienced as adults. They tell me they eat less because they actually enjoyed what they really wanted, rather than avoiding just that. They say the need to binge decreases right away and many report fewer obsessions with their body size. Very quickly, those who stop their dieting practices feel healthier. You can too!
I argue that the unhealthiness that comes from being “overweight” has more to do with the anxiety of size discrimination. If health and beauty at any size was truly practiced, I believe we might all be at our own ideal weight based on our unique genetics and overall be happier people. Even if the “all” part of this argument didn’t happen, we would be healthier…discrimination isn’t healthy for anyone.
In next month’s newsletter, I will talk more about how to make the shift from that of dieting to that of healthy eating and living. For now, consider how your attitude toward those of a larger size (whether toward yourself and/or others) negatively impacts you, your self esteem, and your overall happiness. See if you can be more open to the possibility that health at any size is an option. Challenge yourself to spend one week (if you don’t already) eating whatever you want… there is no such thing as a forbidden food. Notice any shifts this creates for you and let them encourage you to live unburdened from negative food and body feelings. .
If you found this article helpful, please pass it on to your friends, family, co-workers, anyone you think might also appreciate it.