Just say no to diets and dieting!

The majority of people who go on a diet and lose weight gain it all back and more within a year. Most of the rest gain it back within 5 years. The weight loss industry thrives on repeat business.  We are spending a total of about $66 BILLION per year on weight loss programs, diet foods, meal replacements, diet medications, surgeries…! BUT, while the diet industry is raking in the bucks, America is just getting fatter.

Why do we keep hitting our heads against the wall?

Weight shaming

We are told over and over again that there is something wrong with us if we are over weight. Teachers, parents, doctors, nurses, dietitians, well meaning friends, even strangers tell us that we need to lose weight. They all think that they are doing it for our own good.

I have had too many people to count who have told me how their mothers or fathers put them on diets, or took them to “fat doctors” when they were young kids and teens. Parents deemed them acceptable only if they were thin. Too many of these individuals ended up with eating disorders. Many ended up becoming closet binge eaters and gaining so much weight that they qualified as “morbidly obese”. Just think how things would have turned out if they were loved for who they were, and taught how to be healthy regardless of the size or shape of their bodies!

People who live in large bodies are less apt to be chosen for new jobs or are not given promotions at work. Therefore, living in a large body often means making less money than someone living in a smaller body. I could go on and on.

Bullying

Then there are the bullies! Children are called names and treated poorly if they are chubby. Worse yet, they are often excluded from group activities or even suffer physical harm because of their weight. They are definitely at much higher risk for depression than kids who live in thinner bodies!

Very well meaning physicians often do not look beyond a person’s weight. They discuss the need for weight loss whether or not that is why a person came in. This can be very hurtful. One person told me that her doctor told her to “stop drinking soda” without ever finding out what she did eat and drink. This person had not had a soda in years!

The stigma of carrying excess body fat increases stress hormones, and in turn increases risk for heart disease and diabetes.

There is lots of research that suggests that  weight stigma rather than weight is a cause of many “obesity related” diseases.

Being Overweight is NOT A Person’s “fault”!

Obesity has doubled in 73 countries and has increased in 113 others over the past 40 years. This is not just an American problem. Obesity is NOT because a person lacks will power. There is something much bigger that is fueling weight gain in people all over the world.

The number one culprit is our food supply:

Our food system produces lots of flour, corn, sugar and oil, used to make processed and refined “junk” foods. These foods tend to be very easy to eat, high in sugar, fat and salt. Foods high in sugar, fat and salt make us want to eat more. These are very cheap compared to nutritious foods. It is cheaper to buy soda than to buy milk or even bottled water.  In the USA only 4% of government agricultural subsidies go to farmers of fruits and vegetables. The result? The healthiest foods are the most expensive. If you had3 kids at home and only $5 to spend what would you buy? 4 boxes of packaged mac-n-cheese  plus 10 packages of Top Ramen OR 1 pound of broccoli, a few carrots and 2 apples? What would go further to keep food in  your kids bellies?

We can all lobby our legislators to subsidize vegetables and fruits so that they are truly affordable for everyone. Think about what you give to food banks–maybe money for fresh vegetables and fruits would help more than packaged foods.

Here are some ideas for getting more vegetables and fruits into your lives: https://loribrizee.com/2018/11/making-vegetables-fun-for-kids/https://loribrizee.com/2018/11/another-reason-to-eat-more-vegetables-and-fruit-potassium/;

The number two problem is low physical activity:

Kids are less active than ever before. Very few walk or bike to school. Only about 1/3 get Physical Education every day at school. Recess times have been cut in many districts to give more time to academics.

Adults often commute long distances to work, so there is no time in their days for going for a walk or getting regular activity.

What could we do to make it easier for kids and adults to be active? https://loribrizee.com/2018/11/winter-fitness/https://loribrizee.com/2018/11/1118/

If you feel that your weight is a problem, think HEALTH not WEIGHT!

Focusing on weight is a losing proposition. We need long term health, not short term weight loss!

Check out these links to learn more about changing the way we think about weight and obesity:  https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/everything-you-know-about-obesity-is-wrong; https://www.sizediversityandhealth.org/content.asp?id=161

 

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