We all know someone who lost weight and kept it off. However, how many people do you know who have lost weight and gained it all back (+ more)? How many people do you know who are “fighting” their weight? Chances are when you look at the numbers, for every 1 person you know who kept it off, you know another 20 "battling" their body. Why do so many struggle and what's the solution? Read on for more.
Let’s be clear. I am not an “anti weight loss” dietitian. I'm also not a "pro weight" dietitian. I'm neutral on the topic and don't like to use weight as an indicator of health. But I absolutely do not support or promote the methods people use to lose weight. (I also do not support the idea that any formula can dictate a “right” or “wrong” weight for an individual but that’s another story for another day). What’s the problem with weight loss methods? We haven’t found any that actually work. Sure tools like food / exercise / medicine / surgery can lower weight…short term. But just because someone is lowering weight doesn't mean they're living well (which is what affects health). Additionally, the bulk of evidence shows that the majority of people who use these methods gain the weight back (and then some) and are LESS physically / mentally / emotionally healthy than when they started.
Let’s look at some common weight loss methods and the reality of what happens to people:
Turns out there's also some great research on the topic evaluating weight loss methods by FDA standards:
Tomiyama AJ, Ahlstrom B, Mann T. Evaluating Eating Behavior Treatments by FDA Standards. Front Psychol. 2014;4.
Here's the worst part. I list the symptoms as side effects - as if they’re something bad. But in reality, increased hunger and drive for food is your body’s natural response to food insecurity. It’s how humans have survived and thrived. If we didn’t feel hungry when our body was underfed or didn’t get joy out eating, we’d never choose to eat (and subsequently die). So is it really a personal failing if it’s our body's fail safe mechanism to live?
You can still work on your health without making weight the goal. I find clients have the best health outcomes when they look at their life holistically. They stop focusing on achieving a certain weight and instead focus on truly living well and finding harmony with your food. That means..
These are the core elements of humanity. When these are balanced, it's amazing how easily everything falls into place. But none of these elements live in isolation. Tipping the balance in favor of one over the over upsets the scale and leaves you floundering.
Not sure where to begin? That's why providers like me exist - to help you sort through it all and find your way.
Stay nourished friends!
DISCLAIMER: The writing here is for informational and educational purposes only. It is NOT a substitute for individual care. Your needs may vary. or individual support, please contact a provider.
Please note it's been a number of years since I have updated these posts. The content and philosophies may have changed as I've grown as a provider. Please reach out with questions or concerns.
Dietitian, personal trainer, mother, wife, runner, and endurance athlete supporting well-being, one bit and bite at a time