July 16, 2009 by Jeanne Rust
Tossing Out the Diet
In this morning's New York Times appeared the article, "Tossing Out the Diet and Embracing the Fat." Whew!! Quite a mouthful. Easier said than done when someone has been accustomed to dieting and hating the fat for years.
As a therapist who has treated hundreds — if not thousands — of compulsive eaters who are overweight according to our beloved insurance charts and BMI tables, I wish someone could wave that magic wand and have everyone who has lived on and off diets for most of their lives be happy just with themselves as they are.
So many women live sad lives of "when I lose the weight" or "if I'm able to take it off by Christmas," my life will be pretty perfect! So many lives of creative, brilliant women literally on hold with these unattainable dreams.
It could be that we might be in the midst of a bit of a paradigm shift. Even Oprah "now sites her goal as not being 'thin, but 'healthy and strong and fit." What a statement! I've always thought that Oprah manages to look pretty snappy even when she's heavier! She's certainly an attractive woman. What would it take for more and more American women to say, "You know, I think I'll be like Oprah! I think my goal will be to be fit, strong, and healthy."
I loved reading about the medical studies that are now reporting that a little extra fat is not a bad thing. In last month's Canadian Obesity Journal, researchers confirmed that overweight "appears to be protective against mortality," while being too thin can be associated with a higher risk of death.
We're actually making some progress in size acceptance in addition to Oprah and Kirsty Alley. The HAES (Health at Every Size) movement has helps women come to terms with their weight and teaches them that they can be vibrant and attractive just as they are! Glenn Gaesser, professor of exercise physiology at Arizona State University, has written a fabulous book called, Big Fat Lies: the Truth about Your Weight. The premise of this wonderful book is that some people will never be thin, that some people who are heavy can be much fitter than people who are thin, and that the only measure of fitness and health is not the scale but the tests that tell us we're metabolically fit. What is our blood pressure? Where is our cholesterol? What is our blood sugar? Do we exercise? Are we metabolically fit? These four questions are the only ones that matter!
Yo-yo dieting leads to weight gain. Yo-yo dieting leads to weight gain. I can't repeat that too often. And we have the $30-billion weight loss industry telling us the opposite!
The last thing I'll say on this subject from my soapbox is that I've absolutely loved Dr. Michelle May's new book, Eat What You Love Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle. This book is the perfect remedy for chronic, yo-yo dieting. With Michelle's guidance, we can learn to do away with mindless and emotional eating. We can learn to eat just when we're hungry.
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