Category Archives: Food for Thought

Social Determinants of Health

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Source: ASDAH, 2017

Client testimonial

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Yay! Scale by Marilyn Wann

My very first Health at Every Size® client gave me permission to share her story.  She wrote this testimonial a few months ago, five years after our first consult.   Continue reading

Is Obesity Really the Killer It’s Made Out to Be?

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If obesity is really unhealthy, then people living in larger bodies should be more likely to die than thinner people.  Are they?

Biostatistician Katherine Flegal reviewed over 140 studies to answer this question (Flegal, 2013).  What she found may surprise you:

  • People in the ‘overweight’ category (BMI 25-30) had a slightly lower risk of death than those in the ‘normal’ weight category.
  • People in the ‘obese’ category (BMI 30-35) had an equal risk of death as people in the ‘normal’ weight category.
  • People in the ‘obesity classes II and III’ (BMI > 35) only had a greater risk of death if they were under the age of 65.  Their risk of death was 1.3x greater than people in the ‘normal’ weight group.  (To put that number in perspective, the risk of developing lung cancer is 30x greater among people who smoke compared to people who do not smoke.)

A number of other studies found similar results (Grabowski 2001, Steersman 2009, Oprana 2010, Tamakoshi 2010, Flegal 2005, Janssen 2007, Lantz 2010, Toriano 1996; see also:  Bacon 2011).

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Pursue Pleasure to Improve Health

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Do you really need to kill yourself to save your life?  You might think so, if you look at the way some health fanatics strictly follow their diet or exercise plans.  However, not-so-novel research suggests that being healthy is much easier and more fun than we’ve made it out to be.  In Healthy Pleasures, an old but timeless book, authors Robert Ornstein, PhD and Davis Sobel, MD identify life’s simple pleasures and describe the proven ways they contribute to health and well-being.   Continue reading

Intuitive Eating or Structured Eating – Which is right for you?

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Both intuitive and structured eating styles are compatible with a Health At Every Size® approach. But which is right for you?  Take this quick quiz to find out:

  1. Are you able to reliably identify mild hunger?
  2. Do you have a flexible enough schedule to eat when you are hungry?

If you answered ‘yes’ to both questions, intuitive eating may be right for you.

If you answered ‘no’ to one or both questions, start with structured eating.  Continue reading

Why I am adopting a Health at Every Size® approach

After nearly five years, I have decided to leave my job in medical weight management to practice a Health at Every Size® (HAES®) approach.

Here’s why:

Dieting does more harm than good.  Research shows that dieting is more likely to lead to weight gain than weight loss.  A review of 31 weight loss studies found that dieting was ineffective at producing long term weight loss, and one-third to two-thirds of dieters gained more weight than they lost (Mann et al, 2007).  Calorie restriction leads to preoccupation with food, binge eating and weight obsession.

Weight loss messages contribute to weight stigma.  Weight loss messages perpetuate the idea that anyone can lose weight, and that “overweight” people are lazy or lack willpower. In reality, weight is determined by a complex interaction between genes, environment and social influences. Once a set-point weight range is established, the brain works hard to defend it (Sumatran and Proietto, 2013).  Size diversity should be respected and embraced, just like other types of diversity.

Weight loss is not necessary for health improvement.  People who exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and practice other forms of self-care can improve their health, without losing weight (Matheson et al. 2012; Schaefer and Magnuson, 2014.)

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Why is Maintaining Weight Loss so Challenging?

Recent research provides some insight as to why maintaining weight loss is especially difficult.  View this clip from the Weight of the Nation documentary series for an explanation.

Note: You don’t need to pursue weight loss to improve your health.  Learn about a Health at Every Size approach.