My Message to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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The president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dr. Evelyn Crayton, visited Sacramento last month.  She wanted to hear our concerns and priorities for the Academy.  So… I mustered up the courage to write a passionate letter about Health at Every Size® (HAES®), and read it aloud at the event.

In this post, I will share segments from the letter as I describe my experience speaking at the event.

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The Gifts of Imperfection and Health at Every Size®

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I recently finished reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, PhD.  Brené is a researcher who has collected stories from thousands of individuals who are living, full, vibrant, wholehearted lives.  In this book, Brené shares strategies to embrace your authentic self and live a wholehearted life.

I believe the concepts in this book tie in nicely with a Health at Every Size® (HAES®) philosophy.  I’ll explain how in this post.

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Book Review: Embody

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I recently finished reading the book Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and Quiet that Critical Inner Voice!).  The book is by Connie Sobczak, co-founder of the non-profit organization The Body Positive.

Embody is a beautiful book, woven with heart-wrenching stories and inspiring quotes, that teaches the five competencies of the Be Body Positive Model.  The competencies are:

  1. Reclaim Health
  2. Practice Intuitive Self-Care
  3. Cultivate Self-Love
  4. Declare Your Own Authentic Beauty
  5. Build Community

I loved this book.  In my experience, the ability to appreciate your body is often a rate-limiting step to rejecting the diet mentality and committing to a Health at Every Size® approach.  I highly recommend this book to anyone with a body!

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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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Eat Green for St. Patrick’s Day

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Instead of (or in addition to) wearing green and drinking green beer on St. Paddy’s Day, try something new– eating green!  Green vegetables and fruits are some of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet. Continue reading

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

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This is a delicious winter dish.  You can make this a one-pot meal by cooking it in a Dutch oven.  Otherwise, use a large skillet and a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Continue reading

Dangerous Diet Traps to Avoid

Mouse_TrapDieting is not a healthful practice and can lead to weight gain in the long run (Mann 2007).  Here are 5 specific diet traps to avoid, and alternatives to try.

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