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  • Writer's pictureAmy Jaffe MS RD LD

Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong

Here I will comment on the recent Huffington Post article about obesity, linked here:

“For decades, the medical community has ignored mountains of evidence to wage a cruel and futile war on fat people, poisoning public perception and ruining millions of lives. It is time for a new paradigm.”

There isn’t one person who walks into my office who doesn’t want to lose weight. Whether they weigh 300 pounds or 70 pounds. It doesn’t matter - they just want to be thinner, and at all costs, prevent weight gain. They are terrified of being fat, let alone obese.

Everything You Know About Obesity is Wrong” by Michael Hobbes , for the Huffington Post in September, 2018 dispels many myths about body shape and size in the context of the diet culture we live in.

Myths that weren't in my purview, after over 20 years working daily with women, men, girls and boys who struggle with their relationship with food and body. Like how the insurance industry financially rewards physicians when they give diet/weight loss advice to their patients.

“The medical community’s primary response …. Has been to blame fat people for being fat.”

No wonder the 50% of 3-6 yr old girls say they worry about being fat. Yes, 3-6 year old girls! Their friends and parents and parents of friends have all drank the Koolaid that you have to be thin or else. So now it is in the generational genes and in our DNA.

Diets don’t work. Period. Research shows that 95% of people gain back the weight they lost and more. In addition, losing just 3% of body weight results in a 17% slowing of metabolism. No wonder that ALL the contestants on the reality show, The Biggest Loser, gained their weight back and more.

It is my firm professional perspective that dieting CAUSES obesity, not the other way around and it certainly is not the cure for it. It is the overeating/bingeing after a failed diet (diets fail people, people do not fail diets) that wreaks havoc on blood sugar levels, insulin, set point range and metabolism.

Weight and health are not synonyms. 1/3 to 3/4 of people classified as obese are metabolically healthy, i.e. normal blood pressure, no insulin resistance, and normal cholesterol levels. Health, as measured by governmental research on morbidity and mortality, show that disease and death are more determined by lifestyle and fitness than by weight.

"This is how fat-shaming works: It is visible and invisible, public and private, hidden and everywhere at the same time.”

The STIGMA of being overweight does more harm than actually being overweight.

Overweight people tend to avoid going to the doctors and other health care professionals and therefore do not get adequate medical and preventive care because of the repeated shame they suffer from well-intentioned but mis-informed and devastating messages from their health care providers.

“A 2016 survey found that nearly twice as many higher-weight Americans have tried meal replacement diets- the kind most likely to fail- than have ever received counseling from a dietitian.”

It is the complexity of a person’s relationship with food, fitness and body image that needs to be the focus of treatment as well as consistent reminders to reject the diet mentality.

“An expert panel for Obamacare found that the decisive factor in obesity care was not the diets patients went on, but how much attention and support they received while they were on it. Participants who got more than 12 sessions with a dietitian saw significant reductions in their rates of pre-diabetes and cardiovascular risk. Those who got less personalized care showed almost no improvement at all.”

This would correspond to seeing a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist weekly for a 3 month period.

Intuitive Eating is one of the approaches I use in supporting my clients. I am a Certified as an Intuitive Eating specialist. This approach is an evidence-based model, a dynamic integration between mind and body via 10 principles that work by either cultivating or removing obstacles to body awareness, known as interoceptive awareness.

Ultimately, Intuitive Eating is a personal process of honoring health by listening and responding to the direct messages of the body in order to meet physical and psychological needs. The challenge in today’s dieting, clean eating, culture is that many people do not value, let alone trust their body’s sensations. Instead, they eat based on externality—i.e., eating according to rules and diet plans, which ultimately create confusion between mind and body.

For anyone interested in seeing a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist weekly for a 3 month period to finally (!) get positive and lasting results, my services will be offered at a reduced rate when you call and mention this article/post.

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