A colleague and friend, Jen Arnold, offers regular Podcast Interviews with experts in the field of wellness and business. Recently she interviewed two guests focused on the obsession with weight loss that is central to many worksite wellness programs.
One powerful comment was the response to the question,
“With so much of the wellness world focused on weight loss as the key to health, how is it possible that the science suggests otherwise”?
The guest responded that the obsession with diet culture overshadows the actual research proving that weight loss is unsustainable and actively harmful to individual well-being.
That is worth repeating, actual research proves that weight loss is not only unsustainable but is ACTIVELY harmful to individual well-being.
Two other powerful takeaways from her podcasts are,
- Any nutrition message or initiative “…with a side order of weight stigma, which is pretty much always included,” actually cancels any benefit that the nutrition information could have.
- And similarly, “Creating an environment that’s based on weight stigma and that’s based on fatphobia does not encourage people to take care of their health. It makes overweight (fat) people hate their bodies and it puts thin people in fear of being fat – and neither of those things produce good health outcomes.”
A recent example of a ‘side order of weight stigma’ is a wellness professional’s request for ‘well-being’ message ideas (you have to love the irony of using of well-being here!) for their employees now working at home since their usual routine has been disrupted. The person indicated that they send fitness and nutrition information emails, which included asking employees to log their weight daily or weekly. That’s large a side order of weight stigma – sending ‘fitness and nutrition’ information but asking employees to log their weight. Some have been more direct about ‘preventing the COVID-19’ weight gain messages along with pictures!
Believe us, we’ve developed and offered many weight loss initiatives over the years until we realized the harmful effects. Our programs, as most, were offered from a place of good intentions. However, after our ah-hah moment more than a decade ago, Dimensions now focuses on fostering well-being.
What would happen if all workplace wellness programs stopped focusing on weight loss altogether and instead adopted initiatives that enhance well-being? Are you ready to let go of offering weight loss programs? Or do you know of employees ready to end yo-yo dieting? It’s a paradigm shift and for some health and wellness professionals not an easy shift but one guaranteed to not only feel good but take the sustainable approach.
Participants feel better, experience greater well-being, and establish more nourishing self-care, all of which are sustainable – An outcome that dieting doesn’t attain except for 5% or less of participants.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss the possibilities – including offering a well-being initiative via video conferencing. It couldn’t be more timely, convenient, or easier.
A link to Jen’s podcast is HERE. Jen and others also use weight neutral approaches to nutrition.