Just Say No!

To dieting that is.  A recent OnePoll found that 41% of survey responders said they would rather work on improving their overall health instead of dieting.  Saying ‘no’ to dieting is good news! It has been well known that ‘dieting’ does NOT work, never did, for 95% of those trying to lose weight. Certainly, many of the 95% may lose weight initially, but keeping it off is the challenge. Most gain back the weight – often plus some – within a short period of time. It is worse for very over-weight individuals, with less than 1% ever getting to ‘normal’ weight and most quickly regaining any pounds lost. Think of the “Biggest Losers” disasters.

The science is now agreeing with what wellness experts have been saying for over a decade now – end the dieting yo-yo since this is far more of a health risk than carrying extra pounds.  In fact, recent research confirms that being over-weight is not a health risk by itself.  The convincing evidence has been slow to gain momentum, perhaps due to the multi-billion-dollar weight loss industry. Yet dieting itself is a known health risk and can negatively impact all dimensions of well-being. The negative impact on well-being is even greater when the weight is regained due to self-blame, and feelings of guilt, shame, depression, and stigmatized. Even the healthcare community judges and blames overweight patients, which also lead to unhealthy behaviors such as skipping needed medical screenings.

Not only is the focus on weight loss wrong and harmful, but losing weight is complex with little to do with a person’s willpower. Weight loss is much more complex than the ‘calories in versus calories out’ mantra.  If only it really was a simple equation! In fact, it is so complex that researchers have not yet identified all of the variables. However, some of the variables are well known such as, genetics, lack of sleep, ethnicity, medicines, and even where someone lives impact weight gain and ability to lose weight. These variables are more important factors than what a person eats or how much activity he/she/they perform daily.  

Here are a few other known facts:

  • Weight is not an accurate measure of health
  • BMI is not an accurate measure of being overweight or obese
  • Healthy behaviors make more of a difference than the numbers on a scale
  • Thin individuals also have health risks and losing weight does not always lead to health gains

And more importantly, we know that eating healthfully and adopting healthy practices are what matter for well-being, not dieting. Someone stating that they “have to lose weight” or are “starting another diet,” is a prediction of not losing weight or keeping if off. A simple attitude change to wanting to be healthier and enhance well-being greatly increases success. 

The simple recommendation is to focus on well-being, especially related to nutrition for your many employees who are ready for a healthier relationship with food and selfcare. We guarantee that there are no down sides or negative impacts!   

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