This time of year I am seeing social media posts and advertisements for a variety of weight loss programs and exercise routines you can invest into. Some are scary looking, and others seems quit reasonable and even healthy.
My message to you is stop.
Don’t spend another penny on a weight loss program or workout regime that you probably don’t need. Stop starving yourself (even if you “don’t feel hungry”) or working yourself to death in order to fit societal standards of what beautiful and healthy look like.
Starting in high school I tried to diet and exercise to be “healthy” and fit in. Over the years I have tried everything including liquid diets, detoxes, supervised restrictive diets by a Certified Nutritionist, exercising with personal trainers, and many other “healthy” weight loss programs. I lost weight. I looked amazing. I felt fine. It never lasted.
“Biology dictates that most people regain the weight they lose, even if they continue their diet and exercise program.” (Bacon, 2008).
Then in 2007 I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance, back when the average person had never heard of gluten. After a series of testing, I would find that I was intolerant to a variety of foods including gluten, soy, peanuts, and dairy (just to name the top four). I then had to, for medical reasons, begin a restrictive eating lifestyle. It was a difficult transition.
There are no bad foods. Only people with a medical reason should restrict specific foods. If you are not gluten intolerant, then eat gluten!
At first I would find that I lost weight, and a lot of it, but eventually that weight would come back on despite my continued restrictive medical diet, and I would eventually gain and weigh more than I had ever weighed in my life. Talk about a double whammy. I don’t eat any fun stuff and I am gaining weight!
Restrictive eating messes with the hunger sensor in your brain, causing you to lose the ability to know when you are hungry and when you are full (Bacon, 2008).
Then I read the book, Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon, PhD. This book changed my way of thinking and gave me a new lease on living healthy. Linda Bacon earned her PhD in physiology from University of California, David where she is currently an Associate Nutritionist. She also holds additional graduate degrees in both psychology and exercise metabolism. She is one of the few, if not the only, weight loss researcher who is not financially connected to any weight loss program. Bacon is well published in scientific literature. Her book Health At Every Size (HAES) has been helping people regain power over their weight problems to live a truly healthy life, both emotionally and physically.
Here are a few facts she discovered in her years of research:
If you eat adequately healthy and exercise adequately, your body will find its healthy weight naturally. Trying to force it into another size or shape is self-harm.
If you are like me, you are finding these facts crazy and mind blowing. We live in a society that believes that thinner equals healthier. It’s just not true! It’s time we start seeing ourselves as beautiful, no matter our shape or size.
So today, before you sign up for yet again another weight loss program, I encourage you to first read Health At Every Size and learn what real health looks like. You might be surprised that it looks like the person looking back at you through your mirror.