Since dieting is bad, does that mean I give up on hope?
I recently read Christie Harrison’s New York times opinion piece about yoyo dieting and other cultural issues around weight.
This video I’m going to give my reaction to several talking points that I read in her article, which you can click to read here.
Perhaps the most important thing, however, is to simply avoid an extreme diet.
If Not Dieting Then What Commentary:
I got my first hateful YouTube comment.
I had heard of people being rude online, but no one has been rude to me so far in terms of commenting online.
Suppose if you’re an online content creator you’re going to get some nasty remarks throughout your way.
I myself was just at the gym and I got a notification on my phone. So I read the notification which was a YouTube comment.
And I was shocked to read this person’s hatred for obese people.
This person took particular offense to the word body positivity. Body positivity to this person, sounded like an acceptance of obesity. I wondered if this person was obese themselves because of the venom I sensed in their comments.
I asked the person about their assumptions and we had a little dialogue. The person thanks me at the end and said that normally most people he talked to were extremely rude to him.
I get the sense that this person had run into a wall. Perhaps they had tried dieting, failed and then read about how dieting sucks and is terrible for you.
Perhaps they were asking themselves, if not dieting then what in a sense of hopeless despair.
I didn’t say this but I couldn’t help but chuckle inside. This person really pissed me off but thankfully through a gracious conversation landed amicably.
But I went home and slept on this conversation. Where had this person’s hatred of obesity come from? Was obesity really the demon that this guy was making it out to be?
I had a lot of thoughts on these matters and I didn’t really think about it much. But while reading the New York times one day, I stumbled across a Christy Harrison article.
This article talked about yo yo dieting information, which I thought, if this person leaving the hateful comments knew about, then perhaps they wouldn’t be so hateful.
The article featured topics and a discussion about the dangers of obesity as opposed to yo yo dieting.
As Christy Harrison recounts in her article, she had a woman write to her one time.
The woman asked, “Okay, I get it dieting is bad. However, am I really supposed to just accept the fact that I’m fat? Am I really supposed to just tell obese 12-year-old kids that they should give up and accept their obesity for the rest of their lives, along with the diabetes, fatigue and humiliation?“
It was an excellent question.
Fortunately, Christy had a great response. She said that correlation does not equal causation.
Essentially, what I take this comment to mean, is that previous studies on obesity have not accounted for the variable of yo yo dieting.
So, yes many many studies have found that obesity is a terrible terrible thing. Yet none of these studies have accounted for the yo yo dieting factor.
Except until recently. There happen studies that looked at regular overweight people who were not currently dieting and overweight people who were yo-yo dieting.
What scientist found was that the regular overweight people who are happy with their weight were basically about as healthy as thinner people. This surprised the researchers.
They had thought that all obese people were unhealthy, but it appeared that the ones who were not yo yo dieting were just only slightly unhealthier than their thinner counter parts.
But what about the people who were obese and yo-yo dieting?
These people exhibited all the horrible signs of obesity that we traditionally associate with obesity. From earlier risk of death to diabetes to higher hospital bills, you name it. This group of suffering.
But it really brought to mind a whole new paradigm. This is the paradigm that I love talking about the most.
The paradigm is that being overweight is not bad. This is the answer to, if not dieting then what?
I know this sounds crazy.
And I do recognize that I myself am not overweight, so perhaps you may not think I’m qualified to speak.
But when we start with a belief that being overweight is not that bad, it’s fine, and that yo yo dieting is bad, we get radically different paths moving forward.
Instead of trying to diet and lose weight, the new paradigm is where you stop trying to lose weight and actually just be healthy.
This is what eating enlightenment is all about. I used to live as a zen monk. And when I lived as a zen monk I heard most famous quote by the most famous Zen Monk, then Master Dogen who said “”practice equals enlightenment” or in modern-day lingo the means equal to end.
Essentially this is a spiritual process I believe.
When you have intentions to lose weight it means that your body is an enemy. Your body is not good enough to way it is. So if you have an intention based upon self-hatred, you get yo-yo dieting.
Yet if you change the paradigm, where there’s nothing wrong with your body and instead of trying to lose weight you’re just trying to live your best life, and practice into it eating skills, you’ll just be happier that way.
A lot of people do lose weight on intuitive eating, but some people are bigger boned and don’t lose the weight and that’s okay too.