Archive for the ‘HAES’ Category

Quote of the day

File this in the “good to know” department (if true) … it’s never too late to begin exercising:

Offering hope and encouragement to the many adults who have somehow neglected to exercise for the past few decades, a new study suggests that becoming physically active in middle age, even if someone has been sedentary for years, substantially reduces the likelihood that he or she will become seriously ill or physically disabled in retirement. …

In the eight years between the study’s start and end, the data showed, those respondents who had been and remained physically active aged most successfully, with the lowest incidence of major chronic diseases, memory loss and physical disability. But those people who became active in middle-age after having been sedentary in prior years, about 9 percent of the total, aged almost as successfully. These late-in-life exercisers had about a seven-fold reduction in their risk of becoming ill or infirm after eight years compared with those who became or remained sedentary, even when the researchers took into account smoking, wealth and other factors.

Nice snark from the NY Times in the lede there.

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Quote of the day

On a related note to yesterday’s QOTD, here’s Dances With Fat’s Ragen Chastain on having a positive relationship with your body:

I’m privileged to be temporarily able-bodied and I learned more about that when I had a neck injury last year and lost the use of my right arm for almost three months. I learned that even if my body has limitations, that doesn’t make my body a limitation and that I worked best when it was me and my body against a problem, and not me against my body. I don’t know what is in the future for me and my body and like any relationship, my body and I have to keep up the communication and we have breakdowns, but we’ve come a long way since our days of giving each other the silent treatment, and I’m feel like our relationship is healthier than it’s ever been.

As someone who had a major-league back fail in 2011, the phrase “privileged to be temporarily able-bodied” really resonated with me.

My plan for 2014? Be kind to myself. It’s so much better than the alternative!

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I’ve been waiting for this to be published for a while. Neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt takes a science-based and HAES-friendly approach in explaining the perils of dieting. And be sure to read Dr. Aamodt’s blog post for details on the background behind her talk.

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Are you in the market for a New Year’s resolution related to your weight in 2014? If so, please consider Yoni Freedhoff’s suggestion to treat yourself with love and respect:

New Year’s Resolutions are a dime a dozen, and many will have to do with weight management, healthful eating and fitness. This year, in addition (or instead), consider resolving to treat yourself with just as much love and respect as you do your closest friends and relatives. … Because you deserve to love and respect yourself too; no doubt, doing so will confer onto you tremendous health and life benefits.

If you need another resolution, then Go Kaleo’s Amber suggests making consistency your goal in 2014:

When you eat a reasonable, healthy amount of mostly healthy food, and engage in reasonable, healthy physical activity, consistently, over time…your body will eventually stabilize at a healthy weight.

Until your habits are consistent, your weight will be inconsistent. …

Create the healthy balanced habits, and let the healthy balanced habits shape your body. And there you will stay.

I wish you a happy and healthy 2014!

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I’m a little late to the party, but I finally got a chance to read Taryn Brumfitt’s Dear Maria Kang…this is my excuse! for being a mom with 3 kids who no longer has the ‘perfect’ body. Here’s her relatively recent before & after:


It’s a great read, so I hope you’ll head over to Taryn’s Body Image Movement site for the whole thing. But here’s a highlight:

To look like [Maria Kang] does is (for most people) completely doable, if you are willing to sacrifice most of the things that you love. And I wasn’t willing to do that. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy hanging out with my kids, sleeping in on the weekends, eating what I want and when I want and having the occasional night out with the girls.

She also takes a very HAES-friendly tack:

I AM a health advocate. I run, I lift weights, I eat healthily but I also have a cookie with my soy latte and knock back the odd burger or yiros when I feel like it. It’s called balance. And whilst I am getting on my soap box (I’ll just be here for another minute) health is not dictated by your looks. Health is physical, emotional and spiritual and so much more that is not visible and not always obvious to others.

Weight stigma isn’t just wrong, it turns out it’s ironically downright counterproductive.

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Quote of the day

Psychologist and HAES co-founder Deb Burgard has written an article — Examining the So-Called “Evidence” — on the recent study re weight and health.

One point that I think deserves a lot more discussion:

There is no study that I know that tests the fundamental assumption that a fat person losing weight will have the risk profile going forward of an always-thin person, because there is no large enough group of formerly fat people who maintain their weight loss, even in the Weight Management Registry. There are studies that show intentional weight loss is linked to earlier death, and studies that show weight cycling is linked to poorer health outcomes. And so using the study’s reasoning is going to push more people down the road that actually raises the risk of developing the very metabolic factors that are associated with the events they are saying are caused by obesity itself.

Many (most?) fat people are people who have scary diet histories … I know I do! Can you think of another health condition where the “cure” is potentially a big contributor to the actual problem?

Burgard closes her piece with a “correlation is not causation” plea:

I would like to see a time come when a finding that higher weight people have more illness or die earlier (if arrived at properly) was framed as evidence of a clear health disparity for higher-weight people, implicating not the higher weight person’s body, but rather the obvious and empirically demonstrated problems in accessing the resources for a good life: racism, economic discrimination, lack of access to health care, weight bias and weight stigma within every sphere of life including medical care, etc. Do we really think that these factors will not have an impact on people’s health?

I must admit that I cringe every time I see someone make the shortcut that obesity causes the things it is linked to. As I’ve written before, I do not think adipose tissue is benign. But I would bet a good chunk of money that the study does not exist that addresses all the potential confounds (some of which Burgard lists above and some which Ragen Chastain addresses in her Dances With Fat post today Are Fat People at Higher Risk?).

What keeps me from being a full-blown card-carrying HAES evangelist is that I don’t think that having a third of the population overweight and a third obese in a little more than a generation is just normal weight distribution. Well, actually it may well be “normal” in this environment … it’s certainly clear that it’s common as cultures adopt a more Western lifestyle.

But more importantly, if the reality is more along the lines of my thinking (what makes us fat makes us sick), then it is essential to focus on identifying what are the right interventions to address that. IMO, “losing weight” is a side effect, not the cure.

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One meal at a time

In the same vein as yesterday’s post, I’ve lately been thinking that no matter which diet you choose to follow (paleo, LC, vegan, etc), there is something to be said about how you eat … and how your eating fits in your life.

I suspect this is partly what Yoni Freedhoff has in mind when he talks about Calling for an End to Nutrition as Religion, his latest for US News. He writes:

Nutrition as religion demands perfection, yet perfection is an impossible goal. Remember, food is not simply fuel. Since the dawn of humankind, food has been used for comfort and celebration, and if your newly found dietary religion forbids foods you enjoy, my bet is you’re not long for that diet.

The easiest question to evaluate any dietary plan or religion is simply, “Could I happily live like this for the rest of my life?” where the most important word in that question is “happily.” If the answer’s “No,” you’ve either got to get comfortable with adding in some sinning, or find another way to go.

I’ve been thinking that a “one meal at a time” approach has a lot to go for it. A la Anne of Green Gables — “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.” — each meal is always fresh and another opportunity.

Here’s a first draft of what I think this could look like:

  • Not hungry, but can’t wait to eat? Don’t eat as much.
  • Make the best choice(s) possible.
  • Include protein, carbs, and fat.
  • Enjoy your meal.
  • Give yourself props!

In a later post, I’ll share my rationale for each of these. But I’m curious … what do folks think? Good, bad, indifferent?

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