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It’s not news that being thin doesn’t equate to being healthy.

However, did you ever think about the fact that aspiring to be thin can also be unhealthy? It can both mentally and physically detrimental. When the end goal is thinness, the means by which to achieve that end  can often be incredibly unhealthy. Some people live on cigarettes and red wine to reach their goal of thinness, some people go on restrictive diets where they just live on meat and diet coke to get thin, others exercise hours a day and restrict their calories or purge there food. They might be thin, but they’re certainly not healthy.

Unfortunately, when the only goal is to be thin, the road can be very challenging. Even thinking of the inherent goal is negative,  the goal is to lose something– you are focusing on getting rid of something. Shouldn’t a goal be positive? Shouldn’t a goal be going toward something, like health, vitality and longevity, shouldn’t you be trying to gain something rather than lose something?

Those who’s focus is to lose weight tend to become frustrated, either by the scale or their inability to stay on a restricted food plan. A woman I knew decided to go on a “no carb” diet. Each day she would eat nothing except meat, eggs, and bacon. However, every couple of days, she’d “fall off the wagon,” and add milk to her coffee or grab an apple or an orange between between meetings or grab a latte from the coffee vendor in her office building. Every time that happened, she felt as though she’d failed and would binge on donuts, cakes, cookies, chips, etc, then vow that she’d go right back on her diet the next day.   Had she been going toward health instead of thinness, she would have realized the insanity of believing that there was something inherently evil about a piece of fruit or some milk.

When you go toward health, you create a shift in your thinking. You begin to think of food as something that is loving and helpful for your body. You choose an apple for energy instead of a diet coke, you exercise to the needs of your body rather than pushing your body to injury, if you find that you’re eating something that you’d prefer not to, you stop eating it and love and accept yourself rather than continuing to eat and purging.

When you go toward health, your body finds its right place. You slow down a bit and give yourself what you need.

Linda Bacon, the founder of the HAES movement, published an article (Weight Science:Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift) this week in Nutrition Journal challenging the assumption that in order for overweight people to find health, they must  diet.  If the “obesity crisis” is truly at epidemic proportions, why the consistent push for diets, when they clearly lead to more weight gain and disordered eating?

Rather than depriving yourself in order to try and lose weight, add something new each day like a support call, a piece of fruit, or a nice walk in the sunshine in order to go toward health.

 

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