As you may be aware, increased body weight is associated with an increased risk for many diseases, however, there is no well-established proof that higher body weights cause diseases.
In fact, weight cycling (often seen with dieting/yo-yo dietiting) may more likely be a causative factor in the development of diseases (insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemia) than weight or BMI alone.
Research suggests that behavior change may play a greater role in health improvement in the absence of weight loss.
Not only can taking the focus off of weight feel empowering, but it has also been shown to significantly improve psychological & behavioral outcomes, particularly in improvements in self-esteem & eating behaviors. Health indicators such as blood pressure & cholesterol levels have also shown improvements with behavior changes regardless of weight loss.
Still not convinced? Let’s look at one of the largest & longest dietary intervention clinical trials– The Women’s Health Initiative. In this clinical trial, 20,000 women maintained a low-fat, reduced calorie diet & increased their activity levels, however after almost 8 years, there was no significant change in weight from the starting point. In fact, abdominal fat (measured by waist circumference) slightly increased.
We do not fail diets. Diets fail us.
Along with lowering our self-esteem, dieting may increase the risk of:
- Weight gain / regain
- High cholesterol levels
- Decreased muscle mass / metabolism
- Stress, anxiety & depression
- Body dissatisfaction & preoccupation
- Disordered eating / eating disorder behaviors
- Social isolation
- Devaluing of health promoting behaviors
You have the power to achieve health & well being independent of your weight.
I challenge you to re-think dieting this year and instead put your energy toward developing self-care & pro-health behaviors that leave you feeling good about yourself & your body!
At Case Specific Nutrition, we pride ourselves on offering individualized care to each of our clients. Are you ready to take a new approach? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a consultation!
“Weight science: evaluating the evidence for a paradigm shift” by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor
“The Weight-Inclusive versus Weight-Normative Approach to Health: Evaluating the Evidence for Prioritizing Well-Being over Weight Loss” by Tracy Tylka, Rachel Annunziato, Deb Bungard, et.al.