Has the “Health and Wellness Industry” Contributed to the Obesity Epidemic? Part II
Why Diets and Weight Loss Don’t Cause Better Health
In Part I, I explored how the societal pressure for the perfect diet, health, and body may be causing more harm than good. Furthermore, the very “experts” who are entrusted to “treat the problem” could be contributing to the disease. (Read more here.)
I admit that, I, too have been seduced by the fancy health headlines, the “innovative research,” and the engaging dietary arguments, each touting superiority of their various weight, health, and nutrition theories.
Inevitably, I come out of the daze with whiplash. I am left scratching my head at the “science” of the next dietary philosophy that has shocking similarly to a “fad.”
Working with my clients has taught me that any diet that is restrictive will fail many, serve a few, and even harm others both emotionally and physically.
Here’s the thing…
Food, what you eat or don’t eat, isn’t the sole answer to our current health crisis.
In fact, this obsession around what one eats could cause harm and literally be “feeding” the obesity epidemic!
Read on to learn more.
Is Obesity Really the Culprit?
In a 2011 article published in Nutrition Journal, the authors argue against studies that “prove” that diet and weight loss are linked to longer, healthier, lives. Many of these studies do not effectively consider all other factors (exercise, lifestyle, mind-set, unknowns) and confuse correlation for causation.
You read that right.
Losing weight through dieting could kill you!
The abstract of “Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift” discusses the ethical implications of promoting weight loss as a solution when it has not been demonstrated to be effective long term. This narrowed focus can actually distract form the importance of health and contribute to “weight stigmatization and discrimination.” Rather, the authors suggest we should focus on health outcomes which are “weight -neutral”:
Current guidelines recommend that “overweight” and “obese” individuals lose weight through engaging in lifestyle modification involving diet, exercise and other behavior change. This approach reliably induces short term weight loss, but the majority of individuals are unable to maintain weight loss over the long term and do not achieve the putative benefits of improved morbidity and mortality. Concern has arisen that this weight focus is not only ineffective at producing thinner, healthier bodies, but may also have unintended consequences, contributing to food and body preoccupation, repeated cycles of weight loss and regain, distraction from other personal health goals and wider health determinants, reduced self-esteem, eating disorders, other health decrement, and weight stigmatization and discrimination. This concern has drawn increased attention to the ethical implications of recommending treatment that may be ineffective or damaging. A growing trans-disciplinary movement called Health at Every Size (HAES) challenges the value of promoting weight loss and dieting behavior and argues for a shift in focus to weight-neutral outcomes. Randomized controlled clinical trials indicate that a HAES approach is associated with statistically and clinically relevant improvements in physiological measures (e.g., blood pressure, blood lipids), health behaviors (e.g., eating and activity habits, dietary quality), and psychosocial outcomes (such as self-esteem and body image), and that HAES achieves these health outcomes more successfully than weight loss treatment and without the contraindications associated with a weight focus. This paper evaluates the evidence and rationale that justifies shifting the health care paradigm from a conventional weight focus to HAES.
Body Care vs. Weight Crazed
I’m not saying that eating whole, nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods is not important for health and body care. It is.
It’s the methods of madness in the controlled manipulation, restriction, and shaming of different food choices, even “healthy” foods, that is creating the problem.
As I stated previously, it may be the “health” mindset itself and the fact that many can’t eat a piece of fruit without guilt, a slice of bread without remorse, or saturated fat without fear of a heart attack. (I’ll provide more on this perspective later.)
The medical, health, and fitness industries’ focus on weight loss as the solution to health issues could be depriving your body of what it really needs to function optimally.
This brings me to the end of part II in this latest series of posts. These are intended to be used as an educational resource for finding peace with food, freedom from dietary dogma, and encouragement to once again listen to your own inner guidance.
In Part III, I’ll discuss how science can be manipulated to prove anyone’s theory in order to sell the latest fad.
That is the problem with any restrictive food advice.
The Body and Brain in Balance with Essential Oils
In part I, I mentioned how essential oils align with the theme of finding balance between health obsession and healthy living. This is due to their ability to modulate our biochemistry with their synergistic components rather than manipulating it. This is why one oil can do “so many darn things” all at once… its actions are multifaceted.
I’ve written previously about how essential oils can be used to change unwanted behaviors. They can be used to calm the brain and move from a stressed-out fixated mind to a relaxed, proactive, positive one. Maybe for some, it’s implementing a new habit that results in a more fulfilling life. For others, it may be using them to calm down the pursuit of body perfection.
One of my favorite oils for relieving any stress from any trigger and stabilizing the body is lavender. This is one oil most people can “chill” out with. Still, every body is different and some may do better with citrus blends for calming or the grounding phytoncides of fir oils.
I suggest everyone take advantage of all the benefits essential oils can offer for whole-body wellness. My favorite ways include diffusing calming oils and a “sniff” break of one of my favorites scent when my mind is wandering down the scary road of “what ifs.”
I’d love to hear how you use oils for healthy and holistic living below!
Announcing My New Featured Blog on Saratoga.com!
Today, I’m excited to announce my blog at Saratoga.com is live on my own featured section!
It has been a true pleasure, privilege and honor to be writing for Living Well for so many years. I look forward to continuing our journey together with a sharper focus on wellness for an even greater holistic perspective.
This week, in keeping with this theme, I posted on “The Importance of a “Happy” Mind versus a Health-Obsessed Brain.”
You can get access to my new exclusive content and see the new design by clicking here!
I’m looking forward to your feedback!
August 2017 Top Holistic and Integrative Health Reads
As promised last week, here is the link to some of my most noteworthy health, medicine, and nutrition headlines for the month of August 2017.
As usual, there’s a whole section for one of my geek-out obsessions, the microbiome.
One of the highlights was a new trial by the American Chemical Society focusing on athletes. Literally stated, “No guts, no glory…,” Science Daily reported on the researchers who drove around for two weeks collecting fecal samples from 20 athletes participating in the 2015 Boston marathon. After analyzing the poo, they discovered a particular bacteria may aid athletic performance. The hope is that these results could lead to the development of specific probiotics for the elite fitness population.
Considering the fact that we are still in infancy in learning about our genetics, and even farther behind on our microbiome, many are wondering if targeted “bug” treatment will work. Furthermore, there’s a whole lot of critters that have been ignored that could influence buggy interactions, including viruses and worms!
In fact, bacteria aren’t the only bugs people are ingesting. Many people are literally swallowing worms for immune modulation and experiencing good results. You’ll want to check out the article, ‘What the Helminth! Are “Purposeful Parasites” The Next Probiotics?’, to learn more.
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)