Has the “Health and Wellness Industry” Contributed to the Obesity Epidemic? Part I
Introduction- The Controversial “D” Word
What do these four things have in common?
- If you want family dinner to remain peaceful, you don’t bring up any of these topics.
- All of these subjects can be controversial, highly polarized, and combative.
- Different viewpoints have been known to cause disengagement in some of the closest relationships.
So, why in the h-e- double hockey sticks would I bring up diet when not even the most respected researchers and experts can come to a consensus on the “best diet” for someone to follow?
Furthermore, just the word “Paleo” or “Vegan” could cause people to flock or flee from my website in mass quantities.
Well, I’m bringing up the topic of diet because I firmly believe that there is NO “Diet” that is best for everyone.
I don’t believe in diets.
I think the reasons experts can’t come to an agreement, or should even try to, is because they are arguing over the wrong cause and confusing symptoms, correlations, and connections for hard evidence.
Intrigued or outraged?
Stick with me… this is the first post in a series in which I aim to help you find freedom from dietary dogma, become more compassionate with your body, and bring focus back to your own particular goals for your life…without shame.
Is Fat Phobia and Health Morality Contributing to the Obesity Problem?
It’s hard not to get sucked in by the seduction of the latest promised solution to achieve body perfection, beauty, and optimal wellness.
Some have even argued that we may be at a time of “healthism,” in which being healthy and attractive becomes a moral objective of the culture. In this theory, the current accepted societal body type is a virtue, and fear and prejudice of different physical shapes that don’t fit the “ideal” are the result.
What appears as “flawless on the outside” can become dysfunctional and exact a high price. This pressure to stay within certain health and weight parameters shapes decisions for everyday habits, even at the cost of stressing personal relationships.
Those who don’t “fit the norm” often deprive themselves or manipulate their bodies in harmful ways to gain acceptance into the health community. If not, they are ostracized and even bullied.
Blame and shame are the game plan for behavioral change.
That’s a LOT of pressure.
It doesn’t work.
Weight Stigma and Medicine
We are currently in an obesity epidemic. This is at a time where the fitness, diet, and health industry are thriving. The striving for recognized physical standards has caused both sexes, particularly women, to have a high rate of body dissatisfaction and shame.
Unfortunately, those who offer guidance to these “misfits” in health tend to be intolerant and biased themselves. This leads to suboptimal quality in care and further perpetuates a dysfunctional cycle.
According to 2014 article in Medscape:
SOFIA, Bulgaria — A new survey of almost 700 healthcare professionals in a large German university hospital that specializes in research and treatment of obesity has found that almost 60% of staff there expressed negative attitudes toward the condition, a figure not dissimilar to that found among the general public.
“We expected that healthcare professionals would have a better understanding of the causes of obesity, but that was not true,” psychologist Claudia Sikorski, PhD, of Leipzig University, Germany, told the European Congress on Obesity in Sofia last week.
A 2015 review article, “Impact of weight bias and stigma on quality of care and outcomes for patients with obesity,” stated the negative implications for these biased opinions in healthcare:
Many healthcare providers hold strong negative attitudes and stereotypes about people with obesity. There is considerable evidence that such attitudes influence person-perceptions, judgment, interpersonal behaviour and decision-making. These attitudes may impact the care they provide. Experiences of or expectations for poor treatment may cause stress and avoidance of care, mistrust of doctors and poor adherence among patients with obesity. Stigma can reduce the quality of care for patients with obesity despite the best intentions of healthcare providers to provide high-quality care. There are several potential intervention strategies that may reduce the impact of obesity stigma on quality of care.
This lack of tolerance can cause the physician to create unrealistic expectations and present an overly simplified solution for weight loss based on willpower of “calories in < calories out.” There are also emotional and health impacts:
This counsel can also have unintended side effects if it signals to patients that they are seen solely in terms of their stigmatized identity. This could create a state of threat that may affect the patient’s emotional state, ability to communicate effectively, and attitude towards medical advice (86).
Treating the Cause
So, what is the solution?
First, we have to address the root cause.
Is it continuing the endless search for the perfect diet, exercise, and lifestyle to lose those toxic pounds?
I argue, 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.
If shaming and restriction was the solution, our society would all be as thin as toothpicks.
In the next blog, I’ll go into more details on how our diet mentality and fixation on weight loss could be harming, not helping, our health.
Maybe then experts, physicians, and everyone can serve up a little compassion and understanding for all their clients and fellow human beings, regardless of their body size.
An Oily Action Step and My Own Amendment
After my recent research on the aspects of the health mindset, and in regard to this series, consider finding a comforting smell to bring balance to your body for the simple pleasure of knowing it feels good and is nurturing you.
Oils bring balance. They don’t manipulate or control the body. This aligns with the theme with these posts.
Perhaps a dab camphor or jade lemon oil may be in order for the courage to be open to what’s best for you and ignore all the buzz and hype that doesn’t resonate with your goals.
For more ideas and applications for essential oils, visit here.
Within the next few weeks, my blog at Saratoga.com will be transferred to my own featured section!
Stay tuned for links to the new design and exclusive content!
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.)