After nearly five years, I decided to leave my job in medical weight management to practice a Health at Every Size® (HAES®) approach.
Dieting does more harm than good. Research shows that dieting is more likely to lead to weight gain than weight loss. A review of 31 weight loss studies found that dieting was ineffective at producing long term weight loss, and one-third to two-thirds of dieters gained more weight than they lost (Mann et al, 2007). Calorie restriction leads to preoccupation with food, binge eating and weight obsession.
Weight loss messages contribute to weight stigma. Weight loss messages perpetuate the idea that anyone can lose weight, and that “overweight” people are lazy or lack willpower. In reality, weight is determined by a complex interaction between genes, environment and social influences. Once a set-point weight range is established, the brain works hard to defend it (Sumatran and Proietto, 2013). Size diversity should be respected and embraced, just like other types of diversity.
Weight loss is not necessary for health improvement. People who exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and practice other forms of self-care can improve their health, without losing weight (Matheson et al. 2012; Schaefer and Magnuson, 2014.)