Obesity: Deeply in need of an attitude change?

The obesity epidemic rages on with no end in sight. Unfortunately, as we focus more on weight control and body size, more people are affected by being the victims of fat shaming. Even health professionals are often guilty by not addressing the weight problem with their patients – patients become ashamed due to the lack of help they experience from their physicians or the professionals themselves may be victims of the epidemic. They may be crying out for help for weight loss advice and interpret the silence as a shameful topic. This can result in more cases of body dissatisfaction, more dieting attempts like yo-yo dieting and/or avoidance of reporting eating disorder symptoms such as bulimia.

“The lack of education about good nutrition, health-positive behaviors and attitudes, and human physiology; lack of exercise; and lack of a sense of responsibility and forethought about health all contribute to the epidemic.” (Susan Yager. The Hundred Year Diet: America’s voracious appetite for losing weight.)

There is an alternative approach – Health at Every Size (HAES). This concept focuses more on healthy weights rather than how much a person weighs. A study in 2011 called the Succeed Foundation conducted a Body Image Survey that aimed to improve body image and prevent eating disorders. The survey revealed the following:

  • “30 percent of women say would trade at least one year of their life to achieve their ideal weight and shape.
  • 46% of the women say have been ridiculed or bullied because of their appearance.”

In contrast let’s look at the French attitude on dieting and eating in general. There is no fat shaming there (from what I hear).

Savor the flavor. The French sit down to three leisurely meals each day. Even their fast-food meals are lengthy compared to the typical American’s. A study in Psychological Science found that Parisians who dined at McDonald’s spent an average of 22 minutes eating, while Philadelphian McDonald’s-goers were in and out in just 14 minutes. Our culture reinforces speed-eating, just as it encourages rushing through everything else. The problem is that faster eating leads to eating more. It takes an average of 15 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is full, which means that eating slowly makes it more likely you’ll stop at a point where you’re “satisfied” as opposed to “stuffed.” are lengthy compared to the typical American’s. A study in Psychological Science found that Parisians who dined at McDonald’s spent an average of 22 minutes eating, while Philadelphian McDonald’s-goers were in and out in just 14 minutes. Our culture reinforces speed-eating, just as it encourages rushing through everything else. The problem is that faster eating leads to eating more. It takes an average of 15 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is full, which means that eating slowly makes it more likely you’ll stop at a point where you’re “satisfied” as opposed to “stuffed.”

“ HAES approach briefly states: 

  • Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.
  • Eating in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger and satiety.
  • Finding the joy in moving one’s body and becoming more physically active.
  • Reference: https://haescommunity.com/pledge/

Citation

Evelyn Tribole, M.S.,R.D, Elyse Resch, M.S., F.A.D.A., C.E.D.R.D.

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works.

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