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Down with Diets!

My first diet was the Scarsdale one. I thought my thighs were too big, and I thought maybe that little book, with each day's food allowance clearly spelled out, would help make them smaller.

I gave up soon. I hated the foods Scarsdale prescribed, and after a week the thought of continuing made me feel resentful and rebellious. My thighs, alas, stayed about the same.

That's the way it's been with me and fad -- and non-fad --diets. Even time-tested, popular and well respected regimens such as Weight Watchers quickly brought out the worst in me. It's taken me years to understand that my body does best, nutrition-wise and weight-wise, when I manage to get busy with other concerns and not allow myself to obsess over food.

Apparently I'm not alone in responding poorly to diets. According to this article, the average obese person who undergoes bariatric surgery in order to lose weight has tried 24 diets before getting to that desperate point. That means 24 diet experiences that didn't work; even if some led to initial weight loss, enough pounds came back to warrant major abdominal surgery.

In today's "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" column, I wrote about shifting away from diets that dictate what you eat and focusing instead on how you think about food and your relationship with it. This article notes that some experts believe the key to curbing obesity may be to make communities more supportive of physical activity and other healthful behaviors. I call this the "It Takes a Village to Shrink My Thighs" approach.

There are of course scads of people who swear by Weight Watchers or Atkins or South Beach. I'd like to hear from readers who have succeeded in losing weight and keeping it off via one of these plans -- or any other plan.

I'd also like to hear from folks who, like me, have given up on diets per se. Without a book or personality to guide you, how do you lose weight? Or are you okay enough with your body the way it is to say the heck with losing weight?

This week's poll:

Please elaborate on your answer in the Comments section!

Results of last week's poll: A resounding 74 percent of voters said they try to stay healthy mostly for their own sake; 21 percent said they tried to stay healthy for their family's or partner's sake, and 3 percent cited an "other reason."

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  March 17, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  General Health , Nutrition and Fitness  
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Comments

I have five words for women who are totally tired of the ugly cycle of dieting: Green Mountain at Fox Run. I spent a week in mid-February at the self-described women's retreat for healthy living without dieting in Vermont. After 50 plus years of dieting and being unhappy with my weight I came away with a new understanding. It is not about the food it is about our relationship to food. And, it is not about losing weight it is about losing fat. Think the two books that were reviewed today get part of their message. The other part is that there are no quick fixes and the only thing like a magic bullet is exercise, cardio and weights, for the rest of your life. For the first time I feel like I'm getting in control of my eating and developing an appreciation of myself.

Posted by: FrontierWoman | March 17, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I have tried many diets such as Weight Watchers, Scarsdale, Atkins, going to a doctor and getting shots, The diet Workshop, Nutri Systems, and the Formula 101 (similar to the Zone). Initially, I lost weight with each of these diets but always gained the weight back. I know that the reason is that I went back to my old ways. This happens gradualy and I believe it is because I never really learned how to do the Maintenance part of the diet. We concentratwe so hard to get the weight off and then we feel so good that it suddenly becomes too comfortable to have a little of this and a little of that. I lost the most weight (32 lbs)by following The Formula diet by Jean Daust and her husband. It gave recipes and was pretty easy to follow. Then along came the Christmas holidays and I have gained back 10 pounds since then. Trying to get back on it is hard. I am going to begin a low impact exercise program. I have asthma so I cannot do a lot of fast pace moves. Hopefully I can get back on track with some exercise and trying to learn what the maintenance part of a diet is. I think I agree with some of the comments in your article. If we could all learn how to eat the right foods and leave the bad ones alone except for a special occasion, it would be better than trying to follow a detailed specific plan. I look forward to reading all of your articles on how to lose weight properly.

Posted by: Sunrise4 | March 17, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Portion control. After two decades of weight gain and loss I finally learned not to underestimate my love of food. So I eat what I want, but not as much of it. I lost 65 pounds that way, though it took several years, and it came off faster once I started moderate exercise.

Remember the old saying: "you can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

Posted by: washedup | March 17, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The best diet I know is not really a diet -- it is an eating plan called DASH -- that was developed by NIH to lower blood pressure. It has the happy side effects of also lowering cholesterol, sating hunger and being easy to follow and very healthy -- lots of fruit, lots of veggies, whole grains, dairy products with minimal sweets, fats, and limited animal protein. I recommend it to everyone -- I follow it most of the time (occasional slips during the high eating season between Thanksgiving and Christmas).

Posted by: TracyAligDowling | March 17, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I am a 57 year old male and have lost 60 pounds in the past 12 months on Weight Watchers and have never felt better. WW has taught me to think about food differently. I still have a slice or two of Pizza every now and then (think Thin and Crispy Veg Supreme). I eat a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich a couple times a week but I also eat more fruits and vegetables than I have in my whole life. I have even started a small vegetable garden. I have a new appreaciation for what food is good for you and what isn't. Sure, exercise is important but mostly I believe it is about limiting bad food, controlling portions and eating more of the good stuff. I'm not saying WW is the only way to loose weight but it has worked for me without surgery and without drugs...just good food I make myself.

Posted by: MikeHammel | March 17, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Did you mean how many different name-brand diet approaches have I tried, or how many times have I dieted? I haven't done many of the former, but said 5-10 because that's about how many times I can remember "dieting."

I don't like most of the fad diets because I think their underlying "one size fits all" premise is wrong. On the other hand, I also don't completely buy the "you can fix your weight just by fixing your head" approach advocated today. You have to find the combination that works for you. Example: I simply cannot have bacon in the fridge; I will cook and eat the entire pound. Keeping it around doesn't help, sorry -- once I get that first taste, I will eat every piece available. On the other hand, I am perfectly able to keep dark chocolate around and have a few nibbles as a treat now and then.

In the end, what has worked for me is closer to the Atkins/South Beach approach. I tend toward big blood-sugar swings; when I try any approaches that are higher in grains and fruits and lower in protein and fats, I am constantly starving. And no, not "mouth hunger" -- 2 hours after I eat, I will go from fine to shaking as my blood sugar plummets. So when I need to drop some weight, the most effective way to do it is drop the starches -- it gets rid of the swings, gets rid of that driving hunger and constant food fixation, and allows me to eat more sensible meals when I do eat. On the other hand, I don't go full-fat and no-veggie like some of the extreme Atkins. But I will say, being able to get a hunk of steak on my salad certainly helps with the deprivation feeling. :-) My mom, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite: when she wants to drop a few pounds, she cuts the meat and the fat, and loads up on vegetables and fruits and pasta.

I also agree with Sunrise4 that maintenance is the hard part. We are surrounded by stuff that isn't good for us under any diet -- high-fat, high-carb, high-refined-white-flour, high-sugar, etc. I'm good at steeling myself against that while I'm really focused on weight loss. But as a practical matter, I'm also a mom with a full-time job and two small kids, and there's just no way we're going to make it through until college without calling on Papa Johns or Chick-fil-A. I think that's probably where the mental approach of these books would be really helpful, to at least make conscious choices about how often and how to manage.

Posted by: laura33 | March 17, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The reason that study showed no difference in diet as long as calories were reduced was that there was relatively little difference among the four diets. Although the report claimed to include a low-carb diet, it didn't. The lowest-carb diet was 35% of calories from carbs. That's not even close to low carb.

My diet includes about two percent of calories from carbs and is over fifty percent fat. I have lost a third of my body weight, my cravings, and my hunger. You don't need cards or any other trick to keep your eating in line when you eat a diet that obviates cravings and hunger.

Posted by: Abalone | March 17, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

In brief: What works for me is protein + fiber + portion control + exercise.

Once I started eating more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and protein, I had fewer stomach problems, more energy and found eating much more satisfying.

I try to eat mindfully, make exercise an enjoyable routine and gradually incorporate healthier everyday habits. This is still really hard, and I mess up regularly. I make excuses not to exercise when I get home from work, or binge eat after a slice of chocolate cake or a candy bar turns on my sugar cravings.

Still, I've kept off 35 pounds of excess weight for almost 3 years. (my BMI is now 22) The one diet plan I tried was Weight Watchers. I didn't follow either of their food plans. Instead, every day I wrote down my weight, everything I ate and the exercise I did. The weekly meetings and weigh-ins helped me feel motivated and accountable. Also, having to pay for every week until I reached my goal weight was an incentive to lose. I became a lifetime member in June 2006 and have stayed below my goal weight since.

Posted by: shantybird | March 17, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

My weight loss secret: eat less (fewer calories), move more. Diets are deadly for me; I panic, eat more high calorie food, and gain weight.

If I need to lose, I stop putting extra heavy cream in my coffee and other indulgences. I try to stay away from foods that push blood sugar way up unless I'm going to burn it with really serious exercise. Mostly I increase physical activity. This is real easy for me; I live on a farm and spend my days outside doing manual labor.

The one time I decided to lose lots of weight fast (21 lbs in 20 days), I cut my calories to 500 and spent 8 hrs a day bicycling & swimming. When I wasn't moving, I obsessed on making those 500 calories as overwhelmingly tasty as I could.

Last winter I lost 10 pounds by turning the thermostate down to 64. Burned the calories keeping warm;-)

Posted by: ejefferies | March 17, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I met a lady a couple of years back who had lost an incredible amount of weight with a real low carb diet. She kept losing even after they put her in the hospital to try to stop the weight loss. She did survive, sort of.

Also know of a pilot who did much the same and lost his license because of the damage to his heart.
I guess low carb diets, if done seriously, really do work. Sort of.

Posted by: ejefferies | March 17, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey it’s very simple and as ancient as the hills. My hero Jack Lallane says it best.

If God Made it eat it
If man made it don't eat it.
If it tastes extra-ordinarily sweet, spit it out.

Of course Jack is referring to heated, treated, beated, refined processed foods.

Don't live to eat, eat to live.

When you do a plant based all raw diet:
• you will never have to count calories,
• you won’t tax the kidneys by drinking too much water, as fruits and veggies are 90 % water, so you won’t even feel thirsty, and best of all, you won’t have to carry around stupid Plastic Bottles since Oil is needed to make plastic (or glass for that matter) and you would be eco-friendly…and we won’t have to invade other countries to steal their “black gold” huh…er…make love not war…NO this isn’t hippy, its plain common sense…
• you will alkalize your blood rather than acidify it,
• you will automatically lose weight and be slim and chic without even sweating it,
• you body-weight will go to a set-point and will never even have to weigh yourself,
• you will feel lighter and very energetic,
• your sex life and libido will improve, your mind will clear up and
• you will be able to sort-of read between the lines...duh...

To this add doing daily Hatha Yoga, and if you must be a “cardio-freak” then by all means you can mix in using a weighted sports hula hoop, and/or perhaps use a mini-trampoline to some mean Jerry Lee Lewis or Disco, or any upbeat music. Using a trampoline rebounder will cushion the pounding but there is still some. Western exercise, almost all of it employs violent use of the muscles, YOGA does not, and you can still get cardio from Yoga when you do the sun salutations and their variation Vinyasa Flows, you could do them slow (for tone combined with Static holds) or faster (for Cardio effect)

And of course lots of S E X, and Sex is the best tension reliever, whether it’s SEX FOR ONE, or Sex with another one(s). Regards this, remember. It’s not the length of the stick that does the trick, it’s the throb of the knob that does the job…duh….

Hey have fun....don't worry, be happy!!!

Contact me, I’ll tell you more or less: gentle_levon@yahoo(dot)com

Posted by: gentle_levon | March 17, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I have tried so many diets that my kids started to give them nicknames. The Cabbage Soup Diet was called The Rabbit Food Diet. The anti-diet was called The Peanut Cluster Diet. By last September, when I topped out at 216 and my dog chewed a hole in the one pair of pants I could fit into, I was truly desparate. Then I managed an approach of feast and famine that I call The Set Point Lowering Diet and which is an variation on The No S Diet. I told my 14 year old, who has joined me in this diet, that it's the easiest diet I have ever followed. She said, No, Mom, the Peanut Cluster Diet was. Well, with that diet, I gained 10 pounds. With this one, I've lost 15, and I think I'll continue to lose because it is so easy.

For all weekends and an accumulation of two weekdays per month, I can eat whatever I want.

For all other days, I limit my eating to no sweets, no snacks, and no seconds.

My diets are based on a lifestyle change which means constant deprivation and a caloric deficit that ends with going off the diet and regaining the weight. With this diet, you eat what you want on the weekend so that doesn't happen, and the limitations you impose on yourself during the week carry over into the weekend.

Posted by: kmltig | March 17, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I've tried tons of diets, for a total of 15 I think. The first was while I was in college, Jenny Craig. Didn't work out. I was in a military school and when I told the "counselor" how much I was working out everyday, she laughed as if in disbelief. I never went back.

Second diet was slim fast. I lost 10 lbs with that one and got lots of compliments. Fit into my skinny pant for the first time in 2 years. Gained it all back.

Next diet was the "way too busy to eat diet and running around everywhere". Lost 6 lbs.

After college, tried slimfast again...didn't work. But swimming three times a week did. But again, it wasn't more than about 5-6 lbs.

While going to grad school, I trained for three marathons and lost next to nothing until I started taking diet pills called Xenedrine. Started lifting weights as well. Lost 15 lbs and looked pretty good. But the constant screaming and agressive driving were starting to bother my friends so I stopped. I then tried Nutrisystem, then the "count your calories and exercise approach" while lifting weights. I lost 10 lbs with both diets, gained it allllllll back.

Finally, after taking a birth control shot that wasn't supposed to cause any weight gain, my weight spiraled out of control. I gained 10 lbs in a week, followed by an additional 10 in the entire month. I slowly started adding a final 10 lbs, to have gained 30 lbs in 3 months. To get rid of it in time for my May wedding, I did ATKINS. Lost 15 lbs in the first three weeks, slowly lost 10 more in the ensuing 4 months. I was estatic!

Gained it all back when I got pregnant with my kids. In between children, I did the Raw diet (where you eat nothing but raw food). Lost 10 lbs right away, then discovered I was pregnant with my second and stopped.

After my last child, I decided to give up diets and to just exercise. Lost a little weight, but not much. Got REALLY strong with weigh training. $8,000 of personal training sessions later, I hadn't lost any weight and gained a hernia. Lost 5 lbs getting the hernia repaired (had them do a tummy tuck while they were in there). Slowly started to gain an additional 10 lbs.

Now, I am "doing" weight watchers. I go to meetings every week, but have only been able to count pts for like, two weeks before giving up. Everytime I have a special even I need to attend, I do ATKINs for about a month. It had worked a few times, but now, it is not working so well. Guess my body is adapting.

I am getting bigger and bigger. Everytime I exercise, I gain even MORE weight REALLY FAST, as if I wasn't exercising at all. When I stop exercising, the weight goes away in like two weeks. I don't want to give up, and want to keep trying, but when am I going to find something that really works? I skimmed volumetrics, liked the concept....yes, I keep eating out. Don't know what I will do when I have to pack a lunch for my kids.

Posted by: changingfaces | March 17, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to give my kids' nickname for the diet I am following. It is The Peanut Cluster Diet with Restrictions. Imagine losing weight on a diet with the words "Peanut Cluster" in the title! It sounds too good to be true, but it isn't. I think that diets trigger a survival mechanism, and you overeat to make up for the deprivation. This diet gradually but easily lowers your set point. The scariest words I have ever read about dieting come from the book The Obesity Epidemic in which it says that those who are obese and try to lose weight have the same psychological profile as those who are starving. That's not the way I wanted to live, but it took me 35 years to figure out how to lose weight without feeling like I'm starving.

Posted by: kmltig | March 17, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

At any given time, 30% of U.S. men and 45% of women are dieting, either in pursuit of culturally ideal attractiveness or health and longevity.

Most people can lose some weight on a diet. The problem more often is regain of the lost weight.

For me and many of my patients, the keys to longterm success are 1) restrained eating, and 2) physical activity (5 hours a week, I'm reluctant to add!).

The journal, Clinical Diabetes, last year ran an article on prevention of weight regain, listing the proven methods (about 13). It's not just for diabetics by any means. I blogged about it here:
http://advancedmediterraneandiet.com/blog/?p=87

-Steve

Posted by: SteveParkerMD | March 17, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Interesting to read in your article today that these authors talk about: "the difference between "mouth hunger" and true, stomach-empty hunger."

"Mouth hunger" is a good term for what I feel often at night. I'll eat one snack and then want a different taste in my mouth and can't get it out of my mind. I've often wished there was some kind of product that would with no calories give a little taste of salt or sweet without further stimulating the appetite or causing one to eat another food. Is there anything like that? Somehow, tasting a bit of salt is not appealing. Chips are. Or a bit of sugar on a spoon, rather than candy.You see what I mean?

Posted by: baileywick | March 17, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Wow-- thanks for all the great and insightful comments. This clearly is a big issue for folks. Baileywick, I know just what you mean; I have the same problem. After I eat something sweet, I want something salty, and vice versa. I could swing back and forth all day long!

Posted by: Jennifer LaRue Huget | March 17, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I've been dieting most of my life, sorry to say its been over 40 yrs of yo-yoing. I will not bore you with my list of diets tried.

In 2004, armed with my South Beach Diet book, I embarked on yet another weight loss journey. My journey was long and slow, 20 months to lose 114 lbs, an average of about 1.5 lbs a week. I had finally learned a way to eat that enabled me to lose weight, feel good and NOT BE HUNGRY ALL THE TIME!!! and if I did get hungry, I could have a small snack...these things made all the difference for me.

I've kept my weight off + another 10 lbs more for a total loss of 124 lbs and maintaining since December 2005. I do a lot of walking and could use more exercise but I am managing my weight just fine!!

I had to shift the way I think and feel about food...I had to learn to cook and stop eating out or ordering in all the time. I weigh regularly and weighin with others on a low carb site. I'm on top of this thing and "Refuse to Regain"!!

It is very possible!!

Posted by: judypk | March 17, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

changingfaces esp you I feel for. My sister in law is going thru a similar thing. I gained weight as a young teen and then went anorexic at 18, chub again at 22, semi-anorexic again at 25. Finally at 38 and now 50 it has evened out-only small changes, slender-ish maybe 5-10 lbs over what I would want. I think big research has yet to be done about female hormones and the weight cycles. For now I do well on chicken breast-fish-some dairy semi-Atkins but with lots of fresh veggies and salads, cut out the pasta and carbs when the love handles start to appear. But I mean this is ALL I do, along with coffee and wine, no breakfast breads, no snax -- when I exercise alot I can do some chips but not usually. Its really not a burden once you get used to snax of veggies and salsas and really good dinner dishes for breakfast lunch wnenever... Sort of like the Med diet guy above, you have to shock the body into being used to a more thin reality. best to all!

Posted by: zapfilms | March 17, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I've tried many, many diets: from liquid protein (in the '70's), to Weight Watchers, to various single-food-type diets, to the Zone. I can't even think of them all! Finally, I'm free of the tyranny of diets and obsessing over food and calories.

How did I do it? I finally learned that my willpower was not lacking, that I have plenty of discipline even if I couldn't formerly resist candy or pasta, and that my cravings were not the result of psychological problems or weakness.

My body's chemistry was unbalanced, and my blood sugar is reactive (to simple carbs like sugars and white flour). And I tend to gain a disproportionate amount of weight compared with the amount of calories I take in. Lots of people are like this.

I follow a program devised by Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons. I have balanced my body's chemistry, I have a stable & comfortable weight, and I have *no* cravings. I no longer eat sugars or refined grains, something I really believed was impossible.

You can now surround me with doughnuts, candies, cakes, breads, pasta, pizza, etc, and I want none of it. There's no more "battling" to not eat this or that, no more obsession with calories, no more preoccupation with diets. For the first time in my life I'm free of all of this. I can't tell you how much energy this has freed up for me.

Posted by: domystic8 | March 17, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more with the statement that diets don't work. But when you find a way that you can eat that is enjoyable, nutritious, and delicious and you can do it for the rest of your life to manage your weight and health, then you've found the ever-elusive key to permanent success.

In 2004, I was a 32-year old man who weighed 410 pounds, took prescription medications for breathing problems, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, wore a size 62-inch pants, 5XL shirts, and was living the all-too-common life of a morbidly obese man. But after implementing the principles of the Atkins diet into my life and making it my new way of eating for life, I never looked back at my old habits again. At the end of one year, I lost 180 pounds, came off of all my meds, took over 20 inches off my waist, dropped to an XL shirt size, and today live healthier and better than ever before in my life.

Although I'm still at this five years later, my brother Kevin died last year at the age of 41 due to heart disease brought on by morbid obesity. We've scared people long enough about what is "healthy" and what is not. The fear of fat is driving the obesity and diabetes epidemics higher than they need to be while carbohydrate restriction is helping people like me shed the weight, ward off diabetes, and stay alive! This is why I so passionately blog and do podcasts on this subject because it's too important for people to be denied the truth.

Jimmy Moore
http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com

Posted by: livinlowcarbman | March 18, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

My big problem has been eating after 11 PM (I'm a nightowl.)

Maybe it's my body at 62, but I've discovered that if I don't eat after 9 or 10 PM, I don't have much of an appetite the next day.

Nor is food on my mind. Which means I don't eat ravenously. For instance just last night, I discovered I'd eaten only about 800 calories that entire day.

For me, diet success leads to more diet success, so I figure as long as I avoid late-night noshing, I'll lose my extra 55 lbs. eventually, agony-free.

Posted by: Krisipuu | March 18, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I've tried many different diets and exercises to lose weight, but I've never been able to stop craving sweets and salty foods until now. I actually started eating this healthy chocolate, Xocia, which was recommended by my friend to help boast my immune system. I work in healthcare and was constantly sick from the beginning of cold and flu season. After 4 weeks, I lost 6 pounds without trying and for the first time in my life, I've stopped craving sweets and salty food. I also have not been sick in months (although many of my co-workers have been)! I have become passionate about this revolutionary chocolate and if you would like more information go to: http://www.ultimatechocolatevisions.com

Posted by: panick6 | March 18, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

I think one has to be very careful when you talk about "Natural" Substances. If everyone never had a health issue, then fine, take natural supplements. However if you take ANY MEDICATION, many of these "Natural" Supplements, powders, pills, shakes, vitamin filled waters, could cause an ADVERSE reaction when mixed with medications. Of course no one EVER mentions this when GMC or others (even that weird chocholate site) advertise the latest and greatest invention!

I've tried weight watchers and it worked for about a year. If you talk PORTION control, you HAVE TO MEASURE IT! If you "eye" it, then portion sizes tend to get bigger and bigger. Trouble I had when I went to a nutritionist and to weight watchers was I got sick and tired of tracking what I eat.

I agree you shouldn't diet but make a lifestyle change. I agree that maintenance is the hardest part of the process of this change. However because this change entails watching portions and such; I get sick and tired of the watching. Then everything I've done has gone to waist (pun intended)!

Posted by: CALSGR8 | March 19, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer, I think this article, and the diet book review you did as well, are definitely on the right track. I really appreciate that someone in the media is recognizing that diets don't work for most people, and even if they do, weight regain is high. More kinds of articles like these are needed to combat the growing weight-based discrimination in the US. (Perhaps what is more dangerous than any "obesity epidemic" are the growing numbers of Americans who live in fear of fat and hate those who are.)

For another book review on the topic of weight, if you're not familiar with it already, look into a book called "Fat Politics." It may help you understand your issues with weight more, and how the US in general came to be unduly obsessed with weight.

Reading the comments on this page, I'm shocked at how many extreme yo-yo dieters there are. And these are the people that say that diets work! If they work so well, then why can't the weight be kept off? My point is that many times, in the long run, it can't. Diets don't work - the majority of people are meant to be this way. That's the big point that everyone - citizens, many journalists, and government health agencies combined - seems to be missing. Whenever a public health or "anti-obesity" initiative fails, instead of admitting defeat, the anti-obesity crusaders call for more research and funding.

Rather, we need to focus on accepting larger body sizes and learning more about the health BENEFITS of maintaining a weight, especially heavier weights. Jennifer, why not run an article that examines some of the growing research that shows that "overweight" BMI people fare better than "normal" BMI people in many cases? Why not discuss the many discrepancies in the BMI classification system (and how it is not "evidence based" to begin with)?

There is a distinct lack of proof that weighing less always translates into health benefits. Where's the research that shows that bariatric surgery patients have less instance of diabetes or other chronic disease? Could it be that the same hereditary factors that influence weight, also predispose an individual to certain chronic diseases, instead of weight always *causing* disease?

Diets don't work. Our bodies are trying to tell us something. Could it be that, instead of fat being the boogeyman, that our bodies are actually healthier this way? I would like to see more discussion of how weighing more is OK from a health standpoint (which it can be), instead of assuming that we *have* to lose weight to be healthy.


Posted by: IsThatTrue | March 23, 2009 2:57 AM | Report abuse

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