You want so much to lose weight. But it seems like nothing you’ve done has worked. In fact maybe like me, you’ve even gained weight over the years. Want to know how to win the war against fat? I’ve learned that the solution is to stop fighting. Crazy sounding. I know.
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight on a diet, that very bold statement may come as very welcome news to you. It may also make you feel like giving up hope. The truth is the power is in your body. The $66.3M diet organization doesn’t want you to know this, but your body has it’s own natural ability to control your weight. And worst of all, dieting is part of the problem because it works against our bodies’ natural biology by continually elevating our weight set point. So jump for joy because if you want to learn how to make peace with food and friends with your body, get healthier and be happier, you never have to endure the tortures of dieting and restriction again.
My Lovin’ the Skin You’re In Radio Show interview with “Health At Every Size” author Dr. Linda Bacon
Back in 2013, I interviewed Health At Every Size author and scientist, Linda Bacon, Ph.D. Dr. Bacon was on my Lovin’ the Skin You’re In radio show and we discussed her Health At Every Size movement and her book of the same name. She is an internationally recognized authority on weight and health. A nutrition professor and researcher for almost two decades Dr. Bacon has taught courses in social justice, health, weight and nutrition; she has also conducted federally funded studies on health and weight and published in top scientific journals. Her research has been supported by grants from the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health. In 2014 Dr. Bacon teamed up with Lucy Aphramor, Ph.D, RD, and they co-authored the book, “Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, or Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight. Both books are credited with transforming the weight discourse and inspiring a hopeful new course for the global body positivity movement..” The Health At Every Size” philosophy is the cornerstone and foundation for the book, “Body Respect.” In future blog posts, I’ll share more from Linda and Lucy on their book, Body Respect.
New York Times: “In the long run, the “Health At Every Size” approach works better than dieting.”
It all started with Linda’s book, “Health At Every Size.” The New York Times praised the book saying, in the long run, the “Health At Every Size” approach works better than dieting.” Pretty cool. Huh? Ok, now that I’ve got your attention, let’s begin at the beginning with the basics of Linda’s work so you can get clued in to learn more about the Health At Every Size movement. Here are a few of the highlights from my radio show interview with Linda in our discussion of “Health At Every Size.” If you prefer to listen to the entire interview, click on the audio link at the end of this blog post.
Looking for a solution
After struggling for years with yo-yo dieting and feeling terrible about her weight and eating, Linda sought the answers by turning to science. After three graduate degrees she learned that the messages that we get in our culture around why we weigh what we do and what we’re supposed to do to get healthier bodies, just aren’t grounded in science and they often backfire.
No More Dieting
When she made the bold decision to give up on all the old dietary rules and stop watching her weight in an effort to get thinner, her issues around food and her body changed.
Giving herself permission to eat the foods she loved when she wanted to eat them, she began to notice distinctions in how different foods made her body feel.
Slow Down and Listen to Your Body
In talking about her former relationship with chocolate she says,
“When I had that sense that chocolate was bad and that it had too many calories, and it was going to make me fat, then I couldn’t ever hear the message of chocolate. When I was going to eat it, I would just be consumed with guilt and when I let go of all of these ideas about food and instead just
paid attention to what the food could teach me, it was amazing to see that the food could actually talk.
When I ate chocolate, I learned to eat slowly and to be mindful about it and to notice it in my mouth as it was dissolving and all the wonderful sensations and how great it tasted, I started to do that and my body was giving me these sensations where I noticed that it tasted amazing right away, but after a few bites there was a little bit of a calming down and the chocolate didn’t taste as fantastic anymore.” She explained the reason for this was a shift that occurs in our taste buds making food less appetizing after our calorie needs have been met.
By making the choice to ignore the old diet rules, focusing on paying attention to your body’s inner wisdom and becoming aware of your level of biological hunger, you will get more comfortable eating less. Knowing that food is not restricted, you can always go back and eat that same food again when you get hungry. The goal is to enjoy the food at the height of its deliciousness and to avoid the tendency to settle for anything less.
How to Regulate Your Blood Sugar
With her Ph.D in the science of Physiology, Linda discovered that the amount of food you eat has a direct result on your blood sugar. She says, “If you eat smaller amounts, it supports a much healthier blood sugar. If you binge on chocolate, your body would have to release a lot of insulin to help all the sugar get into the cells and over time that can cause damage.
If you eat just a few bites of something, then you just release a smaller amount of insulin, and the insulin can get into the cells and help to nourish you in a healthy, positive way. And then if you go back to eating the sugar half an hour later, you’ll just trigger a small response so this means that you can eat the same amount of chocolate, but if you eat it more slowly, your body supports you in healthy blood sugar regulation and that same amount of sugar is not going to be damaging to you.”
Here are some of Dr. Bacon’s tips to make the (Health at Every Size) HAES approach work for you:
It’s a process: Understand that this new mindset will take time to adopt. Be patient with yourself and avoid being judgmental. Take on the role of being a curious observer.
Commit to being mindful: Eat the foods you want and put the focus on how you feel after eating. Expect that there will be a period of time when you will overeat. Those episodes will become fewer as you gain trust in your body’s ability to signal you to stop eating when you’re no longer physically hungry. Keep in mind that you can always go back and eat again when you’re hungry.
Eat a variety of foods: Rather than focusing on avoiding certain foods or food groups, put a new emphasis on adding foods, especially those that are fresh and come from nature. Don’t like fruit and veggies? It may be because you haven’t really tried them fresh off the vine. Produce purchased at the supermarket is often tasteless and bland.
Shop for a higher quality: Buy fresh from the farm or a farmers’ market. Be adventurous, experiment and try new recipes. Linda and her son like
to roast carrots in maple syrup or toss them in a mustard vinaigrette. Try out
your favorite sauce on veggies to add a whole new dimension. When you enjoy what you’re eating, you can absorb more nutrients from that food.
Be loving and respectful with your body: First have compassion for
yourself. You’ve been getting messages for so long that your weight makes you unattractive. It’s not true.
The answer is to recognize that this is not fair or respectful so it’s up to you to give yourself new messages about your body. Find ways to see your body in a more empowered light.
If you feel bad about your body, it’s going to be hard to nourish it and want to take care of it. To break that sense of shame and frustration, pay attention to how you feel. Honor your emotions. Ask for what you need. Notice if you really want another piece of chocolate or if you’re looking for a hug.
Be grateful: Pay attention to all the ways that your body serves and
supports you. Be thankful for the body you have and for what you’re able to do.
Beat the Heat: To release the feelings of being pressured to lose
weight, identify why you want to be thinner. Now ask yourself, “How can I get this right now?”
Seek out role models: Find people whose bodies are similar in size and shape to yours and learn what they do to feel good about themselves.
Spend time with others who are comfortable with their bodies. Focus on being happier and more fulfilled in your life and stop looking at weight loss as a goal.
Become your own authority: Educate yourself and learn more about
nutrition and how different foods affect you. Experiment and try things out and be curious.
Move more: Find ways of being more physically active that you enjoy.
Choose a size-friendly doctor: Recognize that most doctors are weight biased because they have not been properly educated in weight control. Take charge of your health by making a conscious decision about your physician.
Above all, know that your body and your happiness is your responsibility.
To expand your thinking and open yourself up to new possibilities, you can check out the free Health At Every Size Community Resource site at http://www.haes.org for more information. There you can get connected with other people who are also on Health at Every Size journeys and you can learn about the bloggers, doctors, therapists, dieticians, nutritionists, and various other providers that support the Health at Every Size journey.
For more information on Linda and to buy her book, “Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight,” visit her site at http://www.lindabacon.org
And as promised, here is the complete show for you to enjoy. Click below to download:
Linda Bacon, Ph.D Talks HAES with Andrea Amador