The NWCR and Weight Loss Maintenance “Success”

By Orcunkoktuna (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsAfter the big news about The Biggest Loser broke recently, some weight loss specialists urged the disappointed masses to take heart, not lose faith, and keep on keepin’ on with their weight loss efforts. Why? Because long-term weight loss is possible! The proof? Aside from the completely anecdotal cases they’ve come across in their offices, they point to the 10,000 people who are part of the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR).

The NWCR has been around since 1994. To be eligible to join a person has to have lost 30 pounds and kept it off for one year. Yep – just one year. Because apparently that is the standard for “long-term” now. But I digress.

As we all know, weight loss is possible. Of course it is! Most of us have done it at least once – many of us several times. And in fact, even long-term weight loss maintenance is possible – I know because I was one of those maintainers for 16 years, and I’ve met a few more too. But saying something is possible is different from saying something is likely. It is possible I’ll win the lottery if I buy a lottery ticket…though it’s not very likely that will actually happen, given the usual odds. Should I go ahead and quit my job anyway since there is always that possibility?

And that’s what we’re talking about when we say long-term weight loss maintenance isn’t sustainable for most people. The best data we have says that most people (95% or so) regain some, all or even more weight within 3-5 years of losing the weight. Some people – around  5% of the population, again, based on all the available data – will maintain their weight loss, usually through an enormous amount of effort and vigilance. These are the people being tracked by the National Weight Control Registry.

This group of people is frequently held up as proof that long-term weight loss maintenance is possible (which we’ve already established), but somehow that gets translated to “also likely.” Here’s where we need to put on our analytical and critical thinking caps and do the math. According to the 1999 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, 78% of women and 64% of men were dieting or trying to maintain weight loss; I expect these numbers are even higher now that we seem to be reaching new heights of fat-phobia and healthism. But let’s say that there was nothing special about 1999 and that this number of dieting people is more or less the norm. In 1998 there were 61 million women (I’m just too lazy to count the men right now) between the ages of 15 and 44 – let’s assume this is our potential-dieters category (we’re missing a lot of older women but counting a few younger ones makes up for it a bit). Seventy-eight percent of this number is roughly 47 million (rounded down) females who are dieting each year. But since 1994, the NCWR could only round up 10,000 one-year-weight-maintainers? This represents 0.02% of the population of women – and not even all of them. In reality, it’s hard to derive any sort of real rate of success from this “study group” since this is not a random, representative sample of the population and there is no control group. It’s sort of like asking all the elite athletes in the country to be in this study, and we see what they do to become elite athletes, and then someone says, see, we can ALL become elite athletes just like this tiny group! Uh, no.

Another way to look at this is to estimate the number of Americans who are “overweight or obese” – approximately 60% of adults, or 147 million – and then figure that an average of 71% (78% and 64% averaged) of them are dieting or trying to maintain weight loss – that’s 104 million – so 10,000 weight-loss-maintainers comes out to about 0.01%.  Either way is of course a very rough but generous estimate. Ragen Chastain of the Dances with Fat blog came up with this even bleaker estimate.

The NWCR has been in the news for ages – it’s not some secret society. It’s so NOT secret that even I found it, bumbling around on the internet one day, in one of my chronic internet searches on “How the fuck do you stay thin when you’re this hungry?” I found it and I joined it; after all, I’d maintained my weight loss for years. Wouldn’t other maintainers find it just as easily as I did?

I answered all sorts of questionnaires on how much I ate, and of what, and what kind of exercise I did, and how did I like being skinny? They used food frequency questionnaires which are notoriously sketchy –it’s hard for even the most vigilant eater/dieter to know accurately how much broccoli she ate in the past 6 months. I had disordered eating habits that kept me thin but that didn’t likely translate well on paper – or perhaps they were just expected. Rest assured, probably like many of the other 10,000 “successes,” I was eating very little. If you want to know how many of this elite group maintains their weight loss, I wrote about that here.

Here’s what I don’t know: when I decided to quit dieting because the mental, emotional, and social qualities of my life were seriously suffering despite continuing to maintain a low weight, I don’t know how the NWCR accounted for me as my weight naturally increased. Did they drop me out of their data, and just add in a new maintainer to keep the 10,000 steady? I can’t find any information on drop-out rates or weight re-gain rates. Out of 10,000 people, there must be some other people who didn’t maintain their weight loss. As I filled out the questionnaires with my increasing weight, I started to get the feeling that my data was no longer needed. Eventually, not wanting to do anymore food counting or weight reporting, even for the sake of science, I just quit sending in my information.

(As a side note, I’ll admit, dieting actually “worked” pretty well for me, at least as far as weight maintenance goes. But it also worked to turn me into someone who had learned body dissatisfaction and distrust, who couldn’t have a good meal without guilt or fear, who grasped for societal approval at the expense of her happiness, and who had a burning, singular interest in food and not much else (in other words, a boring person). I was a “successful” weight loss maintainer, I wasn’t really happy with the life of a weight maintainer, and that’s why I finally quit. That might be a moot point to the people who research this stuff but it’s not to me.)

Studying a small group of very special people, for which there is no control group, and then saying, “Hey, everyone can do this!” is bad science. This is simply not enough proof for me to risk a weight loss attempt that is more than likely to end up in complete weight regain, or an even higher body weight that I started with, with some lasting psychological effects as a bonus. I know I can be healthy without taking that kind of risk. What do you think – is it enough proof for you?

Dietitians Unplugged plug!

Episode 8 – The Beach Body Episode is available now! Listen on iTunesLibsyn or Stitcher. Like our Facebook page to get all the latest news on our podcast and other non-diet podcasts.

HAES® and Illness

Food RxOne of my readers asked if I could talk more about how Health at Every Size® works for people managing certain medical conditions, specifically ones for which dietary changes are recommended.

There are indeed medical conditions for which changes in diet can help. Diabetes, hypertension and elevated blood lipids are the ones I work with most often in the aging population I serve in my job. Treating medical conditions and their associated symptoms with dietary intervention is called medical nutrition therapy (MNT), and all dietitians are trained to do this. I think HAES® fits well with MNT because HAES® is about supporting health, simply without a focus on changing weight. One can still aim to make diet changes that support a particular condition without having to focus on losing weight, because frankly there isn’t solid evidence to show that weight loss 1. helps to improve health long-term or reduce mortality in people with certain medical conditions (witness this recent finding  and this one too) and 2. is possible to maintain long-term (>5 years) for more than a tiny fraction of people even if it did improve health, therefore making this a temporary treatment at best that will most likely result in a higher weight in the long run.

On the other hand, some studies show that using a HAES® approach does improve health over the longer haul. In Linda Bacon’s study of a HAES® approach, non-dieters showed improvements in blood pressure and lipids at the end of the study. Dieters showed those improvements initially as well, but they lost those improvements as weight was regained, and many of the dieters (41%) dropped out of the study (while only 8% of the HAES® group dropped out), which means to me that the dieting intervention wasn’t a sustainable treatment for the long-haul.

We’ve established, then, that weight loss isn’t necessary (and might not even help) to improve health. How do you manage your medical condition nutritionally then? First, if you’re asking this question, I highly recommend you talk to a registered dietitian who can help you understand what will help and what won’t (and of course, I’d love for you to find a HAES®-minded dietitian, but that will definitely take some investigation on your part).

In my dietitian training and experience, I’ve found there are very few conditions which require heavy-duty dietary restriction. And I’ve personally found few people who can adhere to strict diets either. An internally regulated style of eating does support health, and the science says so too. Listening to your internal signals of hunger and fullness will ensure you don’t eat too much (or too little) for your body, and providing yourself with regular meals, as with the eating competence model, will ensure you eat a good variety of foods. I believe one can still manage medical conditions following an Intuitive Eating style, but if you’re having difficulty with the demand-feeding schedule, I wrote about Eating Competence last week for this very reason.

Within the framework of eating regular meals and snacks and using your body’s intuition to tell you how much and what to eat, dietary tweaks for various conditions can still be made easily. You can provide yourself consistent carbohydrate meals for diabetes (which is recommended by the ADA). You can aim for more foods lower in sodium if you have hypertension. You can aim to include one or two fruit and/or vegetable choices (that you like, that are prepared in a tasty way) at each meal which will benefit any condition. If you aren’t doing so in a restrictive way that leaves you hungry and robs you of permission to eat food you enjoy, this should work without causing too much drama. I’m of the mind that making a few changes while still feeding yourself regularly is way easier than making dietary changes while going hungry because you’re trying to suppress your weight AND manage your condition. One is self-care, the other is pure punishment.

I frankly think if you’ve made it as far as providing yourself meals that include the four food groups and you’ve tuned into your appetite and are honoring your fullness signals, you’ve already come a long way in managing a nutrition-related medical condition.

With all conditions, you still need to feed yourself regularly, you still need to feel satisfied and not deprived, you can still enjoy food with good planning, and you can still keep an eye toward nutrition without getting totally restrictive. The key, of course, is intention. Is it your secret intention with your dietary change to lose weight? If it is, you will undermine trust in your body to eat the correct amount for yourself; you will eat either too little, or foods that you don’t like, and eventually you will end up back in the restraint/disinhibition cycle.

You may also have to recognize that diet perfection is usually unattainable and unsustainable. Isabel Foxen Duke recently wrote about this problem and had this brilliant thing to say:

Are you comfortable with the possibility that you may not be able to follow your health intentions 100% of the time despite your best efforts? Because—as most binge-eaters know, but too often forget—the reality is that your food choices are not only controlled by willpower, but also by instinct— instincts that are impacted by biology, psychology, emotions, and a million other factors outside of our control. If “breaking” your decision to avoid a certain food makes you feel guilty, ashamed, or like there’s something fundamentally wrong with you because you can’t “stick to” your health choice, you may end up in “falling off the wagon” style binge-eating. (In other words, can you get down with the gray-area of self-care?)

There are a few conditions which do require steadfast restriction of some foods – Celiac’s disease and food allergies are a couple. In these cases, find suitable replacements. There are many non-gluten-containing carbohydrates that you can substitute in order to round out your meals. It’s not an easy diet, but it is manageable as long as you are feeding yourself faithfully.

If you’re still working on recognizing and getting comfortable with your hunger and fullness signals, keeping working on it. Honoring those internal eating cues is not contraindicated for any condition. If you struggle with internally regulated eating and managing diabetes, I recommend Michelle May’s Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes.

And if your doctor is recommending weight loss to help with a medical condition, I would ask what science-based evidence he/she is using to show that this a sustainable, long-term intervention that works for a majority of people, and also what interventions are recommended to “normal” weight people with the same condition.

HAES® and internally regulated eating do support health. Again, talk to a registered dietitian if you need help. Educate yourself from reliable sources: Web MD, Mayo Clinic, PubMed, CDC are some sites that will provide science-based information; crack-pots like the Food Babe and David Avocado Wolfe do not. You don’t need to diet to be as well as you can.

Dietitians Unplugged plug!

Episode 8 – The Beach Body Episode is available now! Listen on iTunes and Libsyn. Like our Facebook page to get all the latest news on our podcast and other non-diet podcasts. Our “challenge” to listeners continues to the end of May – don’t miss out on this fabulous chance to embarrass your hosts!

Becoming a Competent Eater

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Unconditional permission to eat this? Hell yeah.

Greetings lovelies! I figured it was high time I wrote about this particular topic because I’ve been seeing lots of comments here and on Facebook about people having difficulty becoming internally regulated eaters.

Intuitive Eating is fantastic and it was one of the books I read early on after quitting dieting for good. It’s one way to learn to eat normally – meaning, listening to your gut (literally) when it comes to knowing when to eat and when to stop, feeling relaxed around food, and feeling confident that you are eating exactly what is right for your body. Notice I didn’t say anything about it being a way to lose weight or a way to learn how to eat less. I just want to throw that out there – continually – so nobody is confused about what this eating normally business is all about. It is NOT about weight loss. Ever.

Anyway, as I said, intuitive eating is one of the ways to learn to eat normally – but it isn’t the only way. In my diet-ditching literary travels, I came across other philosophies, ideas, and models of normal eating. I’ll link to those at the bottom of this post, but for now I’m going to talk about my absolute favorite model, Ellyn Satter’s Eating Competence. I’ve been doing some self-study on this model and re-reading some of her books, and I am reminded that this was the model that really clicked for me. If you’ve been struggling for a while with intuitive eating, I suggest looking at this or some other models for normal eating inspiration. For now, I’ll just talk about Eating Competence.

What is the difference between Intuitive Eating (IE) and Eating Competence (EC)? The essential difference, to me, is that IE focuses on eating-on-demand; that is, figuring out when you are hungry, eating exactly then, stopping when you are satisfied, and then starting the cycle all over when you are hungry again, disregarding structured meal times in favor of listening to your internal regulation cues (there’s a bit more to it than just that, but for short form purposes, that’s the crux of it. Read the book for the full deal.).  EC also trains you to eat according to internal regulation cues, but relies on the discipline of providing yourself (and your family) rewarding meals at regular times, and the permission to eat as much as you like at each meal. Here is a more detailed explanation of the differences as written by Ellyn Satter herself. Both reject diet mentality and weight manipulation and embrace body diversity, both use internal signals of hunger and fullness to regulate eating, but one relies on meal-time structure and the other rejects it. I see both as useful models, and it just depends on what you prefer.

Personally, I love the feeling of knowing I have rewarding meals planned for myself – that feels like safety and comfort. It can be stressful to wait till I’m hungry to try to figure out what I’m hungry for AND how to get it. This works well if I’m out shopping and there’s a food court, but not at home where I have limited pantry space, or at work where I need to bring my lunch. So while demand feeding might work well for some, it just doesn’t work for me, especially if I want to have family meals every night (and I do). If you have kids, EC will be especially useful because you can all eat at the same time, and your kids will become competent eaters too.

So how does this meal structure thing work? There is definitely planning involved – but since we’re not planning to starve ourselves or trick our hunger, I view this as self-care, not external rule-following. You will provide yourself three meals (a must) and three sit-down snacks (if you need them) a day. Your appetite will eventually find the rhythm of structured meals once you are honoring it regularly. The meals must be rewarding – you don’t want to spend a lot of time coming up with meals you don’t want to eat. It’s a good idea to include foods from all of the food groups at the meals – a worthwhile guideline that ensures satiety. I suggest checking  Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family out of the library for the full deets – it’s not that long and it’s easy to read. I’ll also continue to write about Eating Competence and my suggestions of how to get there.

You will still spend time getting familiar with your internal hunger and fullness cues. There are steps outlined in Secrets that will get you there. I love step-by-step instructions for anything, so this book wins my heart not just for the structure component, but also some concrete how-to.

I can’t emphasize enough that this model hinges on unconditional permission to eat – whatever and as much as you like. Beware of impostors that try to take away that permission, with rules like “eat a vegetable before the rest of your meal,” “fill up on water so you’ll eat less” or “sit and chew your food slowly.” No “tricks,” just permission. If you find yourself making rules about how much to eat that don’t involve how much you actually want to eat, always try to come back to this statement: “I can eat as much as I want.” You don’t need to be perfect, just honest with yourself.

By the way, many dietitians know of Ellyn Satter’s pioneering work pediatric nutrition (the Division of Responsibility in feeding) so if you need professional help with this, be sure to ask your potential dietitian if she’s familiar with this work.

If you’re struggling with internally regulated eating, just know you have some options. There isn’t just one way to do this thang. I’ll never tell you one option is better than the other because it comes down to personal preference. Do some investigation and experimentation, see what works for you, and go for it. You’ll eventually hit meal-time nirvana and never look back.

Resources for learning to eat normally that I’ve read and recommend:

The Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel

Overcoming Overeating by Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter

Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle by Michelle May (there are variations on this book for diabetes and binge eating as well)

Ellyn Satter’s website is chock-full of good information, much of it from her books, if you want to learn more.

 

Dietitians Unplugged plug!

Episode 8 – The Beach Body Episode is available now! Listen on iTunes and Libsyn. Like our Facebook page to get all the latest news on our podcast and other non-diet podcasts. Our “challenge” to listeners continues to the end of May – don’t miss out on this fabulous chance to embarrass your hosts!

Am I Healthy at Any Weight?

HAES graphic Someone accused me on Facebook recently of telling people that they were healthy at any size (she also told me that I was clearly unhealthy and unfit because of my obesity, despite never once having looked at my medical records. Perhaps she’s a psychic doctor?! No, just a run-of-the-mill internet troll). Aside from attributing to me words I have never uttered, it’s also a big misconstruing of the HAES® philosophy. But it’s something I hear enough that I think it warrants some clarification from time to time. If someone has not taken the time to look into the finer details of Health at Every Size® (which are encompassed in 5, easy-to-digest points, but hey, that could read like the ACA to some people), they might easily misunderstand what this philosophy is about. They might well think that what this movement says is that a person can be healthy at literally any weight, from 2 pounds to 1000 pounds.

So let me explain. That’s not at all what HAES® is about. But first let’s review the 5 tenets of HAES® as listed on the Association for Size Diversity and Health’s (ASDAH) website:

  1. Weight Inclusivity: Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weights.
  2. Health Enhancement: Support health policies that improve and equalize access to information and services, and personal practices that improve human well-being, including attention to individual physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and other needs.
  3. Respectful Care: Acknowledge our biases, and work to end weight discrimination, weight stigma, and weight bias. Provide information and services from an understanding that socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other identities impact weight stigma, and support environments that address these inequities.
  4. Eating for Well-being: Promote flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than any externally regulated eating plan focused on weight control.
  5. Life-Enhancing Movement: Support physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose.

You’ll probably notice right off that it doesn’t say, “And BTW, you’re totally healthy at ANY size.” Nope. Nowhere is that said. The essential philosophy of Health at EVERY Size® is that no matter what your weight is right now, you can begin (or continue) your journey to health. Maybe you aren’t healthy right now – you don’t need to let your weight stop you from trying to become healthier (and just a reminder that health is not entirely within our control, nor is it an obligation). Maybe as a result of changes, your weight will change, but that’s not the important part of this whole shebang.

So the question remains – do I think anyone is healthy at any weight? Given that I don’t have access to most people’s medical records, I can’t ever tell that. It’s entirely possible that a person may not be healthy at literally any weight. What we know so far about metabolism and internal weight regulation is that the body seems to know what weight it wants to be within a certain range (set point theory), and despite our best dieting efforts, doesn’t want to be too far away from that range for very long (thus the very predictable results of the recent research on The Biggest Loser contestants). There may be a range of weights that your body could be healthy at, but I truly wouldn’t know. Only your body knows that.

But this is putting far too much emphasis on the “weight” part – because weight is not what makes someone healthy or unhealthy. We cannot simply look at a person and determine if they are healthy based on their weight. Genetics, environment, and behaviors all play a part in health. You can definitely work on the behavior part. Depending on your situation, maybe you can change your environment (this assumes a certain amount of economic privilege, certainly). Genetics – good luck, that’s always a roll of the dice. so yes, we can definitely influence our health to some degree. What more and more is shown in the science, though, is that while you may be able to influence your weight short-term, in the long-term, your body almost always wins out on that decision. What’s that serenity prayer? “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Yeah, that works pretty well here. Serenity now.

No, I can’t tell you if you will be healthy at any size. I defer to your body’s wisdom on determining those things for you. I only know that weight does not equal health. My suggestion is to stop worrying about weight and just work on the things you can and want to change. Maybe you want to eat more intuitively, or find exercise you actually like, or learn to cope with stress better, or get some much needed social or psychological support. The wonderful thing about HAES® is that it is all-inclusive – people of every size can work on those things to the best of their ability and according to their own desire.

 

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Shameless Plugs for Other People

This is something new I’m doing. From time to time I’m going to promote someone who’s work I love and think is important to the HAES® movement, because we just need more of that. This week I want to give a shout-out to Green Mountain at Fox Run for their wonderful new website! They have a great blog – check it out and share as you see fit!

 

 

 

Dietitians Unplugged Podcast – Episode 8: The Beach Body Episode

Cover2Aaron & I explore the “Beach Body” message and body image issues so many of us struggle with.  We share some of our own experiences with accepting our bodies and why we advocate for “body neutrality” rather than just “body positivity”.  Lastly, they issue very special challenge that involves embarrassing-yet-hilarious consequences for your hosts…will you be up for it?

 

You can also listen on iTunes and Libsyn! Like our Facebook page to get all the latest news on our podcast and other non-diet podcasts! And if you like our podcast, please give us a rating and review on iTunes – this will help more people find us!

 

 

Food: The New Morality

sheep and goat
More silly good and b-a-a-a-a-a-d: sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell. (bonus points if you guess the reference)
It would be just my luck that around the time that I finally gave up dieting and starting eating like a “normal” person (i.e., not feeling crazy around food, actually eating when I was hungry, not binge-eating), that the rest of the world would peak (let’s hope this is the peak) with disordered eating, including the classic “good food/bad food” dichotomy.

Years ago, when I first “changed my eating habits” (went on a diet), I kept it quiet. It was my secret fat shame that I felt I had to go on a diet (and this was back in the halcyon days where people didn’t feel quite so entitled to concern-troll fat people for their health. Ah, nostalgia!). So I told no one. I just stealthily lost weight and when people started to notice months later, I confessed I’d gone to Weight Watchers. None of this was for my health – I was 22! I was healthy just by virtue of being young! – it was just so I could fit in with the cool kids at last, and I didn’t feel morally superior for eating in a way that changed my body. If anything, I was amazed that I could still eat Nanaimo bars (look ‘em up) and regular cheese and mostly whatever else I wanted, maybe just not as much as I wanted. I kind of felt like I’d gotten one over on the whole damn system.

At least at first. When, as often happens with weight-centered interventions, I became dissatisfied with my smaller weight and body size, and at the same time my weight became harder to maintain, I decided to get even more restrictive. But to eat this way simply for weight loss or maintenance was not nearly enough motivation; I needed to feel virtuous, like an ascetic, to be able to tolerate such an extreme level of restriction. I ate “good” foods and shunned “bad” foods (unless I was off on a binge after caving into immense hunger) in the name of “health.” I would look at other people’s meals in restaurants, or what they were buying in the grocery store and sniff, mentally patting myself on the back for being so “healthy.”

I’m not proud of this behavior now. I was playing moral one-upmanship so I could feel better about going without. It didn’t really work (thus, binges).

Flash-forward to my totally normal eating habits now, in which I don’t overeat with any regularity (overeating accidentally is normal sometimes), and I don’t underfeed myself either (sometimes that happens by accident too). I don’t think about food all day long, I don’t plan my meals with extreme anxiety (rather, I plan my meals with joy in my heart and anticipation for the week to come!), I don’t simultaneously lust for and fear restaurant meals. I’m in eating nirvana, I tells ya! But having always been at least a step or two off from the rest of society, now I’m the normal eater and everyone else is the dieter!

It seems food, nowadays, is only seen in two ways: good (which is “healthy”) or bad (which tastes good). And if you are eating good foods, you are good. Likewise, if you are eating the bad foods, you are very b-a-a-a-a-a-d. Much like the assignment of feminine or masculine to words in the romance languages, in English we assign good or bad to all foods. The woman I overheard talk about forgetting her salad dressing said, “That’s okay, I have my homemade salsa – it’s healthier than my salad dressing. Salad dressing is bad.” When I asked how salad dressing was bad, she said it was because of the cholesterol (unless her salad dressing contained eggs, it likely didn’t contain much cholesterol, and that’s not even that important anymore anyway).  Her homemade salsa didn’t have any fat or salt. Midway through her meal I heard her grown, “Ech, needs salt,” but even if she didn’t like her meal, at least she could feel good about her virtuous food choice!

I usually try to include some vegetables I like as a part of my lunch and someone will inevitably say, “Oh, you’re SO good.” (They will say the same thing if I take a walk after lunch, something I enjoy very much. For more about how I hate people “healthing” all over my exercise, take a listen here.)

At an office breakfast in which bagels, cream cheese, angel food cake and fruit were kindly provided, the person carving up the cake said, “It’s very light angel food cake so no one has to feel bad about eating it.” I couldn’t help but ask, “Are there foods that we should be feeling bad about?” I’m sure in everyone’s minds, there are! But what a shame.

Food choices don’t make someone a good or bad person, and assigning morality to foods based on their caloric content or macro- or micronutrient profile has only helped people to become more disordered in their eating, but not thinner or healthier (because those two things are not the same) as far the news reports.

So the next time someone tells me I am “good” for eating something they think is calorically virtuous, I’m going to tell them about my friend who was laid off from her job and then went on vacation…to help people get dental and medical care in Guatemala. Now THAT’S GOOD (and all her friends say so!). Eating quinoa instead of wheat or kale instead of candy does not make us good and it doesn’t help us to be good eaters either. Nope, it just doesn’t.

For a dose of hilarity on this subject, check out how Amy Schumer nails this BS:

 

Dietitians Unplugged Podcast Episode 7 now available!

Listen on iTunes and Libsyn!

Like our Facebook page to get all the latest news on our podcast and other non-diet podcasts. And if you like our podcast, please give us a rating and review on iTunes – this will help more people find us!