False Hope

photography by Tracy Sheppard
photography by Tracy Sheppard

The Weight Loss Industry has no conscience.

They sell ‘hope’ to millions of desperate people each year.

According to Business Week, “Americans spend $40 Billion a year on weight loss products, and programs.” $40 Billion! It’s hard to wrap my brain around such figures.

The problem is, even after our hard earned cash is long gone…the weight that may have been lost, is regained. There are plenty of statistics to back this up.

Celebrities are not immune, either. They spend huge amounts of money in an effort to stay marketable. They are pressured to maintain a certain ‘look’ and take part in the latest diet fads.

According to a 2006 study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, “Most people who participate in weight-loss programs “regain about one-third of the weight lost during the next year and are typically back to baseline in three to five years.”

The problem is multi-layered. The core of it attacks at the deepest level. The Weight Loss Industry would have us to believe, WE ARE BROKEN. The message they send is, “You are broken and needed FIXED.”

Weight loss is complex, at best.  There are many contributing factors and no single solution.

Yes, we do have a serious health crisis today. Type II Diabetes is emerging in epidemic proportions. Lifestyle changes are what’s necessary to get health back on track. The answer is not the latest bar, powder, pill or fad diet. ‘Fat shaming’ is not acceptable.  There is no single food that is inherently ‘bad’ or the blame.   On the other hand, there is no single food that will fix the problem.

The only thing ‘broken’ is the weight loss industry, itself. Fad diets can’t be carried out for the long haul. They can’t be maintained for any duration. Eventually, they are dropped. Old eating habits enter back in to the picture.

Lifestyle changes are the only lasting way to better health. Adding nutrient dense foods to our meals, adding more exercise to our day, adding self-care rituals and learning that we are not ‘bad’ or broken, are all essential stepping stones to a more energetic and vibrant life.  Keeping the focus on behaviors and making choices that reflect our lifestyle rather than jumping from one ‘quick’ fix to another, is a much better solution.

 

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