News Ticker

Fitness: expectations vs. reality

by Simone Bates, staff writer

The idea that health is determined by our weight, the “good” or “bad” choices we make with nutrition/diet, our “discipline at the gym”, is simply an idea. It is not the only truth, and quite frankly, it is far from the truth.

First, our health is NOT directly correlated with our weight. In fact, proof that weight loss prolongs life is nonexistent. AND, attempts at dieting usually don’t result in maintained weight loss, but instead result in weight cycling/fluctuation.

Linda Bacon, PhD. the founder of Health at Every Size, a book as well as community of doctors and people, wrote about in the HAES book, “Weight fluctuation is strongly associated with increased risk for diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases, independent of body weight.”

Also, to address the scale on which our doctors measure the “acceptability” of our weight, the BMI scale, was never intended for individual use–in fact the creator, Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet, specifically said that the scale should never be used to measure “the levels of fatness in an individual” ( you can read all the other reasons the BMI scale is nonsensical on NPR “Top 10 Reasons Why the BMI is Bogus”).

Another important thing to consider is that no food is inherently “bad” or “good”; these are labels that we, as humans, tend to assign, and values we associate with them. Seemingly in the name of “health” reasons, eating something “bad” has  become “I am bad for eating that something”– an obvious flaw that does not foster a healthy mental or emotional space.

It is important that we move. It is also important that we find fun and exciting ways to move. When we restrict ourselves to a vigorous exercise routine, we really only add stress and the potential to seriously injure ourselves.

“Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise.” Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch wrote in their book Intuitive Eating.

So just like dieting and exercise regimes are one way of looking at health, HAES, Intuitive Eating, and body positive networks are another way of looking at health. One is a lot more wholistic than the other, and without a doubt, more enjoyable as well.