In a national NBC news story on September 19th, reporters continued to explore dieting and the brain. More succinctly, why diets don’t work. In UnWeighted Nation, Dr. Jenny and Jason Conviser thoroughly explain why weight-loss is the burdensome focus of most health improvement plans. In contrast, the UnWeighted model allows health-related decisions to be considered along a continuum. The model embraces self-care; focuses more on the process; focuses less on the outcome; develops greater internal control; and fosters emotional awareness, among other critical factors that sustain behavioral and medical changes. By escaping the yo-yo dieting approach, previously shown to increase overall weight with time as described in this news story, the UnWeighted approach helps individuals navigate a more successful path to better health and more satisfying life.
A local Chicago school district, Evanston Township, made national headlines in September for their body-positive dress code changes.
The new changes were based on an Oregon chapter of the National Association of Woman.
As the Today Show described it,
“The school emphasized that its new dress code "is written in a manner that does not reinforce stereotypes and does not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income or body type/size.
Staff members are now being trained to use body-positive language in explaining the code. Also, "shaming" by staff members — defined as measuring straps or skirt lengths, or accusing students of "distracting" others with their clothing — is also prohibited.”
The UnWeighted model applauds Evanston Township for their awareness and progressive notions of what “should and “should not.” Shaming does not promote positive change, quite the opposite, and often with potentially dangerous consequences.
On Sunday, August 2nd, the New York Times' Sunday Magazine published a refreshingly honest story on the weight loss and dieting industry written by a Times’ reporter, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, who reveals her own personal struggles with dieting and body image. Brodesser-Akner visits Weight Watchers Corporate headquarters and speaks with leadership on their shift with “weight loss” to “wellness” yet this shift in language is a guise for what it always was: dieting.
In the article she discusses scientific findings that may frustrate some and also may cause some relief from their battles with unsuccessful and unrealistic weight loss goals:
“The change had been spurred not just by dieting fatigue but also by real questions about dieting’s long-term efficacy. In Weight Watchers’ own research, the average weight loss in any behavior-modification program is about a 5 percent reduction of body weight after six months, with a return of a third of the weight lost at two years. There were studies that appeared to indicate that the cycle of weight loss and weight gain could cause long-term damage to the metabolism. Those studies led to more studies, which suggested that once your body reaches a certain weight, it is nearly impossible to exist at a much lower weight for an extended period of time.”
Dr. Convisers thoroughly explore this not often known fact of dieting in UnWeighted Nation. Furthermore, the book describes that the “patterns of weight cycling with repeated patterns of gains and losses, are associated with an emotional and chemical rollercoaster that can impair the best efforts to maintain a healthy and stable weight.”
The proposed UnWeighted model is not a steel-framed approach; it is fluid. Different people at different times in their lives have different preferences and interests. Each will have different goals and a unique path in reaching their goals. The UnWeighted model is not a one-size-fits-all fix. Even more importantly, it is not a “fix.” In reality, the UnWeighted model is finding a healthier and more simple process.