Why the “health” argument for dieting is kind of a moot point

Broken Plate“Health,” in the various ways that it’s defined, is the most frequent objection I come across to the suggestion that women should probably give up dieting for weight loss. 

Despite the fact that many of these reasons are questionable in their own right, since correlation with weight does NOT imply causation by weight in illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, etc. (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about I beg you to read this),

the grander and more critical problem with the “health” argument, is that “needing to lose weight for health reasons” doesn’t magically make diets work— 

diets almost always fail long-term irrespective of your reasons for going on one. 

And they don’t only fail…there’s strong evidence to suggest that dieting or other forcible attempts at weight control will worsen weight-related health conditions over time, since trying to lose weight is the number one predictor of weight gain in individuals over a three year period or more (…ya know, because of the binge-eating, emotional eating, and metabolic damage associated with restriction over time).

Given this stark reality, you may want to consider Plan B. 

That is, you may want to consider pursuing health-promoting behaviors (like physical therapy, conscious nutrition, intuitive eating, etc.), without the expectation of weight loss, which so often dooms us to fail—not only because it may be metabolically unrealistic for some, but because the anxiety, mental anguish and behaviors associated with this expectation aren’t making anyone any healthier, or thinner, long-term

Even if your goal IS to be as thin as possible for your body-type in the long run, you’re probably better off focusing on developing healthy habits (both physical and mental) without weight-specific expectationsand allowing your body to arrive at whatever weight is natural to it under those conditions.  

In other words, it’s time to cut your losses on the physical lottery that is dieting,

and start focusing on truly self-caring behaviors (like healing your relationship with food, moving your body with joy, providing your body with adequate nutrition, etc.) without judging the worthiness of those behaviors by the number on the scale. 

After all…eating vegetables is still good for you even if you don’t lose a pound.

(And to learn more about finding your “natural weight,” read this).