August 1, 2019

Moving away from weight loss goals

Moving away from weight loss goals doesn’t have to mean “giving up on health”. It CAN mean focussing on health promoting behaviours, which improve health independent of any changes to weight.

What if the opposite of “trying to lose weight” was “going for a walk most days, expanding my recipe repertoire and spending more time with friends”? It could be! (Of course, substitute for health promoting activities of your choice, if health improvement is something you’d like to work on)

Health and fitness professionals owe it to the people we work with to acknowledge and communicate that the research is clear that most people who attempt to lose weight, regardless of method, will gain it back*, as well as the risks of trying (including eating disorders) – but also to acknowledge and communicate that the research suggests that regardless of weight, people can improve their health by engaging in health promoting BEHAVIOURS, including being physically active, enjoying a varied diet, allowing adequate time for sleep, fostering strong social connections etc.

*Level A evidence: “Weight loss following lifestyle intervention is maximal at 6-12 months. Regardless of the degree of initial weight loss, most weight is regained within a 2-year period and by 5 years the majority of people are at their pre-intervention body weight”

Department of Health and Ageing, National Health and Medical Research Council, Clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in adults, adolescents and children in Australia, Melbourne 2013, p161
(With thanks to @healthnotdiets)