From Deb Burgard comes this amazing post on weight cycling:
Why do we call it the “weight loss industry” when what we really get for our time, sacrifice, and money is weight cycling? 19 times out of 20, what we are really purchasing is the experience of weight loss and regain.
Imagine if we called it the “weight cycling industry,” and “weight cycling programs.” Would you participate in Weight Cyclers at work? Buy food from NutriCycle? Hire a trainer from the Biggest Weight Cycler? [...]
Because that is what we are doing, folks. Better face the facts: Of 100 people trying to lose weight, the vast majority of people will regain weight. Some significant group – perhaps a third – will gain more weight than they lost. Some tiny number (7? 5? 3?) will maintain their weight loss, and of that group, some number from 0-4 of them will be flirting with, developing, or fortifying an eating disorder.
People ask me why I don’t diet anymore. I don’t lose weight “for good” — my weight goes down in the short term and up in the long term, ending up weighing more than when I started. So yeah, “weight cycling” is more descriptive than “weight loss”.
And yet, people ask, “what about health“? As Deb points out in the same post:
It is the practices that people adopt in the pursuit of weight loss that are the problem, because for the 95 out of 100 people who regain weight during a diet, when the practices are not sustainable they lead to more physical and psychological illness.
The Health at Every Size® model is weight neutral. People using this approach are not pro- or anti-weight loss, but they are mindful that the pursuit of weight loss is usually harmful, unlike the cultivation of sustainable practices that feel life-affirming and support your health. In keeping with the “truth in advertising” theme, the Health at Every Size model does not insist that everyone is healthy at every size, or that anyone anytime is necessarily the size that optimizes their health. “Health” in this context means that whatever size you are, there are practices that will support your health.
As I’ve written before, I don’t consider myself perfectly fit. But I refuse to frame exercise or healthy eating or getting enough sleep as “something I’m doing for weight loss”. What matters is the effect is has on me. Getting enough sleep makes me feel good. Lifting weights makes me feel strong. Walking increases my endurance. That’s why I’m doing it.