I typed up this brief rant after having thought about for a few days. It’s not the most eloquent of posts, just some thoughts I’d like to get out there!
As a student of nutrition and future RD, I do my best to be in the know with hot topics that are developing in the field. I read journal articles, magazine clips, and position papers in order to stay up to date. Normally, I learn a lot of fascinating information. Not always applicable information, but typically it’s at least enlightening.
Sometimes, however, I read a headline and just makes me angry. Now, it’s probably no surprise to you, but Health at Every Size has not caught on with the majority of the profession (much less the rest of the medical world), so many times these headlines center around weight loss. One particular headline really set me off recently-
Now tell me, what do you think people imply from this headline? Is the article suggesting divorce as a viable weight loss solution, since you know, there are some people who would literally try anything to shed the pounds. Probably not, but it sure seems to be shining a desirable light on a negative experience.
And what about these women who “shrink” following divorce? My guess is that a lot of the weight loss that comes after divorce is associated with mental health. Perhaps a woman loses her appetite and struggles to eat following a rocky divorce, leading to unintentional weight loss (a risk factor for malnutrition). Or maybe a woman leaves an emotionally abusive relationship where she was not able to tend to her own needs and now she is able to do things to make herself happy like exercise?
The weight loss in these situations would not be because of positive reasons, but due to an emotional hardship. The study itself even mentions that a possible reason for weight loss in some divorced women is the return to smoking. We all know that smoking is not a recommended method of weight loss…
Another headline that made me a little angry-
Yes, please, let’s make mothers even more insecure about their weight “problems.”. The article suggests that weight gain is associated with “inconspicuous lifestyle changes.” Well, of course! When a mother has a child, she takes on countless responsibilities that often mean having to eat for convenience or miss a workout. It’s not a surprise to anyone that having children often means spending less time on yourself, leading to possible body changes. It’s perfectly normal- and kudos to mothers who pour themselves out for their children.
I’m sure my reaction to these articles seems a little over dramatic to some of you guys. My point of contention/annoyance is putting weight loss or weight gain in the center of health as if it reflects how healthy some one is. I know plenty of people who weight gain meant a greater sense of being (I’m one of them) and I know plenty of people who weight loss reflected negative circumstances in their life.
Weight is not the measure of good health, despite what health headlines would like to imply.