You might not know it, but this week has been officially named “Healthy Weight Week.” As a dietitian in Cambridge who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders and works predominantly with women who struggle with their weight and body image issues, I’m pretty sensitive to the topic of weight.
It’s been my experience that pre-occupation with weight and body size is extremely unhealthy and incredibly unproductive. I’ve worked with clinically obese/morbidly obese clients who agonize over their excess pounds and fear the implications it has for their health.
On the flip side, I’ve worked with plenty of women who appear to have very normal/healthy body weights but also obsess over their desire to be thinner. This results in hours spent at the gym accompanied with guilt about they did/did not eat the day before.
Or more commonly for many of my nutrition clients, their weight and body obsession leads to eating which becomes disordered to the point of starvation, binging, purging, laxative abuse, etc.
It saddens me to see the number of women who waste their precious time thinking, agonizing, and lamenting over their bodies and what they put into them. So naturally, I have mixed feelings about an entire week focused on that very topic.
However, when I found the website for the Healthy Weight Network I was thrilled to find out what they intend “Healthy Weight Week” to be about:
The 17th annual H ealthy Weight Week is a time to celebrate healthy living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems, rather than intensifying them, as diets do.
Traditionally many Americans begin a diet the first week in January and “blow” it the second week. Healthy Weight Week, the third week, is a time to stop dieting for good and help people normalize their lives. It’s a welcome antedote to the dieting and bingeing that typically begin the New Year! Healthy Weight Week promotes healthy nondiet lifestyles for children and adults of every size. It helps them move ahead to healthy habits they can live with long term – sound, reasonable habits that allow them to live well and get on with their lives. Eat well, live actively, and feel good about yourself and others.
It’s my philosophy that your “healthy weight” is:
Partially determined by your genetics
A range of a few pounds that may vary depending on the time of month
Where your body goes naturally when you are eating when hungry, stopping when satisfied, and usually a result of physical rather than emotional or social hunger
Is supported by a moderate exercise program
It’s also my philosophy that your “heathy weight” is NOT:
Determined by a scale, jeans size, or weight chart
Attained by calorie counting, low cal diets, and excessive exercise
Necessarily what you weighed when you graduated high school 🙂
So let’s celebrate what it really means to find a healthy weight- treating your body with respect, feeding yourself appropriately, enjoying the movement of exercise, and trusting that your body will find it’s natural healthy place.
If you are interested in learning more about this approach, here are a few books I HIGHLY recommend: