Recently the USDA (yes, those denizens of extreme dieting, see a post on this healthy blog about the "new pyramid") have now seen fit to endorse the idea of living well for "obese Americans." While I could pick on their lack of concern and compassion for "non-obese Americans," this is a major turning point in the thought process from a government that has been intent on convincing us to fear fatness, while at the same time promoting the remedy that has caused the problem – calorie restriction and tedious exercise solely for weight loss (which never happens).
The reason for this mental one-eighty? Two groups were monitored for 2 years – one group given the typical diet-oriented agenda (eat less and exercise more) versus the second group that was schooled and supported in the Every Size paradigm (learning body acceptance, finding a form of exercise that was pleasant, and practicing intuitive eating).
The diet group lost weight fairly rapidly for the first 6 months, then re-gained. They did not lower their lipid profile or blood pressure significantly at any point in the two years. The "Every Size" group had made and retained significant progress in reducing their blood pressure and lipid profile.
At the 2-year point, Every Size team members had nearly quadrupled the amount of time they spent in moderate, hard, or very hard physical activity, compared to what they had reported at the study’s outset.
The dieters didn’t fare as well. At the 1-year point, they were exercising more than at the start, but they didn’t sustain their improved level to the 2-year checkpoint.
Worst, at the 2-year point, volunteers answered questions about how helpful the program was to them. When asked whether they’d continued to implement some of the tools they’d learned, 89 percent of the Every Size women answered regularly or often. Only 11 percent of the dieters did so.
Focusing on health and on changing behavior, instead of on weight loss, apparently acted as "keys to the successes of the Every Size team," Marta D. Van Loan, one of the scientists who ran the study, points out.
For many people, weight-loss diets simply don’t work," says Van Loan. The Health at Every Size strategy may break the cycle of unsuccessful dieting and open the door to happier, healthier lives.