Mainstream health science has let you down.
Weight loss is not the key to health, diet and exercise are not effective weight-loss strategies and fatness is not a death sentence.
You’ve heard it before: there’s a global health crisis, and, unless we make some changes, we’re in trouble. That much is true—but the epidemic is NOT obesity. The real crisis lies in the toxic stigma placed on certain bodies and the impact of living with inequality—not the numbers on a scale. In a mad dash to shrink our bodies, many of us get so caught up in searching for the perfect diet, exercise program, or surgical technique that we lose sight of our original goal: improved health and well-being. Popular methods for weight loss don’t get us there and lead many people to feel like failures when they can’t match unattainable body standards. It’s time for a cease-fire in the war against obesity.
Dr. Linda Bacon and Dr. Lucy Aphramor’s Body Respect debunks common myths about weight, including the misconceptions that BMI can accurately measure health, that fatness necessarily leads to disease, and that dieting will improve health. They also help make sense of how poverty and oppression—such as racism, homophobia, and classism—affect life opportunity, self-worth, and even influence metabolism.
Body insecurity is rampant, and it doesn’t have to be. It’s time to overcome our culture’s shame and distress about weight, to get real about inequalities and health, and to show every body respect.
Bacon (Health at Every Size) and dietician Aphramor team up to "champion a paradigm shift from weight to respect" in this passionately argued book. According to the authors, American culture promotes "anti-fat myths that keep people at war with their own bodies" and on perpetual (and ultimately unsuccessful) diet roller coasters. The eye-opening first chapter contends that a number of commonly accepted beliefs are misconceptions, including that being fat is synonymous with poor health. Fatness, Bacon and Aphramor go on to claim, does not lead to decreased longevity, nor is BMI an accurate measure of health. Moreover, the preoccupation with weight has harmful consequences such as self-hatred, eating disorders, and weight discrimination. The authors thus promote an approach to weight that is mindful and kind, emphasizing self-care and social justice (socioeconomic status and job satisfaction are more indicative of longevity than weight, they maintain). While some readers may be initially skeptical, this examination of dieting myths and facts is well reasoned and well documented. Those willing to keep an open mind (and throw away their scale) will no doubt find it a thought-provoking read.