Fitness · Nutrition

Weight Control: The Art of the Possible

You have probably seen magazines with articles about dangerously thin stars and models. The same magazines that call out stars for their anorexic-like bodies sometimes have photo shoots a few pages later highlighting others’ weight gain or cellulite, or other physical flaws.

“To the Bone,” the new Netflix film about Anorexia reviewed by Alexandra MacAaron illustrated the painful and
dangerous path of this disease on people in an inpatient treatment center. The film did an especially good job showing that while victims may think that weight control is their goal, it is really emotional control that they are trying to achieve. Ultimately, their dieting is a symptom of painful feelings that are being avoided.

Certainly not everyone uses dieting in the way that people with eating disorders do, and not all diets are dangerous. But given the risks involved, the discouraging news about the efficacy of diets, and the general epidemic of body image problems, is it responsible to advocate weight loss? Is healthy weight control even possible?

Last week I wrote about the new research attempting to understand why weight loss is so difficult for so many people. Not only is it hard, but it seems that the more weight you have to lose, the less likely you will be to keep it off. Scientists have discovered that a great number of people develop what is called “metabolic syndrome.” In essence, this means that having consumed too many of the wrong kind of calories (especially simple carbohydrate that are metabolized into sugars), the body develops insulin resistance. This causes us to want to eat more of the wrong kinds of foods, thus making the problem worse. We crave carbohydrates in a similar way an alcoholic craves liquor. And as with alcoholics, the longer the problem goes untreated, the harder it becomes to overcome the addiction.

Obesity is a health problem. For many, the consequences of obesity are alarming: diabetes, coronary artery disease with heart attack or many other serious health problems. Even if you are not concerned with how you look, the health consequences of being overweight are reason enough to lose weight.

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