Weight Loss Myths
Making healthy choices is difficult when we're continually bombarded by advertisements for processed foods or shamed on social media—and it turns out, those extra pounds aren't entirely our fault. Eleazar Kadile, MD, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine, says poor attitudes and lack of understanding contribute significantly to the national healthcare crisis—and she debunks these four myths about being overweight.
“It’s your fault.” Obesity is caused by complex imbalances within a person's body and his or her environment. Some imbalances are exacerbated by poor dietary choices based on bad dietary information, personal history, and psychological patterns. Together, the physiological, psychological, social, and environmental causes of the disease of obesity create a predicament that obese people are drawn into and unable to get out of.
“You just need the right diet.” There's no shortage of diets promising amazing results, but what and how one eats is just one part of an excessive body mass index level. Other important factors include good information regarding one's health, sustained motivation to change, continuous learning, vigilance, and an ability to be extremely honest.
“Food is not your friend; exercise is.” Eat less; exercise more; lose weight—those have been the commandments in the religion of weight loss. But more than being a source of pleasure, comfort, and survival, food is medicine. Sometimes you need to eat fat—the right kind—in order to burn fat. You can't impose cookie-cutter solutions to this complex problem and expect them to work.
“You need to ‘just do it’—lose weight.” This attitude is not based in reality; it's an over-simplistic response to a frustrating problem. You need to prepare to lose weight. Eating, sleeping, and activity patterns, as well as medical conditions, emotional patterns, and stress histories, are all important things to discuss with your doc to determine an effective and safe strategy to approach weight loss.