Weight Loss Needs to be an INFORMED DECISION: The cigarette analogy.

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health. 

The Tobacco Industry is held very accountable to ensure that people are well informed about the dangers of smoking. The majority of the surface area of any cigarette box is covered with health warnings and graphic images of what can happen to people who smoke.   Nobody who smokes claims that they are doing it for health reasons. 

Yet, many people still choose to smoke!  There are many reasons from just thinking it’s cool to wanting something to help them relax. People who choose to smoke are fully aware of the health risks and choose to live with it. And that’s fine!  People are allowed to make decisions for themselves. 

The Diet Industry is not held accountable for publicizing the harmful effects of their products/programs.  

Studies have consistently shown that focussing on your body shape/size and trying to change it using basically any method (dietary changes, exercise programs, supplements, surgery, etc.) is detrimental for health. It increases the chances of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancers, etc. (*Studies also show that weight alone doesn’t increase these chances- it’s likely that any correlation between weight and bad health is due to the increased chances of fat people experiencing weight stigma and repeated dieting.)

I will never shame someone for choosing to go on a diet. This page is not here to try to make someone feel bad for pursuing weight loss. 

However, I WILL and DO shame the system that encourages people to lose weight, and advertises it as a health-promoting practice when in reality it is the opposite.

There are many people who choose to lose weight for reasons other than health- appearance, camaraderie (certain sports, classes, etc) and other reasons. I’m sure that if these individuals were aware of research showing that intentional weight loss was detrimental to health, some would continue to engage in these practices regardless, which is fine!

What’s not fine is that the vast majority of people who engage in weight loss practices do so (at least in part) in the name of “Health”!  And that those who are doing it for other reasons think that it at least isn’t doing any harm. 

Intentional weight loss IS HARMFUL.  When we are as aware of this as we are that smoking is harmful, then I will be okay with people choosing to lose weight. But until the Diet Industry is held as accountable as the Tobacco Industry to advertise the detrimental health effects of their products/programs, I will be here shouting it to whoever will listen. 

The fact that people make choices that are bad for their health ISNT THE PROBLEM. The problem is that they are not fully informed when they make that decision. It’s just really not okay.

How informed do you feel you were when you embarked on your last weight-loss attempt? Leave a comment below!

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