It’s amazing to me how often the term “health” permeates the marketing of weight loss diet gurus.
Their ads throw “health” around as though their shake, supplement or diet plan actually has magical powers to endow it upon you. They use body positive language like “the scale is just a number,” while flashing Before & After weight loss photos. With a tiny disclaimer about results not being typical.
Which is it? Is it about health? Or is it about a weight loss result…one that is atypical at best?
Sign up to reclaim your health!
(Like you’re going to the coat check after a concert. How did Health-Shakes-R-Us get a hold of your health in the first place? Is it even legal for them to charge you for its return?)
Start your journey to optimal health today!
(Oh I see, they’re not actually going to give it back to you. They are just going to sell you an expensive ticket for the ride, some maps, and a tour guide. Clearly they aren’t offering participants much to eat on this cruise ship, no wonder everyone’s losing weight at the end.)
What also bugs me about the marketing of these gurus is the FREE tips and advice they give on social media, via newsletters, etc. I don’t think most of them are purposely trying to do harm. They are just caught up in diet culture like even some perfectly caring dietitians can be. Their advice is that of fear and anxiety, control and mistrust. For example, Easter is coming up. But it could be any holiday, really: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween…whatever.
Instead of celebrating with “Yay, it’s almost Thanksgiving, I bet you can’t wait for family and scrumptious food,” Diet Gurus provide warnings.
“Watch out, brace yourself, Easter might try to steal your Health if you’re not vigilant. Keep your eyes out for the Easter Health Snatchers–they lurk in the most unexpected places!”
They will suggest you steer clear of the food tables and carry water with you.
Spy a Cadbury? Put the Camelbak straw in your mouth and run!
I often see advice to bring a “healthy dish.” Are you supposed to only eat that? Does anyone actually purposely plan a harmful dish?
Even mindfulness is being co-opted for weight control. But a diet coach’s “be mindful” really doesn’t mean anything different than the old “watch what you eat” or “be careful.” Translation: You’ll probably screw up so don’t eat what you enjoy, don’t eat too much, aim to be unsatisfied.
This is no way to live.
True mindfulness is not a means to an end. Therefore mindful eating cannot be tied to any outcome goal. Being mindful when you eat is about being present for, and attuned to, the experience of eating. Weight control cannot be part of the goal. The Center for Mindful Eating is clear in its position statement about this:
TCME does not endorse any philosophy or program that includes or promotes weight loss measures or procedures because evidence does not support that it deepens or improves an individual’s mindful eating practice.
Here’s the thing. We all want health. As a dietitian, I also want to help people improve their health. I also have nutrition counseling services to sell and I too aim to work as a “guide.” And other legit, compassionate, body-positive counselors, dietitians, and health coaches will also use the term “health” in their marketing. But it pisses me off to see how often health is confused with weight control in our culture. Because sometimes the confusion is done on purpose.
Health is not something anyone has a monopoly on. I can’t gift health to you. You can’t buy it from me. It’s not something you will someday obtain and never lose. You’re not “finally” healthy if in your 90’s you lose those last few pounds.
Health is part genetics, part lifestyle habits, part luck, part (fill in the blank with latest scientific discovery). It also involves your mental status, social and emotional life and spiritual life–not just physical measures.
But unless you eat something that was poisoned or that you are allergic to, as far as eating is concerned, NO holiday can steal your health. You don’t have to approach a celebratory meal with fear of failure or anxiety from having to eat perfectly. There is no perfect eating.
The very act of going into a holiday celebration bracing yourself for control is the very thing that will at best ruin the enjoyment of what you do eat and at worst send you into another cycle of restriction followed by overeating. Which just perpetuates the belief that you need someone to tell you exactly what to eat, what to avoid and how much of each at what time. But you don’t. Your body is trustworthy, even if not perfect. You can learn to eat intuitively and feel good about it.
Make your everyday eating organized, mindful and enjoyable. Then the holidays won’t be any different. <–The antidote to holiday food stress.
If you’re ready to get off the diet roller coaster and learn more joyful and realistic ways to take care of yourself with good nutrition–without fear or deprivation, schedule a 15 minute FREE discovery call with me: Click here