Feature Articles: Eating Well
Take a New Approach to Health
Linda Rellergert, Nutrition Specialist in St.
In America today, we have developed very unhealthy attitudes toward appearance, eating and health. The message communicated by media, as well as many national health organizations and health care providers is that to be healthy, one must have a lean body, exercise to the point of exhaustion and vigorously control what one eats.
However, few people actually fit this image. Our population
as a whole is heavier, leads more sedentary lives, eats larger
portions of food, and often feels guilty about it. At the same
time, the rates of some diseases with strong links to lifestyle
like diabetes and heart disease have remained steady or gone up.
These trends are alarming to many people.
Some nutrition and health care providers have started taking
another approach. We believe it is time to re-examine the
research and assumptions that have been guiding us, to face the
fact that what we have been doing is not helpful for most people
and may even be harmful.
This new approach or philosophy is called a Non-diet or Size Acceptance Approach. This approach looks at issues of weight, hunger, physical activity, food, self-esteem, size acceptance and self-trust, and examines the connections among them.
Practitioners who share this philosophy believe first that we
must do no harm. Second, we believe that people of every size
can take steps to maximize their own health.
The idea that thin is good while fat is bad is so ingrained in our society that few people recognize it may not be true. Changing long-held beliefs such as this takes time. I urge you to keep an open, yet questioning mind as we continue to explore these ideas together.
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009