Ain’t Necessarily So

You may already be on board with the idea that the way to change your behaviour with food is to change the way you think about food. This means challenging beliefs you hold, perhaps long-held assumptions you’ve never been called upon to question, and perhaps not even fully recognise.

Your own pattern of beliefs will be unique to you, and some could evaporate quite effortlessly. The most entrenched attitudes, though, tend to be those held by the entire culture. This is the sort of concept that ‘everybody knows’, which makes it tough to question.

But whole cultures can be wrong about things. And whole cultures can change, even though it can be a slow process.

When it comes to eating, one of the most powerful assumptions in our culture is the idea that weight loss always leads to improvements in health. Those diagnosed with almost anything – from diabetes to high blood pressure to polycystic ovary syndrome – are often advised to lose weight.

Carrying excess weight certainly could indicate the need for changes in food consumed. However, excess weight (or fat, to be more accurate) is much more of an associated problem than the primary cause – or maybe even any cause at all.

There is a good amount of solid research that calls this cultural mindset into question.

One example of this research was conducted by a group at the National Center for Health Statistics at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA. So you know right away this is coming from people who know how to do this kind of analytical work; maybe even the best in the world. Published in one of the most respected medical journals, it presents the results of an analysis of 97 separate studies, looking at the relationship between weight and mortality from all causes. (1)

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  1. Janet

    Thanks Gillian for another extremely well written summary of the latest research. Interesting and motivating. I think I’m at the stage where I’m giving in to my addictive desire to eat sugar, but a bit less than I used to so I’m not putting on weight. But I do need to address my unhealthy eating habits.

  2. Sarah

    Wonderful, article! Changing my thinking about food has been the only thing to help me eat less and take better care of myself. I appreciate your work in this area, thank you!

  3. Debs

    This is a very inspiring way to move away from the fixation of weight loss as the prize. Your books encourage this I know but it such a hard mindset to change, given the cultural reinforcement and diet industry cues. Every time I read an article like the one above it helps chip away at the old belief pattern and remind me that fuelling your body with quality food to promote health is what matters not what the scales may say at the end of the day

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