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HealthNotDiets Digest, Issue 12, 2018

March 18 - 24, 2018

As always, if you like what you read here, please support the original author by liking/sharing/following/up-voting/subscribing directly to their feed.

Happy reading!


Articles and Blogs

How ‘before and after’ photographs promote unattainable body ideals

by Jenny Cole

"A weight inclusive approach, which views health as multifaceted and not defined by one’s weight, is a more effective, and more ethical, way to promote health.”


How Obesity Became a Disease, and, as a consequence, how weight loss became an industry

by Harriet Brown

"obesity doesn’t fit the definition of a medical disease. It has no symptoms, and it’s not always harmful—in fact, for some people in some circumstances, it’s been known to be protective rather than destructive.”


You Don’t Have To Love Your Body By Ijeoma Oluo

“my body is mine. It’s mine to adore, and it’s also mine to curse, trash, and outright ignore. The real victory is not in loving your body, or refusing to hate your body. The real victory is owning your body, and letting it be whatever you want it to be.”


The magical thinking of weight loss

by Your Fat Friend

More exquisite writing from Your Fat Friend:

“Your body is your body. Your life is your life. And your life is happening now —not twenty, fifty, a hundred pounds from now. So go live it.”


Rebecca Alexander Is the Queer Fat Woman Behind AllGo, an App That Will Change the World for People of Size

via Autostraddle

“I believe that all people have a right to exist as they are and a right to the same level of comfort and access when it comes to going out,” Rebecca wrote. “That is why I’m building AllGo.”


Why Holding Onto "Goal Weight Clothes" Is So Much More Dangerous Than It Seems

by Olivia Muenter

“As I've gotten older, learned about body positivity, and started to slowly dismantle my long-held perspective that taking up less space was always the answer, I can now recognize that seeing myself as a constant "before" is inherently dangerous.”


I Don't Get Weighed at the Doctor's Office—and You Don't Have to, Either

by Melissa A Fabello

“I had no idea the simple fact that you still have bodily autonomy—even when in a doctor’s office—would be so mind-blowing to people. But .... People, especially those who are marginalized, are taught to respect authority, no questions asked.”


The taboo around female genitalia has grave consequences for women

by Cat Rodie

“More than 17,000 Australian women are currently living with a gynaecological cancer and 15 are diagnosed every day. Tragically, many women delay seeing their GP because they are embarrassed about their symptoms.”


Can Fat People Go On Trampolines?

by Leslie Walters

“I was waiting to be ‘thin enough’ to try going on a trampoline. I thought I couldn’t do that until I was no longer fat. But YES: FAT PEOPLE CAN GO ON TRAMPOLINES AND PRETTY MUCH ANYWHERE ELSE THEY WANT TO GO TOO.”


How fatphobia impacted my gender identity

by J from Comfy Fat

"In my early 20’s I found body positivity. I started seeing images of fat bodies being associated with love, pride, and beauty. I finally found positive representation of bodies that looked like my own .... I began seeing my fatness differently."


Let's talk about weight

by Vincci Tsui

“Even if you didn’t care about the social justice piece, wouldn’t it make sense to stop providing a “treatment” that is associated with the opposite effect of what it’s supposed to do?”


How to change someone's mind

by Geoffrey James

“With human beings, pressure always creates resistance, so your first step is always to get on the same side of the table.”


Food, eating disorders and addiction

by Sarah Thompson

“Human beings are highly complex and designed to survive. The need for food after semi-starvation and starvation is a biological function of survival.”


Research &

Clinical Practice

Physically Fit Women Almost 90 Percent Less Likely to Develop Dementia

in Neuroscience News

"Women with high physical fitness at middle age were nearly 90 percent less likely to develop dementia decades later, compared to women who were moderately fit"

Hörder, Helena, et al. "Midlife cardiovascular fitness and dementia: A 44-year longitudinal population study in women." Neurology (2018): 10-1212.


Daily calorie 'guidelines' give the impression that it is optimal to eat the same amount of energy from food every day, and that people in smaller bodies do that naturally. But that is not the case. Energy intake varies greatly from one person to the next, and also from day to day in the same person. Here is a nice chart depicting that phenomenon in four weight-stable people (the article says their BMIs varied but doesn't say who-is-who unfortunately) over an entire year.

Periwal, Vipul, and Carson C. Chow. "Patterns in food intake correlate with body mass index." American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism 291.5 (2006): E929-E936.


Diversity Is A Good Thing: 80+ Eating Disorder & Body Image Providers & Activists

by Maria Paredes & Melissa Carmona

“Clients' bodies come in ALL shapes and sizes (and colors and gender identities and body abilities and faith beliefs and country of origin and....).....So do providers' bodies.”



via the Unpacking Weight Science Podcast

This article is a really important discussion of the issues around how we refer to different body types. Because not everyone has the time, opportunity or ability to sit and read journal articles, I've done an audio recording for you. Enjoy :-) 'What's in a word? On weight stigma and terminology' by Angela Meadows, and Sigrún Daníelsdóttir published in Frontiers in psychology 7 (2016): 1527.



Like podcasts?

How about bite-sized podcasts that you can claim as professional development?!?

I've designed the Unpacking Weight Science Podcast to suit health professionals, health science students and anyone who wants to know more about human body weight, health outcomes, interpreting weight related research and the far ranging effects of weight bias.

Twice a month, my 20 minute podcast unpacks different elements of weight bias & stigma, weight research, BMI, health behaviours and weight neutral approaches. Paid subscribers (only $5/month!) get the podcast six months before everyone else, plus full show notes, reference list, self-test quiz and resource materials for use in practice. This equates to an hour of professional development each month :-)

Available for subscribers on April 2nd is:

'How we got here: BMI meets death'

A history of the development of the BMI (including how 'obesity' ended up on child growth charts), how we discovered there was a relationship with weight and death, and how a few powerful men gifted us the weight-centrism we have today.


I've heard dietetics students recount that their supervisors on prac have said 'yeah but it doesn't work' when asked what they thought about Health at Every Size (HAES) practice. This sentiment clearly comes from a weight centric perspective.

It is true that adopting a HAES approach is not associated with weight loss. But the defining characteristic of HAES when compared with other health enhancing approaches is size acceptance - it's not meant to attempt to elicit weight loss. Health enhancement occurs via dismantling internalised weight stigma and supporting behaviour change, not weight loss.

People with weight concern of all shapes and sizes deserve to know all the options they have when they attend a health service, not just the preferred approach of that clinician. If you are not discussing the harms, benefits, timeframes and likely outcomes of the various weight centric approaches, the various weight neutral approaches and the option of 'doing nothing differently', then your clients aren't receiving client centred, evidence-based care.

HAES-based, non-diet, weight-neutral practice requires specialist training and study. Please get to know those clinicians in your local area, so that you can refer your clients who want a weight neutral approach to them.


So the author of the book reviewed here is the guy who in the early 1980's most forcefully fought for the current BMI category cut offs and who preferred to call the 20-25 range 'desirable' weight. This is essentially a contemporaneous review of his 1974 book 'Energy balance and obesity in man." where he gets totally roasted for being dogmatic and scientifically under-baked. "There is an apparently uncritical acceptance of certain published work, and a rather abrupt dismissal of other papers, without appropriate justification other than to fit in with the author's arguments. I read this book with an exasperating alternation of respect for the uncommon sense of Dr. Garrow and irritation at the unconvincing evidence used to back up some of the arguments."

Garrow, John Stuart. Energy balance and obesity in man. North-Holland Publishing Company., 1974. The power of personality SMH.




Want these 'live'? Then follow me on Twitter (@FionaWiller), Facebook (@HealthNotDiets) and Instagram (@FionaWiller)

Want some training in the non-diet approach or unpacking weight science? Resources include books, courses, workshops and handouts: visit

See anything you think I'd like to share or comment about? Post in the comments below or email me at

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