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HealthNotDiets Digest, Issue 15, 2018

April 8 - 14, 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

What Weight Gain Really Means

by Caroline Dooner

“Gaining weight reflects a normal human body, experiencing a normal amount of waxing, waning, and fluctuation.”


The not so obvious problem with dieting

by Melissa Toler

“Diet culture uses the fear of fatness to reinforce a hierarchy of bodies. And for people who are constantly pushed out into the margins because of race, gender, ability, or sexuality, our cultural obsession with weight can complicate things.”


When teaching BMI

by Lori Short-Zamudio

“How do we teach BMI in a way that will not be harmful especially when they [student dietitians] are swimming in the diet stew?”


Weight-shaming hurts kids, and their kids, too

by Maggie Fox

“Kids told to diet will starve themselves, binge-eat and will learn to hate their own bodies.”


Selling Health At Every Size: How To Market Brave

by Maria Paredes

“Being transparent about what our services offer does not negate believing in our product or undervaluing our product. And it does not mean an absence of hope. Quite the contrary, marketing brave means leading with Hope instead of Fear.”


Why your exercise focus should be fitness - not fat loss

by Kimberly Gillan

"No matter what your body size, the key is to approach it with a spirit of self care and try a variety of activities to find something you enjoy and can do at a pace that is right for you."


How to love a fat person

by Your Fat Friend

“Fat people live extraordinary lives, beloved by their families, partners, communities.... fall wildly in love.... get married.... have phenomenal sex.... are impossibly happy. Those fat people are living in defiance of the expectations set forth 4 them.”


What Cheese Can Tell Us About Class in America

by Soleil Ho and Erica Carson

“we show our class & ethnic alignments with many more indicators than simply what cheese we eat, but the ways in which we discuss cheese, & how we describe people eating the right (or wrong) kinds, are informed by our present & by the future we aspire to.”


How to Be Human: Giving the Right Compliment to Someone About Their Body

via Healthline

“If you’re unsure if your comment is objectifying, ask yourself if your compliment still holds if the body isn’t involved. If it doesn’t, then the comment is probably objectifying the person.”


VIDEO: Divided state of bias

by Liz Plank

Unconscious bias. Yes, you have it and there’s no cure, only awareness.....


Reflections from a Palliative Care dietitian

by Jenny Jackson

“The truth is there are bumps, flaws, messiness, and discomfort in our bodies and lives that have no solution. Things happen that have no justification, that make no sense. That does not make us any less worthy.”



Mainstream media is too often (still) getting this wrong.

by Rhiannon Webb

“A person’s body is not a free look into their lifestyle, eating habits, relationships with food or enjoyment, cleanliness, or any other thing we seem to like to attach to what we see. Stop it, already.”


Ignorance About Obesity Is Common and Reversible

via ConscienHealth

“Bias comes – at least in part – from ignorance. And when it comes to obesity, ignorance is both common and reversible.”

Note: other content on the ConscienHealth website is not fat friendly


I was addicted to exercise: Here's how to spot the signs

by Lucy Fry

"People with exercise addiction are praised by many people in a society that is obsessed with fighting the “obesity epidemic”, with fitness and being thin...So even when it is a symptom of a deeper problem – as it often can be – it is easily overlooked."

CW: description of problematic exercise behaviours


The Not-So-Sexy Origins of Body Shame

by Hilary Kinavey and Dana Sturtevant

“It isn’t in a pair of shoes, a size of jeans or a flat stomach. It isn’t in the number of people who find you suitably f*ck-able. Worthiness is something we cultivate from a deep place at the center of our being.”


Unintended weight loss identified as second highest cancer risk factor

by Allan Cone

“When a person experiences an unintended weight loss, it is the second-highest predictor for some forms of cancer, according to an analysis.”

Many people wrongly attribute their cancer weight loss to their new weight loss diet ‘finally working’, delaying diagnosis.

Note: see Research section below for entry on the actual study.


Dancing and my disorder

by Madison Rogers

“Sometimes you just have to let go of the things you love most in order to find the joy in living.”

CW: description of ED experience in smaller body


Research &

Clinical Practice

Many governments are allocating funding for school based interventions to ‘fight childhood obesity’. It’s a surefire vote winner (thanks to societal prejudice) but this large study found it had no effect on stifling weight gain velocity (how childhood ‘obesity’ programs are measured) or health related behaviours. _____ Engaging kids in fun physical activity is GREAT for heaps of reasons, it just doesn’t impact on BMI. _____ Adab, Peymane, et al. "Effectiveness of a childhood obesity prevention programme delivered through schools, targeting 6 and 7 year olds: cluster randomised controlled trial (WAVES study)." bmj 360 (2018): k211. _____ _____ My last podcast covered childhood growth, weight and height spurts and how (yet again) BMI in the hands of prejudiced policy makers has disastrous results- you can check it out here:


Did drinking give me breast cancer?

by Stephanie Mencimer

“If you take 1,000 women, 110 will get breast cancer without drinking. Drink up to [the government] guidelines and an extra 20 women will get cancer because of that drinking…That’s not scaremongering. That’s fact.”

Note: this is good, thorough journalism, is a long read and has links to the research it cites.


Weight loss is an obvious and early symptom of many cancers. When we live in a culture that both continually encourages striving for weight loss and assumes it’s readily attainable thanks to the predatory marketing of the weight loss industry, we get a situation where cancer diagnosis opportunities are missed, treatment is delayed, often for months to years, and dieters die earlier than they otherwise might have. _____ Even if someone is trying to lose weight, ‘easy’ weight loss should ALWAYS be investigated. This study shows that many GPs fall into the same attribution trap. _____ Nicholson, Brian D., et al. "Weight loss as a predictor of cancer in primary care: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Br J Gen Pract (2018): bjgp18X695801. _____


Cardiovascular death risk in people with cardiovascular disease- impact of physical activity vs weight change

👉 No risk reduction with weight loss 👉 Reduced risk with weight gain 👉 Substantial risk reduction with sustained physical activity at any BMI

Trine Moholdt, Carl J. Lavie, Javaid Nauman, Sustained Physical Activity, Not Weight Loss, Associated With Improved Survival in Coronary Heart Disease, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Volume 71, Issue 10, 2018, Pages 1094-1101


Soapbox & Shareables

Ample is an already fully-functional platform to rate and recommend places which are friendly and accommodating for people with marginalized bodies, it’s fabulous!


It doesn’t even tell me anything specific or interesting about your past habits. BMI is garbage.


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 20-30 minute podcasts unpack 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 16th is:

'"Weight bias, stigma and discrimination"

This episode is an introduction and defines the terms, discusses their impact on healthcare, society and the lives of the people who are impacted by weight-centrism.




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