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HealthNotDiets Digest, Issue 17, 2019

April 26 - May 2, 2019

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 & Blogs

Weight-loss surgery and risk of pregnancy and birth complications

by European Association for the Study of Obesity

"pregnant women with a history of weight-loss surgery should be considered as high-risk, be provided additional support throughout pregnancy, and mother and baby should be monitored closely"

It's no great surprise that surgically-induced undernutrition might have an impact on the health of offspring. Studies from dieting mothers in Japan show us that babies born to them have lower density kidney tissue which means they'll be permanently predisposed to high blood pressure, increasing their risk of stroke. Studies of women who were pregnant during famines show us that those babies went on to have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in their adulthood.

It's abhorrent that many assisted fertility clinics will not accept people above a certain BMI literally leading to people desperate to be parents down the path to bariatric surgery in order to be even let in the door to fertility assistance.


How Fatphobia Prevented Me from Getting Help for My Eating Disorder

by Shira Rosenbluth

“I learned very quickly that because I wasn’t underweight, eating was optional — despite having an eating disorder. I would be praised for the exact same behaviors that were of huge concern for someone in a smaller body."

CW: account of eating disorder and denial of care due to body weight


Social media influencers are dishing out false nutrition and weight loss advice 90% of the time

by Adam Forrest

"We found that the majority of the blogs could not be considered credible sources of weight management information, as they often presented opinion as fact and failed to meet UK nutritional criteria"

Note: this is even BEFORE the scientific flaws in weight loss research and 'credible weight loss advice' are considered.


Coping when your friends, colleagues, and family are still dieting

by Meredith Noble

“We can feel empowered when we’re at home browsing body positive Instagram feeds, reading articles about fat acceptance, and practicing self-care activities. But things get much trickier when we interact with others who are not familiar with this approach to food.”


Stop the Dieting Mindset

By Dana Sturtevant

“If you woke up tomorrow and lived in a body affirming, weight-inclusive world, where you never had to worry about weight stigma and body shame, what would you want to do to take care of yourself?"


Health care’s huge cybersecurity problem

by Nicole Wetsman

“the vast majority of hospitals and physicians are unprepared to handle cybersecurity threats, even though they pose a major public health problem.”


Can Fat Thor Advance Fat Acceptance?

by Your Fat Friend

“When I left the theater, I found myself feeling numb, unsure what to make of it all. My stomach was unsettled, my muscles still tense, waiting for the blow to land. On the drive home, I pulled the movie apart to see how it worked, searching for what it was trying to say about bodies like mine."


How Lipedema Impacts This Body Positive Influencer's Tattoos

by Devon Preston

"in 2010, she learned that she had both lymphedema and lipodema—conditions which have both physical and sociological impacts on her everyday life....for Cruz, getting tattooed and healing her ink is hugely impacted by her conditions. We sat down with the self-proclaimed #lymphedemawarrior to learn her tattoo story”


Please stop praising my weight loss – and help the body positivity movement challenge deep-rooted body ideals

by Amerley Ollennu

“That person you’re complimenting could be in the throes of an eating disorder and your constant praise could encourage them to carry on abusing their body.”


My Unexpected (but Totally Worth the Wait) Journey from Diet-Obsessed to Body Positive

by Akanksha Singh

"At my largest, I suddenly discovered that I was much more than my weight. For the first time, I didn’t feel exhausted by the continuous cycle of weight watching, and I realized that being healthy wasn’t at all about vanity.”

CW: includes description of disordered eating, exercise and body image distress (including numbers) in relatively non-marginalized body prior to body liberation


Boost Your Body Acceptance For Better Health

by Maria Godoy

“Zooming in on BMI alone can add to weight stigma and actually make people avoid behaviors that promote good health, like cancer screenings or other preventative care”CW: mild weight centrism


5 Expert-Backed Ways to Be a More Body-Positive Runner

by Kiera Carter

“you’re a runner when you start running—it has nothing to do with your weight.”

CW: weight changes mentioned in context of previous weight focus


'Fat Girls Traveling' Is Making Traveling More Body-Positive and Inclusive

by Amanda Scriver

“for many, the concept of learning to take up space is new and even radical. Richmond wanted to be this guide, to fellow fat travelers like herself.”


It’s 2019 and Body Positivity Still Has a Representation Problem

by Lora Grady

“The co-opting of the [bopo] hashtag to sell diet products is proof of how far the body-positive movement has strayed from its original purpose.”


Fasting During Ramadan: What Every Dietitian Needs to Know

by Rahaf AlBochi

“Despite the exemptions, many people with health conditions choose to fast [during Ramadan]. These may include people with diabetes, eating disorders and pregnant women. It is important that healthcare providers work closely with at risk individuals to provide the appropriate support and care.”


'I was hallucinating': Should anyone follow the bizarre diets of tech entrepreneurs?

by Natalie Reilly

“Patriarchy allows men to cloak their dieting in a quest for mental clarity, increased efficiency....This language and justification is not given to women.”


Building a Brain Implant for Smell

by Karen Weintraub

“Often dismissed as inconsequential, smell contributes to taste, so people who cannot smell are at risk for malnutrition, as well as social isolation"


Research & Clinical Practice

Self-Compassion as a Resource in the Self-Stigma Process of Overweight and Obese Individuals

By Hilbert, et al.

It's so refreshing to find research into weight self-stigmatisation and self-compassion that positions the psychological distress of self-stigma as the issue and doesn't pathologise larger body size.

CW: 'O' words used throughout because, of course....

Hilbert, Anja, et al. "Self-compassion as a resource in the self-stigma process of overweight and obese individuals." Obesity facts 8.5 (2015): 293-301.


Soapbox & Shareables

The reported weight loss 'success' in trials is usually reported as an average (mean) weight loss. This obscures the fact that results vary greatly from a few people who lose a lot of weight, to the (usually about a fifth of) people who gain weight during a weight loss intervention. The 'typical result' (what weight changes were experienced by the majority of participants) is usually much less than the statistical average.

A better way to report weight changes would be to organise weight changes from the lowest to the highest figure, divide them into equal groups of participants and then report the means and ranges for each group. For example, if divided into five groups, you could see the average results for the bottom 20% through to the top 20% of participants, and not get mislead by those weight loss outliers. This is what is being represented when you see results reported in tertiles, quartiles and quintiles (3rds, 4ths and 5ths).

When journalists write about scientific findings they often ask the researchers to suggest one of their participants to interview - and this is particularly true for weight loss trials because 'weight loss inspiration stories' are effective clickbait. If the researchers are trying to commercialise their findings (set up a commercial weight loss service based on their program), you can bet that they're approaching journalists to write stories about it too.

Using the statistical unicorns to spruik the success of a weight loss study to the media amounts to potential misleading/deceptive conduct and is blatantly unscientific.

Unless the data is described accurately and fairly they're no better than snake oil peddlers.


Unpacking Weight Science Podcast

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.

The 20-30 minute monthly podcasts unpack different elements of weight bias & stigma, weight research, BMI, health behaviours and weight neutral approaches. Paid subscribers (only $5/month!) get instant access to the previous 15 episodes plus full show notes, reference list, self-test quiz and resource materials for use in practice. This equates to an hour of professional development activity each month :-)

Available for subscribers now is:

''Deep dive into the Look AHEAD Study: face-saving through shifting goalposts'

Ep 22: The Look AHEAD study included over 5000 people with diabetes and aimed to see whether intentional weight loss resulted in reduced chance of death. After 9 years they found it didn’t but that hasn’t stopped them singing the praises of weight loss. This episode unpacks why.

and instantly access 16 episodes before the rest of the world!

Episodes 1-5 are now on iTunes!

Search 'Unpacking Weight Science'

to listen to them for free!


Training Opportunities in 2019


Fremantle, Western Australia, 26-27 June

Auckland, New Zealand, 7-8 October

Melbourne, Victoria, 12-13 October

Newcastle, New South Wales, 21-22 November


Perth, Western Australia, 28 June

Auckland, New Zealand, 9 October

Melbourne, Victoria, 11 October

Newcastle, New South Wales, 23 November




Enrol in 'Unpacking Weight Science' or 'The Non-Diet Approach for Dietitians' online courses and receive free enrolment in 'The Science of Self Compassion' course!

(enrolments must be finalised by May 31st and your bonus enrolment will be added manually as soon as I see it)

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

Want more info about 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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