Focus on Health, Not Weight, In the New Year

Intermountain Healthcare experts say rather than focusing on a diet or body appearance, people should focus on a healthy relationship with food and healthy eating habits.

(PRUnderground) January 18th, 2023

With the start of the new year, many people adopt resolutions to lose weight through a new diet. But such diets often are more of a barrier than a breakthrough to health, said Tiana Barker, registered dietitian with Intermountain Healthcare.

“Diets do not work long term, and yo-yo dieting can cause weight re-gain beyond where we originally started,” Barker said. “It’s better to focus on adopting habits to live well, without respect to body size, for long term health.”

Restrictive diets can reduce metabolic efficiency, which means calories burn more slowly – an effect that can be lifelong, Barker said. They are likely to increase cravings for foods higher in fat.

Restrictive diets also confuse the body’s hunger and fullness cues, increasing the risk of developing eating disorders and decreasing quality of physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health, Barker said.

Instead of diets, Barker encourages people to focus on the principles of Health at Every Size®, a holistic definition of health affirmed by the Association for Size Diversity and Health. These principles promote health equity, ending weight discrimination, and improving access to quality care, regardless of a person’s body size.

“People can be metabolically healthy in larger weights, meaning they do not have risk factors associated with certain health conditions typically associated with weight,” such as diabetes or heart disease, Barker said. “My goal is to teach people how to live well, without respect to body size.”

Rather than adopting a diet or focusing on their body’s appearance, people should focus on a healthy relationship with food and healthy eating habits. This includes eating food that is enjoyable and makes the body feel good, and eating based on nutritional needs, hunger and fullness cues instead of body image or weight control.

Intermountain Healthcare offers Weigh to Health nutrition classes to help people learn to improve health and well-being by adopting healthy habits for the long run. The program emphasizes on balanced nutrition and physical movement to prevent or reverse prediabetes and some of its risk factors, though the program can help anyone adopt healthy habits.

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About Intermountain Healthcare

Headquartered in Utah with locations in eight states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called SelectHealth with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information and updates, click here

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