buying (into) dieting and swallowing balloons: my thoughts

This week has been filled with all kinds of chitter chatter on social media and some of the mainstream media regarding weight, dieting, and bodies. I’ve already thrown myself into the debate over The Biggest Loser because it really got me thinking  and thought I’d round things out by chiming in on two other stories that also struck me.

For those of us who find ourselves sucked into the dieting industry’s ways–I know I’ve been guilty of this–here’s an interesting read on what one writer says the dieting trend for the year is: “Let them eat cake for breakfast.”  I think she hit the nail on the head:

“The cycle of weight loss and gain that characterizes most individual diets, applies to the industry as a whole. You bought Atkins, you failed at Atkins and now, here it is, the title you’ve been waiting for, published this month and announcing a new chapter in the whole sorry cycle…”

My (non)diet books (the vegetarian ones, the paleo ones, the “lifestyle” ones) are on the shelf right next to my anti-dieting and intuitive eating books. Ditto for my podcast collection–there’s Jillian Michaels and there’s interview with Geneen Roth. I have signed up for online coaching groups about giving up dieting right after I’ve signed up for a 30 day challenge. Usually, it goes something like this: I, drawn by the lure of “health” (a convenient stand in for “weight loss” or “getting skinny”) have found myself cutting out food groups or experimenting with my diet in a restrictive way. Then, I find myself coming back to the realization that dieting is not the answer and turning to the opposite site of the spectrum to justify eating all the cookies it to myself.

This all seems a little silly when I think about the fact that “the weight” I have gotten so concerned over in the past would probably change my BMI by about 1. Small beans. I know logically that my body is perfectly healthy the way it is and that’s the reminder I’m taking away. Simple.

This article (also from the guardian) about a weight loss gastric ballon pill that has launched in the UK, got at a more complicated issue.

My thoughts? WOW! Science is CRAZY in the things we can do. Also, people are CRAZY. I don’t understand how we’ve gotten to a point where the band-aids we’re slapping on the issue of weight are balloons that we can swallow. Jumping on a fad diet fad diet suddenly seem cute in comparison to this option, touted for being non-invasive. The article says the balloon pills could work for people who don’t qualify for traditional gastric bypass surgery.

After all the talk this week about how sad and unfortunate it is that the winner of the most recent season of The Biggest Loser appears to have taken her weight loss too far, passing into the extreme category, I did a serious face palm when I found this story. Regardless of whether someone is overweight or obese, my stance is that extreme is extreme—and when it comes to our health, extreme isn’t the answer. Weight loss should be a process that addresses nutrition and activity along with viewing the person as a whole.

I suppose that while swallowing a balloon isn’t as ridiculous as swallowing tape worms in the pursuit of a smaller body, I’m still not celebrating the pills. Those who say that more people will be able to address their weight raise a good point, but I’d rather see more people being able to address their health, taking an approach that addresses them as a whole person rather than singling out obesity as a disease and approaching it as such. We can dedicate our time and our resources towards coming up with strategies like this to deal with what we’ve decided is a problem or disease or epidemic, or we can start to look at weight and too much of it as a symptom and get busy re-approaching the way we eat, exercise, and live.

Have you been on the diet train? How did you get off of it?
Do you think the gastric balloon pill is a good thing?
What do you think the best way to address obesity is: is it an epidemic we need to cure or a symptom we need to prevent?

My takeaway:

take care


2 thoughts on “buying (into) dieting and swallowing balloons: my thoughts

  1. Great article as always. The pill? You said it, extreme.

    I find a healthy balance between eating well and activites that I love. That way I have a passion for it and stick with it. Fads are not the way to go.

    Ps. Gold Digga? …those pants in the UK article are priceless.

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