How Not to Lose Weight

We’re all supposed to worry and fret about our weight. Every day, in every way, worry, worry, worry. We’re bombarded by guilt messages–in magazines, on TV, at the doctor’s office, pretty much everywhere we look.

Apparently, it’s always time to suffer, feel guilty or both. And so we join in this ritual of self-abuse. Especially when it’s about losing weight. Gaining weight isn’t a problem for most, so advertisers get the biggest bang for their buck by shaming people into losing weight.

But let me ask you this: The struggle and strain to lose weight has been going on for centuries. After all those years of effort, shouldn’t we be winning?

I mean, an avalanche of all the diet books in print would flatten a smallish city. But all that information, even if strictly applied, will provide–at best–no more than temporary success.

Years ago, The Biggest Loser television show flogged people through almost superhuman efforts to lose weight. The motivated contestants did whatever they were told to do to reach the magical goal of slim and trim.

After they reach the promised land, after all that training, effort and suffering, you’d think contestants would be good to go for the rest of their lives. But you would be wrong. By about a mile.

You never saw reunions of Biggest Loser alums. Most, if not all, the alums regained the weight they lost, and sometimes even more.

Why does the weight always come back? All the weight-loss hoopla, so heavily promoted by dietitians and doctors as a sure path to skinny-jeans heaven, throws our bodies into a very deep ditch of wounded body parts unable to figure out which way is up.

If our bodies don’t step in to save the day, as in getting everything back into balance, we’re going down. Disease, even death, await.

So, a call to arms goes out, and our body parts join the battle, coordinating their efforts into a big-time push to get everything back on track. And the lost pounds come piling back. Why?

Here’s why: By taking the usual, calorie-counting approach to weight loss, you got rid of muscle, not fat. Since life depends on healthy muscles, such as the heart, your body works overtime to recover lost muscle. And you end up back where you started.

But, but, but, you cry in dismay, does that mean I’ll never be able to lose weight and keep it off?

Not at all. That’s actually pretty easy-peasy stuff. I cover the whole business in my Moving to Health program.

Well, you may counter, if it’s so easy, why don’t you just tell us? Because there’s no easy, one-size-fits-all answer that works for all people and all health situations.

Everybody’s been brainwashed into believing health and weight loss are about magic bullets, but it’s actually about understanding how your body works and how to help it to work better.

Until people understand that the current ideas about losing weight are upside-down wrong, all I can do is wait for them to put away their mistaken ideas and see the light of reality.

Losing weight is not rocket science, but getting people to change their understanding of how it works takes a whole lot of heavy lifting. That’s nobody’s fault; it’s just the way things are.

The weight loss industry rakes in billions and billions of dollars a year, and they don’t look kindly on anybody who talks the way I do. They keep sharpened machetes always at the ready, the better to protect their mountain of money.

I don’t want to start a fight with a whole gang of bullies, which is scary. But I do want to help people.

But I can’t help anybody who wants to believe the magic thinking of calories, etc.

God is good,
Bette Dowdell

About the author: Bette is all about determination. A month before her first birthday, a drunk driver smashed into her parents’ car, and she ended up with a concussion. The concussion put her endocrine system (the thyroid and the rest of the gang) pretty much out of business. Well, that system controls all of health, life was a mess, but doctors didn’t help. So, she got her Oh-Yeah! attitude in gear and researched her way out. Now she writes about how your body works and what you can do to make it work better. Good, eh? Subscribe to her free health e-mails at

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