on October 30, 2008
As an eating disorders specialist, I see the problems caused by our culture's myths about weight and worth. Dr. Bacon has written a well-cited and persuasive book that teaches us that the real prize is health and well-being, at any size. How can you love the body you have? How can you focus on caring for yourself in your daily decisions and in the way you choose to live in the world? Many of us healthcare providers who understand that diets don't work, and that healthy people come in a range of sizes, now have this terrific book to recommend to our patients. And for the healthcare providers who don't yet know the research about the possibility of health across the broad range of body sizes, the book can educate and guide them in how to provide supportive, collaborative, and weight-neutral healthcare. I'd recommend you have this book in hand next time you go see a new healthcare provider!
on October 20, 2008
This book is the BEST researched book about obesity and weight management I have EVER read. It is extremely well cited and quite eye opening about what science REALLY says about obesity. Very comprehensive, the author covers the history (and politics) of the so called "obesity epidemic", as well as the risks (and non risks) of obesity. She straight talks in the book, and I love that. Finally she presents a plan for being healthy and fit which is doable for anyone regardless of size. This is such a fascinating book, I couldn't put it down. I have read many books on this subject but Health at Every Size is DEFINITELY the best of all the books I've ever read. It's a must read for anyone who is interested in the science of obesity and also in a healthy lifestyle (without having to "lose weight") and a must have as a reference in your library.
on December 2, 2009
I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I have dieted over the years, and after each "successful" weight loss, I have gained back twice as much as the original loss. I discovered the size-acceptance movement in the early '90s and embraced my weight, maintaining it for 10 years, until my doctor discovered sugar in my urine. What followed was a seven-year nightmare of doctors, endocronologists, orders to lose weight, prescriptions of drugs I didn't want to take and a reunion with body hatred and the battle of the bulge. I became obsessed and tortured by my struggle to keep the weight off that I had lost during this time. What started out as a quest for good health resulted in a diet roller coaster like none other I had ridden.
I returned to therapy, met with a nutritionist, consulted my medical doctor, none of whom could give me answers as to why I couldn't lose weight. The harder I tried, the easier it was to gain. I panicked as my weight began to creep closer to the original starting point, which was the highest it had ever been, when the supposed health problems began.
I began to become suspicious of the common prescription of diet and exercise. I read books and spent endless hours on the internet searching for answers. I created a Meetup group for support. It was through one of the members of that group that I was introduced to Linda Bacon's book "Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight."
I finished the book in a couple of days. It was such a good read, and I related to everything she talked about. I soaked up all the information, including the all-important message of size acceptance, something I'd lived and forgotten. The transformation of a diet mentality to self-acceptance, though, began long before I completed the book. I could feel the peace from within, peace I had been seeking for nearly a decade. It isn't my fault. Nobody had every said that before. It had always been my fault. Failure was all I knew when it came to weight, body image, and dieting (despite great success in all other areas of my life). For the first time since the diabetes diagnosis, I feel an enormous freedom from guilt, shame, and failure.
By the way, I controlled my sugar with a change in diet, and it came down after only losing 5 pounds. Back then I (and my doctor) attributed the normal sugar readings with the weight loss, not the change in foods I was eating. Now looking back, after reading this book, I realize it wasn't the weight loss that "cured" my diabetes (for which my doctors claim there is no cure) just as it wasn't the weight gain that caused my diabetes. One of the biggest (failed) motivators of losing weight and keeping it off was the diabetes. I no longer fear gaining weight, and ironically since changing my thinking, the gaining has ceased. For the first time in 7 years, I am maintaining my weight. And the most powerful observation is, by listening to my own body for cues as discussed in the book, I have been eating less, even during Thanksgiving. For the first time in my whole life, I did not stuff myself on Thanksgiving. And it wasn't because I was dieting or trying not to. It was a very natural feeling to stop before that point.
I highly recommend this book to everyone who struggles with a healthy relationship with food, everyone who diets, everyone who has several sizes of clothes on hand, and everyone who wants to be healthy.
on March 28, 2009
You know this in your heart-of-hearts as truth: every time you diet, you always gain more weight back than you lost, your skinny friend eats more than you but remains thin, you exercise regularly and feel fit, but you still don't lose weight, and that sometimes the craving for food seems completely irrational and irresistible, despite all your will power. But heart-of-heart knowing does not carry the same weight (sorry!) as facts, research, and data.
Dr. Linda Bacon uses scientific research to explain, in easy to understand conversational language, the physical mechanisms that cause rebound weight gain after dieting and that work to preserve fat rather than lose fat. She exposes the sources of the inability to recognize natural feelings of hunger and satiety. She explains what 20th Century food additives have done to our ability to process the food we eat. Once you gain this understanding of the science of how your body works, all of your intuitive knowledge about your weight makes perfect sense.
Dr. Bacon outlines a do-able plan for replacing artificial dieting with techniques for re-learning to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. She emphasizes making healthful food choices, bringing movement into your life, and allowing your body to stabilize at its own unique set point. "Diet" is rescued from being a hateful verb, full of punishing calorie counting, and returned to meaning simply what you choose to eat. Dr. Bacon's "non-diet" encourages healthful, satisfying choices, in order to honor your own unique body, no matter what size you are.
I love this book!
on May 10, 2010
I've been overweight my entire life and have dealt with the stigma that goes along with that. After years of unsuccessful dieting, I began to notice some trends with my body which made me realize that something was off with all the info and advice that I had been receiving. I recently watched "Food Inc" which got me thinking about processed foods and I began doing a lot of research on the subject. That research led me to "Health at Every Size" and I can honestly say that this book has changed my life! My issues with food and dieting were finally explained in a way that made sense. You see, while I have always been heavy, I've never been in poor health. Every time I'd have a check-up, all my stats (blood pressure, sugar levels, cholesterol) would be normal and even optimal. And every time, my doctors would always say that while those numbers were good, they would never last and that my health would deteriorate b/c of my weight. Ten years of hearing this and being consistantly put down by the medical community, and my health still has not deteriorated (you'd think it would due to the stress of all that). I even had a doctor tell me that bariatric surgery was my best option even though I wasn't heavy enough to qualify for that. This shows how out of touch the medical community is regarding weight and how detrimental that is to society. This book explains everything and backs it with hard science, not just assumptions. Reading this book helped me to finally accept myself, and to view food as a pleasurable part of life, not as the enemy. And after all that, I actually lost some weight - go figure! But as the book stresses, that wasn't the point - the point is maintaining good health and self-acceptance. Please, if you've ever hated you body or felt bad about yourself, please please read this book! Give up the fight and start living your life!
on December 1, 2009
I ditched dieting many years ago so I could accomplish more in life than taking up less room on the planet. Although I consider myself enlightened about body acceptance, reading Health At Every Size was like going to a size-positive finishing school. I read. I wrote in the margins, I screamed in frustration, I read some more. I bought extra copies to share with others.
Dr. Bacon shines a bright light on commonly held (and untrue) beliefs about fat people. Health at Every Size is a master class in fighting the sick cultural idea that fat people are defective, and that thinner is always better. I highly recommend reading it, no matter what your size.
on March 22, 2009
As a survivor of bulimia I was very excited to read Linda Bacon's book
Health at Every Size:The Surprising Truth about Your Weight.
With solid scientific research to back up her claims, she has come up with a program to help ANYONE improve their health. She exposes the truth about the dangers and unhealthy results of tampering with your natural weight through restrained eating. She also brings to light the economic motivation behind the media hype that fear mongers us into craziness and body/weight obsession.
I came away from this book outraged. I thought to myself, not only was I hoodwinked by the beauty and fashion industry that I must be a certain size to be considered acceptable, but now I was lied to by my own government and medical establishment that supports the idea that dieting and maintaining an unnatural weight is healthy for me.
It made me angry to think that young people are told this lie and eating disorders of all kinds are created by these beliefs.
Please read this book and learn how to stop hurting yourself and start helping yourself.
This book coupled with It's Not About Food by Laurelee Roark and Carol Emery Normandi are life savers.
Letting go of habitual dieting or eating disorders is not something one can do on their own. If you are having trouble with it please seek therapy and support. Make sure your therapist or support system understands Health at Every Size and non-dieting as a tool in your overall recovery process.
on June 20, 2009
I recently purchased this book. The review and academic interpretation of weight loss studies is excellent and worth the price of the book. Anyone who has tried to lose weight and think they have failed should read what the author finds about the topic. The balance of the book, where she gets into her method to lose weight (or be happy where you are) is less impressive and falls into the tiring mountain of "how to lose/be healthy" books on the market.
on December 1, 2009
The obesity 'epidemic' is totally debunked in this book. The author writes about several scientific studies on weight loss that have real clout in the medical fields. This book has changed the way I view myself and my family.
This book also gave me the courage to stand up to doctors. When I finally got up the courage to ask my Doctor 'at what weight will you refuse to treat me' he said, looking exasperated 'I'm not like that' while shaking his head. This same doctor was telling me a few moments ago that if I lost 50 pounds my health problem would go away. On the website there are several links to find doctors that are supportive of HAES but there aren't very many on the west coast. So, for me I needed to push my Doc's buttons until I could get him to admit that he either was or was not going to discriminate against me because of my weight. Thankfully, he is not going to. I attribute that little success to the confidence I gained by reading this book.
The book has great information and will give you the self confidence you need to stand up to your health care providers!