Weil and fat politics

I picked up Andrew Weil’s new book, Healthy Aging, over the weekend. I’m a big fan of his, and often go searching his website when I have questions on health.

Interestingly, his book briefly touches on the subject of health and weight in a way that is complementary to the themes being raised by books like Fat Politics (which I discussed last week).

I’m not pushing for big league fat acceptance here. But nor am I going to miss the point that the authors are making either, like I think some might be.

What I think Dr. Weil points out well is the same thing that Oliver does in Fat Politics. Our weight is not the cause of our health problems. Our weight is a side effect of bad diets and lack of activity, and it is these, not the weight, that is likely the cause of the weight-related illnesses like heart disease and diabetes.

And a key point of Fat Politics is that there is very little scientific evidence to show that losing weight improves health, and in fact, some weight-loss diets may worsen health.

Anyways, as this morning’s post shows, I’m not against weight loss. But I do appreciate the point that Oliver and Weil are making. Don’t kid yourself about why (or how) you’re losing the weight. If you do so with a crappy diet and without the right kind of physical activity, you may be thin, but you won’t be healthy, and you probably won’t be improving your life expectancy.

That said, I don’t think we should throw out the weight loss with the “obesity epidemic” bathwater. But given how difficult it is for the average person to lose weight, I think we have to look at why the whole weight loss industry is failing miserably (unless you count the balance sheets for bariatric surgeons).

There’s gotta be a better way.

Worth a visit