Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sea change?

I don't know if any of you have picked up on this, but I've been sensing a sea change about the dieting issue that is making me feel very optimistic.

I've talked before about Glamour magazine's commitment to featuring women of all sizes and the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty's focus on regular-looking women, but lately, I've been witnessing more and more changes in the way we talk about weight loss that make me wonder if there isn't a real paradigm shift going on.

First, Weight Watchers changed their entire approach to weight loss. No longer are they narrowly focused on dieting, and they are so committed to this change that they've incorporated it into their new slogan, which is now "Stop dieting. Start living."

Then, I opened the latest issue of Glamour magazine and read a response that completely caught me off guard.

A reader had written to the magazine's health expert and asked, "I did a cleanse and then gained weight. Did it mess up my metabolism?"

I'm not going to lie—when I read this, I just automatically assumed that the answer would be wishy washy and inconclusive, but I was wrong because this is what Dr. Joann Manson had to say: "In a sense, yes. Many cleansing diets are fewer than 1,000 calories a day; eating that little for a week or more could trigger your metabolism to slow down and conserve calories. When you begin eating normally again, any calories above your new metabolic rate get stores as fat and could cause weight gain."

Call me crazy, but aren't cleanses just the kind of thing women's magazines were encouraging women to do a year ago? And now they're warning people about them? Not only that, but they're pointing out what I've been saying on this blog for a year and a half—in the long run, diets make you gain weight.

And finally, I am ashamed to admit that I was "reading" an issue of People Style Watch recently—reading probably isn't the right word since the sole purpose of that magazine is to feature celebrities in the latest fashions—and I was thrilled to see that in their "What's In and What's Out" column, lifestyle changes were listed as IN, and diets were declared OUT. According to People, "Instead of crash dieting or going on cleaanses, people are learning to eat healthy for a lifetime.

Is it be possible that people are finally getting it? That they're starting to finally understand that being healthy is not about cutting sweets or carbs or drastically reducing calories, but about living your life in a way that embraces moderation and health?

I'm not totally sure that the majority of Americans are catching on, but I do think the media is starting to get it. They're starting to get that we are sick to death of being told we have to be anorexic-looking to look good and that we have to eat 1,000 calories a day to be thin.

And all I have to say is it's about damn time.

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