In September 2018, HuffPost published an article entitled “Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong.” The author Michael Hobbes spoke about the history of the study of obesity, as well as about individuals, criticizing the generally accepted opinion about the genesis of overweight and subsequent weight loss. He reports that obesity is not necessarily associated with poor health and metabolic disorders. Plus, overweight people cannot count on weight loss through diet and exercise correction . He urges readers to “switch their attention from weight to health for the first time and not be ashamed of the problem, but seek support.”
Obesity as a way of life
As a medical psychologist who studied the problem of obesity, as well as the attitude of people to their overweight and health for two decades, Hobbes discovered many interesting facts. In addition, he drew public attention to the psychological problem of obesity in order to enable overweight people to be heard and perceived as individuals, with their families, interests and careers, rather than as sick people. Of course, experts agree that attention to health and support for obesity are crucial for well-being.
However, there were many critics who disagreed with Hobbes’ ideas. Although a lot of things are correctly understood in the article, some statements are extremely controversial and are highly doubtful by doctors who have been treating obesity for more than a year.
Criticism of weight loss diets
One of Hobbes’ key thoughts is that weight loss diets do not work. Moreover, he argues that scientists and doctors are aware of this fact, but actively propose a change in nutrition as one of the first points in the weight loss program. This point of view is controversial, many researchers have previously criticized diets, especially restrictive and rigid, designed to combat excess weight. However, often the allegations and scientific facts concerned a particular diet, and not the nutrition system as a whole. Criticism of the entire dietary system as a whole is a serious step, since the weight loss industry is one of the profitable areas of today’s medicine, dietetics and healthy lifestyle.
The problem of losing weight in modern conditions
The problem with the fight against obesity also lies in the fact that people do not want to listen to sound arguments. The message that diets do not work is not as attractive to consumers as “proper nutrition” plans, pills, or potions aimed at “curing” excess weight. It is more interesting to follow the 30-day weight loss plan published by the “Instagram star” on social networks than to read a scientifically based book about the benefits of walking in the fight against excess weight. And especially attractive means and diets that promise weight loss “quickly and effortlessly, while boring scientists say -” this is impossible. ”
Metabolic features are individual
According to scientists, Hobbes in his statements misses another important point. Although he is right in that typical treatment methods (for example, short-term diets) for obesity and overweight, as a rule, do not work, but the situation is not always and not so terrible for everyone. While our metabolism works against us when we are losing weight, the degree of this complex metabolic response varies among people. Of course, losing weight is always a difficult job, people must reorganize their metabolism to the process of burning fat. However, there are no short-term solutions to the fight against obesity. It is always a long job. But to change the metabolism due to constant changes in nutrition is quite possible if healthy eating habits are taken as a rule.
In addition, it is known that there are people who easily gain weight and then lose it and keep the set weight for a long time. What works for one person may not be the best method for losing weight in another due to the nature of metabolism. But studies show that people who lose weight and do not gain it in the future usually reduce their calorie and fat intake on an ongoing basis (not by one to two weeks), go in for sports on average one hour a day, eat breakfast daily, and give up sedentary activities. That is, evidence shows that for many people this is a reasonable, healthy and sustainable way to lose weight.
Radical weight loss
Today, overweight people resort to getting rid of it with the help of surgical intervention, which was once considered a radical approach, and today it is becoming an increasingly popular technique. A review of studies on this topic indicates that people lose an average of about 15–20 kg eight years after surgery compared to people in the control groups who, eight years after the “usual” treatments (such as diet), gain weight again.
Hobbes also denies that weight loss through dietary correction can lead to better health and even mental health. But in reality there is a lot of evidence of the connection of excess weight and disease, depression, neurosis.
Throughout his article, Hobbes criticizes healthcare providers for approaches to treating obesity. Indeed, many of the solutions that have historically been offered to patients have done more harm than good, but today scientists are very focused on this issue and are developing the latest methods of losing weight. But the subtitle and tone of the article suggests that there is some kind of conspiracy theory in the medical community to keep people on ineffective weight loss schemes.
In addition, Hobbes notes that shame for their appearance and being overweight is not the best motivator for losing weight, although you can find a lot of evidence of changes in the lives of patients caused by this feeling. In addition, Hobbes suggests that diet correction is unlikely to make people worse, only healthier. He promotes the theory that if a person strives for weight loss, he also cannot strive for health or acceptance of his body. The statement is very controversial and scandalous, it gave rise to discussions. Some people supported the idea that you need to love yourself at any weight, but others felt that it is important to strive for more, for example, to lose weight if you have gained extra pounds – and this is also a manifestation of self-love.