Friday, June 28, 2013

Dr. Weil Agrees: Obesity Is Not a Disease

I don't have time for a long rant.  I promised my kiddo we'd go for a hike in the woods today.  You know, what Health at Every Size guru Dr. Linda Bacon calls "active living":

HAES encourages people to build activity into their day-to-day routines and focuses on helping people find enjoyable ways of being active. The goal is to promote well-being and self-care rather than advising individuals to meet set guidelines for frequency and intensity of exercise. Active living is promoted for a range of physical, psychological and other synergistic benefits which are independent of weight loss. Myths around weight control and exercise are explicitly challenged. Physical activity is also used in HAES as a way of healing a sense of body distrust and alienation from physicality that may be experienced when people are taught to over-ride embodied internal signals in pursuit of externally derived goals, such as commonly occurs in dieting.  --Dr. Linda Bacon, Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:9

I've had doctors try to prescribe Metformin for my Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  It's a diabetes medication but it's useful for some patients with PCOS too.  Not me.  Since I already don't have high blood glucose levels, the medication makes me feel sick.  I suspect it lowers my blood glucose levels too much.  I feel like someone who has gone days without eating when I take it: irritable, shaky, lightheaded, and nauseous.  But guess what else is good for managing PCOS?  Exercise.  Active Living.  I don't need a doctor's prescription to go for a hike in the woods with my kiddo.  It's fun!  It just happens to be something healthy we can do with our bodies, to "move them in pleasurable ways" as the good doctor Bacon advises.

So I don't have time to go on and on.  Gotta get moving' on.  But I wanted to share this good news: Dr. Andrew Weil is on board.  I've already blogged about my feelings toward the AMA.  Here is Dr. Andrew Weil's take on the American Medical Association's recent decision to classify obesity as a disease:

Some people (including me) disagree with the AMA's action. The vote to classify obesity as a disease went against a recommendation of the organization's Council on Science and Public Health, which studied the issue for a year and decided that obesity shouldn't be considered a disease because the measure most often used to define it – the body mass index (BMI) – is unreliable...I do not consider obesity a disease. Rather, I see it as a condition that may increase risk of certain diseases. But it is possible to be obese and healthy - if one eats a balanced diet, gets regular physical activity, attends to other aspects of lifestyle that influence health, and makes use of appropriate preventive medical services.  --Dr. Andrew Weil

Hooray!  Now, off to have fun with my kid through healthy, active living.  May you find something fun to do with your body today too.