1. Dieting is notoriously unsuccessful at producing substantial long-term weight loss.
2. Aim for healthy habits -- choosing healthy foods and exercising regularly -- and let your weight stabilize where it will.
As a woman, a mother of seven daughters, and a feminist, I often become concerned about body image issues. I sincerely believe that women who are healthy and self-confident can be beautiful and attractive no matter what their shape. I deplore the use of overly thin, unrealistic and photoshopped women images to sell products. I literally cheer when I see non-traditionally shaped women confidently presenting themselves in the public arena. Among my favorite exercise videos are the Richard Simmons series where hugely fat people are dancing and sweating as an inspiration to all to get in shape.
But here's my confession: I'm a chronic dieter. At a visceral level I can't convince myself that I'm OK at the weight my body would like to maintain. I have a constant fear that if I let myself eat brownies and cheesecake my weight will quickly soar over 300 pounds. Although my background is in health and physical education and I am capable of sound nutritional counseling to those who consult with me, I have read hundreds of fad diet books. I'm ashamed to admit I've done Grapefruit Diets, Three-Day Stewardess Diets, Atkins, the Zone, Low-Fat, and Nothing-But-Green Diets.
One of the most profound statements on this issue by Church leaders is Jeffrey R. Holland in an address he gave to the Young Women of the Church in 2005:
I plead with you young women to please be more accepting of yourselves, including your body shape and style, with a little less longing to look like someone else. We are all different. Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or other wants to be something they are not! But as one adviser to teenage girls said: “You can’t live your life worrying that the world is staring at you. When you let people’s opinions make you self-conscious you give away your power. … The key to feeling [confident] is to always listen to your inner self—[the real you.]” And in the kingdom of God, the real you is “more precious than rubies.” Every young woman is a child of destiny and every adult woman a powerful force for good. I mention adult women because, sisters, you are our greatest examples and resource for these young women. And if you are obsessing over being a size 2, you won’t be very surprised when your daughter or the Mia Maid in your class does the same and makes herself physically ill trying to accomplish it. We should all be as fit as we can be—that’s good Word of Wisdom doctrine. That means eating right and exercising and helping our bodies function at their optimum strength. We could probably all do better in that regard. But I speak here of optimum health; there is no universal optimum size.
I know-beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt that when I die, my body will instantly revert to it's most perfect form--the 105 pounds I weighed at age 21. :) But in the meantime, I cannot be satisfied with the extra padding I have added since then. What is it that makes many girls and women deeply ashamed of their bodies? Why do we diet when we know in our rational minds it is unhealthy and ineffective? Does our emphasis on modesty for women keep us from being pleased with our bodies and presenting them attractively to others?
I think the woman in this video is gorgeous, sexy and feminine. She also looks healthy and vigorous. But she is overweight. Would I dare to be happy with myself if I were her?
Miss Platnum -- Give Me The Food