Something the government is getting right … Kind of …
“We’ve not been very good at treating obesity for a very long time” – Dr. Sean Wharton
Yep. While counting calories can be effective as a short term intervention to bring awareness, it routinely fails as a long term intervention, because it fails to address the root cause.
Counting calories for the rest of your life is akin to telling someone to use crutches to walk for the rest of their life.
Obesity is not a logic or a math problem, and it’s not an information problem. It’s a behavioural and emotional problem that runs much deeper and is exacerbated by many modern lifestyle factors that aren’t going away anytime soon.
Almost NOBODY that I work with wants to count calories for the rest of their life. And yet, for the majority of the nutrition and fitness professionals out there, it’s all they know to prescribe.
There’s also a lot of survivorship bias: “Because it worked for me, it should work for you” … and clients that are struggling are seen as clients that should be “fired”
Very few people are willing to actually put in the work to help people truly transform their lives.
Obesity is a major medical issue. You aren’t going to hear me on the bandwagon of “you can be obese and in ideal health” …
But here’s the other thing you’re never going to hear me say:
“You’re fat because you’re stupid” … or
“You’re fat because you have no willpower or discipline”
I know what it’s like to be treated like I was stupid when I was majorly overweight.
I know how it feels to get disgusted looks at restaurants, as though I was a worthless human being.
You cannot shame, guilt or disgust people into permanent behavior change.
The problem with our overwhelmed medical system is that they do not have the time or resources to truly dedicate to helping patients.
We have a medical system built on a triage model, not a preventative model. This is why medication and surgery, even in this new approach, are considered 2 of the 3 pillars (the other one being CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
In a very high percentage of clients that I work with, you will find trauma, especially early childhood trauma. This drives many destructive behaviors at a subconscious and an emotional level that do not make logical sense.
Our logical brain is constantly being overwhelmed by primal, powerful emotions. What do you think the constant stream of negativity on news media and social media is doing?
This is why the very first pillar of working with clients is compassion. Compassion isn’t absolving responsibility or furthering the victimhood trap … it starts with “This isn’t something that you deliberately chose”
I have yet to meet a single person whose goal is to become obese. And yet, time and time again, they feel like they’re being compelled by an invisible force.
The good news is, when we compassionately accept the responsibility to change our current condition, we empower ourselves to take back our health.
Counting calories is just another form of nutrition prison for most people. Thankfully, there’s a better way that produces lasting results.
It’s a big step forward that the mainstream is openly acknowledging that we need to address this issue at a fundamentally different level.
This will challenge some people’s deeply held beliefs, there will be some people who will feel threatened by this, because they feel like their livelihood is at risk if they don’t evolve.
But people are catching on. The industry is catching up. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier to see this happening.