Thin Is Not The Same As Healthy

Photographed by Refinery29.
If you’re on a diet right now, you’re not alone. Everyone from your mom to your pediatrician to Oprah will tell you that the key to a long, happy, healthy life is getting your weight “under control.” From all sides, the message is clear: Weight loss is critical to health, and diets will help you get there.
The trouble is that it’s just not true.
There is widespread evidence that diets – restricting calories with the goal of weight loss – don’t work. It’s not that everything you’ve ever learned about the importance of eating nutrient-rich foods and getting regular exercise is wrong. Those things will absolutely make you healthier. What they won’t do is make you thin.
The vast majority of diets do not lead to sustained weight loss. What they do lead to is rampant preoccupation with food and weight, a toxic cultural thin ideal, body dissatisfaction, disordered eating, and for 10% of our population, life-threatening eating disorders.
Last week, Weight Watchers announced a program to provide free memberships to 10 million teens. The eating disorder community took to social media to urge Weight Watchers to reconsider, sharing personal stories of the damage that dieting has inflicted. It was powerful. But the problem is bigger than Weight Watchers, or even teen dieting.
The problem is thinking of weight as an indicator of health. As a group of scientists, therapists, diet survivors, and concerned citizens, we’re #donewithdieting. Here’s why.
Project HEAL is the largest nonprofit in the U.S. delivering prevention, treatment financing, and recovery support for people suffering from eating disorders.

More from Body

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.