The Evolution of Weight Loss (as heard by a dietitian)

“I’m one stomach flu away from my goal weight.” Said Emily in The Devil Wears Prada.  Classic line.  But WTF does this say about our culture?  A helluva lot.  It’s all about the weight.  The number.  The end-all be-all.  It defines us.  It elates us at times and destroys us at others. 

 So you were able to eat whatever you wanted in high school and didn’t gain an ounce.  Now “you look at a brownie and you’re two pounds heavier”.  The day of your wedding you were 110 pounds.  Your anxiety was through the roof and you didn’t eat for a month but “you were there”.  How many of these weights have you referred to throughout your life?  Maybe it’s just one or two.  But most likely you’ve thought about or identified with ALL of these weights in your life if you’re in the 40-50+ age range.  As a dietitian practicing for over 17 years, I have heard references to these periods in your life countless times.  You identify a certain time period with a certain weight.  It’s one of the initial things you tell me when we go back through the timeline of your history.  The first thing that pops into your head is not usually the amazing friendships and experiences you had in college or the fabulous meals you had on your honeymoon as a newlywed.  It’s a number.  A number you once saw, even for a day.

How about your weight before and after you grew another human in your belly?  It’ always about the number.  How quickly can I get to my pre-pregnancy weight?  Even during a pregnancy, the focus is always on your weight.  It’s literally the first thing you do at each doctor’s appointment, of course partially to monitor the growth and health of the baby.  But still, it’s always about weight.  We are programmed from a young age to focus on a number.  That number defines us throughout our lifetime.  If any perspective began to shift in the beginning of quarantine, it was to appreciate your health and stay healthy.  We briefly took the focus off of weight loss and numbers.  I had clients who for the first time in a long time, just wanted my help to stay healthy.  But like everything else, here we are again. 

The weight loss monster is back in full force.  From shake and powder-based diets to straight up starvation 1,000 calorie plans, to fizzy drink pyramid scheme diets, we will do whatever it takes to drop weight quick.  The newest phrase I have seen floating around the internet and in social-distancing-person is the Quarantine 15, which refers to the 15 pounds that you may have gained in quarantine. 

Unlike other dietitians, I don’t get upset or take offense to yet another silly weight reference. Unfortunately, this is our culture and weight loss is big business.  Companies will always play to your pain points and promise you quickies, but there is no such thing. Life is short and precious so I urge you to appreciate the you RIGHT F’ING NOW. Not then. Be patient. Be kind to yourself.  Think about the fact that the number on the scale does not define your worth or your time on this earth.  Your tombstone will not read “R.I.P. Here lies Judy, weighing in at 140 pounds!”  Invest in ways to get healthier and happier but not for a number. Life is too great. You are too great.  Kappeesh?!!

Your tombstone will not read “R.I.P. Here lies Judy, weighing in at 140 pounds!”

Laura Burak, MS, RD, CDN

Laura Burak

Hi, my name is Laura Burak and I am a registered dietitian, a foodie, a wannabe chef, a yogi and a mama in the Long Island suburbs outside NYC. I have been passionate about delicious, fresh food from an early age and began cooking healthier meals for my family when I was a teenager.

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