Below is a YouTube interview video of an online “Health Coach”, Isabel Foxen Duke, who takes the position of: Stop Dieting and accept Your Own Body Size and Set Point, whether it is fat or thin.
It gives an accurate and thorough presentation of the issues involving body image, size acceptance, and weight bias. Research indicates that 95% of all dieters will regain all of their lost weight in 1-5 years, plus more, and will wind up heavier than they were before dieting. Near the end of the video Isabel says people who are able to successfully diet long term are winners in the “5% Lottery of Hell”.
I am a person who is in the “tiny fraction of the population of statistical anomalies who are ‘able to successfully diet long term’ … one of the winners in the “5% Lottery of Hell” …, and I find her statements to be accurate as well as amusing.
My primary objection to Intuitive Eating (aka: the Hunger & Fullness Diet), is that most of its cheerleaders falsely promise, or at least imply, that it will result in weight-loss; and rarely touch on the proven fact that “reduced obese” dieters who successfully adopt that way-of-eating will most likely re-gain all of their lost weight.
Isabel Foxen Duke is an refreshing exception to that norm. She says:
"The reality of the situation is that when you heal your relationship with food, you will be sane, and you will be whatever weight that makes sense for your body … and that weight could be any number of various weights. It is not necessarily going to be defined by what we describe by the politically or socially constructed BMI index .”
What she says is compelling, and I agree with most of her positions on dieting and body image. She says: “You’ve got two choices. Either accept your body for what it is, or fight it.”
Her recommended choice is to give up dieting and end the fight.
My current choice is to continue fighting my body by dieting to maintain my weight-loss because, at this point, I am simply not willing to accept the high weight that my body clearly wants to give me.
The YouTube interview below, “Isabel Foxen Duke on How to Stop F*cking with Food”, contains a clear and accurate explanation of Set Point.
Here is a transcript I prepared which contains some of her statements about that issue:
Set Point weight is basically a theoretical term that was used to describe this phenomenon that we see which is that different people … in the absence of interference, in the absence of diet-binge cycling, in the absence of screwing with their food … are just going to arrive at some weight.
If I just stopped dieting .. relaxed, just let my biological instincts take over, whatever happens, happens…. over the course of time, maybe a few years, I’m just going to arrive at some weight, like the weight that children just arrive at.
The idea of a weight set point is basically just a term to describe the individual personal weight that a single human might end up at, when they are behaving generally, holistically around food. Not dieting-binge cycling, not interfering with their food, hunger attunement, these kinds of things. Just letting their body kind of do its thing. And eating for pleasure, sometimes, is included in that.
Set point concept is … when you stop f*cking with your food, and you’re just naturally, biologically attuned and sort of eating “naturally” or “normally” … your body has a weight that it just wants to be, and it’s just going for it. And that weight may be different than somebody else’s weight. Quite possibly, even two people at the same height will wind up at two different sizes due to different metabolics, different genetics, different environmental factors, all sorts of different stuff.
So, Set Point is a catch-all-term to describe the natural weight your body just goes to eventually when you are eating “normally”.
A ton of people are afraid of their set point weight, but the reality of the situation is that one of the reasons why this term, Set Point Weight, came about was because most people are not capable of suppressing their set point weight.
This is why we see nothing but yo-yo dieting. This is why we hear the phrase, “Diets don’t work”. The reality of the situation is that, unless you are a complete statistical anomaly, you are going to be unable to avoid your set point weight. You are just going to bounce around it all day long. Up and down and up and down and up and down.
So the whole concept of set point weight really came about because we started seeing that people just weren’t fully capable of making themselves be a certain size. People would diet, and just have further up and down fluctuations within a general range, … although diets mess with your metabolism, so in fact set points go up as a result of dieting over time.
Tons of people are afraid of their set point weight, but the reality is that it will probably get you no matter what. The question is how painful is bouncing around it, and do you want to be constantly pushing it up? Dieting tends to push up our set point. The more I engage in extreme behaviors around food, or extreme weight-loss mechanisms, the more I’m going to f*uck up my metabolism, and push my set point up irreversibly.
Irreversibly. So, it’s like “when are you going to cut your losses.”
You could continue to try to suppress your set point forever, but the reality of the situation is if you are like 95% of the people you’re going to binge eat. You’re going to gain the weight back plus some. You are going to potentially push up your set point further. You are not doing yourself any favors even if you were trying to be as thin as possible.
You’ve got two choices, either accept your body for what it is, or fight it. You will probably fail at that. You will probably lose the fight.
Even if you were in the teeny tiny 5 percentage of people who was somehow magically able to suppress their set point weight for more than 5 years; even if you were in the tiny fraction of the population of statistical anomalies who are “able to successfully diet long term”; you would have to be miserable your whole life in order to do it. By definition you are suppressing a natural biological phenomenon. You are hurting yourself physically, emotionally, psychologically. Is that really worth it?
I would make the argument that body positivity and doing body image work is a much healthier and happy way to go long-term than just continuing to diet in the hopes that maybe you can get into the 5% lottery of Hell. Even if you win the lottery of Hell, even if you are able to successfully diet, it’s Hell. Like, Why?
And Again, most of you won’t be able to do it. Most of you won’t even have the choice to choose Hell. Most of you are just going to Binge-eat. It’s several levels of irrationality when you consider that the alternative of body acceptance is actually pretty great.
For several years now, I have realized that if I were younger … in my 20s, 30s, or 40s but still knew what I know now … I would totally buy into Isabel’s choice to accept my body as it is, no matter how fat it might be. I would just give up dieting and work on body image and body acceptance.
This is because there’s no way I would be able to tolerate living the way I’ve lived this past 12+ years in maintenance for 30 to 60 years or more. Under any circumstances, continual dieting is hard, but watching my hard-earned weight-loss continue to creep back up while I consistently eat at lower and lower starvation levels is almost intolerable.
My main rationale for choosing the other choice: … Continue to diet and fight with my body … is that, here at age 73, it won’t be that many more years before the battle will naturally be over anyway, because I’m going to be too old to work to control my food or I’ll be dead. Plus, I often find it hard now to move my body about, and I shudder to think how much more difficult that would be if I started carrying around another 100+ pounds.
I am fortunate because over my 60+ years of dieting I’ve adopted a great many learned behaviors that make my struggle more tolerable for me than it is for the majority of people. For example: one of these is my ongoing choice to consider Dieting as a Hobby. … Hence this Article, this Blog, and this DietHobby website.
I’ve been following Isabel Foxen Duke for quite some time. She appears to be knowledgable, thoughtful, and articulate. I’ve found her comments to be both credible and meaningful. She Blogs at: “How NOT to Eat Cake really Fast when Nobody’s Looking”, and a link to it exists here in DietHobby under RESOURCES, Links: 2. Blogs of Interest.
The YouTube video discussed above: “Isabel Foxen Duke on How to Stop F*cking with Food”: is posted at the bottom of this article.
NOTE: Originally posted on 1/10/2018, then Bumped up.
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