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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Not Impressed by Five Pound Loss of Recent Diet/Exercise vs Relaxation Study

While I totally believe that stress screws your body and mind up, and destressing and learning to do things that involve quietness and meditation are healthful (they prove so to me), I can't get too excited about that study recently reported all over the diet world online. You may have heard about it, the one that says that destressing with meditation and Yoga and such is better for weight loss than diet and exercise.

The destressors kept off the five pound weight loss for two years, while the nutrition info and the diet/exercise groups didn't lose or keep off.

When you're big like me and five pounds barely registers, this is not big news. If the women in the study had lost and kept off 25+ pounds (just with destressing), I might perk up.

But I've struggled to keep off 25 lbs. I had lost 29, then regained, then lost, then regained a bit, then lost. After my last bout with asthma (3.5 weeks of ickiness), I'm up again. For me, 25 pounds is an ongoing battleground. Makes me nuts. So, excuse me if a five pound loss after two years doesn't make me go yippee for Yoga.

Five pounds. This is gonna solve the obesity epidemic? I think not.

I still think that it's a holistic thing that's gonna get us there--ie, dealing with sedentary habits and moving into movement; dealing with excess calories and outsized portions and learning to eat less; cutting down or out the junk and non-nutritive foods and snacks and focusing on whole and clean foods; working with internal/emotional issues and learning how to tap into the self-control we all have to some extent; tapping into our spiritual power (if we believe in such); creating support systems in and even beyond our family/friendship circles; committing to a lifestyle change that is lifelong; changing the societal landscape so that it is fashioned and structured to support healthful living; encouraging employers to make room for exercise at work and offer healthful snacks instead of junk on the jobsites; incorporating stress management techniques; eliminating all junk from schools; adding penalty taxes to junk foods and using that money to offset health care costs for obesity; tax deductions for gym memberships and buying at-home health gear (bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, etc); making health a top family and personal priority for life.

Destressing, as you see, imo is part of that holistic approach. But without diet and exercise and support, etc, I'm sorry, the very overweight and obese and superobese can't be satisfied with losing five pounds doing yoga. That's not gonna cut it.

So, I'll take the study for what it's worth. Yes, I'll continue to incorporate mind-body/destressing times and activities into my life. But that will not solve my obesity problem--or the nation's. Or the world's. Life is stressful, no matter what we do. Destressing helps, but when you'r mom is dying or your husband leaves you or your kid gets a major illness, or your car is totalled or your country is at war or your house is foreclosed on or someone robs you at gunpoint or a hurricane is coming--stress is hard to eradicate. I think the researchers who de-emphasize or pooh-pooh (or seem to) the role of diet and exercise ain't helping us as much as they might think.

They probably just make us worry about destressing enough. :)


Dina said...

I'm with you, while it might perk some peoples ears up to hear "5 pound loss", it just bums me out as I think about how I have so much more than that to lose.

purl_princess said...

What an adorable site! I will be back :)