Thanks to all the readers who pointed this out to me (currently 107 of you.) Rainbeau Curves is a company that sells plus size active wear. On Monday they decided to try to sell that using diet language and very questionable science – in what I’m sure was a well-meaning piece, written by a well-meaning blogger – called “Ditch the Yo-Yo- How to Maintain a Healthy Weight.”
The piece is heavily influenced by diet propaganda, starting with a picture that includes a scale, a tape-measure, three pieces of fruit and some pills. It includes food moralizing, it includes confusing “taking care” of your body with attempting to manipulate its size, it trots out tired tropes about “emotional eating” and it actually includes the phrase “Eat to live, don’t live to eat” which made me roll my eyes so hard that I think I saw my brain.
Let’s be super clear about this – health is not an obligation, a barometer of worthiness, entirely within our control, or guaranteed under any circumstances – including at any weight. There is actually no such thing as a “healthy weight.” Regardless of how one is defining “healthy,” there are healthy and unhealthy people of every size. There is no weight or height/weight ratio you can achieve at which you will remain immortal unless and until you get hit by a bus.
It’s common for people to suggest that a “healthy weight” is the weight you’ll reach when you’re engaged in healthy behaviors (by whatever definition they are using for healthy behaviors,) but this is just another example of our cultural tendency (created by the diet industry) to involve weight in every discussion of health. There are actual health issues that involve weight (ie – people with certain heart issues need to weigh themselves to be aware of levels of water retention, and those who experience unexplained changes in weight may want to seek out a health care practitioner – hopefully one who won’t diagnose them as “fat” and prescribe “weight loss.) But the idea that there is some weight at which attempting weight loss becomes a good idea is a fallacy. This idea that the path to health is through body size manipulation has made a lot of money for a lot of people and industries, and is part of the “everybody knows” culture around weight and health, but is not backed by science.
In a piece for Huffington Post, researchers Mann, Tomiyama, and Ahlstrom explain that the suggestion that a certain percentage of weight loss will improve health is based on a series of failures leading to another “everybody knows” statistic that isn’t supported by evidence:
Eventually, the medical community settled on the current standard of losing just 5 percent of one’s starting weight, despite having no scientifically-supported medical reason for doing so.
If Rainbeau Curves bloggers want to talk about health there are so many topics they could choose from – getting enough sleep, the research about how enjoying food may help people absorb more nutrients from it, how to protect ourselves from dangerous diet messages, the health implications of stigma and what we can do about it, Health at Every Size and more. There is a world of health discussion that doesn’t parrot the messages that make the diet industry billions (mostly from repeat business.) So, I’m not about to give my money to a company that tries to sell me clothes with a side of diet talk and body shame.
Since it’s Say Something Sunday, you probably saw this coming. You can contact them here.
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