Frequently Asked QUESTIONS
Is Beyond The Bathroom Scale® still a health and fitness blog? Where did all the old content go?
Yes, we are still a health and fitness blog! But we have shifted the way we cover certain topics. Since BTBS launched in 2012, we always been against faddy diets and continue to take a strong stance against the dieting industry. Since 2017, I guess you could say that BTBS has become much more radical in it's approach to tackling the dieting industry and crucially, diet culture as a whole.
A lot of our old content spoke about calories, macros, fat loss, and strength training. We also featured a lot of different health and sports products suited to fitness and athletic lifestyles. We now recognise that some of these topics can be triggering for people who are struggling with, or recovering from, eating disorders and disordered eating and we didn't want to contribute to the very problem we're tying to fight against!
BTBS still promotes health and fitness, in the sense of gentle nutrition, intuitive eating and joyful movement, but the key shift is that we are choosing to focus on promoting recovery from a lifetime of dieting and disordered eating, as well as putting health and fitness beyond the bathroom scale.
What do you mean by "putting health beyond the bathroom scale"?
Our overall aim is to help women heal their relationship with food, exercise and their bodies. At BTBS we:
- Recognise that you can be healthy at any size and that dieting is a health problem in itself, rather than the answer.
- Recognize that you do not need to be a certain weight, BMI or dress size in order to improve your overall health.
- Recognise that clinical research demonstrates the harmful long-term effects of dieting and weight cycling, both physically and psychologically.
- Feel that mental well-being and a healthy relationship with food, exercise and body image is a vital aspect of overall health. There's no health without mental health.
- Promote body diversity and acceptance, taking an intuitive approach to eating, finding the joy in movement (rather than using exercise as tool for weight loss) and self-compassion.
- Recognise that there are more effective ways to assess a person's health than the scale, and advocate for tracking bio-markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.
- Believe you can't tell how physically or psychologically healthy a person is just by looking at them.
- Feel that the medical community and health professionals should be focusing on overall health, mental health and lifestyle factors, rather than the reductionist approach of focusing on weight loss.
- Stand against a fitness industry that promotes diet culture and an obsession with body shape, weight, #fitspo, and 'clean eating'.
- Define 'fitness' as improved cardiovascular health, increased strength and flexibility. Not by a body type.
- Believe that diet culture and its obsession with weight loss, is detrimental to mental well-being and encourages a slide into disordered eating and eating disorders.
- Recognise that eating disorders can affect absolutely anyone of any size, weight, age, gender, ethnicity, social class and disability.
- Promote recovery from disordered eating and eating disorders by signposting to useful resources and qualified health professionals.
- Promote recovery from dieting by sharing relevent research and information, as well as collaborating with qualified experts.
What's your definition of a 'diet'?
Dieting isn't just juice cleanses, laxative teas and diet pills. We're also talking about cutting out food groups (where there is no medical reason for doing so, like in the case of an allergy or intolerance.), counting calories, macros (fat, protein, carbs), points, syns etc. and restricting them.
Even if you don't feel ravenously hungry on the diet, there is still some kind of restriction going on. There has to be, because intentional weight loss requires a calorie deficit.
One of the issues I have with calorie counting is that your cue to eat or stop comes from an external source - a calorie counter for example - rather than your body's own innate hunger and fullness cues.
Dieting overall can backfire by slowing down metabolism and the dieting industry sets up for failure by creating unrealistic expectations and encouraging us to go to drastic lengths to achieve our goals. Research into eating disorders also shows that many eating disorders begin with dieting.
What do you define as 'disordered eating'?
Disordered eating doesn't just mean eating disorders. We're including the binge and restrict cycle, the dieting cycle, restriction of amounts or times of food, overeating in the name of a cheat day and then fasting the next day. We're also including exercising with a view to burn off excess calories consumed. All of these patterns are frighteningly similar to eating disorders, but it may be that the behaviour isn't at the level required for clinical diagnosis. Be aware that this doesn't make the behaviour healthy! It's still going against the body's innate cues.
What do you mean by 'recovery'?
Recovery can look like many things to many different people. It isn't always a final destination either, but instead more of a on going process. When we refer to 'recovery', we mean "making peace with food", "exercising for the joy of it“, "reaching a place of body acceptance“ and “prioritising health above the number on the scale”. The path to recovery in this context may look like leaving diet culture behind, healing from disordered eating or eating disorders, or addressing issues of body image.
Didn't you publish a 12 week food tracking journal?
Yes, the 12 Week Health, Fitness & Wellness Planner is still available to buy.
I personally no longer track my food, calories, macros or anything like that, in the interest of improving my own relationship with food - which I have a long complicated past with. I've also stopped weighing myself outside of holistic health assessments carried out by my health care professional.
Nevertheless, I feel that at the time of reversing pre-diabetes and hypertension, food tracking, for me, was a key part of this. Improving my physical health became a very urgent matter at the time and took priority. Food tracking bought awareness to my nutrition, which I'd previously ignored entirely and it helped me recognise that someone who is under-eating in terms of calories, can appear to be eating a large volume of food and that someone who is over-eating in terms of calories can be malnourished in terms of nutrition. These lessons were valuable to learn in my own recovery.
Meal planning also gave me structure to my food, whereas previously I would skip meals and then binge further down the line. It's very hard to go from binge eating, straight into Intuitive Eating, so meal planning provided that stepping stone for me (plus it made the weekly food shop easier!).
For these reasons, I've decided to continue to sell the planner, but have discontinued the active promotion of it, as some parts of it conflict with the nature of The Health Mindset Programme and the nature of food tracking can be triggering for some indivduals.
As always, I strongly advise that individuals consult with their own health professionals for personalised advice before taking on board any programme, course or book.