Frequently Asked QUESTIONS
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.
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.