I have NO earthly idea how it took so long to get here but the Canadian Medical Association Journal in partnership with Obesity Canada have just released new guidelines for treating obesity that validate everything I've been saying for over two years, including the necessity of cognitive behavioral strategies.
And you guys, I am thrilled.
Don't get me wrong, we still have a long way to go. There's still a ton of language in their work that's problematic (that fact that they're even still using the phrase "treating obesity" and declaring it a "disease" to name a couple) and there are still some suggestions that I wholeheartedly disagree with but it's such a wonderful step forward. The future is coming!
I started really hating being a trainer the last probably 4 years that I was doing it. Why? Because I had slowly been realizing all this. Most people in the diet and fitness industry have blamed individuals for their weight loss "failures" but I didn't. At first, when clients would struggle, I blamed myself (I mean, I blamed myself for everything my whole life, why should this be any different? Haha).
But when I started noticing that EVERYONE struggled, I started blaming the system and looking for solutions.
That also happens to be how I healed my own struggles with weight & food. Most people would likely look at my old progress pics and assume that when I lost the weight, I solved my "weight & food problem". That's what we all think, isn't it? That if we could just "get motivated" or find some "willpower" we'd lose weight all our weight and food problems would be over.
But weight loss doesn't solve anything - even if you manage to achieve it, all it does it create a new set of problems (and obsessions) because then you have to start the losing battle of trying to keep it off.
In the last four years or so as a trainer, I started trying to SUPER slowly shift away from traditional focuses (weight, food, etc) in my work with clients.
Three years ago I decided to really start shifting in a different direction and two years ago I completely mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral coaching courses and officially cut the final cord on my time in the weight loss and fitness world. I officially quit being a trainer (read more on why here) and in the two years since I've been developing cognitive eating.
More than two years before these new guidelines came out I was saying things like, "stop focusing on weight and start working on changing why the weight went on in the first place" and I started teaching cognitive behavioral strategies - now the medical community is FINALLY saying the same thing!!
The last guidelines were created in 2006 and recommended SUPER outdated practices like focusing on weight, BMI and waist circumference as measures of health. That's finally out.
The whole idea that people who carry extra body fat just aren't trying hard enough to "fix" the problem or that they've been lazy and undisciplined in their eating habits has been pervasive, toxic and blatantly untrue myth for generations and the report aims to change those - FINALLY!
The new guidelines FINALLY acknowledge none of that to be the case - that are in fact underlying causes and getting to the root of those are the key.
They suggest taking the focus off weight and instead learning to understand the root causes through cognitive behavior therapy.
Earlier this year I wrote a piece for Tiny Buddha that I originally titled, "If We Really Care About Health, We'll Stop Focusing on Weight Loss" in which I explain exactly why I believe such a controversial thing. Lori at Tiny Buddha changed the title as she often does (she's got a gift for great titles and mine was admittedly a controversial statement) but my points remain and with these new guidelines, my position is no longer controversial - it's the way of the future!
The reality is, the chances that you will ever "solve your weight problem" with diet and exercise is slim to none. (I'd even go so far as to argue that we don't need "obesity treatment" and don't have "weight problems" - we have self-destructive thoughts, beliefs and patterns of behavior that develop as a result of the way our species is wired. That's it. That's where the entire focus should be - on changing self-destructive thoughts, beliefs and patterns of behavior because with awareness and the right tools, you CAN change them.
Continuing to approach weight loss or "healthy living" in the traditional "diet and exercise" way almost guarantees that you will gain more weight over time and struggle forever.
Why? Three reasons.
1) because not only does it do NOTHING to change the reason weight goes in the first place
2) it fuels even more self-destructive thoughts, beliefs and patterns of behavior
3) makes you more likely to gain weight over time
How do I know? Because for over a decade I've heard the stories of women just like you who have spent the entire lives trying to "diet and exercise" the "problem" away.
It doesn't work.
I've been saying it for years and now FINALLY the medical community is catching up. The new guidelines they've just released are a huge step forward. They're a huge step towards creating the future I've been dreaming of for our population and future generations - one without the weight & food struggles we've all been plagued with.
Hear me when I tell you this - your weight and food struggles are NOT your fault. They were never your fault.
We were sold "solutions" that cause them.
Dr. Sean Wharton, co-lead author of the guideline and adjunct professor at McMaster University, said in a recent phone interview with CTV News, "simply cutting calories and increasing exercise is not a sustainable way to lose weight and can ultimately lead to the patient regaining the weight. We know that willpower and motivation will allow for a dietary plan that lasts for a short period of time and then our body compensates and regains the weight."
They have specifically added cognitive behavioral therapy as a means to help patients understand why they're eating the way they're eating and learn to create new behavior patterns.
That's EXACTLY what I've spent the last two years developing cognitive eating to do. I cannot even tell you how completely validated I feel right now.
(How much do you love Bobbie Adler? Will & Grace is one of my favorite shows in the world and I'm obsessed with Grace's mother and her "told you so" dance so I had to throw her in there.😂)
Again, I have NO idea what took them so long to get here. It's not like cognitive behavioral therapy is new. It's been around for decades and is one of the most effective treatments used to treat eating disorders.
To my knowledge though, my cognitive eating system is the only one of its kind that blends not just CBT but mindfulness, meditation, mind-body connection and some intuitive eating elements into a simple to follow, step by step process, complete with online course content and group support.
Dr Wharton also said, “Some people can do that skill (CBT) without even being taught that skill, but the majority of people have to be taught those skills."
So can you do it on your own? Absolutely! I did.
But it took forever and it was SO hard to do it alone.
I was piecing together little bits of information from where ever I could find it, stuck messing around with trial and error, and had no support when I needed it the most.
It was brutal.
That's why I create so much free content for you. If you want to do it on your own, I want to make it easier for you than it was for me.
But for those that want or need more help and support, it's why I created Cognitive Eating and the Cognitive Eating Academy - to give you what you need to finally get out from under the all consuming, soul crushing weight & food war. It's exactly what I needed when I was struggling.
I created it to give you what I didn't have - the exact step by step process and all the tools and support you need, in one convenient place.
Traditional diet and exercise programs set us up for failure and continued struggle because they force us to fight against our brains and our bodies.
The CBT, mindfulness, and body connection practices that I've built into cognitive eating teaches you to work WITH the way your body and mind are naturally designed to work so you can learn to eat and move in ways that make you feel amazing because you WANT to, not because you're trying to "stay on track" or do what you think you're supposed to be doing.
I've believed with my whole being that this is the future, that this shift will change the way the world views weight loss and healthy living and I've spent 2 years developing and perfecting the process. Are you brave enough to lead the way and join me? Learn more about Cognitive Eating and the Cognitive Eating Academy.