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minutes fitness http://minutesfitness.com Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:44:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 I Finally Decided To Show The World My ‘Man Boobs.’ Here’s How It Changed My Life. http://minutesfitness.com/i-finally-decided-to-show-the-world-my-man-boobs-heres-how-it-changed-my-life-1801 http://minutesfitness.com/i-finally-decided-to-show-the-world-my-man-boobs-heres-how-it-changed-my-life-1801#respond Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:44:21 +0000 http://minutesfitness.com/i-finally-decided-to-show-the-world-my-man-boobs-heres-how-it-changed-my-life-1801

I realized I was fat in the first grade. My teacher asked the class to share what we loved most. While my classmates shared their love for their parents, pets, favorite toys or siblings, I wanted to profess something different. I had a crush on the prettiest girl in class, and I had found the courage to let her and others know it.

I walked to the front of the classroom with my head held high.

“I love Dee because she is the prettiest and smartest girl in class.”

“Eww!” Dee responded. “I don’t like you! You’re fat, and your titties are bigger than mine!”

The class erupted with laughter; my eyes filled with tears. My classmates called me “titty boy” as I walked back to my desk, arms folded over my chest and head dangled in shame and defeat. My teacher quickly gained control of the class, but the damage was already done. That day, I realized I was different. That day changed my life and created a monster ― one that despised and hated his body for the way it looked.

Day-to-day life as a fat person is about overcompensating or camouflaging yourself so that you don’t stand out as the fattest person in the room. I avoided going swimming simply to avoid taking off my shirt in front of anyone. Clothes and shoes became my talking points. And when that didn’t work, I became the class clown, making people laugh — sometimes at my own expense — to deflect conversations or haggling from others about my weight and breasts.

And since learning that I have man boobs, clinically known as gynecomastia, I’ve had to fight bullies — literally — to protect myself.

Evans crosses the finish line of the Snoopy Loopathon in December 2018.

Evans crosses the finish line of the Snoopy Loopathon in December 2018.

Others’ perceptions of me damaged my psyche. I believed that being fat meant I was worthless. I felt like my thoughts, feelings and emotions were invalid ― I was fat, and it was my fault. 

Like countless people, I had a tumultuous affair with my weight, body image and attempts at weight loss. Despite finding success with weight loss at certain points of my life, I was left with man boobs. I still viewed myself as a failure; my extreme weight-loss efforts didn’t translate to what I saw in the mirror. After all, my new body wasn’t one worthy of a Men’s Health cover.

I spiraled out of control, losing the glimmer of confidence I was building. I gained weight, repeating the vicious cycle again. Each time I repeated this process, I didn’t feel good enough for society — or even myself.

My turning point surfaced during a doctor’s visit. In 2012, I found myself sitting in a doctor’s office weighing nearly 400 pounds, anxiously awaiting my doctor’s prognosis regarding a hip injury. He groaned.

“Mr. Evans, I know why you’re in pain. You’re fat. You need to start walking and lose weight, or you’re going to die.”

Absorbing my doctor’s response, feeling angry and embarrassed that he had called me fat, I responded, “Screw walking. I’ll run a marathon.”

My doctor chuckled. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard in all my years practicing medicine.”

For a moment, I revisited first grade. I’d been told I was fat all my life. Now this doctor, a medical professional, had the audacity to laugh at me, exclaiming that running a marathon at my current weight was impossible. His response pissed me off. It pushed me to purchase some running shoes, train for a marathon and birth my blog, 300 Pounds and Running.

Despite finding success with weight loss at certain points of my life, I was left with man boobs. I still viewed myself as a failure; my extreme weight-loss efforts didn’t translate to what I saw in the mirror. After all, my new body wasn’t one worthy of a Men’s Health cover.

When I started running, I felt uncomfortable in my skin. Negative thoughts flooded my mind as my body moved on the pavement. I had this overwhelming feeling that people were silently judging me and giving me weird looks as my body shuffled through runs. Imposter syndrome shadowed my thoughts when someone ran faster on the treadmill next to me or when I felt like I was moving like a lumbering fool. I felt like I didn’t belong to this elite club, even though I knew it was accessible to everyone.

It wasn’t until after I ran my first race that my self-confidence started to form. Something about the race environment awakened parts of me I didn’t know existed. When I crossed the finish line, I was euphoric with empowerment. I felt unstoppable, finally acknowledging my body’s strength. This feeling couldn’t be reduced by any negative comment, so I completed more races, proving to myself that I could do anything, regardless of my size.

The first year after encountering that doctor, I lost nearly 100 pounds and completed over 15 races, including a marathon in my hometown of Detroit. I became the before and after picture that everyone wanted.

With the exception of my man boobs.

The dual relationship with my body still existed. In some ways, I was proud of my physical performance, but I still hated my reflection.

In 2014, I found myself battling a new hurdle. I had two car accidents that sidelined me for a couple of years, and I gained back every pound — plus more. When I was cleared to run again, I was urged to begin another weight-loss journey. But the pressure from my peers bothered me much more this time. In the past, weight loss had been my primary source of inspiration, but this time, I wanted to focus more on my newfound love ― running.

Evans finds the courage to pose nude in 2018 and feels empowered after the photo shoot.

Focusing on weight loss put me in a vicious cycle and a horrible headspace. But when I solely focused on being the best athlete I could be, everything changed. As I ran more races, I felt more powerful in my skin, exuding confidence in myself and my body. Each time I crossed the finish line, I felt unstoppable.

This resolve didn’t sit well with my friends, family or some of the followers of my blog who knew me prior to my injury. From every direction, I was instructed to lose weight. I realized that larger bodies are forced into a box. When fat bodies are active, people assume they are being active only to lose weight. When people discover those fat bodies are not trying to lose weight but are simply trying to be active, they shame those fat bodies for not fitting societal norms.

Even with the rise of the women-driven body positivity (BoPo) movement, my concerns as a man were still not covered. I felt left out of the conversation. Traditional American masculinity does not permit men to admit their physiques are less than ideal. I wondered what would happen if men felt safe enough to be open about their insecurities without fear of violating the unspoken rules of masculinity. Would we do better at accepting our bodies’ flaws? By doing so, could we get closer to acknowledging the many ways to be healthy?

Frankly, I didn’t have the answers to these questions. My only solution was to try this approach for myself. What could I lose? All my life, I tried to overcompensate and camouflage my man boobs, yet I was still subject to harassment. What if, for a change, I celebrated my body instead of despising it?

So I took off my shirt, grabbed my phone and snapped a selfie. Without thinking twice, I posted the picture on Instagram. I would celebrate what my body could do.  

While most of the comments were positive rather than negative, I wasn’t searching for anyone’s validation. Having enough courage to post a topless picture on Instagram was good enough for me.

Evans bares his man boobs in a nude photo shoot in 2018. 

Many men reached out to share their stories of feeling inadequate. They told me they wouldn’t have the courage to do to the same as I did.

Gathering inspiration from ESPN’s “The Body Issue,” I took my topless photos to the next level. While I loved seeing the empowering visuals of athletes’ bodies, I didn’t see an image that represented me: a fat runner. Not to discredit amazing athletes like Prince Fielder and Vince Wilfork, but I didn’t see anything outside of the box.

Sports like football and even baseball celebrate larger male bodies but running is not one of those sports. As a fat marathoner, I wanted an outlet to show there’s no one form a marathoner should take. So I did a nude photo shoot with Shoog McDaniel, a BoPo photographer who pushes the boundaries of the fat acceptance and BoPo movement through art. I also worked with renowned body painter and artist Trina Merry.  

Outside of celebrating my man boobs with such grandeur, I felt like it was dynamic to show vulnerability from a straight male perspective. I was given an opportunity to embrace layers of myself by transforming my body into art and allowing it to be free. Metaphorically, I crossed another finish line for the first time.

To some, this may not be much. To others, perhaps it may be too much. I took a risk by exposing myself ― a man who spent his whole life camouflaging himself. Posing nude was necessary; it stripped away all of the toxic masculinity bullshit of how a man should look — and act.

I found healing through art. Through these forms of expression — running and artistic nudes — I have come no longer to see my body as something disgusting but, instead, as something beautiful and strong. I am just doing my thing, without restriction.

Evans spent his life camouflaging his body so that he wasn't seen. Now he uses his body to stand out — and to inspire o

When I shared my pictures from my photo shoots on Instagram, I received a bit of hate, but I also received love. The fat-shamers said I was promoting obesity and that my body was disgusting. Some people sent me DMs and emails; others resorted to creating threads on forums discussing their hatred for fat people. With my newfound confidence, I’m unbothered by people who sit behind a keyboard, spewing hate about someone they don’t know and will never meet.

Let’s face it: Men don’t face the same unrealistic expectations as women, but we still feel pressure to obtain the perfect body. What was the last superhero movie you saw with a plus-size lead? Men’s publications still focus mainly on hypermasculine things like hard bodies, washboard abs and sex. These images of masculinity, coupled with traditional values of stoicism and self-reliance, are causing a growth in eating disorders and body dysmorphia in young men.

I just want to see men celebrate their bodies and the great things they can do. This 354-pound body can run marathons, complete Tough Mudders and do anything else I put my mind to. I probably won’t grace the cover of Men’s Health or ESPN’s “The Body Issue.” That’s fine by me. I take joy in celebrating myself.

However, I don’t feel like there are safe spaces for men to celebrate themselves. Men need space to eliminate the bullshit of toxic masculinity around like-minded individuals, without fear of repercussion from being that vulnerable. So, what can we do to start creating a space like this for men?

Unfortunately, the media showcases unrealistic standards and misrepresents the average physique — and that includes male bodies. It’s OK to challenge the pictures you see surfacing on your screen. Confidence should be built in you and your efforts, not in the opinions of others.

First, men, believe you are worthy. Period. Sometimes, you just need someone to affirm the things that are going on with you. Let me be first to say it. You. Are. Worthy. You belong!

Second, focus on what your body can do, instead of what it looks like. I am living proof that you can run a marathon weighing over 300 pounds. That’s something to celebrate, even if the media won’t celebrate with me. And even if you cannot fathom running a marathon, maybe your celebration comes in the form of a 5K or a mile. Maybe even cycling, weightlifting or hiking. Slow progress is still progress.

Remind yourself that media-portrayed body images aren’t realistic images of or for everyone. Unfortunately, the media showcases unrealistic standards and misrepresents the average physique — and that includes male bodies. It’s OK to challenge the pictures you see surfacing on your screen. Confidence should be built in you and your efforts, not in the opinions of others.

Above all, it’s OK to be vulnerable. It doesn’t endanger your masculinity. Sharing our experiences, both negative and positive, is the first step to healing and growth. It takes a different kind of man to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is just another form of strength.

Evans urges men to celebrate their bodies and the great things they can do.

Nothing is wrong with showcasing weight-loss journeys or finding joy in your before and after pictures; they might inspire someone to get off the couch. But when they are all you promote and when your content lacks diversity, you are contributing to the problem.

Let’s work to create spaces that celebrate men for who they are ― man boobs and all.

Martinus Evans is a marathon runner, author, run coach and award-winning speaker who helps plus-size individuals be active without the pressure of weight loss. He is also the host of the “300 Pounds and Running” podcast and the “Long Run With Martinus and Latoya” podcast on the 300 Pounds and Running Podcast Network. His story has been featured in Runner’s World and Livestrong. If you’re looking for a place to start your journey to better health, sign up for his free tips at 300poundsandrunning.com.

Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on HuffPost? Find out what we’re looking for here and send us a pitch!

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Biggest Loser Contestant Daniel Wright Dies At Age 30 http://minutesfitness.com/biggest-loser-contestant-daniel-wright-dies-at-age-30-1801 http://minutesfitness.com/biggest-loser-contestant-daniel-wright-dies-at-age-30-1801#respond Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:44:13 +0000 http://minutesfitness.com/biggest-loser-contestant-daniel-wright-dies-at-age-30-1801

Daniel Wright, a former contestant on NBC’s weight-loss competition “The Biggest Loser,” died Sunday, according to reports. He was 30 and was being treated for leukemia.

Wright appeared on seasons 7 and 8 in 2009.

The season 8 winner, Danny Cahill, lauded Wright for his optimism and supportive attitude.

He “never missed a chance to double back and encourage every soul in the fight of their lives to keep going, and ensure us we would make it,” Cahill wrote on Facebook. Wright’s wife, Rebecca, posted a thumbs-up emoji on the comment.

Another castmate, Courtney Crozier Respess, called Wright “one of the kindest people I have ever met & is a true difference maker in this world! His faith has never faded, even in the darkest of times. I am honored to have known him.”

According to a GoFundMe page for Wright, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in October 2017. The post recounted Wright enduring multiple rounds of chemotherapy and receiving dozens of blood transfusions.

His wife Rebecca, also a contestant from season 8, reported Friday that his condition had worsened. 

Wright worked as a weight-loss coach in Des Moines, Iowa, with his wife, according to Wright’s Facebook page.

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WW Just Released A Weight Loss App For Kids. What Could Go Wrong? http://minutesfitness.com/ww-just-released-a-weight-loss-app-for-kids-what-could-go-wrong-1801 http://minutesfitness.com/ww-just-released-a-weight-loss-app-for-kids-what-could-go-wrong-1801#respond Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:44:05 +0000 http://minutesfitness.com/ww-just-released-a-weight-loss-app-for-kids-what-could-go-wrong-1801

When news broke this week that WW (formerly Weight Watchers) was rolling out a new nutrition and weight loss app called Kurbo, Whitney Fisch — a social worker, school counselor and mom of three — felt compelled to share her outrage online.

“You NEED to Shut. This. Down,” she wrote on Facebook. “All bodies, especially growing + developing bodies, deserve respect + the ability to grow into whatever shape they’re meant to grow to be.” She was, she said, writing “with the fury of 1,000 suns.”

Fisch is hardly the only parent who has slammed Kurbo by WW since its launch Tuesday. (WW actually acquired Kurbo in 2018, then spent a year retooling it and adding what Time described as a “Snapchat-inspired interface.”) WW calls Kurbo a “scientifically-proven behavior change program designed to help kids and teens age 8-17 reach a healthier weight,” derived from Stanford University’s Pediatric Weight Control Program.

But many parents and body positivity advocates are calling it flat-out dangerous.

“This is a TERRIBLE idea,” Kristy, a mother of an 11-year-old girl who is recovering from anorexia and over-exercising, wrote in an email to HuffPost. (She asked that only her first name be used to protect her daughter’s privacy.)

Although Kristy has no direct experience with Kurbo, she said she has seen how technology marketed to promote “healthy” behaviors can fuel unhealthy ones in children struggling with body image issues. Her daughter used a fitness tracker to obsessively log how many calories she burned in a day. “I was shocked at how she used it,” Kristy said.

The Kurbo app uses what WW calls the traffic light system: Kids are urged to eat plenty of “green light” foods (like fruits and vegetables), to be “mindful” of their portions of “yellow light” foods (like lean protein, whole grains and dairy), and to reduce consumption of “red light” foods (like sugary drinks and “treats”).

The app is free, but WW also offers subscription-based plans for one-on-one sessions with coaches said to be experts in nutrition, exercise, and mental health. (The company does not have a set threshold for credentialing, though coaches do go through a minimum of six to eight hours of initial training, as well as three and a half hours of continuing education, a spokesperson for WW told HuffPost.)

And in line with WW’s recent rebranding and public pivot toward promoting “wellness” rather than focusing on weight loss, the app also encourages kids to track behaviors like daily physical activity and deep breathing.

“This isn’t a weight loss app,” Gary Foster, chief scientific officer at WW, told HuffPost. “This is an app that teaches in a game-ified, fun, engaging way what are the basics of a healthy eating pattern.”

“I think there could be some misperception that somehow we’re saying, ‘All kids should lose weight, you’re not OK as you are,’” he added. “What we’re saying to kids who are trying to achieve a healthier weight — kids and families — is that this is a reasonable, sensible way to do it.” Achieving a “healthier weight” is very different for children and adults, he said, because children are constantly growing.

But eating disorder treatment professionals said there might be a disconnect between what WW seems to be trying to do and what the end result may be.

“While the intention of the app is to promote health and wellness, there is the risk that it could do more harm than good,” said Kathryn Argento, a registered dietician with The Renfrew Center, a national network of eating disorder treatment centers for women and girls. “Targeting kids as young as 8 years old to focus on … their bodies can lead to an intense preoccupation with food, size, shape and weight.” There’s evidence that body image anxiety can begin in children as young as age 3.

“No matter how hard it tries to market itself as a wellness company, WW is about weight loss. Kids are way smarter than we think they are, and every ‘big kid’ who was put on a weight loss program knew exactly what their parents were trying to do.”

– Ginny Jones, More-Love.org

At the same time, public health experts have identified childhood obesity as a major concern. According to current national estimates, roughly one in five children in the United States are obese, which can increase their risk for immediate health complications, like Type 2 diabetes, as well as longer term problems, like cardiovascular disease.

Yet public health organizations and pediatricians emphasize that this is a complex health issue, and there are real questions about how effective weight loss plans for children even are.

“The evidence suggests that these types of tools may be helpful adjuncts to weight management, but there are few studies in pediatrics to confirm that they lead to a ‘meaningful change in their weight trajectories,’” Dr. Ihuoma Eneli, director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told HuffPost. She said it is also unclear how well kids adhere to these types of programs, pointing to a small pilot study of the app that showed fairly low compliance.

For all of Kurbo by WW’s marketing around its “holistic” approach to health, many parents and advocates worry the only message kids will hear is that there is something about them that is wrong and that needs to change. The “success stories” on Kurbo’s landing page highlight how many pounds children lost, not, say, how many minutes a day they now meditate. WW’s decades-long legacy as a weight loss company is hard to shake.

“There’s no way that these kids don’t realize that the app is supposed to help them lose weight,” Ginny Jones, who founded a website dedicated to fighting eating disorders in children, told HuffPost. “No matter how hard it tries to market itself as a wellness company, WW is about weight loss. Kids are way smarter than we think they are, and every ‘big kid’ who [has been] put on a weight loss program knew exactly what their parents were trying to do.”

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This Is What Its Like To Be Overweight And Have Anorexia http://minutesfitness.com/this-is-what-its-like-to-be-overweight-and-have-anorexia-1801 http://minutesfitness.com/this-is-what-its-like-to-be-overweight-and-have-anorexia-1801#respond Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:43:58 +0000 http://minutesfitness.com/this-is-what-its-like-to-be-overweight-and-have-anorexia-1801

Two hundred seventy pounds. I step off the scale and sigh. When the scale isn’t moving with a healthy diet and exercise, and the bad thoughts begin again, something in the back of my mind reminds me of the only way I’ve lost weight before ― by starving myself. After all, everyone wants to see results, right?

Eating disorders as a whole are relatively misunderstood, and the misunderstandings become even worse if you don’t “look” the part. 

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder defined by an unhealthy restriction of calories and sometimes over-exercising. Patients diagnosed with anorexia are underweight and suffer from intense body dysmorphia, and the physical effects of long-term restriction can wreak havoc on a patient, both physically and mentally.

Atypical anorexia is practically the same as anorexia nervosa. The only difference? The patient isn’t underweight. The “atypical” part means the patient is of normal weight or overweight. In my case, for my height, I’m considered morbidly obese. No one notices the effects of atypical anorexia when I restrict my meals to a few bites a day. Instead, they applaud my weight loss as me finally getting control of my body and being healthy again, when nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve never had a healthy relationship with food, but the first time I really experienced unhealthy food restriction and anorexia was my first year of college. This is not exactly surprising, as the stress of leaving home and higher education leads to the fruition of a number of mental health problems, eating disorders included. But I fell into anorexic tendencies initially by accident. I simply had no money.

The college I went to had no meal plans for students on campus, and my father couldn’t afford to send me money or food. Near the end of the first year, I was surviving solely off the occasional social food event and what my roommate in a similar position could get from her slightly better-off parents. It wasn’t a great time and it eventually led me to drop out of school. 

But there was one positive, at least in my eyes … I lost weight. 

Enough weight, in fact, to finally be what was considered a “normal” weight for my height. I felt great about myself, but when I’m thinking rationally, I know how bad off I really was. I was a “normal” weight, yes, but it was the result of losing muscle density, not fat. I was prone to getting sick extremely quickly, and vertigo constantly plagued me.

Yet when it comes to overweight people, no one particularly cares how you lose weight, just that you do. The ever-present and ever-dangerous dieting industry is a testament to that, with fad diets that can destroy a person’s physical health as they strive for a body that looks like our society’s idea of health. Meanwhile, I’m overweight, but all of my physicals have had me in completely perfect health.

Being fat feels like a cardinal sin in society. So it’s little wonder that I continuously fall back into anorexic eating habits, despite clearly knowing how bad they are for me. My worst drift back into atypical anorexia was about five years ago. Life events put me under an incredible amount of stress, and I eventually stopped eating any meaningful meals. I lived off crackers, energy drinks and the occasional chicken tender if my stomach could handle it. I even meticulously counted my calories in a tracking app and ignored the app’s daily warnings that I was eating too little.

No one batted an eye when I lost 40 pounds in three months or so. Instead, everyone told me how good I looked and that they were jealous of my weight loss. It was the confidence booster I needed, but it also reinforced in my mind that maybe becoming anorexic wasn’t a bad thing. I was even saving money not eating so much!

I ended up getting extremely sick about five months into this restriction cycle. Since my immune system wasn’t at its best, I caught a nasty virus going around and was feverish and bedridden for a week. As I lay in my apartment sick and alone, I realized I had to start taking care of myself. I slowly started to eat more, although it wasn’t enough when I began overexercising again. It wasn’t until an accident damaged my knee that I was sufficiently sedentary to really stop the cycle.

But when a restriction cycle ends, the weight gain begins. This isn’t a surprise, given that most brains will activate a “starvation mode when, well, they think you’re starving. When someone stops restricting their calories, the body may then store as much of this newfound energy immediately as fat, just in case it happens again. It makes recovering from any form of anorexia very hard ― when you’ve been fighting tooth and nail to lose weight, gaining it back faster than you lost it can send you into another spiral.

Thankfully, I have a good support system in my life that can see beyond the idea that weight loss equals good. Having someone just notice that maybe I should eat a second helping of food, or maybe I should grab some cashews to go with that energy drink was enough to help me realize that what I was doing to my body wasn’t right.

That was the last time I went into a full anorexic spiral, though I’ve had plenty of close calls since. Certain restrictive diets can trigger my tendencies, and while I’ve learned healthy ways to count calories, I have to be careful about tracking both calories and my weight when my mental health is low. I’ve had to learn how to control my impulses by myself because I know no one else is going to believe any of my issues. Even if they did, getting insurance to pay for expensive treatment is hard enough when you have anorexia nervosa. It’s almost impossible if you’re saying you’re anorexic and don’t look anorexic.

I’ve learned to pay attention to what I eat, in a good way, and eat as healthy as I can. I’m lucky that I can deal with my symptoms without medication, even if my metabolism is ruined. It takes a lot to push away the bad thoughts of “eating too much” and looking at my body negatively, but as long as I remember that I’m working to be healthy, not thin, it becomes easier to look at myself in the mirror. 

Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on HuffPost? Find out what we’re looking for here and send us a pitch! 

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Hallelujah, Instagram Is Banning The Most Toxic Weight Loss Ads http://minutesfitness.com/hallelujah-instagram-is-banning-the-most-toxic-weight-loss-ads-1802 http://minutesfitness.com/hallelujah-instagram-is-banning-the-most-toxic-weight-loss-ads-1802#respond Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:43:48 +0000 http://minutesfitness.com/hallelujah-instagram-is-banning-the-most-toxic-weight-loss-ads-1802

Instagram is one step closer to becoming a good place, thanks in part to outspoken body positivity activist Jameela Jamil.

The actor and Kardashian slayer has used social media as a tool for calling out the common practice of influencers and celebrities pushing unhealthy products like appetite suppressant lollipops and “flat tummy detox teas.” In February, Jamil used her platform to push a petition asking celebrities to stop those promotions, which racked up almost 250,000 signatures.

Now she’s working with social media to address the problem. On Wednesday, Instagram announced that posts promoting weight loss products or cosmetic procedures with a price tag or incentive to buy will be blocked from the accounts of users under age 18. In addition, it will remove these kinds of promotional posts in which the poster makes a “miraculous claim” about weight loss as the result of using the product.

In an interview with Elle UK, Jamil celebrated Instagram’s decision and revealed that she has been working on the guidelines with the platform for months. She also articulated why action was ― and continues to be ― so necessary.

“We have hyper-normalised flogging nonsense to young impressionable people,” she told Elle UK. “These people are selling hair growth gummies but wearing extensions or photoshopping themselves to look slimmer and selling a weight loss shake. There are so many lies being told and we’ve accepted that as a cultural norm.”

The Kardashians are well-known for peddling weight loss products, like appetite suppressant lollipops, on their Instagram accounts.

The Kardashians are well-known for peddling weight loss products, like appetite suppressant lollipops, on their Instagram accounts.

It’s no secret that the imagery people are exposed to can deeply impact self-esteem, both on a conscious and subconscious level. Too often the companies (and sometimes the celebrities) that shill these products appear to have little regard for the impact they’re having or the harmful way they’re being promoted.

Back in March, Australia-based brand SkinnyMe Tea came under fire for using a photo of an eating disorder survivor to promote its product. The Kardashians have been criticized for promoting appetite suppressant lollipops, detox teas and more unhealthy products masked as “wellness” tools.

An option to allow Instagram users to report posts that violate the new guidelines will roll out in the coming weeks, according to Elle UK. Instagram did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.

Props to the social media platform for taking steps to improve its users’ mental health. It’s hard to imagine our appearance-obsessed culture will ever truly be free from the pressure of twisted beauty ideals, but getting them off our timelines is a start.

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Jessica Simpson Discusses Weight Loss After Pregnancy http://minutesfitness.com/jessica-simpson-discusses-weight-loss-after-pregnancy-1802 http://minutesfitness.com/jessica-simpson-discusses-weight-loss-after-pregnancy-1802#respond Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:43:40 +0000 http://minutesfitness.com/jessica-simpson-discusses-weight-loss-after-pregnancy-1802

Jessica Simpson said Tuesday that was “so proud to feel like myself again” after giving birth to her third child earlier this year. 

Simpson, 39, welcomed baby Birdie on March 19 after a trying pregnancy. The singer and “Dukes of Hazzard” actor shared photos by herself and with 6-month-old Birdie.

“Even when it felt impossible, I chose to work harder,” she wrote on Instagram, adding that she had lost about 100 pounds since giving birth. 

Simpson, who also has a son and daughter with husband Eric Johnson, did not explain how she lost the weight. General guidelines recommend losing no more than 1.5 pounds per week, and Simpson’s drastic weight claim is much more than beyond that.

She told People in July that she was walking a lot and eating healthy, and had added cauliflower to her diet. “Who knew it could be a substitute for almost anything?” she said.

Her trainer, Harley Pasternak, posted one of Simpson’s after photos on Tuesday. “Beyond proud of this incredible woman,” he wrote.

The Mayo Clinic advises moms after birth to set “realistic” weight loss goals ― up to a pound a week through regular exercise and a healthy diet. Including your baby in the workout ― say, a walk with the stroller ― can also help, according to the clinic’s website.

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Alec Baldwin Drops His Pants To Show Weight Loss On The Tonight Show http://minutesfitness.com/alec-baldwin-drops-his-pants-to-show-weight-loss-on-the-tonight-show-1802 http://minutesfitness.com/alec-baldwin-drops-his-pants-to-show-weight-loss-on-the-tonight-show-1802#respond Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:43:30 +0000 http://minutesfitness.com/alec-baldwin-drops-his-pants-to-show-weight-loss-on-the-tonight-show-1802

Alec Baldwin went from the guy who impersonates President Donald Trump to the talk show guest who drops his pants on “The Tonight Show” Sunday. (See the video above.)

Baldwin, appearing on a special post-“Sunday Night Football” episode with Jimmy Fallon, jabbed at the host for outfitting a stunt dummy of Baldwin with extra stomach padding on his “Tonight Show” birthday appearance in April.

“You had to put like the added gut on the dummy?” the “Motherless Brooklyn” actor asked Fallon.

Then came the unexpected reveal.

“You wanna see how much weight I’ve lost? Ready? My pants don’t even fit me anymore,” Baldwin boasted.

Baldwin unhitched his trousers and down they went, prompting Fallon to cover Baldwin with a placard.

“It’s not big enough,” Baldwin quipped.

By the way, Baldwin has taken his pants off on the talk show circuit before to show that he’s dropped a few.

Watch the fun above and stick around for Baldwin’s story of how “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels talked him into portraying Trump again this season via a “Jedi mind trick.”

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Here’s Why Gaining Weight Was Actually The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me http://minutesfitness.com/heres-why-gaining-weight-was-actually-the-best-thing-that-ever-happened-to-me-1803 http://minutesfitness.com/heres-why-gaining-weight-was-actually-the-best-thing-that-ever-happened-to-me-1803#respond Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:43:22 +0000 http://minutesfitness.com/heres-why-gaining-weight-was-actually-the-best-thing-that-ever-happened-to-me-1803

It’s hard to say exactly when my dieting tipped over into full-blown disorder, because I’ve been at it for literally as long as I can remember — since I was 8 years old. Growing up fat, my body had always been parsed as a problem. It was a project that needed fixing, one that caused my peers to bully or ignore me and which my doctors scoffed at and sometimes openly mocked. (When I was just 4 years old, one pediatrician chided my parents: “Next time, you’ll have to roll her in.”)

In my early 20s, my then-boyfriend told me I simply wasn’t trying hard enough, that weight loss was merely a matter of calories in, calories out. As anyone who’s struggled with their weight, not to mention a growing contingency of dieticians and doctors, can tell you, it is not, in fact, that simple. I’d tried dozens of diets by then, had already scrawled calorie counts and Weight Watchers “points” and complex carbohydrate algebra in many notebooks. Nevertheless, I redoubled my efforts, deciding I’d lose the weight or die trying.

I came closer to the latter than I thought.

At some point, my “healthy lifestyle” ― or the decade of hard work that had earned me an 80-pound weight loss and the praise of literally everyone around me ― started suffocating me: the avoidance of any social event involving food (read: all of them), the way the mere sound of food-related words like breakfast and snack grated my ears. How constantly angry I was, at the world, at myself, at everyone else; at all these people who could simply eat and move through their lives, their bodies not constantly on the edge of some precipice. The way I held myself so still, half-smiling in all my pictures, terrified of showing even an inch of the long-absent fat I still saw so clearly in the mirror. I was terrified someone would figure out what I’d really been, all along.

The unique desperation of being afraid of a full larder is hard to explain to those who don’t understand it — the consequence of a self-hatred so all-encompassing, it motivates you to forego even your most basic needs. To live in a world where you’re physically afraid of strawberries and of sugar snap peas, where the news feed on your phone exclusively serves up headlines about weight loss.

And then, the inevitable backlash, those out-of-control moments where my starving body would gorge itself on whatever was available — which, in my orthorexic, carbphobic house, wasn’t much. One afternoon last fall, I came home from a hike, frantic. I never packed snacks; I wasn’t allowed to eat until I’d finished, even if it was a 14-mile trek with a 3,500-foot climb. I found myself sitting on the kitchen counter as if in a fugue state, gobbling a whole half pound of raw cashews and spooning coconut cream directly from the can. Feeling like an animal. Realizing how fully the thing was slipping out of my hands.

By the time my essay for Huffpost on weight loss published in January, I’d finally called a therapist. Home for the holidays, I’d sat in my mother’s car some 1,500 miles from the therapist’s office and made an appointment as if it were no big deal. The previous night, I’d snuck into my parents’ back bedroom and nabbed one of the three boxes of chocolates they’d been saving for last-minute Christmas presents. I proceeded to chew up and spit out every last candy in the box, carefully wiping the sugar and fat from my tongue. 

Then I went back for the next box. And the last one after that.

The unique desperation of being afraid of a full larder is hard to explain to those who don’t understand it — the consequence of a self-hatred so all-encompassing, it motivates you to forego even your most basic needs.

In our first session, my counselor and I sat across from each other while she looked over my paperwork. I’d checked compulsive exercise and binge eating on the symptom list, but had softened the blow in the open-form space asking why I was seeking therapy: “Eating issues. And also just being human.” I tried to convince both myself and my loved ones it was just a new year’s whim, take it or leave it. My new insurance policy covered it, so why not?

I was absolutely desperate.

“So,” she said, meeting my eyes after having nodded at the pages for a few quiet minutes. “Mostly food stuff.”

“Mostly food stuff,” I agreed. I was waiting for her to hand me the magic bullet technique that would stop my binge eating once and for all. Then, I’d finally be able to drop “the last” 10 pounds and stop worrying about it. Ideally, the whole exchange would take all of 30 minutes.

Instead, she smiled patiently at me as I admitted to what I thought were the towering numbers of calories a day I found myself unable to stop eating — which still weren’t enough, given my two-hours-per-day everyday workout habit. I’d expected her face to falter at these numbers, judgmental and concerned, but it did not. Instead, she asked: “What if you thought about your food in terms of whether or not you’re full, rather than calories?” 

I smiled at her dumbly, stifling a scoff. I was already in too deep, had already memorized the whole wide food calculus. Even if I deleted my calorie tracker — an utterly ridiculous prospect — I’d still see broccoli, almonds and croissants as Matrix-style rows of scrolling green numbers. 

A session or so later, sitting there feeling immensely self-conscious of my still-thin, still-too-big-body, she asked me, “What are you so afraid of? What would it mean, if the worst thing happened, and you did regain all the weight?” 

My response was immediate, intuitive, as easy as stating my name.

It would mean I was a failure.

I took on the intellectual commitment to intuitive eating well before I could face my own fatphobia.

I took on the intellectual commitment to intuitive eating well before I could face my own fatphobia, listening to body-positive podcasts like She’s All Fat and the Trust Your Body Project while continuing to grind away at the gym. I wanted to have it both ways — to have my cake and refuse to eat it, too. I wanted to quit my disorder without actually making any changes, to pay lip service to size acceptance without actually wearing the body meant for me.

After all, I’d spent the past 10 years burying the bigger girl I’d been, wearing my hard, hard-won body like a badge of honor. Of course I wanted to keep it: I wanted to keep the turning heads, the attention I’d so thirsted for as a teenager that had suddenly arrived in force at 22. As a thin girl, that attention was absolutely everywhere, ubiquitous and intoxicating and perpetually surprising. 

I hadn’t been asked to the prom, but I’d made up for that by riding on the back of a stranger’s motorcycle in a foreign country, zipping off to a beachside birthday party where free drinks were pressed again and again into my hand. Or by grinding my “new” body against a never-ending set of all-too-willing men in dance clubs. One pulled my ear to his lips to whisper to me.”You’re absolutely gorgeous. I had to tell you, but I didn’t want your boyfriend to get mad,” he said, shaking said boyfriend’s hand thereafter.

I wanted to keep the doctors’ praise, the feeling of triumph and accomplishment every time I showed up smaller. I wanted to believe that my sluggish heart rate and two-digit blood pressure readings were the results of athleticism, not anorexia.

I was still skipping breakfast to “make up” for what I’d eaten the previous day at dinner, still feeling my hunger like a promise, like a reward. I still threw away all but a token, Instagram-captured swallow of the sourdough round I’d walked through the snow for. But eventually I realized that if I ever wanted to pull myself from the iron cage I’d created — if I ever wanted to have the chance at an actually healthy relationship with food and my body — I had to let go of dieting entirely.

Eventually I realized that if I ever wanted to pull myself from the iron cage I’d created — if I ever wanted to have the chance at an actually healthy relationship with food and my body — I had to let go of dieting entirely.

I had to watch my body soften, my hard-won conventional beauty fade in the mirror. I had to look twice into the toilet bowl when my blood came back — the return of the period I’d lacked for three full years. I’d never looked like someone with an eating disorder, so my doctors never asked questions, even when its absence was accompanied by other telltale signs: hypotension, stress fractures, constantly feeling cold.

I had to gain weight. I had to let my body come home.

My body has become bigger, yes. But it’s also become less frantic. We’re learning to trust one another.

The frenetic abandon with which I first ate the foods I’d restricted for so long has since abated. Most days, my meals are still centered on fresh, whole foods: fruit and nuts, roasted veggies, chicken on the bone, cheese. Yes, the occasional blueberry muffin, eaten alongside coffee pale with cream. 

Because I know I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want it, food is just not that big of a deal anymore. I can walk past a bakery window or down a Halloween-candy-lined aisle at Target without feeling longing, anger or remorse. I can buy a pound-sized package of those dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s and — seriously — forget they’re in my cabinet at all. 

I can’t pretend I’m fully healed from the fraught body image I’ve struggled with throughout my lifetime. We all deal with diet culture, no matter how clearly we can see through its problematic messaging, no matter the size of the bodies we wear. I know you do, readers — because after I published that last piece, my DMs were flooded with others reaching out to say, me too. 

Because I know I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want it, food is just not that big of a deal anymore.

I’ve scrolled back through Instagram, seeing photos of myself as a starving girl who always, always thought she was too big. I have had that awful thought: If only you knew what you had.

Diet culture means that part of me still thinks my thinnest body is my “real” body, even though I’ve spent far fewer years thin than I have chubby and even though maintaining that size came at such an astronomical emotional and physical cost. But increasingly, I look back at those old photos and see something different: How terrified that girl was. How desperate. How alone.

If the mere thought of weight gain terrifies you, trust me, I’ve been there. I even said it in the last piece: I liked my disease. A year ago today, reading an article like this one would have struck me through with adrenaline. Gaining weight was abject failure. It was not an option on the table.

But I can tell you that being on the other side is so much better: the lack of fear I feel when a friend asks me out for dinner; the touch of a lover’s hands when they want me exactly as I am; the ability to take a single bowlful out of a pint of ice cream, to not feel the frenzied need to wolf down every last morsel of food on my plate. 

I’m not afraid anymore. I’m free. And that’s worth so much more than being thin ever was. 

And you out there who see yourself in these words — you don’t have to white-knuckle your way through your life, either. You deserve this, too. You deserve to feed yourself. You deserve to take up space.

I know it’s scary. It’s easily the scariest thing I’ve ever done. But I promise, I promise: along with weight, you gain so much more.   

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

Have a compelling first-person story or experience you want to share? Send your story description to pitch@huffpost.com.

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These 5 People Made Resolutions In 2019 And Actually Kept Them. Heres How. http://minutesfitness.com/these-5-people-made-resolutions-in-2019-and-actually-kept-them-heres-how-1803 http://minutesfitness.com/these-5-people-made-resolutions-in-2019-and-actually-kept-them-heres-how-1803#respond Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:43:13 +0000 http://minutesfitness.com/these-5-people-made-resolutions-in-2019-and-actually-kept-them-heres-how-1803

Each new year comes with hopes of fresh beginnings and, for many people, a list of resolutions to help make them happen. But committing yourself to making a change in your life can be easier said than done. Need proof? Try counting how many people enthusiastically show up at any of the thousands of gyms across the country at the start of January. Then see how many are still working out at the end of the month. 

That’s why it’s so fascinating to hear stories from people who pick a resolution, put systems into place to stick with it and then actually achieve their goal of choice.

HuffPost chatted with five people who made resolutions at the start of 2019 and managed to accomplish them. They told us how they did it and offered some key takeaways for anyone who aspires to do the same by the end of 2020. 

NOTE: Before starting any new health program, it’s always a good idea to discuss your plans with a doctor or medical professional.

Brandon Campbell lost weight 

Atlanta-based designer Brandon Campbell’s resolution will sound familiar to many ― he wanted to lose 10 pounds.

“My wife and I had moved down south from Brooklyn a year beforehand, and my indulgence in southern comfort food (and craft beer) was showing,” he told HuffPost. 

Campbell enlisted the help of a friend, and together they created a “buddy system” to help keep that resolution ― and several others that included everything from cutting back on drinking to taking a vacation ― on track.  

“My friend Nalani and I wrote our resolutions down on cards, sealed them in envelopes marked with corresponding numbers, and sent them across the country to each other,” he said. “Many of the resolutions were written as goals with distinct milestones, so ‘quit drinking’ was written as ‘no drink for three months’ and another card for six months, and so on. Once a goal was achieved, we would let the other person know which envelope to open.”

The cards Campbell and his friend sent to each other as part of their New Year's resolution plans. 

The cards Campbell and his friend sent to each other as part of their New Year’s resolution plans. 

Campbell noted that breaking down the achievements like this made sticking to them more of a priority ― and more enjoyable.

“There’s an added element of satisfaction when you get to share the achievement with someone in this way,” he said. “There is also a motivating element of accountability when trying to get someone else to open all of the envelopes by the end of the year. The other person doesn’t know what is in those cards, but how sad would it be if the months passed without a single envelope being opened? They’d just be sad, little, mysterious pipe dreams collecting dust on Nalani’s shelf.”

Campbell accomplished his primary resolution and then some, ultimately losing a total of 18 pounds by cutting out meat, eggs and dairy from his diet. He also achieved several other resolutions. It might sound daunting at first, but Campbell saw it as an opportunity to be creative. “Eating became more fun as I discovered more options I hadn’t considered before,” he said. 

Kelly Grover finally quit smoking

Kelly Grover started smoking when she was 21 and last year, at 46, she was going through two packs a day. She finally decided enough was enough and chose the start of 2019 to stop. “It was definitely time to give up the bad habit,” she told HuffPost.

Grover had made this resolution before, “probably about five or six times” using several methods to try to quit — but she never managed to do it. This time, she enlisted the help of her doctor, who prescribed her Chantix. She also used an app to track her progress.

Kelly Grover used Chantix and the app Smoke Free to help her quit. 

Kelly Grover used Chantix and the app Smoke Free to help her quit. 

“Some of the hardest moments were in the beginning,” she said. “It wasn’t so much the smoking itself that I was missing, but the habit. If I’m stressed or upset, I was used to smoking. I didn’t have the ‘crutch’ anymore, so that was ― and still is ― hard sometimes.”

Despite her struggles, the accountability she experienced by using her app and the benefits she felt ― like breathing easier and sleeping better ― have kept her on track. 

“As of today I am one year and seven days smoke free and have saved $5,573 ― although I wish I would have actually put that money aside in an account,” Grover said. 

Natalie LaFrance Slack read a book a week 

“My resolution is boring, all things considered,” Natalie LaFrance Slack said of her resolution to read one book a week in 2019. When she spoke with HuffPost she was nearly 50 weeks into her goal and already ahead of schedule. “It’s kept me challenged throughout the year,” she said. 

Slack craved a return to reading for pleasure after a number of factors over the years understandably kept her from doing so ― first being in school, then having three children in three years. She said she not only wanted to get back to doing something she once loved, but also wanted to set a good example for her three boys. It wasn’t the first time she pledged to read more ― just the most effective and therefore successful metric.

“In the past I’d had a generalized plan to read more often,” she said. “This was the first year that I set a timeline to reach my goal, along with accountability practices, and intention to ensure that I truly would spend 2019 reading.” She even made a spreadsheet where she listed the titles and synopses of each book she finished. 

Natalie LaFrance Slack with one of the boks she read in 2019.

Natalie LaFrance Slack with one of the boks she read in 2019.

“The hardest part of the resolution was being intentional with my time,” she said. “It’s easier to default to watching Netflix in the evening with my husband, or going out with friends, instead of pouring into a book at the end of a mentally or emotionally exhausting day. There was a period of time, over the summer months, when I found it easier to wake up at 4:45 a.m. and read because my evenings were often filled. I took two international trips during the year which restricted me from having the feeling of turning pages in a book (something I absolutely consider part of my reading delight and experience) and during those trips I used my phone to read, with less pleasure.”

Beyond experiencing the satisfaction of completing a book, Slack was delighted to find gratification in other unexpected ways throughout the year. “I took great joy in mailing completed books of meaning to people I cared for,” Slack said. “One highlight was ‘Once More We Saw Stars’ by Jayson Greene, which I completed shortly after hearing of a dear friend’s pregnancy loss. Sending that book, with a note of courage and remembrance, was a gift that meant more than a bottle of wine or platitude. Passing the books on to friends offered full circle moments of sharing education, ideas, creativity, imagination and joy throughout the year.”

Stephanie solved her stomach issues

Stephanie (who asked that her last name not be used) was sick of feeling sick. At 53, she had long suffered from gastrointestinal issues and told HuffPost she’d repeatedly been misdiagnosed with IBS. 

In 2019, instead of continuing to make trips to her doctor in hopes of resolving her stomach issues with more medical intervention, she decided to take matters into her own hands. “I did a bunch of internet research which led to trying a series of elimination diets,” she told HuffPost 

Stephanie tried cutting out a variety of different foods, often with no success. 

“It took a lot of patience,” she said. “You have to wait several days before trying something new; if one food makes you sick, you have to wait until your body recovers. I actually thought it was a gluten sensitivity, but when I started adding ‘gluten-free’ items into my diet, I got sick again. That really threw me! I was ready to give up.”

Stephanie tried cutting out many things from her diet, including gluten. 

Stephanie tried cutting out many things from her diet, including gluten. 

Stephanie said she finally discovered which foods upset her stomach, and has since cut them out of her diet, to great effect. It takes work: She has to prepare her food in advance and be especially careful about what she eats. But, she says, fulfilling this resolution was well worth it.

“I feels zero symptoms of my previous condition and have a wonderful quality of life that I’ve never known before,” she said. 

Victor Feraru worked to get healthy 

Victor Feraru was preparing to take the bar exam in 2018 when he developed a cough, which grew considerably worse, and was followed by a slew of other symptoms. Eventually a trip to the hospital revealed that at just 37, Feraru, who was “healthy up until then,” was experiencing congestive heart failure.  

“Doctors at Duke and Columbia University were preparing me for the very real possibility of needing a heart transplant, or dying, within a year,” he told HuffPost. “I didn’t plan on doing either. On Dec. 21, 2018, I underwent surgery to implant a defibrillator because I was at risk for sudden cardiac death with such a weakened heart. I decided then that if I survived into the new year, my resolution would be to not only live, but try to avoid needing a heart transplant. Oh, and I wanted to pass the bar.”

Achieving his monumental resolution required intense dedication including completely overhauling his diet and working and exercising through constant spells of dizziness and weakness. But Feraru didn’t stop ― not even when he learned that after four months his heart showed no signs of improvement. 

“Within the year my heart did what it rarely does in situations such as mine ― it reverse remodeled, or began to shrink down to size and pump a lot better,” he said. Feraru’s doctors credited his progress to his incredible dedication to his health.

“In other words, I stuck to my resolution,” he said. “About the time I should have been dead, or needing the transplant, my heart was actually healing. My heart isn’t perfect, but I no longer need the transplant.”

While dealing with major side effects from the medication he was taking, Feraru also began studying for the D.C. bar. “It was brutal but I pushed through and passed it. I’m now waiting for certification to receive my license to practice law in Washington, D.C., and New York.” 

Victor Feraru's resolution was a matter of life and death. 

Victor Feraru’s resolution was a matter of life and death. 

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Intuitive Eating: What It Is, And Why It Could Work For You http://minutesfitness.com/intuitive-eating-what-it-is-and-why-it-could-work-for-you-1803 http://minutesfitness.com/intuitive-eating-what-it-is-and-why-it-could-work-for-you-1803#respond Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:43:03 +0000 http://minutesfitness.com/intuitive-eating-what-it-is-and-why-it-could-work-for-you-1803

This month, millions of Americans will kick off 2020 with a diet reset. The healthier — and leaner — version of ourselves will be achieved only by controlling our eating habits, especially around carbs and sugar. Or so we believe.

But a radical new approach to health has also been gaining traction. It’s called intuitive eating. Hang on to your green smoothie, because it contradicts everything we’ve learned about health and weight loss. And it’s the antithesis of wellness programs from keto to intermittent fasting to “eating clean.”

Intuitive eating posits that the very best diet is no diet at all. Instead of strict food rules, we should tune into our natural-born urges to eat what we want, when we want. While it sounds like a crazy fad diet, research is mounting to support its merits.

For one thing, diets definitively do not work: 95 percent of people who lose weight on a diet regain it within five years. An exhaustive study of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey published in November 2019 found that although more Americans are trying to lose weight mainly by controlling food consumption, body mass indexes and obesity rates continue to climb.

But the problems go beyond traditional weight loss programs. Chasing the “perfect diet” is, itself, a potential health risk. Clean eating, for example, emphasizes local, organic, non-GMO, unprocessed and plant-based food. But fixating on avocados, coconut oil and quinoa while demonizing processed foods takes eating healthy to a dangerous extreme. According to a June 2019 study in the Journal of Eating Disorders, the popularity of clean eating among college students belies its potential for disordered eating, or orthorexia nervosa.

As a food magazine editor in the mid-2000s, Christy Harrison wrote about the gluten-free and low-carb lifestyle, believing she was promoting healthy food choices. But at home, she binged. “I’d have an ungodly number of rice cakes to try to get the satisfaction I would have gotten if I had just allowed myself to have a sandwich on bread,” she told HuffPost.

Now a registered dietitian with the popular Food Psych podcast, Harrison is leading a counter-revolution against diet culture. Her new book,Anti-Diet,” is a takedown of the $60 billion weight loss industry along with celebrity-endorsed detoxes and well-intentioned environmental food rules she calls “sneaky forms of dieting.”

Based on deprivation, diets not only lead to food obsessions and binging but take a bigger toll. “You start to see that it’s not actually giving you what you want,” she said, “and is taking away a lot of important aspects of your life — your time and money, your well-being, your happiness.”

According to Harrison and a growing chorus of holistic health practitioners, the antidote is intuitive eating.

The brainchild of registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in the mid-1990s, the 10 principles of intuitive eating are designed to heal our relationship with food and our bodies. “The journey to intuitive eating is like taking a cross-country hiking trip,” the authors write in “Intuitive Eating.” Unlike dieting, the process is nonlinear and personalized with a nonjudgmental focus on wellness, not weight loss.

The concept has resonated with the body positivity movement, including the movement Health at Every Size, and lately has sparked a new brand of Instagrammers like @erinliveswhole and @olive.eeeats showcasing the anti-diet way of life.

But let’s back up. If intuitive eating is based on internal eating cues, can we really trust ourselves?

“Eating is fundamental to human survival,” journalist Virginia Sole-Smith told HuffPost. The author of “The Eating Instinct found convincing evidence that we are all born with a set of instincts to eat and self-regulate our food intake. Even toddlers do it. The trouble starts when we grow up in a culture that replaces comfort and pleasure around food with guilt, shame and fear. “We’re so convinced that eating the wrong things will make us fat,” she said.

You can blame the diet industry, but Sole-Smith, along with Harrison, lays equal blame on the natural food movement. For 20 years, the efforts to call out environmental, social and racial injustices in the food system have also demonized industrialized food as “bad” and “dirty.” And if we choose to eat them, we are unhealthy by association.

While living on chia yogurt bowls and turmeric chickpea curry sounds good, it’s not sustainable for most people. “I think the pressure to eat as clean and whole and natural as possible is wearing people out,” Sole-Smith said.

Sure, it’s a scary idea to trust our own eating instincts. We’re afraid of losing control, but Sole-Smith said, “You’re not going to want to eat doughnuts day in, day out because after a while your body will crave something different.”

The research backs her up. Ohio State University body image and eating behavior researcher Tracy L. Tylka has conducted large-scale studies to assess three main elements of intuitive eating: eating for physical rather than emotional reasons, unconditional permission to eat, and reliance on hunger and satiety cues. She concludes that intuitive eaters “are aware of and trust their body’s internal hunger and satiety cues and use these cues to determine when and how much to eat.”

Current research indicates that intuitive eaters are less prone to binge, have lower BMIs and have less disordered eating. They also experience more body appreciation, self-compassion and optimism as well as higher self-esteem.

It appears, after all, that you are not what you eat. For people like me who have lived by clean eating, it’s hard to let go of long-held ideas of good and bad food. But has all the food shaming benefited anyone?

For everyone ready for dramatic change in the next decade, Sole-Smith offers a simple anti-diet challenge: Dare to enjoy your food.

She added: “You really can’t have a healthy relationship with food if you can’t take pleasure in food.”

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