When Miss America 2022 is crowned, she will be the first evidence-based body positivity winner in history! This is a HUGE milestone for the body positivity movement, the Miss America Organization, and SANESolution Founder and BETTER documentary film producer, Jonathan Bailor.
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SANESolution is partnering with the Miss America Organization to further the organization’s initiative of redefining women’s wellness as being focused on optimal health rather than physical appearance.
Miss America 2022: First Evidence Based Body Positivity Winner
Backed by 1,300 clinical studies and thousands of success stories, SANESolution’s wellness curriculum is the only program endorsed by top doctors at the Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, and UCLA. In addition, it is the subject of New York Times best-selling books and the award-winning documentary BETTER that debuted top 3 on the iTunes charts in the summer of 2021.
Throughout 2021, Miss America, SANESolution, and BETTER have provided the next generation of female leaders life-long wellness education, tools, and community. This modern science of optimal nutrition, fitness, and mindset has ensured every candidate that every ‘body’ can experience greatness as they enact their missions in the world.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what evidence-based body positivity is and why we need a new evolution in the body-positive movement.
What is Evidence-Based Body Positivity?
In a nutshell, the evidence-based body positivity movement is the method depicted in the documentary BETTER to end body shame and diabesity by enabling women to love themselves into their best-performing bodies.
In other words, instead of obsessing over how our body looks, we focus on how our body performs, which automatically leads us to make the highest quality dietary and lifestyle choices for our health.
What the Traditional Body Positivity Movement Got Right…and What it Got Wrong
The traditional body positivity movement was a healthier alternative to the conventional body-shaming starvation-based yoyo dieting “treatment” for diabesity that has been proven to fail 95.4% of the time.
The concept of loving your body no matter its size and shape is an admirable one, and it is much preferable to shame-based yoyo dieting that actually causes you to weigh more in the long run. Indeed, studies show that yo-yo dieting is worse for your health and your weight than doing nothing at all and remaining diabese!
There is nothing inherently wrong with promoting a message that “all bodies are beautiful,” as long as that message is truly all-body inclusive. But by making no distinction between a size 12 and someone who suffers from the medical conditions known as obesity and diabetes (diabesity), it ignores the very real emotional, physical, and health risks/challenges faced by this group of women.
So, despite the positive body image message, it leaves the estimated 39.7% to 43.3% of obese women in the U.S. with only two choices. They can try to starve themselves thin and suffer negative weight and health effects. Or, they can love their bodies no matter the size and surrender their bodies to diabetes and all the deadly diseases that may ensue.
Women shouldn’t have to make that choice!
Evidence-Based Body Positivity: Combining Science with Love and Self Acceptance
This is why we’re so excited about ushering in this new wave of evidence-based body positivity with top doctors at the Harvard Medical School, Jonathan Bailor, and the Miss America Organization. Now, the best medical minds in the country have proven that we can do BETTER.
Scientific evidence shows us that eating less of the same foods that cause weight gain is NOT the way to obtain sustainable weight loss.
It turns out, the calorie-deficit theory of weight loss is incomplete, yet “experts” keep promoting it. This theory says that you need to eat less and exercise more to lose weight.
According to this theory, it doesn’t matter whether you eat a couple of donuts or a big juicy steak. As long as you stay within a specific calorie limit, you’ll still lose weight.
We know this is untrue. Research shows that the quality of calories consumed is far more critical than the number for weight management.
The types of food you eat have vastly different effects on your body, hormones, and metabolism. For example, that big juicy steak triggers your long- and short-term satiety hormones, thus filling you up fast and keeping you full for a long time. This can prevent overeating and aid weight management.
By contrast, a donut triggers a spike in blood glucose levels because the pancreas releases the fat-storage hormone insulin to clear the excess glucose. The body will send most of these calories to your fat cells. After 20 minutes, your glucose levels plummet, leaving you hungry for another donut.
In addition, your fat metabolism system automatically regulates your weight around a “set-point.”
The Importance of Set-Point
The set-point is why no matter how little we eat or how much we exercise, we generally end up weighing about the same.
Yes, calories matter. But it’s not your job to count them. Instead, your body regulates calorie intake and adjusts metabolism to keep you within range of your set point weight. After all, the purpose of the set-point is to take whatever quantity of calories we eat plus whatever amount of calories we burn and balance it out automatically. That is why manually balancing calories fails 95% of the time long term. It is trying to override the set-point, and we generally do not win battles against our basic biology.
As researcher Keith Frayn of Oxford University noted: “We should not be surprised that dieting is difficult because it is a fight against mechanisms which have evolved over many millions of years precisely to minimize its effects….” (1)
Thus, long-term fat loss comes from lowering set-point weight, not from starving it. (2)
The science is clear that to lose weight permanently, you need to lower your set point with a high-quality diet and lifestyle. You’ll then lose weight safely and easily…and permanently. No calorie counting, deprivation, yo-yo dieting…or shame!
Evidence-Based Body Positivity gives everyone the tools to end both body shame and diabesity. It allows you to love yourself into a body that helps you, rather than hinders you— both physically and mentally. Loving yourself is the key to realizing your true health and potential.
Ready for the Next More Sane Wave of Body Positivity?
Now we have a more sane solution to BOTH the diabesity epidemic AND body shaming!
Body positivity has its roots in the fat-acceptance movement of the late 1960s when obesity rates were low. In 1962, fewer than 14% of individuals were considered obese, defined as having a body mass index of 30 and above, and a mere 1.06% of the population had been diagnosed with diabetes. (3, 4) Today, 34.2 million American adults — just over 1 in 10 or 10.5% — have diabetes, and 88 million American adults—approximately 1 in 3—have prediabetes. (5, 6)
It is clear that to stop the diabesity epidemic, women need an evidence-based way to love their bodies and themselves while also sustainably losing weight and improving their health and longevity.
But before we reveal the sane solution to both the diabesity epidemic and body shaming, let’s discuss why being ashamed of your body does not help with long-term weight loss.
Why Body-Shame Is NOT the Answer to Sustainable Weight Loss
Obesity is one of the few acceptable prejudices left. Thus, body-shaming obese individuals is quite common and especially harmful for women, who feel pressured to meet society’s beauty standards emphasizing thinness. They are constantly given subtle and not-so-subtle messages that heavy women are less human than thin women. For example, dehumanizing language such as being called a pig, dog, or cow.
Consequently, obese individuals are often body-shamed and discriminated against, significantly affecting their mood, emotions, and relationships with themselves and others.
From a research article published in Endocrinology & Metabolism Clinics of North America:
“The disease of obesity is associated with a significant psychosocial burden. Many individuals who have obesity also struggle with issues related to their mood, self-esteem, quality of life, and body image.” (7)
The Problem with Body Shame
Toxic shame, a state in which you feel that who you are is unworthy and unlovable, is never a helpful emotion. But body shame is particularly counterproductive for weight loss.
Making obese people feel ashamed of themselves in the belief that it will motivate them to eat less, exercise more, and lose weight has no basis in reality or science.
Research shows that body shame induces stress in the individual, causing an increase in circulating cortisol. This hormone has been shown in multiple clinical research trials to increase hunger. It may also trigger cravings for sugar, starchy carbs, and other unhealthy and weight-promoting foods. (8)
Excess cortisol is also known to increase the risk for depression and anxiety, leading to food cravings and binge eating.
Research also suggests a link between weight discrimination and weight gain. In one study, researchers interviewed over 6,000 individuals who had reported weight discrimination. At the first interview, 4,193 participants were not obese, and 1,964 were obese. By the follow-up interview, 5.8% of the non-obese group had become obese, while every member of the obese group had remained obese. (9)
As researchers concluded:
” Weight discrimination was associated with becoming obese between baseline and follow-up: Among participants who were not obese at baseline, those who reported weight discrimination were approximately 2.5 times more likely to be obese by follow-up than those who did not report weight discrimination.” (10)
Starvation-Based YoYo Dieting is Dangerous for Your Body
Rather than sustainable healthy weight loss, self-shame often leads to yoyo dieting. It is a medical fact that body-shaming starvation-based yoyo dieting is MORE harmful overall than staying diabese. That’s right. It is a scientific fact that it is healthier to remain obese and diabetic than to yoyo diet.
Indeed, yoyo dieting may have contributed significantly to the diabesity epidemic.
Yoyo dieting, also called weight cycling, is a pattern of repeatedly losing weight and regaining it. Constant fluctuations in weight are not minor or harmless to the body, as research suggests it may increase body fat percentages in the long run. (11) This is because it slows fat metabolism a little more with each weight cycle.
A University of Pennsylvania study showed the unproductive effect of starvation dieting for long-term weight loss. Researchers put obese rats on a high-fat diet and then a reduced-calorie diet. Each time the rats ate a high-fat diet, they gained weight; each time they ate less, they lost weight. This pattern continued for several cycles.
Sound familiar? Those rats were yoyo dieting just as millions of humans have done for decades, and it’s just as unproductive for long-term weight loss.
But here is where it gets interesting and so much worse.
From the study:
“The cycled animals showed significant increases in food efficiency (weight gain/kcal food intake) in the second restriction and refeeding periods compared to the first, i.e., weight loss occurred at half the rate and regained at three times the rate in the second cycle…At the end of the experiment, cycled animals had a four-fold increase in food efficiency compared to obese animals of the same weight who had not cycled.” (12)
So, the rats who yo-yoed repeatedly stored food as body fat 400% more efficiently than rats who constantly ate a fattening diet.
Let this sink in for a minute. Weight cycling damaged the rats’ metabolic systems 400% more than if they had just stuck to eating a fattening diet.
And this is not the only study that shows that those who intentionally eat less to lose weight end up with more weight and body fat than those who just eat normally.
Isn’t it time to #LiveBETTER and #GoSANE?
Living Better and Going SANE
The sane solution to BOTH the diabesity epidemic AND body-shaming is all about loving yourself so much that you choose to live BETTER through proven science, practical habits, and powerful love. So you eat, think, live, and move BETTER, no shame or starvation ever.
There is no shame in loving yourself, and you automatically make higher-quality choices in diet, exercise, and other matters when you believe you’re worth it.
Most often, when a woman learns she’s pregnant, she instantly makes better-quality lifestyle choices. She eats healthier, more nutritious foods to nurture her unborn baby and takes prenatal vitamins. She becomes more physically active throughout the day because her health affects her baby’s health. She tries to get more sleep and makes an effort to relieve stress. If she smokes, she quits instantly when becoming pregnant.
She does all this because she LOVES that little human growing inside her. It’s unconditional love. If you love yourself in the same way, making quality lifestyle changes will be easy for you because you’re worth it!
You don’t “eat less to lose weight”; you “eat SANEly to live BETTER.”
You’ll choose a quality diet composed primarily of whole foods. You’ll reduce or eliminate highly processed foods, sugars, and processed carbs. As a result, you’ll eat more, but smarter!
Again, the key with evidence-based body positivity is that you no longer have to choose between being shamed into an unhealthily skinny body or surrendering your body to the diseases of obesity and diabetes. Instead, you can now select a more sane solution.
As you’ve just seen, the only thing that works for achieving a healthy weight is to improve the quality of your diet.
Getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night, reducing stress, and getting regular physical activity will also help lower set point weight.
But you’re not likely to do ANY of these things if you don’t believe yourself worthy of it. This is why the new Evidence-Based Body Positivity is so important.
It’s not about having the body that society expects of you. It’s about being the highest-quality version of yourself.
1- Frayn, K. N. Metabolic Regulation: a Human Perspective. London: Portland, 1996. Print.