Don’t treat food like it’s the enemy

Regarding the article, “Weight Watchers more effective than psychologist programs”: As the owner of Alive Juice Bar in Shoreline, I’ve seen customers try nearly every diet available to lose weight, from Weight Watchers to South Beach to Elimination Diet. What many dieters forget is that the ultimate goal shouldn’t be weight loss, it should be optimal health.

Weight is one of many indicators of health and fitness. Someone of “normal” weight can lack a robust immune system to fight disease and the fitness skills needed to prevent injuries. Focus on achieving an ideal weight that’s decoupled from the goal of maximizing health and fitness is often ineffective, even dangerous.

While proper weight control should be used to improve health and fitness, achieving an ideal weight should not be an end in itself. Single-minded focus on weight-loss has resulted in fad diets that provide insufficient nutrition and the proliferation of inadequately tested diet supplements.

That said, I believe the most effective way to lose weight is to embrace and enjoy food instead of avoiding and demonizing it. Food is not the enemy, it’s the solution. A deeper appreciation for and understanding of food — how it’s grown, distributed, prepared, and used — is key to developing healthy and sustainable eating habits. Eating well should be a guilt-free experience, a normal part of everyday life.

Andrew An Ho