The Redefining Obesity Project started in 2008, when a deep sense of discomfort left us unwilling to settle for the current model of obesity. We have spent the past 11 years searching for something else. The current paradigm, which tells us that all there is to weight loss and weight gain is calories-in and calories-out, just didn't seem complete enough. When calorie-in/calorie-out is the model, the only solution is dieting and exercise. However, we know that 83% of diets not only fail, but leave the dieter with more weight than they started out with. There is something wrong here!
This model teaches us that weight loss is extremely simple. So simple, in fact, that anyone who cannot manage to lose weight by getting active and restricting their calorie intake must, logically, be lazy, ignorant, and lacking in self-control. We weren't convinced. In fact, we felt a sense of "wrongness" that has not budged. If we're not lazy, ignorant, or lacking in self-control in any other area of our lives, why would be one area so out of line with our values? We also spoke with many other obese individuals who were in the same boat.
This calorie-in/calorie-out paradigm also opens the door for pop culture to call obesity a "choice." Rampant judgement and discrimination have followed, to the point where, in the United States, weight discrimination is now on par with racial discrimination. The stigma only reinforces discomfort and makes it more difficult for obese individuals to live full, meaningful lives. This feeds in to other health problems, creating a vicious cycle in which there is virtually no exit.
The alternative is that obesity is both complex and individual in nature. It is, essentially, a symptom of a suite of mental and physical problems which all need to be considered during treatment. Is it simple? No. But that should NOT stop us from caring, investigating, or broadening our research.
Redefining Obesity strives to facilitate the shift to this alternative perspective, especially in pop culture. Redefining Obesity believes we stand to gain an amazing amount of insight into the biological mechanisms of our minds and bodies if we can open the door to a more holistic view of obesity. We can also combat discrimination and begin to really address the roots of obesity and sow the seeds for a healthier future.