Nothing about homeostasis and weight, as discussed in the last post, is new information. There is more research in recent years to provide evidence for this biological function, but it's not news that the body monitors and manages weight for overall health.
However, the constant messages from the diet, exercise and food industries completely ignore this reality. These business interests dominate the information available about food and weight and have convinced people, medical practitioners and even government organizations that weight is within our control and a necessary part of overall health.
Since the cultural norm in recent generations is thinness, it's not hard to convince the public that being thin is preferable. Using weight as a measure for health, longevity and well-being is an easy sell for a population already inclined to believe that thinness is equated with personal value and self-worth.
In addition, these industries all give clear instructions for attaining said goals. Each new diet regimen purports to be the magic fix for weight loss. Every exercise plan is guaranteed to lead to permanent changes in one's body. Bariatric surgery programs or weight loss centers provide hope for those who fear being destined to their current weight forever. And the food industry rolls out one new food product after another meant to insure health and weight loss.
What information does the knowledge about homeostasis provide? Can it compare with the prescriptive advice that comes from industry and the media?
Biology only promises that if you eat regularly through the day with typical size portions for meals and snacks and if you follow your hunger and fullness cues, then your body will fall within a reasonable weight range of about 10-15% of your current weight. And if you try to go out of that range, your body will resist weight loss but may gradually allow weight gain.
Given the choice between the messages of industry and biology, it's clear why the various industries, with their extensive public relations, are much more successful.
Yet homeostasis is the fundamental basis for how the body manages weight. And all the other messaging about food and weight are patently incorrect.
So the goal really has to be to learn how to work within the rules that make our bodies function. Philosophies such as intuitive eating or Health at Every Size explain at length what it means to learn how to pay attention to our own internal cues. These approaches aren't easy in today's world, but they are realistic.
Our common goal has to be learning to listen to how our bodies work. Fighting those instincts only leads to misery and endless hours spent on fruitlessly managing an unmanageable task.