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Summary

Mainstream health science has let you down. Weight loss is not the key to health, diet and exercise are not effective weight-loss strategies, and fatness is not a death sentence.  

You've heard it before: There's a global health crisis, and unless we make some changes, we're in trouble. That much is true - but the epidemic is not obesity. The real crisis lies in the toxic stigma placed on certain bodies and the impact of living with inequality - not the numbers on a scale. 

In a mad dash to shrink our bodies, many of us get so caught up in searching for the perfect diet, exercise program, or surgical technique that we lose sight of our original goal: improved health and well-being. Popular methods for weight loss don't get us there and lead many people to feel like failures when they can't match unattainable body standards. It's time for a cease-fire in the war against obesity.  

Dr. Linda Bacon and Dr. Lucy Aphramor's Body Respect debunks common myths about weight, including the misconceptions that BMI can accurately measure health, that fatness necessarily leads to disease, and that dieting will improve health. They also help make sense of how poverty and oppression - such as racism, homophobia, and classism - affect life opportunity, self-worth, and even influence metabolism.  

Body insecurity is rampant, and it doesn't have to be. It's time to overcome our culture's shame and distress about weight, to get real about inequalities and health, and to show every body respect.

©2014 Linda Bacon, PhD, and Lucy Aphramor, PhD, RD (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about Body Respect

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not read by Celeste Oliva?

This sounds like a text to speech app read it; it's unbearable to listen to.

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Love the message, not executed well as an audiobook

I consider myself a HAES activist and this instalment has some interesting new material. However, I wish I had got it in book form as it doesn’t work well as an audiobook.
This is an emotive subject which was spoiled a bit by being read by a professional voice over artist. It lacked emotion, good intonation and made the subject more dry than it actually is. I would’ve loved to have heard it read by the authors, I think it would’ve been a totally different experience.
The other frustrating part is that it often makes important claims without sources. I’m guessing that in the book, these sources and research are at the back in an index. The audiobook would have been so much more useful to me had this information been included as each bit of research was presented. This makes it difficult for me to use this information in my work.
In conclusion, buy the book and skip the audio.

3 people found this helpful

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Essential reading for body acceptance and health

Dr. Lindo Bacon and co-author offer scientific evidence, and a compassionate, holistic and justice informed approach to achievable health habits, self compassion and peace with our bodies. The brunt of advice from health professionals and in mainstream media take a very different road: one that has been unhelpful and ineffective to me personally. The voices in this book are all the more important and appreciated for this reason, highlighting systemic injustice as a major source of health imbalance, while empowering the individual. Yes, personal responsibility is relevant, and it exists within a larger picture where racism, major life stressors, biased "science" and poverty impact lives. So grateful for this book!

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Thoughtful take on fat phobia

Super interesting take on dieting and fat phobia in medicine. The breakdown of inequality's effect on health outcomes was really shocking and important in contextualising weight and health outcomes.
I really enjoyed it as a read overall, and as a book it has changed the way I think about and understand my body, though I must say I was unimpressed by the eating advice. She used epidemiologic research (which she had previously criticised) in giving advice on protein intake, which I think undermines the possibility of body recomposition as a response to set point theory (i.e. gaining muscle and losing fat while maintaining body weight). I also don't think it was particularly helpful, as it followed a large chapter on socioeconomic disparities causing fatness, yet her recommendations on eating primarily revolved around eating lots of fresh plant based foods, which she had already acknowledged were harder to access.

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excellent

excellent book, I felt like I was healing while I listened to it. great for mental health, I'll definitely get their other work.

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Amazing!

This book is great if you want to learn the science behind HAES, diet culture, intuitive eating and joyful movement! Highly recommend to anyone and everyone.

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  • Terra's Mom
  • 24-09-19

Mixed

This book has many important messages, primarily in two categories: (1) exposing the flawed science about weight and food, and (2) presenting a political context in which the “weight” lies flourish. Unfortunately, I found the book to have a conflicting message - an individual, self-help approach. This “accept yourself” approach can be harmful, as it is likely to be ineffective, and thus reinforces a sense of failure.
I am a trauma therapist. Intellectual, cognitive approaches do not reach the somatic, non-verbal, psycho-bio-neurological-political-intersectional containers of trauma that perpetuate the automatic trauma filters and responses. Our society is traumatogenic in relation to eating, weight, appearance. Why? It feeds unconsciousness. It feeds a sense of individualized failure. This failure feeds the Oligarchic structures that keep us separated and stuck instead of finding collective consciousness and true empowerment. This book hints at second-order change, but does not fulfill its promise. Instead it reverts to a “first-order” game of checkers, in which the moves are limited and someone always loses. We need to get off the checkers board.
I would use information provided in this book - the science and the contextual, intersectional perspective - as a resource. However I could not, in good conscience, recommend this book to someone who is in severe pain and suffering about their weight and size.
Still, I applaud and greatly thank the authors for heading in this direction! A lot of hard work went into this book and it does provide a foundation and a stepping stone for further work.
Do not discard this book as a resource, however read it with a few grains of salt, so to speak.

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  • Nathalie
  • 19-02-19

An Important lesson to all health professionals

As someone who works in healthcare and hears the word “overweight” and “obesity” be tossed around a lot it’s very rare to hear a complete dissection of what these terms mean and how this impacts what we already know from lived experience from people living in larger bodies going on diets and not reaching the goal that they’ve been taught to strive for- long-term weight loss. I love how it gives the science/medical explanation of how this Weight normative paradigm is problematic and can do harm but then also expanded to a larger discussion on social justice respect and compassion.

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  • H.C. Edelhaugh
  • 15-11-20

This Should Be Required Reading in Health Classes

Reading this was like consuming chicken soup for the diet-worn soul. Great deep dive into health science and diet studies, easy to digest (no pun intended), and gave me several ah-ha moments. Allowed me to understand myself and the dominant culture of thinness and diets better. A really good read, but also incredibly helpful on my journey to body neutrality. I would recommend it to everyone and think this should be required reading for all youth in school health classes.

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  • Amber Rose
  • 29-10-20

Game changer

This book is excellent and has changed everything I thought I knew (the things that we’ve been taught by culture) about health, wellness, and weight. I am deeply thankful to Dr. Bacon for her work and to Dr. Aphramor. A must read!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-05-19

Excellent Book

Outstanding analysis on the intersection between diet culture and matters of social justice. Worth the quick listen!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jennifer E. Hubbard
  • 19-10-21

Love the content; sounds like Siri's voice

Really appreciate the content and it is a powerful message. My only critique is that the narrator sounds very similar to Siri. There's not much inflection and can't help but feel like Siri is reading to me. Definitely makes the experience less enjoyable.

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  • Randall Rugg
  • 15-07-21

Skeptic

I went in a skeptic reading this book based upon a recommendation from patient. After completing I feel there’s some very valued deposit information that is conveyed here. I enjoyed the book and probably will re-read it a second time to gain more information from the authors perspective. I would recommend.

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  • K. J. Moore
  • 29-04-21

Powerful Information!

My hope is that one day, all of our health care providers, coaches, personal trainers, nutritionists, and concern trolls on every social media post about weight and health could hear, understand, and heed the knowledge in this book.

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  • Caroline
  • 23-01-21

No thank you.

I just cannot believe that being overweight, even obese, does not harm one's health. Loving your body and respecting your body should mean taking care of it. The book basically says you're not in control of your weight; your body is. So don't fight it. *eyeroll* I don't think they're taking into account the person's mental and emotional health as it relates to eating and being active. As my mental health improves, I am able to eat healthier, be more active, and lose fat. Which, in turn, makes me feel better in every way. Nothing wrong with wanting to improve your health and look a certain way for YOU.

Just my two cents.

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  • Jayden Gutierrez
  • 07-10-20

Ok but not the greatest

struggled to finish to be honest but it wasn't a horrible read. It just felt like a lecture in some parts and I wanted to get to the rest. I didn't learn as much as I thought I would but maybe that's because this was meant for those who don't know even the bare facts? I'm not sure.