Saturday, October 29, 2011

NaBloPoMo at BlogHer

Last year, I tried to do NaNoWriMo. I had a couple of really happy writing days, bought a sweatshirt with the NaNoWriMo logo, and then promptly got overwhelmend and quit writing.  I need to learn that things I am excited about that are also a cause for shopping are probably not necessarily exciting because of the intrinsic motivation to do them. I have a little issue with wanting to buy things, it seems.

This year, I am not feeling up to attempting NaNoWriMo again, so I have decided to try NaBloPoMo instead. BlogHer will be providing prompts, but I think I will only use them when I feel really stuck for a blog post. I remember trying to blog daily with the Reverb thing and getting really annoyed trying to respond to contrived prompts.  Instead I will just enjoy getting back into a daily blogging habit.

There are some great prizes up for grabs and there is still time to sign on to the NaBloPoMo blogroll. So please feel free to join me for some fun daily blogging.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Incorporating twitter into blogging

I participated in a recent BlogHer promotion required that I tweet about my post.  Until that time I had not set up a twitter feed for my blog. Now . I've been playing with different kinds of posts. If my twitter feed is only "Hey, check out my latest blog posts," that is pretty dull, I think. So I have been trying to find opportunities to make it something that complements the blog posts but can also stand on its own.  I have a feed for my tweets on the right-hand side of the blog, below the BlogHer promos, so even non-twitter-users can follow along.  So far I have played with photos, retweeting interesting posts, and using my twitter feed to keep followers informed on my progress with . I have subscribed to other bloggers' feeds for ideas too.

What bloggers do you follow on twitter? What kind of tweets do you like to see?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Is a weight loss goal incompatible with HAES?

Karen asks, in a comment on my last post:
As I have not read the book and don't know everything about HAES, is it true that it's against weight loss? Because I am all for people losing weight if that's what they want!
As far as I can tell from the book I read and some of the HAES blogs I have browsed, yes, a weight loss goal is incompatible with a Health at Every Size outlook.  I am not well-versed in the movement as a whole, so perhaps others with more knowledge will chime in.

The first half of Linda Bacon's book is an explanation of why she believes purposeful, sustained weight loss is not only impossible, but unnecessary.  She takes apart scientific studies that suggest that being outside a certain BMI range means health risks, and she also discusses the biological reasons that weight loss is so difficult.  There is also a discussion of why there is no "ideal" size range and why body diversity is so important.

HAES is a philosophy that treats "sizism" like other types of discrimination like racism, sexism, and heterosexism. The last one is probably the closest analogy, because a central argument of the gay rights movement is that sexual orientation is a trait that is set at birth. Few reputable social scientists would suggest anymore, as they used to in the past, that a person could just escape discrimination by trying to live as a straight person. Linda Bacon seems to be making a similar argument for weight, that once someone gains weight, the body resists losing it and, therefore, few of us can make voluntary changes to our weight.

I think she effectively proves (along with all the real-life evidence I have seen, and lived) that permanent weight loss is extremely difficult. She doesn't say it is impossible but suggests that this should not be the goal. The goal should be, as the title suggests, living healthfully at whatever size you are. This means eating a healthy diet, following your body's natural hunger signals, and learning to enjoy activity. The second half of the book lays out this plan.

You may notice, as I did, that the techniques discussed in this second half might very well result in weight loss. It didn't, in Bacon's HAES study, but that was not her goal. She does suggest that (as she herself did) these women would lose weight gradually over time as their bodies adjusted to the new habits. However, again, this is not the goal of the program.

The differences here between HAES and, say, Geneen Roth's programs are really just a matter of the long-term goal.  Roth also preaches self-acceptance and self-care but does say that this should result in weight loss. Bacon does not make weight loss part of the discussion because she is making a diversity argument.

I do agree that we should value people no matter what their size. I think where I disagree with the HAES movement is that I think there is a healthy body size range, one that is wider than the current media ideal (which seems to range between size 0 and size 4) but that does have an upper limit somewhere, though I will avoid setting some arbitrary number.  I do believethat it is better to be fit and fat than to be thin and inactive.  I don't know where this places me on the whole HAES spectrum.

This is probably just intellectual to many people but it does matter to me what my intention is, and I feel I would be dishonest if I tried to follow the HAES philosophy, because I would still, at my core, want to lose weight.  Does this make sense?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Deciding to admit I want what I want

I appreciate the comments on the HAES post. Intellectually, I really agree with everything in the book, but emotionally I cannot accept the idea of giving up on the goal of weight loss. I completely support other people's right to be happily whatever size they are, but I am still feeling the pull of wanting to make a change for myself. I know this might not seem to make sense to a lot of people, but I know what I want.

That doesn't mean I am going to do something crazy and drastic in an attempt to punish off the pounds. In fact, I think that kind of thing would be counterproductive. When I made my Weight Watchers goal back in 2002, I went to one of those high-tech body-fat measuring places that used a Bod Pod. Even though I was within a healthy BMI, the technicians explained that my body fat percentage was fairly high, and when I explained that I had been running and following a diet plan, they tried to explain that those techniques can decrease muscle mass while still allowing the body to hold on to fat. I didn't believe them at the time, I thought the test just must have been wrong. But thinking back, that may have been why the goal was so hard to hold onto.

I just used the BMR calculator at Fat2Fit Radio's site (we miss you Jeff, please get well soon!) to calculate my calorie needs for following their program, which calls for extremely moderate calorie reduction and moderate exercise including strength training. I am going to use LoseIt to track my progress and even connected it to so anyone who is interested can follow my progress. I am going to take it slow and easy and also use some of the techniques I have learned from the HAES book and Geneen Roth and Inside Out Weight Loss. I'm going to continue to be physically active and just try to tweak my food intake gradually to bring it within the 1740-2248 calories (depending on activity level) recommended by the Fat2Fit calculator. I want to do this all from an attitude of self-care, not one of "fixing" myself. I am not broken.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mammograms then and now

I'm not sure how I feel about mammogram screenings for a woman my age (I will be 41 in December). I had heard the new recommendations suggesting that screenings weren't necessary for healthy women with no family history until age 50. A friend of mine is insistent on this and brings a printout of the guidelines with her to doctor's appointments. I have no family history of breast cancer or really cancer of any kind.

When I was 35, the gynocologist I was seeing at the time said a baseline was recommended even for healthy women, and I said yes. This was only about 5-6 years ago, obviously, but it was pre-digital mammograms. I had always heard that mammograms were painful. I didn't find it painful, just weird and a little embarassing. I must not have stood still enough, because they called me back for more pictures because one was blurry. I was anxious because I thought there was something wrong and they just weren't telling me. I got the all-clear a few days later and breathed a big sigh of relief.

I got a physical a couple of months ago just to make sure everything is still going OK, and my doctor said, "Some people are saying women only need to be screened every two years, but I recommend going every year." I'm not forceful like my friend and I didn't even mention the recommendation that healthy women don't need mammograms, I just went. I'm not sure I want to go every year or every other year, though.

I made sure to schedule my appointment in September, knowing with all the breast cancer awareness stuff in October, it might be a little more crowded. Our local hospital has a whole "Breast Care Center," and it was a little intimidating to me to walk in there for a routine mammogram when many of the women who go there are probably already dealing with a diagnosis. I remember feeling grateful that I was probably fine. Despite the fanciness of the center, I was given an old hospital gown to put on backward, which didn't really seem suitable for the purpose of the screening. The garment was huge and didn't fasten in any way that allowed for modesty. I would have really appreciated something that worked more like a bathrobe.

The machine looked different than I remembered. This hospital has all digital mammograms. I said something to the technician that at least I wouldn't have to be called back later for more pictures. She said, actually, that sometimes the radiologists who read the mammograms still call women back to get different views. Great, I thought.

Again, despite the whole "squishing" lore, I didn't find it painful or even that uncomfortable, just weird. I don't really like changing my clothes in a locker room, so even though the technician was very nice and professional, I felt weird about having someone arranging my breast for photographing. Other than that, and my own anxiety about the idea of being screened for cancer, it wasn't so bad. I got my all-clear letter a few days later.

I'm still not sure I want to go back again next year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Life Well Lived: How do you stay happy and engaged while working?

As part of BlogHer's "Life Well Lived" blogger panel, I was asked to answer the following question:

How do you stay happy and engaged while working?

My answer:
Most of my work involves writing, so it can be very easy to get distracted by facebook or web surfing. I set a timer for 15-20 minutes or give myself a page goal for working uninterrupted. I then take a short break for fun before getting back to work again.

Feel free to share your own answer in the comments.

BlogHer's expert panelist Dr. Aymee Coget has a great four-step plan for staying happy and engaged at work. It's a timely post: This is the time of year when lots of different pressures mount, making staying focused at work more difficult.

You can share your own happiness suggestions for a chance to win $250 at BlogHer's Life Well Lived Moments Giveaway.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What I gained and lost from trying to get thinner

After my post on the Health at Every Size book yesterday, I thought it might be worth doing a little accounting of my years pursuing weight loss.  This is not going to be a complete list -- I remember first wanting to be thinner when I was 6 or 7 years old, and that's a long time to account for.  

Obviously, that previous sentence suggests I lost a lot of time feeling self-conscious about a body that was really pretty fine the way it was.  Old pictures of myself document that until my junior year of high school, I was a pretty average kid with an average kid body. I just never thought average was good enough.  I sometimes wonder if I would have ever developed any kind of weight problem if I had learned to love my body the way it was.

I first decided to try running in an attempt to lose weight. Despite the fact that at times, I used running as a way to punish off the pounds, I still think running is pretty great and I'm now careful to set limits and avoid taking advice from people who have problems understanding the limits of a normal human body.  I had the same progression with triathlon training -- I started out loving it and finding that it helped me control my weight, then I overdid it and burned out, and now I'm doing it again but being careful to be realistic and kind to myself.

I was a pretty picky eater as a child and I carried into adulthood a revulsion for almost every vegetable (corn, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and lettuce were the few exceptions).  I used to pick out just the chicken and rice when I ordered Chinese food and throw away the veggies.  I first started experimenting with new ways to cook vegetables as a way to cut calories.  Now when I'm at a restaurant, I tend to choose veggie-heavy dishes not because I want to be skinnier, but because I love vegetables so much.

I have tried a lot of different types of exercise: Spinning, yoga, strength training, etc., at first because they could help me get skinnier, but stuck with them because they felt good.

I have read a lot of great books in my quest to learn the magic trick that would lead me to healthy, happy weight loss. Geneen Roth's books (which share a lot of the same techniques of HAES but with weight loss still acknowledged as a goal) come to mind.  Passing for Thin, which was a great memoir of finding a bigger life in a smaller body.  

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I'm not sure that the pursuit of weight loss itself has been the problem, it has been the punishing thoughts that have gone with it.  The pursuit of weight loss has led me to try some pretty amazing things that I might not have discovered if I were pursuing "less sexy" goals like general health. The pursuit of weight loss is a powerful motivator. Health is really important, but it doesn't have the same kind of motivating force for me.  

Is there a way to strive for a fitter, and dare I say it, thinner body in a joyful, rather than punishing way?  That's what I'd really like to know.   

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Book review: Trying to understand the Health at Every Size movement

As any regular reader of this blog can probably guess, I have a somewhat confused relationship with the whole concept of dieting. On the one hand, I love the idea of being proactive, making intelligent decisions about food, and getting into a smaller size of jeans. On the other hand, I feel like all of this diet mind-chatter is a waste of intellectual capacity, and that diets often take people further away from health and their goals instead of closer to them.  I have been spending a lot of time in this blog lately reflecting on self-love and its relation to health.

Because of these mixed feelings, the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement both attracts and repels me. I want to believe there is a healthier way to eat and live and to pursue balance of food and exercise.  On the other hand, I am terrified that the HAES approach just means learning to be happier in size 14 jeans (until those get too tight and I need a 16, and then an 18, and so on...)  A recent blog post on "Refuse to Regain" seems to echo the latter view, characterizing HAES as "eat without restrictions."

I read an interview in More Magazine with Linda Bacon that suggested there might be more to the HAES movement than what Frances has dismissively called "Fat Serenity." I asked for and received a free review copy of Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight. (Though I never read the original version, the version I have says it is "revised & updated.")  This post will be an overview of some of the main ideas, but I'd like to start an online discussion about HAES, because there is just so much to talk about here.  Linda Bacon's book is thick and information-dense, and she's not the only writer in the HAES movement. I am sure there is plenty of disagreement even within the HAES movement about exactly what it means. However, this book seemed like a good place to start.

The overarching premise of the book is that our bodies are innately tuned to maintain a healthy weight range for us, but that our obsession with fat and weight, as well as environmental factors like highly engineered food products, have helped us to lose touch with our true hunger signals.  Our bodies' setpoints probably don't align with the current hyper-thin beauty ideal, but they may be lower than our current weights, especially if we have gotten caught up in the diet-regain cycle or are eating in response to emotions instead of hunger.  Our bodies are especially tuned, Bacon says, to avoid weight loss, which makes sense because human beings evolved in a harsh environment where food was difficult to obtain.  Our bodies are less sensitive to weight gain because storing a little extra fat was a good insurance plan against famine, especially for women, who needed extra protection from starvation because of the demands of carrying and nursing babies. 

The book echoes many criticisms we have already heard from the weight-loss gurus about food politics and processed foods and agrees that they have created a food environment where our "thrifty genes" make it hard to maintain our weight.  In our current food culture, food is always available, and the most available food is both high-calorie and low-nutrient.  We have also learned to ignore our hunger signals in favor of all kinds of conflicting messages and drives.  
External rules, such as belief systems about good foods, bad foods, or appropriate amounts or times to eat, drown out our innate ability to respond to setpoint cues. We eat not because we're hungry, but because we're sad, guilty, bored, frustrated, lonely, or angry. And because food can't take care of our emotions, we eat and eat and never feel satisfied.
Though the environment we live in encourages us to overeat and gain weight, we also are taught to judge ourselves harshly for even small amounts of extra weight. This sets up the diet-regain cycle.

To break out of this cycle, Bacon says not that we have to "eat without restrictions," but that we need to start paying more attention to our body's hunger signals and how different foods make us feel.  By decoupling healthy living from trying to attain an unattainable weight ideal, we can definitely become healthier and may even, like Bacon herself, lose some weight in the process. The tricky part, though, is that weight loss can't be the goal.  The goal is to increase physical activity and learn healthier eating habits.  Any weight loss would have to be a nice but unimportant side effect.  Bacon provides tools for those who want to become more in tune with their body's hunger signals, like a hunger scale and journal and a lot of information about food.  She also suggests that through using this approach, we can retrain our tastes so that we enjoy healthier, plant-based foods more and crave processed foods less.  She also says we need to learn to satisfy other hungers besides those for food, like the need for rest and emotional fulfillment.

The thing this makes this book truly unique is that it includes the results of a scientific study that tested its premise.  Women whose weights were in the "obese" range were recruited and randomly assigned to two groups, one that learned Bacon's HAES approach and another group, led by mainstream diet researchers and obesity experts, that followed current "best practices" for weight loss.  Both groups were tested for health markers at different points in the study, at the insistence of one of the diet researchers who thought that the HAES approach could endanger the health of the participants. The groups met weekly for six months.  The results after one year? Though the dieting group "showed some initial weight loss and health benefits," they ended up regaining the weight they had lost and reversing their improvements in health markers.  The HAES group improved health markers like cholesterol and blood pressure and increased their physical activity.  They said they were happier and enjoyed their food and activity more.  Neither group showed significant weight loss.  The message here is obvious: If weight loss is unlikely, wouldn't it be better to become happier and healthier than just more restrictive and negative?

I think that this approach has the potential to liberate women and improve their lives and health. It's a hard sell, though, even to me.  It's hard to think about giving up the hope of a smaller body that fits my own beauty ideal, even if I know from experience how difficult it is to achieve and maintain that ideal.  It's hard not to want what I want. I do see a lot of promise, here, though, of the kind of life I really want.  I want to love my body and treat it well. I want to stop making my happiness so dependent on what the scale says.  I want to free my mind from this weight obsession so I can pursue worthier goals.

I think this is going to be a book I will read and reread, and that the process of learning is going to be long-term.  Bacon herself admits to struggling with self-consciousness about her weight at times, but says that often those feelings help her tune in to other needs if she lets herself learn from them. She gives the  starting to crave richer food and noticing that she was gaining weight while writing the first edition of this book. When she looked her feelings more closely, she realized that she was responding to "fears of vulnerability" about the book, and that led her to make changes to make the book stronger.  It's interesting to think of "feeling fat" as a cue to something more important going on.  

I know that it's common for bloggers to ask questions at the end of posts as a way to encourage comments. In this case, I don't want the comments for their own sake, but am genuinely curious to hear what you think of this approach.  Do you have other HAES writers or books to suggest? Let's start a discussion, because I think there is something really important to learn from this approach.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Totally geeked out

My husband and I got the new iPhone 4S. Have spent most of the evening setting them up.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Self love vs. health

I know I have already covered this topic, but a post on Faith, Fitness, Fun made me want to revisit it.  Tina wrote about a radio host who talked about accepting his weight:

Then, he said he adopted that mindset, realized being overweight is “just who he is” and never bothered worrying about his weight anymore. He almost seemed proud that he was still overweight and accepted that part of himself. And I’m not so sure how I feel about that.
You know I’m all for self-love. But I still think part of loving ourselves comes with the responsibility of caring for our bodies. Love yourself where you are, but also love yourself enough to treat your body with respect – which includes fueling it properly and helping it get stronger with some form of activity.
I would much rather someone see his or her worth and value and be overweight, than be healthy physically but depressed and full of self-loathing. I think mental and emotional wellness plays a hugely significant role in health. However, I don’t like the idea of accepting oneself but not having any desire to treat the body right.
 I'm pretty sure that her middle paragraph is right on, that self-love does mean, in part, taking care of the self. There seems to be a false assumption (by both the radio host and Tina) that loving ourselves as we are means that we don't ever try to do anything to improve our health.

It's the total opposite, I think. I love my cats. One was getting very thin, and I was concerned about him and was trying to get his weight up by tempting him with foods he liked and making sure he was healthy.  The other was slightly overweight. I loved her too and decided to play with her a little more to give her a little more exercise.  I didn't stop loving either one as they were just because I wanted to nudge them toward health. I didn't starve the overweight cat or force-feed the skinny one.  (Now the skinny one is at a healthy weight and the overweight one has developed a thyroid problem and seems to be getting too thin. I'm taking her to the vet today for a recheck).

I have a harder time translating this for myself. I have to admit that there is a part of me that thinks self-acceptance will mean getting lazy and gaining weight and that I need to whip myself into shape. I know, deep down, though, that this approach doesn't work. Why would it?  Being mean to myself hasn't made me thin in the last 40 years of my life, so why should it start working now?

I think there is a false assumption by thin people that overweight people get fat because they are not interested in health or are too self-accepting. Most overweight people I know seem to be hyper-aware of weight, and are just as likely to be trying self-defeating things to lose weight (like crazy extreme diets or magic beans) as they are to be wallowing in denial and Cheetos.

I think I will achieve a healthy weight when I truly learn to accept myself and love myself and use that love to motivate healthy behavior.  I can tell you that I'm not quite there yet, but it's not because I love myself too much.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blogger meetup

I was trolling through Google Reader yesterday and I saw that Karen was actually in the Toledo area to promote her book AFTER (the before and after). It's always fun to meet up with bloggers I read, so I suggested that we meet for coffee.  Her friend Liz, whose blog I hadn't read before I re-read Karen's post, also came along.  Here's the requisite arms'-length smartphone photo of us in the bookstore:

From left: Karen, Liz (in back), and yours truly

I had a lot of fun chatting with both of them.  Coffee turned into lunch, which meant I played hooky from grading papers for most of the day, which I felt was totally worth it. We all met through the weight-loss blogging community, and had some similar experiences: We all went all-out getting to our goal weights, then found that we couldn't stay there.  We all are doing our best to find some sort of balance between eathing healthy and having a life. Karen and I discussed the book Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, which will be reviewed on this site in the near future, as soon as it arrives and I have time to read it. I am hoping that it will have a balance that leans more toward "health" than "at every size." I still don't feel like I've found that balance yet.

We also talked a little about writing, as Liz and Karen are both freelancers.  I snooped a little into the blog-to-book process, even though I don't really see enough of a coherent narrative in my blog to really consider that as an option for me.

I love the blog community, but it's funny, when Karen asked me what blogs are my favorites, I couldn't think of too many of my real favorite bloggers who are still posting regularly.  Most of the ones I really love seem to have gone into twice-monthly posting mode.  I explained how I put people into my feed reader and then drop them if I don't like reading them, if the authors post seven times a day with trivial stuff like "Here is a picture of my sandwich!"  or try so hard to be like a magazine writer that I don't see much of a personal touch (I think I may have dissed one of their favorite bloggers when I mentioned by name one of the blogs I am considering deleting from my reader, and won't repeat my mistake here).

My feed reader is full of  links to blogs that have mostly gone silent, though I keep the links there in case they come back to life again. I think I need to find some new favorites. Karen and Liz mentioned several blogs that I haven't tried yet, and will have to find if I can remember them.  Feel free to post links to blogs you like in the comments (as long as they are real blogs and not just marketing sites).

Friday, October 07, 2011


I have been feeling pretty miserable for the last few days. I felt the yuck kind of crashing down on me early last week while standing in line for lunch at a work meeting. I tried running yesterday because all my symptoms are from the neck up and it could just be my allergies acting up. Today I just went to physical therapy and did a short walk outside.

I need to catch up on rest this weekend. I haven't been getting nearly enough sleep. I also need to catch up on grading and housework.

Better posts coming soon, I promise! I have a book on the way that I can't wait to review for you. Have a great weekend!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Should overweight people pay more for health insurance?

Usually I find The Jillian a pretty good source of information and entertainment, but I disagreed with her rant on the latest episode of the podcast (Overweight to pay?) that insurance companies should charge overweight people more for health and life insurance (or the seemingly nicer tactic of charging less for people in a "healthy" weight range).  Or, more accurately, I disagree that doing so would result in truly lower premiums for healthier people or provide incentive for people to lose weight in a healthy way.

First of all, any time you decide to test people for anything, there are costs involved.  Florida's legislature found that out when they decided to require drug tests for welfare recipients.  There are the costs for the tests themselves, plus the costs of tracking the results, and the cost to defend against lawsuits resulting from the law. Plus, they were only able to deny welfare benefits to a small percentage of the people who applied (a percentage lower than the suspected drug use rate among the general population), and though the legislature might derive some satisfaction from starving those people's children (who presumably have no control over whether their parents use drugs), the actual savings were not that great because of the other costs.

I think this is a pretty good parallel to Jillian's insurance proposal.  Insurance companies (unlike state legislators) are pretty good assessors of risk. That's how they make their money. If charging more for health insurance for overweight people was really worth the costs, they would already be doing it.  Unlike the Florida legislature, they also have to compete for customers, and they probably know that most customers would not want to have to weigh-in regularly with their insurance company.  Plus, of course, there would be administrative costs associated with the weigh-ins, and possible discrimination lawsuits.

Assuming that such an initiative passed, it might not have the desired effect. Presumably, overweight and obese people already want to lose their excess weight even more than insurance companies would want them to, and they have not managed to do so not for lack of trying, but because healthy weight loss is slow and difficult.  (I speak from experience here) and there is a lot of conflicting information about what kind of diet and exercise is most effective. Imposing a financial penalty for excess weight might encourage customers to try dangerous and drastic weight-loss measures that could result in excess costs from, say, extreme diets or harmful supplements. Or more of them might ask their insurance companies to pay for costly weight loss surgeries. The kind of moderate behavioral modifications that would result in the healthiest weight losses might take years to bring an obese person into a healthy BMI range.

Finally, there is some evidence to suggest that weight is not a highly accurate predictor of health.  The simplest method of determining who is overweight or obese, BMI, has been shown to inaccurately predict body fat percentage in many adults.There is some evidence that suggests that excess weight is not a health risk for some obese people, especially those who exercise regularly. One study even found that people who fell into the "overweight" BMI range had the lowest risk of dying from all causes. It may be that excess weight is just a marker for the real risk factors: A sedentary lifestyle and a poor-quality diet.  For people who have addressed those factors, excess weight might be more of a cosmetic issue than a health problem (or at least that's what I'm hoping).

Ideally, any incentive would be attached to behavior, rather than weight. I know of quite a few employers who provide free or reduced-price gym memberships to employees, and even cover the costs of some weight-loss programs and smoking-cessation interventions, in an attempt to address the behavioral side of the problem and reduce their health insurance premiums. These companies are creating a win/win situation: happier, healthier employees and lower absenteeism and health care costs. These incentives also probably increase their competitiveness for good potential employees.

I would like to know how much those incentive programs pay off for companies, if at all. I would also like to know what the costs/benefits of the pay-to-weigh program that Jillian is proposing.  Somehow, I think the insurance companies have analyzed the situation more than Jillian has and probably already have the answer.

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07