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State of Health

How To Be Healthy At Any Size

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

If you're one of the millions of Americans who plan on going on a diet soon, here's some new advice: don't. Some nutritionists say it's time for a radical new approach to healthy living.
Kyle Hammond has made a lot of strides in the past nine months. He's changed his exercise routine, targeted the pitfalls of his diet - fast food and a lot of overeating.
Hammond lost 100 pounds and reversed the course of both his diabetes and high blood pressure.
"I feel honestly probably 20 years younger than I did nine months ago," he said.
Hammond achieved his goals through the weight loss and the Wellness Center at the Oklahoma Heart Institute. He still attends weekly meetings to keep the weight off.
A good strategy - because if he's like most Americans, he'll need all the support he can get.  Long-term studies show after five years, less than 10 percent of dieters manage to keep the weight off. Fifty percent are back where they started and 40 percent, even heavier.
"As one of my colleagues said, for every diet, there's an equal and opposite binge," said Nutritionist Nicole Geurin.
Tulsa native Nicole Geurin now lives in California and is a nutritionist for Apple. Her clients are motivated, smart, successful - and yet:
"I saw patients really struggling and suffering.  You know, fighting against their bodies, and I felt like it was really damaging their health," she said.
Geurin says the problem is we all have a set point range of about 10 to 15 pounds, and our bodies will fight to protect that weight by increasing our appetite and slowing our metabolism.

It's a vicious cycle that's left one in three Oklahomans obese, the eighth highest rate in the nation - a statistic which comes with own long list of health concerns.  That's why Geurin now advocates an approach called Health at Every Size.
"Which is about taking the focus off weight completely and putting it on to healthy behaviors," she said.
Rather than worrying about the scale, Health at Every Size calls for mindful eating of a variety of healthy foods, enjoyable physical activity and an end to body shaming.  
"Someone who's in a larger body can be metabolically healthy," said Nutritionist Nicole Geurin.  "They can have normal cholesterol and blood pressure levels.  They can still be physically fit."
"My concern with what you're saying is it could also be an excuse for an individual to make less than their best effort at improving their health," said Dr. Eric Auerbach of the Oklahoma Heart Institute.
As the Director of Cardiology at the Oklahoma Heart Institute, Dr. Eric Auerbach is all too familiar with the negative health effects of obesity. Still, he agrees that short-term dieting is not the solution. 
"I think a lot of people are unaware of how they can make improvements that would result in lasting weight loss," he said.
But he also agrees the focus should be on health not a number on the scale. 

To achieve that, Geurin believes we need a whole new mindset. It's not about giving up, she says. It's about moving on.
"It gives them permission to not put their lives on hold until they lose weight, but to really live life to its fullest right now," she said.

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