Dr. Dori Steinberg remembers presenting her dissertation ten years ago about obesity and daily weighing.
She worked as an ‘obesity’ researcher for nearly two decades and designed and evaluated countless weight-loss programs.
Steinberg truly believed she was helping people lose weight by providing them with my support. But she was wrong.
Since she was a child, Steinberg has struggled with my weight and body image. She grew up just outside New York City in a time when diet culture was thriving.
Steinberg attended weight-loss camps during her early teens aspiring to shrink her body. Though she lost weight, it quickly returned.
She perceived more nutrition knowledge as the key to losing weight and helping others.
Despite my many attempts to devise a weight loss program, my studies did not show sustained weight loss.
One cannot determine one’s health simply by looking at their body dimensions, and being thinner doesn’t imply being healthier.
Many internal reflections led me to realize I had a childhood eating disorder.
Following treatment in my late 30s, I reinterpreted my career studying obesity.
My research focuses on eating disorders, how they manifest themselves in diverse people, and how we can treat them more effectively.
Steinberg learned a few key things I think are essential to organizations, researchers, and the general population.
Foods Are Neither Good Nor Bad
Foods are not necessarily bad and can be eaten in moderation is one of the harmful beliefs that led to my eating disorder in the first place.
Even the sugars and fats we’ve been taught to turn down are necessary for life.
Health Is Not A Function Of Weight
There is too much emphasis on weight and health in the health care industry. Weight bias has increased in the past several decades.
The stigma associated with obesity disproportionately harms people with large bodies, who often avoid seeking medical care because it is perceived negatively.
Harmful Ideas Can Never Be Unlearned
Steinberg has held strong beliefs about weight, nutrition, and health throughout my career and personal life.
To unlearn these beliefs, she recognized that she encouraged behaviors that arose through eating disorders.
Steinberg has gained so much from my journey, even though it hasn’t been easy. As her body craved more food, she gained weight.
Dietitian Dori Steinberg is an advocate for preventing eating disorders and a researcher. She is the VP of Research and Policy at EquipHealth.