New Obesity Guidelines Go Beyond Diet and Exercise
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A move to focus on health outcomes versus weight loss alone

White plate with fork and knife tied with a yellow tape measure

The Canadian Medical Association Journal recently released new obesity guidelines titled: Obesity in Adults: A Clinical Practice Guideline  which our Dietitian team is very happy to see given our longstanding discussion of “Best Weight” with our clients seeking support for weight loss (more on that below).



The obesity guidelines help pull together the best knowledge we have to date from top experts in obesity research and management. While there is still so much to research and implement in this field, our Dietitian team is hopeful that with a standardized practice guideline more health professionals and the general public will understand the many complex factors that contribute to why we weigh what we weigh.  This is perhaps one of the best first steps to reduce the significant weight bias and stigma our clients face often with respect to their body size.


Below you will find some of the most common myths related to obesity and weight to help you understand the practical aspects of how to interpret the new obesity guidelines:


WATCH the Global TV Interview here about the new obesity guidelines:


Myth 1: If I eat less and exercise I should be able to lose weight.


While your diet and exercise habits are important there are MANY factors that influence weight including sleep, stress, genetics, family history, hormone balance, mental health status, medications, behavioral and environmental factors.  It is important not to oversimplify things to “calories in versus calories out” as the only determinant of why we weight what we weigh.  


One of the big factors we see with our clients struggling to lose weight is a history of dieting and reducing calories but then an inability to sustain this.  Scientists have shown that the control of appetite is complex and that the brain, adipose tissue, pancreas and gut all play a role in triggering food consumption.  When we substantially reduce our food consumption this triggers changes in our appetite and hormones making sustaining a restrictive diet difficult to continue to follow.  


This is why building a personalized eating plan that you can sustain for life is key.  We focus on helping our clients build an eating lifestyle they enjoy AND digging into the harder questions of not just what to eat but how to do it amidst a busy life.  We also support our clients with tools and insight into why they are eating and provide strategies to navigate emotional eating, managing cravings and their environment and social settings.  We collaborate with psychologists more than any other health care professional in our practice given one of the largest barriers in sustaining weight loss can be connected to behavioral change and mental health for our clients.


Myth 2: You can’t be healthy if you are obese.


Obesity management should be focused on maximizing physical and mental health and wellness (not specifically weight loss) as that is what matters most.  Outside of nutrition and exercise, the new obesity practice guidelines call on physicians to discuss psychological support, medications and bariatric surgery with their patients after asking for permission to explore options.  You can see the approach in this visual below:


Infographic of new Canadian Obesity Guidelines


Myth 3: BMI (body mass index) is the best way to tell how much I “should” weigh.


Determining your personal “best weight” is the best way to set individual goals since a so-called “ideal weight” as suggested in a traditional BMI chart – correlating height and weight into a health range – can only give a broad starting place and may not be helpful for you personally. 


A chart cannot determine your health or how much you should weigh. Charts like these oversimplify the range of factors contributing to your weight. They cannot reflect what we have learned about the science of weight management.  More and more health educators and researchers, including the Canadian Obesity Network, are moving towards individualizing target weight goals.


What is meant by your “best weight”?


Our team of Dietitians define your best weight as the weight you can achieve while living fully. Living fully is about living healthfully AND soulfully.

Your best weight is a personal best. It is not based on a graph, chart, app or number provided by a so-called ‘expert.’ You are your own best expert.

As you look at nutrition, activity level and other lifestyle considerations, keep a few points in mind. You are most likely to be at your best weight when you:

  • get enough sleep
  • manage stress and emotions in healthy ways
  • eat healthfully and mindfully, without striving for perfection
  • exercise in a non-punishing or extreme way
  • live soulfully, with enough fun and flexibility to feel that life is social and fulfilling


Where can I find out more information on the new obesity guidelines and sustainable approaches to weight loss using a non-dieting approach?

White plate with fork and knife tied with a yellow tape measure

Work with our Calgary Dietitian / Online Nutritionist team that supports nutrition counseling for obesity management and sustainable practical advice for achievement of your personal best weight. Our best-fit clients are those that are not seeking a strict weight loss coach, but are instead ready to ditch dieting and dive into the bigger reasons they are struggling with weight loss. This often means strategizing better ways to manage emotional eating and learning how to manage cravings with compassion – not willpower. It also means learning how to create systems for success to make eating and preparing the healthy stuff easier, faster, and better.

If you are looking for food freedom, a caring supportive co-pilot, and creating sustainable habits that fit into everyday life, we can help.  Contact Us for support.



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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

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I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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