Nutritionist Lee-Anne Wann unpacks the outrage that followed Gwyneth Paltrow's latest diet recommendation via Goop: How to "achieve your leanest liveable weight".
As health professionals - and the many people who advocate wellness through social media and other channels - I believe we have a responsibility and a care of duty to communicate information in a helpful and beneficial manner.
Paltrow's phrase really takes things too far. The concept behind her website's message on one's leanest liveable weight is one of healthy living and less calorie counting.
But many of us in today's busy environments don't take the time to read things thoroughly. We can get caught up in the headlines which, in this case suggests being as thin as you can possibly get. For optimal health and vitality for the majority of the population, this is ridiculous advice.
Perhaps, however, it was simply a way to get awareness, to get people talking, nevermind whether it makes for good or bad publicity.
How we should approach weight loss
When it comes to weight ideals and goals, care has to be taken from the very beginning, both from professionals and from individuals. That comes down to real information presented in a clear, concise way.
It should be designed to help people, not sell products or services or promote third party products. If we really want to get into the nitty gritty, weight is not a particularly helpful guide on its own. Health is about a combination of factors: energy, sleep quality, amount of muscle, amount of actual fat, waist circumference, mood, and then perhaps weight range as an indicator of a healthy size.
When we look at all of these factors we can determine whether a person is "healthy" or "unhealthy" but taking any one of these factors in isolation doesn't help at all.
Tips and guidelines
Healthy eating and living to achieve a healthy weight and body comes down to establishing good daily routines and habits that your body will benefit from: we are the sum of what we do consistently - not occasionally - so adding in a few little things and doing them often actually goes a really long way to optimal health and weight.
Choosing foods and drinks that help rebalance our hormones, boost our metabolism and dampen stress levels are the magic ingredients in achieving easy, sustainable health at an optimal level of body fat in an optimal weight range.
Five little changes to try
• Help your gut and liver out by drinking a little apple cider vinegar in water in the morning
• Boost energy and increase hydration by adding some chia seeds in your food
• Spice it up with a little cayenne pepper in lemon water for an improved metabolism and ability to burn fat
• Reduce your toxin load by choosing a chemical free soap to help boost energy and lose body fat
• Swap juices for herbal teas
Set health goals based on a number of factors - not just weight
1. Body fat percentage
The healthy range for men between 20 and 40 ranges between 8 and 19 per cent body fat. The normal range for men over 40 is between 11 and 25 per cent.
Obesity is considered to be a body fat percentage of more than 30 per cent.
For women between age 20 and 40 ideal body fat ranges between 21 and 33 per cent. Women aged 40 and over require 23 to 36 per cent body fat.
Anything higher than 40 per cent body fat is considered obese.
2. Waist measurement
Regardless of your height or build, for most adults a waist measurement of greater than 94cm for men and 80cm for women is an indicator of internal fat deposits which coat the heart, kidneys, liver, digestive organs and pancreas.
This can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Anything above these numbers is considered unhealthy and carries with it increased risk.
3. Energy levels
Rate yourself from one to 10, with 10 being "incredible energy". Where do you sit? If you are under five most of the time, this is something that needs to be looked at: could you improve your sleep? Could you limit screen time before bed? Could you try getting to bed slightly earlier? Is it your food that's not providing lasting energy? Is what you're eating a little too high in processed, packaged foods, do you drink enough water?
There are a huge number of factors that influence our energy levels. Having great energy really is a hallmark of good health and vitality.