Why losing weight isn’t all about willpower

I am intrigued by this article I just read in the New York Times about the American show, Drop Dead


I am intrigued by this article I just read in the New York Times about the American show, Drop Dead Diva (this links to the trailer on YouTube). Has anyone seen it? I don’t believe it’s airing in Canada yet, but it began its first season on the Lifetime network in July. The premise of the comedy/drama/fantasy is that the soul of a size-zero model ends up in the body of a size-16 model and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t trim down her new body. Hilarity ensues. But what I find fascinating is that the show’s creator, Josh Berman, says he wanted to explore the idea that weight loss isn’t all about willpower and self control as many reality shows (hello, Bulging Brides, I’m speaking to you) and magazines would have us believe. Here’s a quote from the NYT article that I found particularly thought-provoking:

‘I have grave concerns about how many of these television shows stigmatize overweight people by making them a spectacle,’ said Kelly D. Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale. ‘They suggest that if you only try hard enough you can be thin. A far better message is that it’s hard to lose weight and that it’s not just willpower and personal responsibility, but that both biology and the environment are players.’

Now this is interesting. How many women (myself included) have felt the sting of failure when the number on the scale simply will not budge, no matter how hard we try? But what this article and (essentially) the TV show are saying is that, hey, maybe we’re not all meant to be size-zero models. What we eat and how much we weigh might have more to do with biology than discipline.

What do you think? Do you believe your own ability to loose  weight is all about willpower or are other forces at play?

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