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Anyone who’s ever tried to change his or her lifestyle can attest to how hard it is. It’s partially because changing old habits is tough and partially because it’s hard to know what information to actually believe/follow. Amongst the rabble of get-slim-quick schemes, paleo evangelists and diet crusaders, you’ll find voices of reason. They may not be the loudest voices, but they’re the voices that matter. I believe the following 5 experts are truly changing how we view healthy living. They’ll make you think; they’ll make you question. From the US to Canada to Australia, these experts have something different to offer that you probably won’t find in the pages of popular health magazines and that’s a shame.

5 Experts Rethinking “Healthy Living”

Linda Bacon, Ph.D.

A nutrition professor and researcher with graduate degrees in physiology, psychology, and exercise metabolism, Dr. Bacon’s message of body acceptance and Health At Every Size(R) might make you go through the 5 Stages of Grief as you say goodbye to everything you thought you knew about obesity.

Dr. Bacon believes that we would all be better served if we challenged the current weight-focused paradigm for health and, instead, focused on encouraging healthful habits and an equitable society where all people have access to the health services and support they need to thrive. I’ve had the pleasure of reading Dr. Bacon’s groundbreaking Health At Every Size and her recently-published Body Respect (co-authored with Lucy Aphramor). Dr. Bacon is a voice of reason in a field that tends to favor the sensational over the facts.

Main take-away: If you took your weight out of the equation for a moment, what health-enhancing behaviors could you engage in right now? Do those things!

Carla Birnberg

Once known throughout the blogosphere as “The Mizfit,” Carla is one of my favorite bloggers because she believes in the power of inspiring others to be “un-apologetically themselves” rather than believing the key to health is living exactly as she does. From her fixation on cauliflower and sugar skulls, to her re-framing wordplay (i.e. her advice to “play out” instead of “work out”), Carla lets you into her world and inspires you without being didactic.

Carla’s latest health-enhancing endeavor can be summed up by the hashtag #wycwyc, which stands for “what you can, when you can.” This nugget of wisdom inspires people to engage in health-enhancing activities with a sustainable and flexible mindset, rather than a rigid all-or-nothing mentality. The latter mindset is part of the reason so many fail to find sustainable ways to keep healthy (just look at the failure rate of New Year’s Resolutions come March every year). Carla founded the #WYCWYC movement with fellow blogger Roni Noone and the idea has taken off—so much so that the two now have a book deal!

Main take-away: Cut yourself some slack! You may find that loosening up actually enables you to fit in more physical activity (and fun!) into your day.

James Fell

James Fell is a freelance fitness writer (you can find his stuff in the LA Times, Men’s Health, Ask Men & lots more) and the blogger behind Body For Wife (he also owns SixPackAbs.com, but he’s announced he’s closing it down & focusing on B4W). I’m a big fan of James because he’s smart, authentic and completely inappropriate. The latter is part of his charm :) James is a rare voice of reason & empathy in the fitness industry. He’s honest about his disdain for get-slim-quick schemes and fat-stigmatizing shows like the Biggest Loser; he walks the walk & lets us in on his fitness escapades (triumphs and challenges); and he’s unafraid to take a stand for what he thinks is right (his post on why he wouldn’t look at the photos leaked in the recent celebrity “photo scandal” is just one of many examples where he’s shown us his true colors—and they’re bright and beautiful). James doesn’t take himself too seriously, which makes me take him seriously. He’s just a joy to read and a breath of fresh air. You can find James’ irreverent (and smart) advice in his new book Lose It Right, which is a sane, no-BS take on finding sustainable habits to improve your health.

Main take-away: Slow and steady really does win the race to improved, sustainable behaviors.

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff

Dr. Yoni Freedhooff is a family doctor, Assistant Profesor at the University of Ottawa, founder of Ottawa’s non-surgical Bariatric Medical Institute and the blogger behind Weighty Matters. I’ve been following Dr. Freedhoff’s work closely for more than 5 years now and admire the careful thought he puts into his writing and his adherence to evidence-based medicine rather than pop-culture-fueled medicine. There are few people who understand the complexity of health and obesity-related issues the way Dr. Freedhoff does. His book The Diet Fix takes the weight-loss industry to task for its unfettered focus on unsustainable and dangerous dieting. He tackles the question a lot of us have trouble facing, let alone answering, and that’s: why do diets fail? His book tackles that question while helping readers find sustainable and health-boosting habits to engage in.

Main take-away: You have to find ways to live a healthy life that you can do forever.

Dr. Rick Kausman

I can tell you what kind of person Dr. Rick Kausman is by this short story: I was suffering from what my doctor thought was an ulcer and had been instructed not to drink alcohol or eat chocolate. I went to Twitter to complain about the irony of how stress was causing my stomach problems but that the two things that alleviated my stress–alcohol and chocolate–were now off limits. Dr. Kausman immediately direct-messaged me telling me that when he treated those issues as a doctor, chocolate wasn’t off limits and asked me to re-check w/ my doctor to ensure I really couldn’t have chocolate. This guy knows that emotional health is integral to physical health and that makes him a health-hero to me.

Dr. Kausman is the author of If Not Dieting, Then What, which changed my life. The book helps people understand the cycle of dieting and how to break free in order to eat intuitively. You may have recently seen him on TV alongside his daughter and model, Meaghan, who took a stand against photoshopping. See? He’s a stand-up medical professional, anti-dieting crusader and father.

Main take-away: Love the body you’re in.

Your turn: please share–which experts do you follow who help you live a healthier life?

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© HUMAN Healthy Vending, HealthyVending.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to HUMAN Healthy Vending with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Annabel Adams

Communications Director at HUMAN Healthy Vending
Annabel Adams is a Los Angeles-based writer and the blogger behind Feed Me, I'm Cranky where she tackles food and obesity politics. To fuel her barefoot running and powerlifting, Annabel loves to snack on anything vegan she can get her hands on. Annabel has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Fitness, Health, and Redbook magazines.
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