We could talk all day about about why, as women, we pour our time, money, energy and emotions into becoming smaller versions of ourselves. But, let’s focus on the oppressive ideal that drives our behaviors, plagues and affects so many of us.
You know the story…
You’ve finished up your diet and to your satisfaction you’ve lost a handful of pounds. You treat yourself to a celebratory meal, but vow that this time will be different. You’ll be able to keep the weight off. If you just try a little harder…
Days and weeks go by. The pounds start creeping back. You curse your body for forever sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
What if, however, your body is just doing what it’s designed to do?
What if, it’s actually working double time to save your ass?
Post-diet eating is a direct result of food restriction and your body’s built in security system to get what it needs to function optimally.
Culturally, we aren’t taught to recognize the physiological and psychological drivers behind post-diet weight gain. Instead, we blame ourselves, shame ourselves, base our value off of our weight or amount of fat on our bodies.
Which sends us into our next diet.
It’s been proven over and over that dieting is not only a set up for failure, but a sure fire way to drive your weight up over years of desperately trying to do the opposite… drive your weight down.
We’re terrified of fat.
We’re taught that fat is bad.
It’ll send you to an early grave.
There are more and more studies being released proving exactly the opposite. That the war against obesity is a money-hungry scare tactic; a result of our diet-obsessed culture. That people of size- people who are considered “fat”- are just as capable of living a healthy life as those who are considered “normal” or thin.
Studies are also showing that discrimination against people of size for being “fat” occurs as much as race and sex discrimination.
Do you see the relationship here?
Fear of fat ----> Self loathing ----> Diet ----> Weight regain ----> Fear of fat…
All underlined by a giant cultural belief that thinness is the way to be healthy and to FINALLY love and accept yourself.
I'm calling bullshit on that belief.
Insularly focusing on weight and appearance does not lead to healthier bodies, it causes significant damage. Damage that isn’t easily undone. Damage that increases obsession with food and body and decreases attention to true health markers. Damage that causes lowered self-esteem, the rising prevalence of eating disorders and only adds energy to weight stigma and discrimination based on size.
We’re caught in a cycle of shame because we’ve been taught to fear fat.
To fear our body.
To trust something and someone outside of ourselves.
That if we’re tired of hating our body the solution is to change it.
That if we don’t fit the thin-ideal, there’s something wrong with us.
If you want to put an end to this cycle, it’s imperative to acknowledge that it exists. To notice your own bias against fat. To acknowledge how you’ve fed into diet-culture in your own life and how that has affected you physically and emotionally.
And slowly start to push back.
At my Willow Grove, PA therapy practice, that’s exactly what I help women do. I help women learn how to trust themselves. How to honor their hunger, their desires and their emotions in the here and now. I help women slow down and get curious about what they need to reconnect with themselves, their loved ones and their lives.
How, you ask?
By helping you learn how to to practice radical self-care.
By helping you slow down, turn inward, and start trusting your body and mind's inherent wisdom.
By learning how to move through disordered eating patterns and body loathing.
No, not by getting “healthy” and starting ANOTHER diet. But, by shifting the lens of health from a place of scarcity, to a place of abundance. That mental, emotional and physical health is so much more than the way your body appears.
Interested in learning more? My Food Freedom Mini-Series is a great place to start. Over the course of 2 weeks you’ll receive a handful of tips and tools to dig into your personal relationship with your mind, body and food. Click here to sign-up and get started.