So, how exactly did we get here?
To this moment in time when you’re doing WHATEVER it takes to lose the weight.
Whole30 anyone?! P90x?! Paleo all day erry'day!? Double sweat sesh’s at the gym?!
Sure, by now, you’ve considered the alternative… waving the white flag and calling a cease fire to the war against your body.
But, I get it! That’s just not as sexy as losing a few lbs.
When you give up dieting you give up a part of yourself. A part of you that you’ve held on to for dear life. A belief that once the weight comes off, you’ll finally be enough. You’ll be able to love yourself.
Once you let go of your weight loss goals, it sort of feels like you’re giving up on yourself, right?
In the name of health you MUST lose the weight!
Let throw you a curveball…
Sandy is a larger bodied woman. According to conventional standards her body weight would qualify her as obese (BMI is a bullllllshit way to measure… but that’s a story for another day!). Sandy walks everyday, enjoys the food she eats and rarely stuffs herself to the brim. She prioritizes taking care of herself above all else. Her bloodwork and blood pressure is normal, but despite those measures her doctor has encouraged her to lose weight. She has tried in the past, but just isn’t up to it anymore. She has some negative body image days, but navigates those moments as best she can with kindness and compassion.
Sally is a smaller bodied women. According to conventional standards her body weight would qualify her as normal. Sally runs 3 miles every morning and hits the weights every evening. Sally meticulously tracks calories in vs calories out and beats herself up everytime she steps on the scale and it reveals weight gain. Her bloodwork and blood pressure is normal, just like Sandy’s. But, more days than not, Sally cringes when she looks in the mirror, picking herself apart for not being lean enough, hard enough, thin enough. She hasn’t mastered the skill of self kindness or compassion and these negative body image days typically lead to an episode of binge eating or emotional overeating.
Given these 2 examples, which woman would you consider healthy? Sandy or Sally?
Ok, ok. Those examples were designed to prove a point.
You picking up what I'm putting down?
What about this one…
Shirley is a medium bodied woman. According to conventional standards she would be considered overweight. Shirley does her best to eat a balanced diet, but has fallen victim to yo-yo dieting and using exercise as a means of controlling her weight. Because of this she’s blamed food for her overweight body and is avoidant of exercise because it just doesn’t feel good. Her blood pressure is a bit high and her her blood work shows raised cholesterol. Shirley is self-conscious and has noticed that her inner critic is CONSTANTLY talking lots of shit about the way she shows up physically and intellectually in her world.
What would you suggest Shirley do?
I’m going to venture that you said she should lose weight… right?
What if we took losing weight off the table? What then, would you suggest Shirley do to reclaim her health?
Here’s what I would suggest…
- Stop dieting. 95% of diets fail and most of those people regain more weight in the long run. Which then leads to another diet. Yes. Rinse and repeat.
- Learn how to feel your hunger and fullness levels. (Here’s a secret… after years of dieting, Shirley’s body is likely to be so out of sync that even the idea of knowing what hungry or full feels like can be a longshot!)
- Discover movement that you enjoy. Here’s the BEAUTIFUL thing about movement. When we move our bodies, we are activating energy within and around us. When we move and allow ourselves to experience it fully, we have no option other than being IN our bodies. When we move our bodies, we are more likely to also move with and through our emotions. Movement begets movement of all sorts.
- Get curious about the emotions that are keeping her stuck in self-loathing (because no diet starts with someone saying, “I love myself SO MUCH the way I am, so I’m going to do what I can to change myself").
- Do the hard work to turn down the volume on her shit-talking inner critic and turn up the volume on the side of her that is kind and compassionate.
Because here’s the thing… health doesn’t present one way for everyone.
You can be “obese” and healthy. You can be “normal” and unhealthy. Body size is not a predictor of health. And, studies are consistently showing that radically caring for your mind, body and spirit trumps efforts for dieting and "health" improvement.
People who care for themselves in a moderate and loving way are shown to be more healthy than those who consistently engage in dieting behaviors and go-hard-or-go-home movement patterns.
Because self-care comes from a place of love. Dieting and improvement comes from a place of loathing.
See how those basic facts can plant seeds of beautiful badassery vs not-good-enoughness?
Where do you fall on this spectrum? Whether you are a larger bodied or smaller bodied woman, how can you reclaim your health without continuing to do what you’ve always done?
How can you begin to really care for yourself?
On a scale from 1-10 how willing are you to give up dieting? Go ahead email me to let me know... what's getting in the way of you shouting "10! 10! I'm tired of the bullshit!"?
Make a list of what you can do to take care of yourself today. And give the first thing on that list a shot everyday for the next week.
Let me know what you come up with!
AND! A quick reminder... you're beautifully badass just as you are right now. Because you're here. You're curious. You're showing up for yourself.