Welcome to How to Love Your Body – on today’s episode we are going to be talking about WEIGHT. Yes, a topic that brings up a lot of controversy due to so many intertwined beliefs that have been created from diet culture, self worth, value etc…
We get why this would be such a tender topic and we also want to address it head on as we had a lot of drama this past week after posting a couple different posts on Instagram on @thebodylovesociety
We are going to go through 2 common misconceptions around weight and also share how to shift your mindset in order to see weight in a different way and have it all – wellness and freedom.
Common misconception #1 – Losing weight is an accomplishment
The reason losing weight, fitting into your “goal weight” pants, and posting a before and after picture on social media are not accomplishments is because it still puts ALL the focus on your body – all the focus on weight loss, all the value as a person into the size of your body. It still focuses on thinner is “better.”
This could come off as harsh to some but we really advocate to stop making weight loss an “accomplishment” or “compliment” – weight loss is not a good or bad thing – but what is toxic about it is when humans feel the pressure to constantly change their bodies to fit society standards and to feel worthy. You already are worthy no matter what body you live in! No one is better than another due to a body size.
It’s important to stop making weight loss something to accomplish and instead celebrate all bodies at any size.
Weight not being an accomplishment doesn’t mean you can’t do all the things you want to do to feel good in your body like – move in ways you enjoy, eat in ways that feel good without restriction – you can still honor your wellness without it being about weight loss – (and yes you could lose weight / or not and that does not matter your body is going to do what it’s going to do) – the focus is how you feel in your body – that can be an accomplishment. The feeling, the positive health behaviors that feel good not forceful, NOT the number on the scale or the size on your pants.
Striving for a certain number on the scale with strong attachment to the number (and obsessive behaviors that go along with it) is mostly likely a number / size that isn’t sustainable – this means you may work really hard and feel “accomplished” because you lost some weight – and everyone is noticing, complementing, and congratulating you – yes, that may feel great – super validating – why wouldn’t it!? – BUUUT – what if you gain the weight back? What happens to the accomplishment? Compliments? And congratulations? They go away! An accomplishment is not something that can be taken away from you – like graduating from a school, course, or program. – Once you graduate you can’t undergraduate – no one is going to say congrats and then take it away in the future – weight loss is conditional to get a congrats – it’s ONLY if the number on the scale goes down and ONLY if you look thinner – if that changes – people get silent.
What’s the shift: Un-attach yourself from a certain size / number on the scale – What would you like to accomplish without it being about or number or size? What makes you feel good? We aren’t trying to take a sense of accomplishment away from you – we want you to feel accomplished in ways that serve you – such as:
“I feel so accomplished that I’m not dieting anymore and I’m eating intuitively.”
“ I feel so accomplished that I made it to the top of the mountain, it felt so enjoyable to hike with my friend and move my body!”
“I feel so accomplished that I added some veggies into my week with a new recipe I enjoyed.”
“I feel so accomplished that I ate a delicious scone with my coffee for breakfast and for lunch I naturally craved and wanted a delicious chicken salad with all the things on it.”
See how this doesn’t have to be about weight AND it can still be about wellness and feeling good – while still enjoying french fries donuts and pizza too of course! THAT is wellness without the obsession. And it doesn’t focus on making the core accomplishment about weight loss. Wellness and freedom!
Common misconception #2 – Losing weight for health is different than losing weight to be thinner
We get this a lot – but what if I NEED to lose weight, what if I want to lose weight for health reasons?
The reason we say that losing weight for health reasons vs because you want to look a certain way doesn’t make a difference is because of biology. Whether you are restricting food, working out more and pursuing weight loss because you feel you need to for your health or because you want to look thinner, your body reacts the same. Slowed metabolism, food preoccupation, binge eating etc. Your motivation, however “wholesome” does not change the effectiveness or lack thereof of pursuing weight loss.
Particularly if you’ve been pursuing weight loss for a long time already – reflect on how that has gone… that’s how it will continue to go if you are focused on the weight.
Also it is nearly impossible to separate diet culture from your desire to lose weight even if it is for health because we’ve been told our whole lives that weight loss = health which is often not the case.
This is not to say you cannot work on feeling better and improving aspects of your health! Take on health behaviors that feel enjoyable to you, like adding nourishing foods, moving your body, sleeping more, resting, reducing stress, having more social connection – this can ALL improve your health whether weight loss comes along with it or not.
One thing to mention that speaks to this misconception – @haesstudentdoctor shared on her instagram stories the other day that a new CNN article that promotes weight loss which is getting a lot of attention right now — it was saying that losing weight does improve health (you can read more details on her page), HOWEVER the people who they studied were people in larger bodies and people in smaller bodies – who have always been THIN!! Not people who have lost weight and their health improved. Why don’t they study people who have lost weight? Because they cannot find enough people who have lost weight and kept it off. Does this not speak volumes?? Yes higher weight does have correlation with certain health issues but that doesn’t mean that all people at a higher weight can lose the weight and then have the same health correlation as someone who has been thin their whole lives.
The correlation of health issues with higher weight Also does not consider weight cycling, weight stigma and fatphobia which have all been shown to affect health negatively.
In other words, the science behind weight loss being the answer to health is highly distorted and not something you should hang your hat on.
Moral of the story: take care of the body you have now and stop focusing on the weight if you want to actually improve your health!!
To wrap up — we would love to share about the UnDiet collective because we GET that weight is a really hard part of this journey and in the app we have a specific support group for this. The weight concerns support group is separate from our main community so you can share freely (and respectfully) about your concerns and struggles, get coaching on how to move forward AND if you are not wanting to talk about weight or hear others struggles in this phase of your journey you can opt out of that group. This allows you to do the work you need to do to heal without unnecessary triggers.
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The Body Love Society provides women with the mindset tools and community so they can stop dieting, practice intuitive eating, and learn to love their bodies.
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