Updated: Sep 2
As I sit here in front of my computer I am enjoying a bowl of white mint chocolate chip ice cream, which happens to be my favorite. I mention that simply because I find it fitting for this blog entry. Ice cream happens to be one of the most common foods that people will tell me they cannot have, and ice cream is a very real fear for some.
I think it is important to consider why and how we have gotten here.
Weight DOES NOT equal health. It is time for the focus to shift from weight loss to long-
lasting behavior change and food freedom.
Weight has unfortunately become how we view health and beauty. We live surrounded by BMI posters, diet programs, and quick fix, expensive products that make unsustainable and unattainable promises.
In her book Gentle Nutrition, Rachel Hartley says, “Unfortunately, diet culture and its rigid rules for weight loss have become so inextricably wrapped up in nutrition that when someone gives you advice on healthy eating, it can be hard to know whether there is a whispered subtext of “this might help you get thinner!” in there somewhere.”
This is our reality. We are bombarded with: nutrition programs, detox teas, pills, fads (keto, clean eating, all-organic, intermittent fasting), and meal-replacement programs. How should we face this?
There are three important things to consider:
Is losing weight the right decision?
Restriction is not sustainable or long-lasting!
It is not getting to the heart of the issue!
When considering this, ask yourself:
How do you view yourself? What is informing this?
How well do you understand your body's processes?
How in tune are you with your hunger cues?
How would you like to eat if you were not focused on fitting the mold?
Do you have a strong and nourishing relationship with food?
First, I do not think it is wrong to long to lose weight. However, I would not recommend trying to lose weight or striving to eat strictly. We are a people that are always worshiping and following something. The question becomes what we are worshiping? What are we trying to attain? This are important questions if our focus lies on:
Changing our bodies
Having lack of control around food
Using food as an emotional cushion, or lack thereof
Does any of those thought patterns lead you to:
Be stuck in the “wellness” world of “lifestyle” changes = restriction/low-calorie regimes?
Label food as good and bad?
Think of food primarily as calories?
Do you view weight gain as a bad thing?
Do you celebrate weight loss?
Do you feel shame when eating certain foods?
A great amount of our everyday life is intricately wrapped in all of the habits of diet culture without us even knowing it. For long lasting change, we need to find and recognize what the underlying issue is. (This is a long process, but a journey well worth it!)
We are told to be discontent with our bodies, and that there is an easy fix for everyone. We need to remember that losing weight is not always healthy and what we believe to be thin is not either. In fact, the “ideal” body image does not take biology, genetics, social environment, and more into consideration. Therefore, how can we all eat or look the same?
Our focus should be to nourish ourselves well out of respect for our body. Long-lasting change in our relationship with food is not drawn to quick gratification. The answer you may be searching for is not attractive. In fact, it is full of nuance. Our goal should be to respect our body and nourish it intentionally without guilt. You are uniquely created. Therefore, there is no one size fits all.A few beginning steps are:
Focus on your influences (who you follow, what you read, etc.)
Focus on honoring your hunger cues and preferences (and help others around you do the same!)
Drink more water
Include more fruits and veggies in your routine
Focus on adequate sleep
Find movement that you enjoy
WORK WITH A DIETITIAN!
There is a lot to unpack from this short entry. However, the takeaway is to consider your relationship with food before holding yourself to unfair expectations and standards. It is not your fault that countless diets and plans have not “worked.” There is no guilt and shame. You deserve to have a nourishing relationship with food and respect for your body!
Contact me to learn how you can be best supported in your journey to food freedom.
Love and veggies,