Let’s have an open and honest discussion about weight loss, shall we? I’d be lying if I said I completely loved my shape and had zero desire to lose weight. I’m a huge advocate for body positivity, and diversity, and with the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I will fully admit I’m also working on changing my physical self. To be completely honest, I don’t believe this is my forever body.
I know, I know… that either confused some of you, ruffled some feathers, or allowed you to take a huge sigh of relief because you can totally relate.
Here’s the thing though… While it may not be my forever body, the pursuit of thinness is no longer an obsession. I’m laser focused on creating a forever “me” instead, integrating mental, spiritual AND physical health to establish balance, and trusting my body to transform into whatever shape feels right at that moment in time.
How do I know it will work? It already has.
Once I embraced a more intuitive approach to eating, the stress and anxiety around food went away, the cravings stopped, the weight stopped piling on, the love for physical activity increased, self esteem improved, and my body started changing.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is a gentle anti-diet approach to health and wellness that helps you break the cycle of dieting, encourages mindful eating, honouring your hunger, respecting your fullness, making peace with food, giving up food guilt, and respecting your body.
It’s not a structured plan, it doesn’t come with a long list of forbidden foods (actually NO foods are forbidden), there’s no discipline or willpower, no measuring, and no calorie counting.
If it goes against all dieting rules we’ve ever been told, can this plan really be healthy?
While it sounds too good to be true, consider that diets have exceptionally high failure rates, with some studies citing 96%. So why continue to follow diet culture and live by their rules if it’s not working?
While this anti-diet approach sounds too good to be true, many women are now rejecting diet culture, embracing intuitive eating and seeing results.
To Lose Weight… Stop Making it a Goal
I’m not here to tell you that weight loss is a horrible thing to strive for. Although I’m an advocate for body positivity, I don’t think the desire to lose weight makes someone a bad person at all. Your body, your rules! However, if you’re serious about long term weight loss, just simply shifting your focus and changing your mindset can have a bigger impact than you think. You can lose weight as a by-product of adopting more healthful behaviors, and good health is exactly what I’d like you to pursue.
The first thing you should know is that your natural weight may not be what you thought it was. It may not be in alignment with society’s ideals, and that you don’t have to pursue being thin to be healthy.
As soon as you take the pressure of achieving the perfect body, you cut down on a self imposed source of stress in your life. This change in mindset alone can improve your body’s ability to lose weight because stress has been linked to weight gain, cravings for sweets, hormone imbalances and emotional eating.
Weight loss may be the desired goal, but push it to the back of your mind, because this drive to be thin may actually be a huge barrier in your journey. Work on your relationship with food and your body, and making slow but meaningful steps in improving your health instead.
Trust Your Body
Trust that your body will find it’s set weight when you work on minimizing stress, adopting healthy eating habits and engage in regular movement (all for the sake of health, not just to boost weight loss). Trust your intuition and your body’s internal cues like hunger, fullness and satisfaction while moving away from external cues like diet rules and restrictions, and believe that you are the expert when it comes to your own individual health. If you’ve spent years dieting, you may be out of touch with your hunger and fullness signals, and may not be at your set-point weight. Truly believe that you and your body are far more efficient at managing your own weight compared to any diet there ever was and will ever be. Trust that your body knows the weight that’s right for you.
Eat Like You Love Yourself
For many women, the desire to lose weight is really the desire to be loved and respected and unless you’re a smaller size, you may not feel worthy of those things. It’s hard to cultivate self love and respect if you truly feel you don’t deserve it. Self hate unfortunately is what diet culture thrives on because it keeps you stuck in the vicious diet cycle forever. Hating the body you’re in and chasing the impossible body ideal leads to dieting. Dieting fails, and you’re left feeling broken, and angry at yourself for not having enough discipline and willpower. This mindset opens the door to self hate again, and the never ending cycle continues.
Now imagine loving your body and treating it with the respect it deserves. When you work towards treating your body with love and kindness, you’re more likely to meet your bodies’ needs with nutrition. It is much easier and enjoyable eating nutritious foods because you love and respect your body. When dieting, eating fruits and vegetables often feels like a chore, which then makes you more reluctant to eat them once the diet is over.
You can lose weight naturally without dieting and obsessing about food.
You have every right to pursue physical health in a way that feels right to you, but know that you also deserve mental freedom and the right to feel worthy at every size.
You have the right to pursue weight loss for any number of reasons, but obsessively spending years trying to shrink yourself for happiness isn’t a necessary pursuit.
You can exercise, and change your diet to make your body feel good, but you should also know that actual healthy lifestyles don’t come with a weight-loss requirement.