In honor of the Body Image Blueprint release, I want to dedicate this post to releasing the pursuit of weight loss. Although I would love for this post alone to help you respect for and care for your body, it is a lifelong journey. However, every journey needs a starting point and maybe this can be yours.
So, let me begin by asking some questions. What if you never needed to know your weight again? What if doctors, society, businesses, and so on, could not give less of a damn about the number on the scale? What if we all recognized the scale for what it is: useless.
How does that make you feel? Some might feel a sense of relief. Others might feel anxiety setting in (I mean the very thought of this means rejecting every single thing we have been preached to is gospel). Or maybe you are like me, and your feelings lie somewhere in the middle.
However, you may feel, though, it is valid. As women, we are taught that our entire existence is measured by a singular number used to describe our relationship with gravity. And even when we let that reality sink in, it is hard to let the comfort of all we have ever known go. It is really fucking hard, actually, but it is not impossible.
In fact, I am willing to bet this is not the first hardship you have had to endure and overcome. I bet there have been hundreds, and I am sure each felt impossible in the moment. But, somehow, you did it. I believe you can do this, too.
Before I share some tips on how to release the relentless pursuit of weight loss, yo-yo dieting, and the shame and guilt that has ruined food, exercise, and a harmonious relationship with your body, I need to disclaim that letting go of diet culture does not equate to letting go of your health. Health is not about weight. Health is about habits. At my lowest and “healthiest” weight (aka a number that makes fatphobic people and systems comfortable) I was surviving on coffee and an occasional meal and an exercise regime which required 3-4 hours of cardio a day and weightlifting. My entire life revolved around food, or the absence of it, and my weight. Those habits were not health; they were the anthesis of it.
Now, I have gained weight, but eat in a way that is respectful of my body, mind, and soul, exercise for 90 mins, 5 days a week (something that feels healthy for me) and lead a life that honors my physical and emotional health. Fuck, I even used the extra mental space to start a damn business… now just imagine what you could accomplish!
It took time and practice to get here and is still a daily practice. And these tips still guide me to this day:
- We all have a set point weight à a number that is genetically predetermined, which is where we will achieve OUR optimal health. Our bodies are designed to defend this number, which is a good thing.
- 95% of diets fail à our bodies process diets as starvation. Increased cravings or feeling the need to eat copious amounts of calories after a diet is our bodies response to protect us and restore our physical and metabolic health.
- Our bodies desire homeostasis à letting go of restrictions can feel intimidating. Many believe that we will gain weight forever. That is not true. Initial weight gain is our bodies way to ensure we have enough energy stored in case there is another famine (aka diet). Eventually (and this period of time differs dependent on individuals) our bodies settle into our predetermined set weight range, which remains stable with no effort.
- Calories are a myth (essentially) à Scientists have yet to invent a machine that can accurately determine the calorie make-up of foods. It is nearly impossible to have an exact representation of how many calories you intake in a day, not to mention that the FDA grants 20% inaccuracy for food labels and every body absorbs a different percentage of calories.
- You are the expert in you à It might take time to rebuild trust, but your body has an innate wisdom and knows what it requires to thrive. There is no diet, doctor, or program in the world that knows you the way your body does. Lean into the comfort and surrender.
If you or a loved one are embarking on this journey, please feel free to check out the Body Image Blueprint for more guidance. And remember, you can do hard things.