Welcome to this week’s episode of How to Love Your Body, today we are talking about the common question we get:
“But what if someone REALLY NEEDS to lose weight? What if someone is xx lbs, and they HAVE to lose weight?”
NOTE: This is a fat phobic question but it is important to address why this question is so damaging in many ways for all.
This question, or a version of it comes up a surprising amount.
It rears its head when we share that we advise people to not pursue weight loss (regardless of body size), that intuitive eating involves allowing all food, unconditional permission to eat and getting rid of all food rules.
This is a MAJOR paradigm shift from diet culture which almost all of us came from. To hear the opposite of what we were always taught makes a lot of people uncomfortable EVEN if they KNOW dieting doesnt work. Theyve been at it for 20 or 30 years and it hasnt worked, its caused a lot of damage mentally and physically… but dont pursue weight loss at all? That seems crazy, certainly this cannot be the answer for everyone.
"So what about someone who NEEDS to lose weight or they’ll die?????"
Here’s the problem with this question:
1. It reveals a lot about our culture’s obsession with worrying about others people’s weight and health. Whether this is a fictional example or a real person in your life it’s frankly none of your business. Do not use other people as examples to question this work. Keep it about YOU, and your health.
2. It keeps a wall between you and the work. If you put a faceless and exaggerated example in between you and undieting it lets you remain cold and cruel to those in larger bodies. It makes it impersonal and this is what is wrong with so much of our culture’s obsession with thinness and fear of weight gain - not seeing that real people are involved. It remains cruel and judgemental.
3. It takes the nuance out of undieting. When someone provides a fake example of who it wouldnt work for there is no room for exploration to see what’s really going on because it isnt real! People are layered and complex and one belief system or behavior affects another. This work can only effectively be applied to real people, it takes some rooting around in your beliefs, behaviours and relationship with food and your body to figure out what can shift to become an intuitive eater and increase positive body image. The joy of this work is it is SO personal and will be different for each person so it doesn’t really work to apply to a fake example.
4. Making your question about someone else (real or made up) lets you never take undieting seriously. When you solely relate everything you learn to YOUR personal situation you can think more deeply about if it seems like something that suits you at this time in your journey.
For instance: Hmm she says restriction causes binge eating and thinking about food all day … does that apply to me? Have I seen that to be true in my life?
They said that if I allow all food, I will actually obsess over food less and I can just eat normally. Does that make sense to me? Was I ever that way as a child before I started thinking of food in dieting terms?
And so on….
We say that you can decide if this seems like a good fit for you in this stage of your journey because even though UnDieting and Intuitive Eating is absolutely suitable for everyone at anytime (It’s our natural state!), we understand that not everyone is ready for it at any time.
Ourselves for instance, if someone had told me about intuitive eating and undieting 10 years ago I would have thought it was so ridiculous. I am so GOOD, look how hard I work. Thats just lazy….all while deeply deeply stuck in the restrict binge cycle and absolutely food and body misery. But I couldnt see clearly and I wasnt ready for it.
As you move forward learning about this work, when you hear something that is new or makes you uncomfortable think, how does this apply to me? How do I see this for myself? Is that something I want to work on or do even if its scary? Am I ready for this even if im nervous about it?
Those are the only questions you ever need to ask.
If this makes sense but the one big question still keeps popping up for you -- BUT WHAT IF I GAIN WEIGHT?, we would love to support you!
Fear of weight gain is the #1 thing that stops women from becoming undieters and intuitive eaters.
Our 21 day weight gain wtf intensive is the best place to begin moving past this fear. You can learn more about the intensive at www.thebodylovesociety.com/21daywtf
We can often feel like if we allow ourselves to let go of the fear of weight gain, this will cause us to gain weight. The fear can feel like control but let us remind you, it’s not.
Fear will not motivate you to exercise more or eat less. It may in the short term but it cannot fuel a long term and sustained way of living that is truly self honoring. Fear is what creates the all or nothing cycles we get stuck in.
When you let go of the fear of weight gain you let self love in. How you treat your body is then fuelled by love, enjoyment and feeling good instead of terror, fear and self hate.
If you have fear over releasing your fear of weight gain right now we urge you to trust the process and take this leap. Living your life and taking care of your body because you love it, not because you fear weight gain, can change everything.
PS – We KNOW that fat phobia in our diet obsessed society is a HUGE part of many being afraid of weight gain. This is a very real part of this work. But letting go of the fear (or at least lessening the fear) can only help everyone. Once the fear is out of the forefront we can then move forward and make our choices with a clear mind and heart.
This Intensive will not ignore the very REAL obstacles in being fat in our society. It will also allow you to find some peace regardless of these obstacles (while we all work to demolish them!)
Again you can get more information at thebodylovesociety.com/21daywtf
Love, Lauren and Jenna