As the new year approaches my social media feeds are inundated with folks ready to start new diets, pursue new weight loss plans, and commit to reaching optimal health with a new and improved body. All these goals require a restricted approach to eating and exercising. Rules and regulations regarding what to eat and what not to eat, adhering to calorie counts and burns, and tracking weight, body size, and portion measurements.
There is nothing wrong with wanting optimal health or wanting a smaller body. The question is why? I spent three and a half years in eating disorder therapy discovering why it was so important to me to be thin that I would starve myself to near death to stay that way. I was everything culture required me to be according to its definition of health and beauty. But in that I damaged my body, lost touch with my biological body cues, and was in constant angst over every pound and calorie, how my body looked, and if I was good enough yet. Why? Why did a thinner body matter to me so much that I would put myself through that life-sucking anxiety?
It was because I didn’t trust that who I was and the body I was given and the mind I was given was good enough to be of value. If I lived in a larger body, then nothing else about me really mattered.
Of course you could say I was an extreme case having an eating disorder. Maybe you don’t have an eating disorder, but if you are constantly frustrated with how your body looks or operates; constantly on and off diets; constantly worried or ashamed about what you’ve eaten; constantly up and down in emotions based on what you have or haven’t eaten and how you have or haven’t exercised, then I dare say you have disordered beliefs and habits around food and your body. A diet won’t ever remedy faulty beliefs about yourself.
If your New Year’s resolution is to start a new diet I am curious to know three things:
1) Why do you want to be smaller?
2) What is losing weight going to give you that you don’t already have right now?
3) If you could find health and happiness in the body you have at this very moment, would you still pursue weight loss?
When I advocate for your body, whether large, small or somewhere between, without the use of diets and restrictive programs, I am not judging your desire to be healthier or thinner. I wanted the exact same things. I get it! What I am advocating for and trying to help you understand is there is another way to be and feel healthy and energized and joyful and whole inside the body you have right now regardless of your size. You are valuable and valid and lovable and sexy and creative and purposeful right now at whatever weight and pants size you are and regardless of what you eat.
I don’t want to discourage you or boss you or judge you in whatever health journey you decide for yourself this year. I want to be brave and share the process of intuitive eating with you because not only did it save me, but it freed me from food and body anxiety. I know it will for you too. It’s a process of self-discovery and creating new beliefs about yourself that are live-giving instead of life-sucking. Maybe you will get thinner and maybe you won’t, but that isn’t the goal for once. Finding happiness and body love where you are right now, that’s the sustainable “new you” you’re going for.
Happy New Year! May 2019 be a year of curious discoveries and unexpected pleasure in whatever you pursue.
And don’t forget to check out the fun little gift I have for you!