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3 Steps to Managing Diabetes WITHOUT a Focus on Weight Loss

Sue walked into my office with tears in her eyes. She sat down and burst out crying. I gave her a minute, then asked her what was wrong.

 

“I have diabetes!”

 

She then burst into tears, again.

 

I walked over to her, put my hands around her shoulders and gave her a gentle hug. This was what she was fearing for a long time. She knew she had pre-diabetes for 5 years, but she just didn’t believe she would ever develop diabetes. She never had any symptoms, so the pre-diabetes diagnosis just never seemed real.

 

Sue’s doctor “warned” her time and time again that if she doesn’t lose weight, her pre-diabetes will become full blown diabetes. And that it had. However, it’s not as if Sue didn’t try to lose weight. She did, MANY times. And you know what? Sometimes she “succeeded” in losing weight, but the problem is she gained that weight back plus more, ALWAYS.

 

So, when Sue’s doctor gave her the news that she has diabetes, she felt beaten. He once again prescribed “weight loss”. She sat in my office and said “there has to be another way to manage my diabetes besides weight loss. Like there must be some other things I can do to help myself, because diets just have never worked.”

 

Bright woman! Yes, there are plenty of things to do to manage your diabetes without pursuing weight loss. It’s unfortunate that the majority of doctors go right for the jugular >> “you’re fat and have to lose weight”.

 

This happens for other medical diagnoses as well. High blood pressure, heart disease and high cholesterol, to name a few. Docs go right to the scale!

 

So how do you manage diabetes, or any of the medical conditions I mentioned above, without focusing on dieting and losing weight?

 

By using a weight-neutral approach to treatment.

 

Weight-Neutral Interventions

 

Weight-neutral interventions are based on the fundamental idea that a person’s health status or risk cannot be assumed based solely on a number on a scale. There are many factors that go into a person’s body weight including genetic, metabolic, physiological, cultural, social and behavioral factors.

 

Weight-neutral treatment programs focus on habit and lifestyle behaviors, rather than on weight, BMI and the pursuit of weight loss.

 

Getting back to Sue, I started working with her to help her learn about her diabetes, what is going on in her body and how adopting new habits and behaviors can help avoid diabetes complications now and later in life.

 

3 Steps to Better Blood Glucose Control without Dieting

  1. Start testing your blood glucose daily. Ideally, you will test upon awakening (fasting blood glucose), and 2 hours after a meal (for type 2 diabetes).

 

  1. Write down what you eat for each meal and start to look for trends. Meaning, are your blood sugars always high before dinner? Do you tend to have low blood sugar readings mid-morning? This is data that you will use to make changes to your diabetes meal plan.

 

  1. Find a doctor who practices from a HAES (Health at Every Size) approach. Advocate for yourself and ask for the treatment they would give to a person in a smaller body.

 

For more information on how you can manage your diabetes without dieting, click HERE!

 

Whether you have diabetes or another medical condition such as high cholesterol, pursuing weight loss is NOT the best treatment prescription. I know this is different than you’ve been told for years, but where has this led you? Let me know if you want to chat about it. Click HERE to get in touch.

How to STOP Thinking About Weight Loss

You’ve embarked on your intuitive eating journey because you are finally fed up with diets. After years of chasing weight loss, trying diet after diet, your body weight is back where you started. Or perhaps, like 1/3 – 2/3 of people who regain the weight they’ve lost, you weigh even more.

 

You are now at your highest weight.

 

You wonder how this can be, after all, you’ve tried for 10, 20, 30, 40 maybe even 50 years to lose weight. And yes, you’ve been “successful” in losing weight on some of those diets. But the weight always returned. The diets were not sustainable for life. Like a young 14 year old girl said to me in my office yesterday…”I said to the doctor, how can I never eat carbs again?”

 

Maybe you heard me speak about intuitive eating recently on a summit, or you’ve read the Intuitive Eating book by the original authors and have been trying to practice the principles and become an intuitive eater for a few months, maybe even a few years. Intuitive eating sounds logical to you; you realize this can help you heal your relationship with food. However, you still want to lose weight.

 

There are many intuitive eating and HAES (Health at Every Size) advocates that would say shame on you for wanting to lose weight. Love the body that you have.

 

I’m not saying shame on you. I want to acknowledge your desire to lose weight. I want to show you compassion for the physical discomfort you may be experiencing. But I also want to encourage you to put weight loss out of your mind as you work on healing your relationship with food. I know this is difficult.

 

You see, it’s not “weight loss” itself that is problematic, it’s the pursuit of weight loss that is the problem. There’s a big difference here. 

 

You’ve already tried to pursue weight loss via the many diets, restrictions, detoxes, cleanses, food group elimination, and demonizing of foods. All this caused was a disordered relationship with food and your body.

 

As you begin to change habits, behaviors, thoughts, and feelings around food and your body, you may lose weight, and that’s fine. No one is going to say to you “that’s terrible, how could you have lost weight!”. Your body will do what it needs to do, in its own natural way, in its own time. The interesting thing is that you cannot determine that. Your body determines that.

 

But please understand that the process of intuitive eating is not a weight loss program. Some people may lose weight, some people may gain weight (especially if they started at a low body weight or a place of severe restriction) and some people maintain their weight.

 

So, how do you get weight loss out of your mind as you heal your relationship with food?

 

  1. Write down your WHY! Why do you want to stop fighting with food and your body? Dig down as deep as you need to in order to uncover the true reason. Chances are there is a very meaningful reason why you want to stop the food and body war within yourself. And it’s way bigger than losing a few pounds. Then write your meaningful why on an index card or post-it note and put it in a place you see it often. Read it daily and re-commit to it each time your mind goes back to weight loss.

 

  1. Identify the BIG 3! Instead of constantly thinking about your weight, focus on 3 amazing characteristics that you possess. Unsure what they are? Ask a friend, family member, or your partner. I’m sure they will be happy to share with you how kind you are, funny you are, helpful you are etc. Then on a day that you seem to be worrying too much about your weight, switch it off to focus on the BIG 3!

 

  1. Seek Support! Every one of us needs support throughout our lives. This includes times like this where you are swimming in new waters. If you haven’t yet joined my Intuitive Eating Support Community, come on over. Just click HERE and request to join. The members in this group are here to help you whenever you need it!

 

And of course. If you want my support on your journey, just send me an email to Bonnie@DietFreeRadiantMe.com . I offer 1-1 private coaching at various levels to walk you through your food and body healing journey.

 

 

 

3 Powerful Approaches to Defying Diet Culture

Last week I called out the 3 biggest crimes of Diet Culture. If you didn’t read that blog yet, check it out here!

 

As a quick review, the 3 biggest crimes of Diet Culture are: Dishonesty, Disregard, and Destruction!

 

Any eating pattern that emphasizes how you look over your mental and physical well-being is detrimental. Diet Culture thrives on dichotomous thinking, also known as black-and-white thinking. Eat foods on the good list and you’ll be “thin” (good); eat foods on the bad list and you’ll be “fat” (bad). Thin = win!

 

In reality, no one food has the power to make you “thin” or “fat”.

 

I realize this might not be a popular belief among dieters or programs and people that spew dieting information. But if you think about it long and hard (and re-read that sentence multiple times), I believe you’ll come to this realization – eventually.

 

So what can you do NOW to help you come to this realization before you jump back onto the diet bandwagon?

 

3 Powerful Approaches to Defying Diet Culture

 Let’s address 3 very powerful impactful approaches that can help you defy diet culture.

 

  1. Non-Diet Living and Intuitive Eating

Non-diet living and intuitive eating used to be less traveled paths, but more people are choosing these with great success. Dieting is physically and mentally exhausting and people are simply tired – tired of dieting and tired of hating themselves, 2 things which go hand-in-hand.

 

Intuitive eating, along with the Health at Every Size movement, are striving to shift the focus away from body weight and demonizing food. They are displacing the current definition of healthy, broadening it to encompass more than simply a number on the scale. This shifts the perspective inward, focusing on listening to what your body is telling you, and on habits and behaviors for improved long-term health, versus how many pounds you’ve lost. More and more research is finding practices such as intuitive eating helping people with disordered eating habits become more in tune with their bodies again.

 

I recognize that the idea of no longer dieting is a scary thought if you’ve been dieting for many years. Logically you realize that the diets have never given you long term weight loss. In fact, you weigh more now than when you started dieting all those years ago. Research will back that up. Diets lead to weight gain, end of story.

 

So what would help you on this journey? This takes us to approach #2…

 

  1. Self-Compassion

Diet Culture thrives on you hating yourself. If that sounds harsh, it’s because it is. Dieting is about willpower and when you don’t have enough willpower, you start beating yourself up, telling yourself you’ll always fail.

 

Try something different. Try using self-compassion.

 

You’ll find that treating yourself with kindness is much more satisfying because it’s impossible to hate yourself into positive change. You’d never dream of speaking to your friend the way you speak to yourself, yet Diet Culture has taught you to do just that. After decades of believing it, be gentle with yourself in your escape from that mentality. It took time to build and it will take a long time to break down. It’s important to remember there is no perfection in the healing process. It will most certainly be challenging but you are most certainly worth that effort.

 

Sounds logical, right? When asked if you’d speak to your friend who is struggling with her food that way you speak to yourself, of course the answer is no, you would not.

 

Part of this journey is body acceptance. And a very important part of accepting your body where it is now is the 3rd approach to defying Diet Culture.

 

  1. Weight Inclusivity

Accepting and respecting the shapes and sizes ALL human beings come in defies the perfectionist ideology of Diet Culture. There is no one height/shape/weight everyone should be. Our culture needs to move further toward a mindset where judgement is no longer passed on people who don’t meet Diet Culture’s moving target of “perfection.”

 

More and more research is supporting the idea that being a certain weight or looking a certain way does not equate to being “healthy” or “not healthy.” Intuitive eating and Health at Every Size are teaching internal acceptance as well as acceptance of others, appreciating the diversity. They temper the internal diet wars being waged.

 

The principles of intuitive eating remind you how different everyone is and helps you to accept and respect your body where it is right now.  It is key to stop passing judgement on others which will make it easier to stop passing judgement on yourself.

 

So how do you mesh these 3 approaches together, so you can defy Diet Culture?

 

Start with having a heart-to-heart sit down with yourself. Ask yourself the tough questions:

  1. Has all the dieting I’ve done helped me achieve weight loss that I can maintain for a lifetime? No.
  2. Do I bash my body every day, maybe even multiple times per day? Yes.
  3. Do I wish food could just be a “non-issue” and meal time can be relaxed? Yes.
  4. Am I afraid to try this new approach of intuitive eating? Yes.
  5. Do I need support and a partner to walk the journey with me? Yes.

 

Great job! Contact me here and let’s defy Diet Culture together!