Posts

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.

 

 

 

5 Ways to Slow Down Your Eating

In today’s fast paced society, it’s only natural that we rush around trying to get everything done before the day is over. You rush to work, school, and everywhere else you must go. You probably even rush through lunch to get back to your busy day at work.

 

While moving fast may be a necessity for you, eating fast can be detrimental to your health and body.

 

Eating your meals quickly can also lead to overeating and weight gain.

 

Think back to your last meal… did you inhale it or take the time to enjoy every bite?   How long do you think it took you to finish your meal? If it’s less than 20 minutes, then keep reading.

 

If you feel like you’re the only person who does this, you’re not! Most people devour their meals in about 5 -7 minutes flat. They put a forkful of food in their mouths and, before they even swallow, the next forkful is ready to go. Do you find yourself doing this too?

 

Inhaling Your Meals

 

When you eat fast, it becomes difficult to savor your meals.  You’re not able to truly listen to your body and engage in mindful eating. Slowing down as you eat will allow you to really taste every bite and get the most satisfaction out of the meal as possible.

 

Eating quickly also prevents you from eating until you are comfortably satisfied because you don’t pay attention to your inner fullness signals. Instead, you’ll eat until the food is gone.

 

It takes your brain 20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full, so if you clean your plate in record time, you likely miss that fullness cue, and reach for more food. By the time the fullness signals kicks in, you are now uncomfortably full, having eaten more than your body physically needed. You are likely also experiencing bloat, heartburn and other uncomfortable GI symptoms (in addition to the emotional side effects of guilt and shame).

 

5 Tips to Help You Slow Down Your Eating:

  1. Set an allotted amount of time to sit down and eat your meal – pick whatever time works for you! There is no “best” time to eat. Just be sure you plan it into your daily schedule, and that means breakfast and lunch too!
  2. Put your fork and knife down between bites – this means completely putting it down on your plate until you’re done chewing what’s in your mouth. Then, and only then, pick up the fork and take your next bite.
  3. Eat without distractions (meaning no T.V. or Phone) – we all know how difficult this one can be. I suggest making your kitchen/dining room a electronic-free zone! If your phone is in another room then you are not tempted to look at it when you hear that notification. Make sure the kids know too that meal time is not tech time.
  4. Use your non-dominant hand to hold the fork – this is a simple way to help you slow down. Since your non-dominant hand is usually weaker, you’ll have to pick up smaller forkfuls and really concentrate to keep food from spilling over.
  5. Eat with someone else – ask a family member or friend to help you reach your goal of slowing down at meals! You can engage in meaningful conversations between bites and, before you know it, you’ll realize you are engaging in many of the tips stated above.

 

Challenge yourself

Set the timer on your phone and see how long it normally takes you to finish a meal. It might be 5 minutes and you might think that stretching it out to 20 is impossible. It’s not! Continue to use the tips above every time you sit to eat to help lengthen your meal minute by minute. Before long, you will be eating slower and using your inner fullness signals to guide you when to stop. And, you’ll enjoy your meal a whole lot better.

 

If you’d like to explore how I can help you on your intuitive eating journey, just reach out to me at www.TalkWithBonnie.com .

 

 

How Do I Learn to Trust Again?

It’s not easy. It’s just not easy to trust someone or something that has let you down time and time again.

 

You want to trust, you really do. But you can’t.

 

How do you regain that trust after you’ve been shamed, disappointed, and embarrassed – again!

 

I can be talking about anything here. It could be a relationship with a spouse, partner, friend, parent, teacher and so on.

 

But what I’m really talking about is … your body.

 

Countless women (and some men) have shared with me that they have lost the trust in their bodies to know what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. This is because for years, they have been following some sort of diet which dictates all things food. They no longer had to make any decisions when it came to what, how much and when to eat. They just followed the rules.

 

Is this you too? Have you been a dieter who was (or maybe still is) a good rule follower, eating what the plan tells you to eat? Even better, you loved when the food was delivered to your door step, no prep even required. Pop it in the oven and walla, dinner is served (and breakfast, lunch and snacks).

 

You may have realized by now that this just does not work. If you’ve started a diet in an effort to lose weight, and you followed the diet, you probably did lose weight. But that weight loss was short lived. You went off the diet, only to regain the weight back, plus more. So, you set out to find another diet and did it again. And again, and again, and again.

 

Each time you regained the weight, you felt shame and embarrassed. You blamed yourself. “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just stick to this diet?” You are feeling shamed that you gained the weight back and shamed in front of your friends and family who now see that you gained the weight back. And you blame yourself and your body.

 

You might want to stop this cycle. If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you know that diets don’t work. You might even have contemplated contacting me to learn more about intuitive eating. But it’s scary not to diet anymore, even though the diets have failed you each and every time.

 

Left to your own devices, are you able to choose your own foods, know how much to eat, and when to eat?

 

I say YES! You probably don’t think so…at least not in this moment. This is because you don’t trust your body anymore.

 

Listen, that’s okay. For now. You will learn how to re-gain that trust in your body. I know you will. But there is one thing you must do first. And that is…

 

Be BRAVE!

 

And with this bravery, there are 3 decisions you must make.

  1. Decide that you WANT to learn to trust in your body and your food choices again.

 

  1. Decide that you will NOT CARE what others say to you about your decision to stop dieting.

 

  1. Decide that you BELIEVE that it is possible. What you believe, will happen.

 

Are you ready to be brave? Are you ready to learn to trust again? Contact me here!

 

4 Tips to Best Handle Life’s Stressful Events

Life happens. Twists and turns appear out of nowhere and even as an intuitive eater, you may lose focus and fall back to some of your dieting ways.

 

The truth is that no matter where you are on your intuitive eating journey, stressful life events are bound to occur. It is okay to feel stressed or anxious at times, but you don’t want to lose yourself to life’s surprises.

 

When you feel life weighing you down, it may feel most comfortable to turn to food but the thing is, food is meant to nourish you, not be used as your crutch.

 

So what can you do to keep moving forward during stressful times?

 

4 Tips for Moving Forward and Not Backward During Stressful Events

 

1. Focus on your big WHY. When you feel like you are falling apart, ask yourself the reason you embarked on your intuitive eating journey. Was it to feel better in your body? Was it to stay healthy for your kids? Was it to get off medication?

 

Chances are your “why” still resonates somewhere within you, even on your darkest days. Let this motivate you. Some days are easier than others but if you keep your “why” in focus, you can navigate the bumps along the way.

 

Instead of letting the bad times discourage you from working to better your health and yourself, use mindfulness to clear your headspace and find peace within yourself.

 

2. Make every day the best it can be by prioritizing your own needs. That may mean making a list of goals, tasks to tackle, or fresh produce to pick up from the grocery store. Each step in the right direction is an important one.

 

You can make the most of each day by scheduling time for your own priorities into your daily routine. There is a time for work, a time for taking care of the needs of others, and a time to care for yourself. This includes time to sit down for meals and to be engaged, mindful and do nothing but focus on your food.

 

3. Take time to unwind each day. This can be exercise, taking a bath, catching the newest episode of your favorite TV show, or talking with a friend. Remember that you do not have to navigate alone. At times life is too much to balance on your own so reach out to friends, coworkers, family, and loved ones for support when you need it. By letting go of pent up emotions, you will be clearing your mind and allowing more room for mindfulness.

 

You may be thinking “but I don’t have TIME to relax.” Trust me, I know the feeling. With busy schedules, sometimes it may feel like there is just no time to unwind. Even just taking 15 minutes to vent to a friend or to decompress your thoughts onto paper will benefit your day and your overall goals.

 

4. Tap into the messages your body is sending you. Your body speaks to you, yes it does. But too often during a busy stressful time, you don’t hear it because you are not listening to it. Instead of putting energy to fretting about the worry at hand, stop and listen to the messages your body is sending to you. Is it tired? Hungry? In need of conversation with a loved one? This will help you gain clarity and continue to move forward, honoring yourself and your body.

 

The truth is, life comes at you fast. You cannot go back in time but you can make the most of your present and future. Honing in on your intuitive eating and mindfulness will help you navigate through life’s obstacles so you can enjoy being the best version of yourself.

 

Always remember, when you are feeling low, there is nowhere to go but up! If you keep your focus and mindfulness, you will find inner peace on even your worst days.

 

Want more tips to manage the stress and overwhelm in your life? Listen to this free class I recorded – 3 Steps to Stop the Stress – and the resource I’ve made available to you at the end of the class.

 

 

Taking a Leap of Faith

When’s the last time you took a leap of faith?

 

I met with a new client last week. Let’s call her Lindsay.

 

Lindsay was referred to me by her friend’s husband, Bob. He had been a client of mine a few years ago, coming for medical nutrition therapy for diabetes management. While working with Bob on habit and behavior changes to better manage his blood glucose, he happened to lose weight. He referred Lindsay to me because she has been struggling with her weight for many years.

 

As a matter of fact, Lindsay has been dieting for 35 years. On and off diets, losing and gaining weight, and trying whatever she could to lose weight. When she heard that Bob lost weight working with me, she made an appointment. She felt THIS would be her answer.

 

I met with her and as soon as we started talking, it was apparent that her situation was very different than Bob’s. Bob didn’t come to see me with a focus on weight loss. His focus was on diabetes management, which we worked on with a weight neutral approach.

 

What does diabetes management from a ‘weight neutral’ approach mean?

 

It means encouraging individuals to engage in health promoting behaviors to manage their diabetes without focusing on weight and the number on the scale.

 

In Bob’s case, he happened to lose some weight in the process of taking care of himself and learning to manage his diabetes.

 

For Lindsay, it’s a whole different story. Lindsay does not have diabetes, or any medical conditions. She came to see me with one purpose in mind: weight loss.

 

When we started talking about Lindsay’s history with dieting, I helped her understand why a meal plan was not in her best interest. She knew in her heart of hearts that “following” a meal plan would become just like another diet, but she didn’t know another way.

 

Until I introduced her to INTUITIVE EATING!

 

Lindsay had never heard of intuitive eating before. She has been so immersed in diet culture that she never even considered that there was a way out. Lindsay thought she’d be dieting until the day she died.

 

Lindsay decided to take a leap of faith. As much as she said to me “Bonnie, I’m so scared”, she was ready to leave dieting behind. She just needed to know that I am here for her and will be here for her as she starts her journey back to the way she was born > an intuitive eater.

 

What about you? Are you scared to leave dieting behind? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

How to Help Your Friends Who Can’t Stop Dieting

I received an email from a young woman (let’s call her Susan) this week who follows my work in intuitive eating. She was sharing with me how thankful she is that she never fell prey to the dieting gimmicks and fads that so many of her friends have, and still do. She is also thankful that I share so much with my community by way of blogs, videos, trainings, as it has helped her stay true to herself in trusting her body.

With her permission, I am sharing an excerpt from her email below.

________________

Growing up, I was never exposed to fad dieting at home. My mom had a great relationship with food and taught me how to live my life as an intuitive eater. This was especially helpful when I was in high school, and lunch periods were consumed by friends talking about which new diet they’re trying and how many pounds they were “supposed” to lose by the end of the week. Thankfully, I was rock solid in my beliefs and always brushed off the diet talk.

I was excited to start graduate school and be part of a program with many intelligent individuals and advance in my career. Yet, the dieting talk followed me here too!

“I wanna lose at least 2 pounds by Friday, think it’s possible? I didn’t bring any food for lunch so I’m hoping that’ll be at least one pound down today” read a text I received last Tuesday from a classmate. I thought being 25 years old and in a notorious graduate program, most people moved past the “dieting stage” and wouldn’t give into the pressure of restricting themselves. Apparently not.

I replied to the text and explained that restricting your intake of food will not cause you to lose weight. In fact, it will actually slow your metabolism down! Plus, starving yourself throughout the day will ultimately backfire when you get home and see the food that was prepared for dinner. You’ll be so famished that you’ll eat too much too fast, ignoring your inner body cues.

“Nah, I have a lot of self-control” was the reply. I shrugged and moved on, thinking “oh well”.

Fast forward a couple of hours, I received a text that read “Help! I inhaled my food and ate too fast. I was just starving! I’m in so much pain”.

I feel bad for my classmate. I really do. She has been on and off many diets in her life, and she’s only 25 years old! As you can see, I tried discussing intuitive eating with her, but she doesn’t understand it. She really believes that she needs to restrict her food and deny her hunger as the way to “change her body”. I texted her your website, DietFreeRadiantMe.com, and gently suggested she read some of your blogs and watch your videos. I hope she does.

Thank you for all you do, Bonnie.

________________________

Wow, emails like this pull at my heart strings for 2 reasons:

  1. My heart is warm and fuzzy that I have helped Susan stay true to herself and maintain the trust in her body and her food choices. The fact that I have put myself out there online and am able to reach people that I might not have been able to reach with my important message makes my heart sing.

 

  1. My heart aches for those who are still struggling with diets, still struggling with loving their bodies, and not yet trusting that if they listen to their body, it won’t let them down.

 

So, where do we go from here?

 

I will continue to put myself out there and continue to spread my message that no form of dieting is going to work for losing weight and keeping it off.

 

And as scary as it is to stop dieting, it’s time!

 

I encourage you to be brave and take the leap of faith. You don’t need to go it alone.

 

I’m here to support you every step of the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Eating Sensibly and Not Losing Weight, Now What?

Every Wednesday is Intuitive Eating Wednesday! This is when I answer your questions and around intuitive eating and emotional eating.

 

This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question comes from Claudia, and it is:

“What is the best approach to eating sensibly and lose weight when you are menopausal and on anti-depressant medication?”

 

Claudia goes on to say that she exercises regularly, eats sensibly and has “moments of weakness with sweets, but nothing alarming”. She states she wants to be healthier and is xxx pounds above her “desired” weight.

 

So, at quick glance, if you are a woman in menopause, you might be asking the same question. Or, if you are approaching menopause in a few years, you might be thinking “I want to know this information!”.

 

I’m going to break down Claudia’s question for you.

 

Best Approach to Eating Sensibly and Lose Weight

Claudia already says she eats sensibly. True, everybody has a different definition of “sensibly” but since this question came in via email, let’s assume it means she is eating a well-balanced meal plan.

 

But Claudia seems to be tying eating sensibly to losing weight. Herein is where the problem lies.

 

A well-balanced meal plan means eating from all the food groups throughout the day, balancing each meal and snack with a several food groups versus just eating a salad and chicken, not skipping meals, choosing wholesome foods most of the time, incorporating fun foods for pleasure, and enjoying your meals without guilt.

 

The problem arises If you are choosing to eat sensibly as in the above description, but it is tied to a desired outcome of weight loss. You have decided to make changes in your eating pattern to lose weight. But when habits and behaviors are changed with weight loss in mind, what happens when you don’t lose weight, or when you don’t lose weight as quickly as you’d like? Oftentimes, you are off to find a new way of eating. Those new nutrition habits get thrown out as you are saying “this isn’t working”! When in fact, you are reaping other health benefits from making these nutrition changes and eating sensibly.

 

Exercising Regularly

Bravo to Claudia! You are exercising on a regular basis. But let me ask you. Are you exercising with the intended outcome of weight loss? There are many benefits to exercise but all too often, those who are focused on weight loss will think in terms of calories burned and pounds lost.

 

What if you separated exercise from calories burned? What benefits would you experience?

 

Regular exercise is important for everyone, men and women of all ages. As a woman in menopause, perhaps you want to consider the type of exercise you are doing. How does it feel in your body? If you are doing the same hard-core exercises that you were doing in your 30s and 40s, maybe you want to explore a more gentle type of exercise.

 

Moments of Weakness with Sweets

Some people are born with a natural desire for sweets. There is nothing wrong with that. However, diet culture has you believing that sweets are “bad” and you are “weak” if you eat sweets.

 

I have to say – this is just not true!

 

Whenever you will yourself to NOT eat something you truly like, how long can that last? A few days, a week, maybe a month? And then when you do “give in”, it feels like weakness.

 

Shifting the way you think about sweets and how they are present in your life will make a big difference for you.

 

Remember, restriction is the number one predictor of overeating and bingeing.

 

Desire to be Healthier = Lose xxx Pounds Above Desired Weight

Claudia is not alone in thinking that to be healthier, she needs to lose weight. Heck, even doctors prescribe weight loss to their patients, repeatedly.

 

Why do you think doctors continue to tell the same patients at each visit “diet and lose weight?”

 

Because clearly diets don’t work for long-term weight loss and their patients are still struggling. So you’d think that doctors would finally get it and stop pushing weight loss as the method to “get healthier”.

 

Research shows that the pursuit of weight loss is not effective in the long term to manage most diseases. Study after study shows that the vast majority of people who lose weight on a diet regain that weight plus more! This weight cycling is worse on your health, than stabilizing at a higher weight.

 

What if you stopped pursuing weight loss and focusing on a number to improve your health?

 

What if instead you focused on habits and behavior changes, such as improved nutrition and increased activity (without tying it to calories or a weight on a scale!)

 

What if instead you focused on self-care, such as stress management and sleep hygiene?

 

I’ll tell you what will happen…..

 

You will see improvement in your health via your labs, your energy level, your stamina, your mind and so much more, without worrying about your weight. And if through this process your body happens to release a few pounds, then so be it.

 

Your body knows what weight and size it’s genetically predetermined to be. That number might be different that the vision (your “desired weight”) you have in your mind. But that, my friends, is for another blog.

 

 

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!

 

 

The 3 Biggest Crimes of Diet Culture

How many times have you overheard a heated conversation about food or the latest diet?

When I meet up with friends or family, the talk often ends up routed into diet gossip. This makes sense considering I’m a Registered Dietitian, yet my intuitive eating clients share similar stories.

I’ve spent the last 7 years of my career helping clients bury the diet mentality for good, yet I’m reminded how much work there is to do when people ask me questions like, “What do you think about that new diet that [insert celebrity name here] just published a book about?”

The worst part of Diet Culture (or more aptly, Diet Cult) is the potential harm to everyone involved. Diet culture is a system of beliefs that focuses on and values weight, shape and size over health, and it equate thinness with higher status and worthiness. The negative effects it has on both adults and children are criminal. Many times, these so called “healthy” diets are considered disordered eating or even full-blown eating disorders.

I am here today to call out the CRIMES OF DIET CULTURE.

Crime #1: Dishonesty

“Don’t eat carbs. They make you fat.”

“Dairy will keep you from losing weight.”

“Avoid gluten! It’s bad, bad, bad.”

When you look back at the history of food, Diet Culture has spent a great deal of time and money into criminalizing one food or another. This food is “good” for your health and weight, this food is “bad”.

When saturated fat was the offender, we saw an influx of fat-free, chemically altered foods. When sugar became the offender, we were bombarded with products containing sugar alcohols and messages to avoid sugar at all costs. Food fads are encouraged by Diet Culture with the support of the food industry. When scientific research is published, Diet Culture cherry-picks the information that best supports their agenda and launches campaigns to herd consumers to jump on their bandwagon, spending money on their products, lining their pockets.

Diet Culture never has your best interest in mind and it’s betting on the fact you don’t realize it. So they call their foods “healthier” than the others and has you thinking it’s better for you.

Crime #2: Disregard

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

Here’s the thing – people are literally dying to be thin and Diet Culture completely disregards this. Your body does so many amazing things for you every day, but Diet Culture has you focusing on how many calories you’re eating, pounds you lost or dress size you wear.

There is peace in accepting your body as it is at this very moment. But Diet Culture doesn’t want you to have this peace. So it influences you to keep striving for that “perfect” body, comparing yourself to celebrities, models and reality stars.

I remind my clients that what they see online and in magazines are not real. They are photoshopped images and even more, they are just the highlight reels of peoples’ lives. What they decide to post and publish are just snippets of their reality, particularly the snippets they want everyone to see. They edit out nearly a lifetime of moments, yet you use those carefully selected highlights as a comparison to your own life. This is exactly what Diet Culture wants – to keep you running back for more.

Crime #3: Destruction

Diet Culture’s most egregious crime is telling you that you’re not good enough. It doesn’t know you at all, but it’s making you question yourself, often calling attention to things you never considered flaws.

“Got a muffin top? Never eat these 5 foods again to get rid of it!”

“Do your thighs touch? Do this cleanse to fix that problem!”

Messages like these are toxic to women of all ages. It’s teaching them from a young age that they are nothing more than a sum of their parts and if those parts don’t add up to an unrealistic ideal, they need to do whatever it takes to get there. This has the potential to lead them into a dangerous relationship with food and exercise, twisting their self-perception. Diet Culture destroys self-esteem.

It’s Time to Defy Diet Culture

The truth is that body size doesn’t always equate with health. There are plenty of people who are in smaller bodies who have a plethora of health issues. On the flip side, there are people in larger bodies that have no medical issues at all. Why is the thin couch potato more culturally acceptable than the larger triathlete?

Diet Culture wants you to be at war with your body because that’s how companies who support it make their billions of dollars every year while young girls are skipping meals, ultimately missing out on nutrients critical to their growth and maturation. What’s even worse is that these diet messages often come from parents who suffer from disordered eating patterns over decades of being at war with their own bodies. It’s a cycle of abuse you are paying dearly for with both your wallets and your well-being.

Tune in next week for Intuitive Eating Wednesday when I share how to blaze a path to defying Diet Culture.

In the meantime, what other crimes of Diet Culture can you identify? Comment below.

 

 

I Feel Broken

This is something that I hear so often from my clients. They feel broken. Not whole. They realize that something needs to change in their life, but it’s hard. They often know what it is, they just don’t know how to do it.

 

There are many different areas of one’s life where they may feel broken. In their relationship with their spouse, their children, or maybe even themselves. Much of it has to do with the fact that they’ve been beaten down over the years. I don’t mean physically beaten, I mean emotionally beaten.

 

Now, there may be multiple reasons why. But I will focus on one in particular. And that is the relationship they have with food and their body. The struggle with not being happy with who they are because their self-worth is tied up in a number on a scale and in a dress size.

 

Let’s turn this conversation to you.

 

Do you feel broken?

 

Are you fed up with struggling with food and your body? Have you tried to change your body because society has told you to? Have you been told that thin people are respected more, thin people get the jobs, and to be other than thin means you are not enough?

 

Not pretty enough.

 

Not smart enough.

 

Not skinny enough.

 

Just not enough.

 

And you’ve tried and tried to diet, to restrict your foods in order to “get skinny” so you will be enough.

 

But it hasn’t worked.

 

So when my clients come to me and say they are broken, they just don’t know where to turn any longer. They know they don’t want to diet any more. They know that they don’t want to be ashamed of their bodies any longer. But how?

 

The answer lies in these 3 ways.

 

  1. Commit to giving up dieting forever and begin your intuitive eating journey. Now, this is easier said than done, I know that. But let’s start with the understanding that diets don’t work, and they never will. Stop pursuing weight loss in an effort to change your body. Instead, start by looking at what new habits and behaviors you can add to your life, versus what you need to take away. These new habits and behaviors will help improve your health and will be sustainable since they are not tied to a scale.

 

  1. Seek support. This is nothing to be embarrassed about. Ask for help. Why should you do this alone? There are professionals out there trained to help you. I have seen and spoken to many women who continue to struggle because they just don’t want to invest in themselves. And I say “why not”? You are worth it. If I told you that you will continue to spin your wheels and struggle year after year until you seek out support, would you still resist? If you do, then consider why you want to stay in the struggle. Because those who want to improve their lives and not be broken any longer, seek support.

 

  1. Protect yourself. Speak out against those who pressure you to be thin, to lose weight, who tell you that you are not enough, and who seek to knock you down at every turn. You don’t need these people in your life. It’s a risk, yes, especially if they are family. But it’s time to put them in their place and let them know you will not be emotionally abused any longer.

 

Okay, I’m a little hot under the collar as I write this blog. But I feel sad for those of you who are broken, and I want to help you become whole again.

 

Apply for your Break Free of Dieting Session today. Take the leap of faith you need to take.