Ditching Diet Culture!
After 40 years of dieting and 15 years of working in the weight loss industry, I recently decided that the time has come for me to leave diet culture behind!
And I won’t lie! It feels a bit scary!
Not just personally (what if I end up getting bigger, and bigger?), but for my business too.
When I stopped working for Weight Watchers a few years ago and trained as a Life Coach, I didn’t anticipate that I would get sucked back into working with clients on their weight management. I absolutely LOVED life coaching (and still do by the way!), yet so many of my contacts knew me as the weight loss expert. And all the business advisers who were helping me, told me that having a niche was the thing to do.
BUT, while I was developing my business I was also reading around my subject.
About 2 years ago, I read a book called Body Respect by Linda Bacon which was a complete revelation to me. It opened up a whole new perspective on the diet industry and on weight management in general.
I have also since, discovered whole Movements that I didn’t even know existed! The Health at Every Size Movement, The Body Positive Movement and the Body Image Movement to name a few. What they all have in common is that they celebrate body diversity, and fight weight stigma. They also give an alternative voice, to the propoganda we have are all being been fed by diet culture.
Anyway the more I delved into the teachings of these movements, the more I felt that personally it was a good move for me to leave diet culture behind. To learn to accept my body as it is. To stop with the diets. And although I still get days where I’m petrified of getting bigger than I am now, (I guess that’s to be expected after decades of buying into the message that in order to be worthy we need to be slim!), I feel like I am 85% there!
And OH the freedom! Oh the relief!
I cannot believe it has taken me so long to see the light!
FINALLY, I can live my life in the present!
I am no longer waiting for the day when I am back at ‘goal’ in order to do all the things I want to do! I don’t have to wait to be that elusive perfect weight in order to feel worthy, to feel comfortable in my own skin.
And I want this for my clients too!
The long and the short of it is that I have come to the decision that I no longer want to sell weight loss.
Here are the 2 main reasons I ended up being convinced that selling weight loss is selling a lie:
1. If there was an effective way of losing weight and keeping it off, we’d all be thin by now!
There are too many diets, weight loss companies, eating plans and diet books out there to count!
They all claim to be ‘the one’. The thing is, even if just one of them was ‘the one’, the so called ‘obesity epidemic’ would have been cured by now!
Yes, yes, yes, all diets work in the short term, we know that ! That’s how they seduce us in the first place. But they obviously don’t work forever.
I kept coming back to this one fact- even with all these diets, still we are fat!
I just don’t know why I had never seen this reality before! Maybe I’d missed this obvious point, because we are made to believe that it’s us that’s the problem, not the weight loss plan! I’m ashamed to say that I believed this in the past too, not just of myself but of also all of my slimming club members.
But surely if diets worked, the percentage success rate would be higher.
And so onto my next point.
2. At least 95% of people who lose weight end up regaining it within 5 Years.
When I first read this statistic, it made me sad and then mad! Why are we not told this information?
This article explains some of why it is never mentioned. If you don’t have time to read the whole article right now here’s a quote from it-
Health experts are also afraid people will abandon all efforts to exercise and eat a nutritious diet — behaviour that is important for health and longevity — even if it doesn’t result in much weight loss.
Let me be clear that I will still be very much encouraging my clients to participate in healthful behaviours, I just can’t promise them lonterm weight loss as a definite outcome.
From my perspective, I think one of the reasons I felt uncomfortable sharing this message before, is that I was afraid of bursting everyone’s bubble, taking their weight loss dreams away from them. I realise now that this is better than encouraging to spend the rest of their days obsessing about the size of their bodies and having a weird relationship with food.
The bottom line is the statistics are corroborated by what I have personally witnessed and experienced as an individual, and from working in the weight loss industry. The few who did achieve their goal weight, invariably struggled to maintain it.
I’m sure you can imagine that this has been a really difficult decision for me, especially since I have been both selling and buying into the ideal of weight loss for so many years.
But I feel a burning and irrepressible need to share the body positive message with the world. Even if my business crashes and burns (after all weight loss is a best seller, isn’t it?) at least I’ll have my integrity intact.
If you’d like to take the first steps in leaving diet culture behind please come and hang out in my free and private FB group, by clicking >>here<< and requesting to join.
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