Ditching Diet Culture!

Ditching Diet Culture!

 

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.

 

Ditch your ‘shoulds’ and embrace your ‘wants’!

Ditch your ‘shoulds’ and embrace your ‘wants’!

 

Ditch your ‘shoulds’ and embrace your ‘wants’!

 

How many times in a day do we get that feeling that we ‘should‘ be doing something?
When you think that thought- ‘I should do that’ how does it make you feel?
For me my heart sinks a little.  I feel dragged down.  I feel slight irritation. I usually feel guilty too.
‘Should’ is not a motivating word.
Yet ‘should’ appears so often in the mental vocabulary of us larger ladies.

 

I really should lose this weight!  I really should eat salad for lunch!  I really should join a gym!

 

One BIG reason so many of us feel that we ‘should’ lose weight, is that we are constantly told that overweight equals unhealthy.
But what if I told you that this might not be true??
HAES (Health at Every Size) is a movement that promotes body positivity and celebrates body diversity.
It claims that being overweight per se is not unhealthy, and provides lots of proof to back this claim.
The theory is that it’s certain behaviours that are unhealthy e.g. drinking excess alchohol, smoking, lack of nutrients in our diets and lack of movement; and that it’s these behaviours that lead potentially to  poor health regardless of whether the person is overweight or not.
I have to say that this makes sense to me.

 

 

You might at this point accuse me of wishful thinking

……but look, here’s the thing.  We all know that if you are a smoker , it doesn’t matter whether you are fat or thin- smoking is unhealthy.  (In fact this article indicates that, ‘overall, mortality risk is smaller in overweight or obese ex-smokers than normal-weight smokers.’)
So it makes sense to me that an overweight body which participates in good nutrition, regular exercise and drinks alcohol sparingly (and of course is also a non-smoker), is healthier than a slim person who does the opposite.

 

In any case perhaps an even bigger problem is that whilst being overweight is demonised by society as being unhealthy, and whilst for decades now ‘weight loss’ has been the prescribed cure for many ailments – yet still as a society we aren’t getting any slimmer.   We are being prescribed something that does not appear to be achieveable in the long term.

 

 

Anyway, getting back to the point of ‘shoulds’ being unmotivating

 

Now that I have shared a 4 pronged health strategy with you,  my fear is that you may think you have some new ‘shoulds’ to add to your already long list of ‘shoulds’.  And believe me that’s not my intention.
So let me flip this a bit and ask you –

Do you WANT to either maintain your current health, or to improve it?

(I’m assuming your answer is ‘yes’??)

If so, which behaviours do you WANT to change?

 I believe in order to make permanent change in your life you have to WANT to, and you also have to be WILLING to do what it takes to create that change.

 

‘SHOULD’ just won’t cut it in the long term.
In fact immediately we eliminate ‘SHOULDS’  we also eliminate the need for rebellion.  We reduce the likelihood of guilt; we don’t feel so dragged down by it all.
We are more likely to take action.
So let me urge you to choose WANT instead!
WANT automatically brings less resistance with it.
WANT is empowering.

 

Imagine……..what if you no longer felt you ‘should’ lose weight?  Or you didn’t need to ‘should’ exercise more?
What if you really WANTED to take better care of your health?  What possibilities lay ahead for you and your body then?

 

I’d love to hear your responses in the comments below!

 

PS Would you like to join a body positive community?
Then click >>here<< and ask to join my new FREE Facebook group- Time to heart your body and live your life.  It officially opens on 1st December 2017.  Hope to see you over there 🙂

 

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