In our ever-evolving world, conversations about weight loss often dominate the health and wellness landscape. Yet, despite the omnipresence of diet plans, fitness regimens, and weight loss solutions, a nagging sense of disillusionment persists. We diet for decades, we consume diet foods and the latest diet strategies like synthetic fats and artificial sweeteners that are– toxic:
- Eat less, exercise more
- More willpower
- Fat burners & appetite suppressants
- The latest and greatest diet
- Surgery will solve everything
- Food “addiction” meetings
- You’re lazy or a loser if you can’t lose weight
- Why can’t you just stop eating?
In the realm of weight loss, science in many ways has FAILED US.
Indeed, it receives a big ‘ol fat “F”!!! Societal attitudes also get a poor grade. A distressingly large number of individuals cast harsh moral judgments on those carrying extra weight, fueling an unseen epidemic of social detachment, only increasing the pressure for one to lose the weight and stay stuck in the never ending diet cycle and obsession with weight loss and body image.
If you’re reading this, then it’s fair to assume that the current approach to tackling weight issues doesn’t sit well with you either. Instead of diving into a detailed list of dos and don’ts – an endeavor too vast for any single write-up – I want to introduce you to some fresh thoughts around weight to help you begin to change how you see yourself, and this thing we let dictate our life and identity called… “weight”.
- Weight embodies a profound, multi-layered complexity. Rarely is it a matter of clear-cut solutions. Recognizing and respecting the intricate nature of weight and its fluctuation is essential.
- Carrying excess weight is indicative of underlying messages and life lessons. Each symptom we encounter is a call to learn and evolve. Instead of resisting, we should embrace and decode these signals. And when we can’t, not be ashamed to get some help deciphering.
- A multitude of nutritional and metabolic factors can influence weight gain. It’s crucial to consider the diverse array of influences at play, and understand exactly what these influencers are.
- Emotional influences play a significant role in weight. It’s important to acknowledge and address the psychological aspects that contribute to weight fluctuations.
- Genetics increasingly factor into weight considerations, making it a hereditary concern for many, and why the BMI is crap.
- Weight is intertwined with profound life lessons and personal growth opportunities. Aspects such as patience, humility, mindfulness, acceptance of self and others, slowing down, and getting in touch with your true emotions are often lessons hidden in the journey of weight management.
- Weight challenges can stem from a combination of various factors, not just a single factor, painting a complex picture unique to each individual. This is also why it’s not just a nutrition or psychology matter. How we do food is often how we do life too!
- Weight issues are not solely the burden of the individual but reflect broader familial or societal dynamics too. This shared responsibility can manifest in numerous ways, such as the influence of parents or media.
- The issue of weight transcends YOU, the individual; it’s a collective challenge. Millions are affected. The solution lies in addressing both cultural norms and individual habits. You are NOT alone.
- The surge in eating disorders signals a deeper societal and/or inner personal issue. These disorders are not merely about food but reflect broader life and societal challenges. Deep listening and understanding can unveil the growth and healing needed. Losing weight will NOT heal an eating disorder.
- Our societal relationship with body fat is often marked by misunderstanding. Let me remind you that body fat serves vital biological functions. Our body is meant to GAIN more weight than LOSE it in it’s efforts to ensure you stay alive and do not starve to death. Understanding your body fat’s role now and through our evolution is key to shifting perceptions and dropping the judgment.
- Societal attitudes often project judgment and negativity onto individuals dealing with weight issues which often reinforces the inner judgment of one’s self who is trying to lose the weight and intertwines with their bigger personal beliefs and identity. Recognizing and addressing these collective prejudices is essential for fostering a culture of understanding and support.
- The scientific understanding of ideal weight remains vague. Many claims about weight loss lack a solid scientific basis, leading to confusion and misinformation. No one truly knows what a person “should” weigh at every stage of life. So many people walk around claiming, “I need to lose 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 20 pounds.” Says who? The BMI is outdated.
- According to the sum total of all the research on weight, science cannot say with any certainty that extra weight is a symptom, a disease, a risk factor, a positive indicator of health, a genetic issue, a psychosocial one – because it can be ANY of these.
- Much of the scientific community has yet to fully grasp that weight encompasses the intricate interplay of the mind, body, heart, soul, psychology, culture, and spirituality. Weight issues do not only reside in the realm of nutrition. So take a deep breath if you’ve been to nutritionists and dietitians. It’s good you know about nutrition, but perhaps that’s not what you’re lacking (usually isn’t!).
The mental and emotional burdens associated with weight often outweigh the physical aspect. This is why many individuals are so pressed to lose weight as it’s often more about the emotional weight they wish to lose around the weight itself. The psychological distress linked to body image is profound. Can you imagine a society where everyone embraces and loves their body, celebrating their unique humanity?
We’d be unstoppable! We’d pursue our life’s work and deepest missions with unrestrained vigor. We would be life focused and not food focused. A surge of creativity, confidence, and connection would flourish among us. Our emotional well-being would enhance, enriching every aspect of our lives, even our intimate connections. There would be nothing holding us back.
Embracing our bodies can’t be about conditional self-love – it’s not a “lose weight, then love yourself” game. True self-love HAS to begin right now, in this very moment. Would you ever condition your love for your child on their appearance? Of course not – it’s an unthinkable thought.
Yet, this is the narrative many endorse internally when it should be about nurturing kindness within ourselves, coupled with insightful understanding about ourselves, and our bodies.
Now listen to me…LOVING YOURSELF DOESN’T MEAN YOU DON’T WANT TO MAKE CHANGES TO YOUR BODY. It’s OK if you would like to do some shape shifting, BUT…you cannot hate yourself into that transformation. You cannot NOT love and nurture yourself NOW, as you are, and only wait to love and appreciate yourself when you reach a specific weight or size. This is where many miss the boat and only create further disconnect from their most authentic, most powerful self.
Do you feel it’s time to shed your outdated, narrow-minded beliefs about weight? Drop the judgment? Drop the shame? Drop the finger pointing? I encourage you to embrace a journey steered by love and wisdom, seek a deeper comprehension of this significant challenge. What could your weight be trying to teach you? Help you let go? Go deeper on? And grow?
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Author Shelby McDaniel
Hi! I’m Shelby and I’m a food lovin’ nutritionist but…I’m not a regular nutritionist. I’m an intuitive eating specialist, eating psychology practitioner, and Certified Mind Body Nutrition Coach, here to free you from diet culture once and for all! Because you deserve peace with food, eating, and your body. (Yes, I'm talking to YOU!)