Blog Posts

Personal Confusion

Recently, after listening to the Love, Food podcast for this week, I started to think about where I am in this process. I feel like it has been relatively easy to embrace the idea of intuitive eating. Despite the fact that I hear people talk about their food restrictions all the time, I really understand the science from the book Health At Every Size, and understand why restriction and dieting aren’t effective tools for managing health (or weight, for that matter). I also happen to be very lucky in the sense that the man I have been dating for the last few years has never thought about food the way that I did, and has been able to help me and be supportive in my learning to accept all foods.

Where I am really struggling is with body image. As I have refused to restrict, or diet, in any fashion – my body has definitely gained weight. It has been scary. It is uncomfortable, physically I don’t love the way my body touches itself (kinda weird, I know). I worry sometimes that I’m allowing there to be too much stress on my joints because of the extra weight.

But I’ve been trying to learn body kindness and acceptance. I’ve been trying to accept that fat is not actually a bad thing, and for most of human history (until the 1950s basically) a bigger body was more appreciated than a smaller one. I’m trying to allow myself to be ok with myself.

And it’s hard.

I’ve started to follow people on Instagram who can expand my worldview. HAES dietitians, and people who are on track with body kindness, body positivity, and with fighting fat phobia. I’m hoping that being able to see more and more of what’s out there, as well as removing people who fit into the fitspo and thinspo areas, will help me feel like my body is normal.

But it’s extra hard when all the people around me are so immersed. My coworker is doing a cleanse and while she doesn’t push it on me, she explained how she feels so much energy now. Some distant family and some of my friends now talk regularly about their “summer bodies” and what foods they’re not eating so they’ll be ready. It’s everywhere, and hard to accept myself when the people around me are all focused on being thin or losing weight or if they fit the standard.

I wish more people had the information we have, about how bad diets and weight cycling are for you. I wish diet culture wasn’t such a large financial benefit for so many people, so we could go back to believing in our bodies to regulate themselves.

And I’m gonna sit here every day and work on accepting who I am today.

Diet culture really is everywhere

Photo by Delbeautybox on Pexels.com

Went to the salon recently. I’ve been growing out my hair, going from ultra processed to natural to try to get my hair healthy. And finally, years after starting, I was finally able to go back to my bleached hair so I could have my pink and purple ombré back. *sigh of relief*

During the process of stripping out all the mineral build up (to make the color lift more effective), I was reading Linda Bacon’s “Health at Every Size”, and simultaneously hearing one of the colorists discuss her current diet and exercise plan, and her current attempts at weight loss.

Later, while the lift was being applied, I listened while the person next to me talked to her colorist about how a tan makes you look skinnier and healthier, and how much better you’ll be with a smaller body as spring and summer approach. You know – shorts, short sleeves…these things matter!

Now that I have some awareness, I’m amazed at the prevalence of this focus. I don’t think I ever realized quite how much our world insists that skinny is better, that we’ll be happier when we’re smaller. And I’m so glad I’m shifting away from the mindset.

I didn’t say anything to either woman about my current realization that weight doesn’t matter – they were not conversations I was a part of, and it didn’t feel appropriate. But I can’t wait until diet culture becomes less prevalent in every day life. I can’t wait until I can stop focusing on those kinds of thoughts and comments, and the things we see every day advertised or posted about in social media, that make us believe that our bodies are not ok the way they are.

Initial thoughts on leaving weight loss behind

Image sourced from http://bodyinmotion.in/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/blog53-holistic-wellbeing.jpg

After listening to the podcast episode “Can you be body positive and want to lose weight” (Rebecca Scritchfield’s Body Kindness podcast, from 10/2016), I’ve started to think about what this journey means to me.

Although I’m late to this episode, I really strongly resonate with the idea of wanting to lose weight, but wanting to be positive about my body. I’ve just recently come to body kindness and this whole world of leaving diet culture, and I am definitely still feeling that desire to lose weight.

I am working so hard to try to not let weight loss or a different body shape/size be my focus or drive my motivation, but I acknowledge that I’m not there yet. I have not turned to diet culture again (I am not restrictive, no foods are off limits), but I am afraid that searching for movement that I love again will make it even more difficult to shift my focus away from weight loss, because I would hope for that to be an outcome.

I have recently thought about trying to box or dance again, have considered learning about Tai Chi (it feels like a somewhat natural transition from yoga to something else because of the mind-body connection in both areas), and I know I want to be stronger again because of my knee. I miss the feeling of strength I used to have when using my legs to jump and sprint in volleyball. And I can’t yet shake the thought that if I was lighter, it wouldn’t be so hard, and would be less strenuous for my body.

I’m also admittedly scared to death of gaining more weight before my best friend’s wedding in November. I want to fit into a nice dress in a way that is attractive, and my brain hasn’t yet transitioned to believing that my body shape is attractive.

I’m learning, and I’m working towards change, but this feeling and this acknowledgment is an indication of just how far I have to go. Figuring out what healthy means for me, and how to get where I want to be, mentally and physically, is a journey I’m both daunted by, and excited to start on.