IS THAT YOUR INNER WISDOM OR CRITIC TALKING TO YOU ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS?

While the narrative of health is often reduced to just about weight loss, you have the power to shift away from it. Choose who you’re listening to on the inside.


BY: EMILY FONNESBECK, RD, CD, CLT

Many people are confused by what ‘healthy’ truly means, especially when they believe that weight loss is essential for their health.   

Truth be told, there are many misconceptions around the need to reach a certain BMI, body fat %, or a number on the scale in order to be healthy.  In fact, each of us have a genetic set point where our body functions at its best, and many can still find health outside of this so-called “normal” parameters.

That’s because health is a product of healthy behaviors, and is not dependent on weight loss.

Desperate quests to lose weight often lead to unhealthy behaviors such as restriction, extreme exercise, bingeing, purging, preoccupation with food and body shape, and anxiety about food.

The most effective approaches to health is when you remain open to all possibilities, trusting in yourself to know what’s best for you. It’s about exploring the reasoning behind any of your health and wellness goals to ensure they are a healthy endeavor.  And yet, many individuals are so desperate to lose weight…but why? Is it actually for health?

When an individual starts to engage in unhealthy behaviors to lose weight, one would question if it’s truly for health.

Listen closely, and ask yourself: who is speaking to you when you make your health decisions? Is it an intuitive, wise voice, or a critical and self-deprecating one?

Your wise voice will help lead you to self-trust, wellness and vitality (including your healthy weight).  However, listening to your critical voice will only make you miserable, often because of the shame an individual feels about their body.  

Therein lies the kicker – are your goals (weight or otherwise) produced out of love or shame?  Here’s how you will know.

SHAME

You put off living life until you meet your goals (e.g. you avoid putting on a swimsuit, dating, traveling)  Basically, you hide. You believe that your body shape or size is a sign of personal failure. Weight and body image is directly related to your feelings of worth and value.  You focus more on what your body looks like rather than what it can do.

LOVE

You want to feel better and put yourself in a place to be self-reliant and strong.  You know that you will be better able to care for your loved ones when you have taken time to care for yourself.   The changes you choose to make in no way affect your sense of worth. You know you’re awesome; you just want to feel more energized.  You focus more on what your body can do than what it looks like.

So where do you start if you are feeling shame about food choices or your body?

It starts with acceptance of your body.  

Once you do, then you can move forward in productive change, guided by your wise voice and intuitive signals that lead you to health and wellness.  Worth and value will not depend on what you look like or your food choices.

There will be no moral superiority or shameful feelings –

Just you living a full and happy life.

So often, we believe one single story about weight – that it’s ‘bad’ and so are the people who carry it.  That’s why it can be so easy to internalize these cultural messages around food, weight and body image in a negative way. However, it’s up to you to decide what your value and worth are dependant on.  That realization will change everything.

Then, and only then, will you find true health.

Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: DARIA SHEVTSOVA

Emily Fonnesbeck, RD, CD, CLT is a Utah-based private practice Registered Dietitian. Instead of creating unnecessary restrictions, Emily focuses on helping individuals become confident and in charge of their own well-being through Intuitive Eating and Mindful Living. She is a strong believer and advocate for helping people become capable individuals who are confident in taking care of themselves.  Make a visit and read more from Emily.

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