“If I loved myself regardless of my size I would be fat forever!”
If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m a total believer that a critical first step toward complete and lasting health is accepting your body at it’s current state and knowing that there is nothing wrong with it. You are not broken and I’m not here to fix you.. Removing feelings of shame toward ones current body is essential for healing our relationship with our body and ultimately living in a body we love and in turn, take care of.
As you can imagine, I get a lot of objections toward my stance on weight and body image. My “health at every size” approach is a head scratcher for most (and an instigation for an argument for others). Why the heck would a person in the fitness industry advocate this? Wouldn’t it be bad for business? After all, how many people decide to exercise because they genuinely like exercise? With our “body project” obsessed culture, it’s hard to believe that this population would even exist.
My radical belief not only baffles many a client, but it also angers several my fitness industry colleagues. Why? Well, if people woke up tomorrow and believed that their bodies were worthy and beautiful just as they were, how many people would you see in an early morning spin class? Exactly. Most trainers and instructors thrive on people’s body insecurities and feelings of needing to tame/control their “trouble” areas. My stance is indeed a threat to their livelihood. Sorry (not sorry).
Yep…I’m a rebel. Never thought of myself as one, but hey, if the shoe fits…
So in this post I’m going to address some of the biggest objections I have recently received regarding my position on my “health at every size”, kumbaya, love yourself approach to exercise, food and life.
One of the biggest objections I have received is this:
“If I loved myself at my current size I would stay fat forever!”
Yes. I understand how this objection can make total sense. Given that the diet and weight loss industry made over $60 billion dollars last year, their marketing has absolutely conditioned us to believe this objection as the all mighty truth. We have been conditioned to approach our body with hate and disgust because lets face it, if we really loved and accepted our body as is, would we really purchase half of the products we currently own? I’m not saying to go home and throw out all your make-up, hair products, and cancel your gym membership. What I’m saying is to be curious as to where these thoughts and insecurities come from and to also ask yourself this all-important question:
“How does this approach and thought process about my body serve me in a positive way?”
If these thoughts of food, exercise, weight, and appearance take up the majority of your mental real estate, it might be worthwhile to ask yourself why and then ask yourself how all these thoughts make you feel? Do they leave you feeling beautiful and worthy or shameful and broken?
Another BIG question regarding this objection is this:
How have feelings of hate and disgust toward your body helped you achieve any permanent weight loss in the first place? Has it ever successfully motivated you to stay consistent with exercise for an extended period of time?
Approaching your “lifestyle” change in a state of negativity is a set up for disappointment, more shame and continued frustration. Hating yourself in hopes of instilling healthy change into your life is just as successful as yelling at your toddler when you are trying to potty training them (it doesn’t work, trust me).
You cannot hate your body into loving it.
The popular culture would also have you believe you are brave, courageous and strong for willing yourself into the gym at 5AM even though your body is crying out for more sleep because you got to bed late. I believe the more courageous choice and yes, also the more difficult one is to honor your body’s needs by staying in bed and thus refusing to allow the shame inducing tactics of the diet and exercise industry to control your decisions and ultimately effect your over all wellbeing.
The other big objection I often hear is this:
“If I loved myself and accepted my body as it is, I would be so unhealthy! I would get (or not recover from) diabetes; I would become obese and die from heart disease. I must continue to fight what my body wants with self control and discipline so I can live”. Such an oxymoron, don’t you think? In order to live you must fight against your body? (My turn for head scratching)
So, in regards to the “health” argument to all this, there has been new research and findings that indicate the group of people with the lowest mortality rate are classified as “overweight” and “mildly obese” according to the body mass index (BMI). These studies were conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by-the-way…. And in fact, recent research suggests that losing weight doesn’t actually improve health biomarkers such as blood pressure, fasting glucose or triglyceride levels.
To read more about these amazing developments, click HERE.
Another answer to this objection is this; if you really loved yourself and nurtured yourself, you would not engage in behaviors that were harmful. You would nurture your body and take care of it by listening to what it needs and responding accordingly. The problem is that our body’s signals of hunger, fullness, fatigue and exhaustion are often silenced by what our mind perceives as not only the better solution but also the more socially rewarded solution.
So there you have it. My answers to the 2 biggest objections I get from my radical and love filled beliefs.
NOW, it’s your turn!
I would love to know what objections, questions and/or concerns you have regarding my Health at Every Size approach. In the comments below ask away! Have a wonderful weekend, and rememeber, you cannot love your body until you first love yourself.