I’ve noticed some confusion around wanting to be body positive and love your body, while still wanting to lose weight. Even talk about wanting to nourish your body and eat in a way that supports your health can sometimes make those, who follow others in the body positive, anti-diet community, feel wrong. I know initially I almost felt guilty for caring about my health and I’ve developed some thoughts on this that I want to share in this post today.
I completely understand and believe that health comes in many shapes and sizes and no longer judge people based on how they take up space with their physical body. I also know that part of the argument is that not everyone’s priority is their health and that fat phobia can be masked by concerns for others health. I no longer push physical health on others because it’s their prerogative and I know many are focusing on the mental and spiritual health first. In my experience, healing the relationship you have with your body and food, requires work on your mental and spiritual health first. When we become healthy in our mind, our physical health follows. This is especially true for those that have been stuck in the diet-binge cycle, excessive exercise, and body hatred.
I know that I do really value my own physical health as well as my mental and spiritual health, but for so long I had focused solely on my physical health and neglected the mental and spiritual side.
This actually led to issues with my physical health anyways. Health is all encompassing my friends and an imbalance in one area flows into other areas. If you want to release physical weight because you feel a bit uncomfortable in your body or weighed down, I think that’s ok. I think it’s okay but I don’t think releasing the weight should be the focus, because the weight is often a symptom.
I am all for body positivity but if we just tell people they need to love and accept their bodies, without dealing with the root cause of the binge or emotional eating, over exercising, restricting and dieting and low body image in the first place, we’re not really helping people.
You have to do the inner work and deal with the emotional weight and when that’s released, its common for physical weight to also release. When you stop using food to cope, numb and push uncomfortable emotions down, your body will land at a healthy place for you.
The important thing to know is that no matter where you are right now, you are worthy, you are loved, you are not broken, you are not gross, you are not lazy, you are human and imperfectly you.
It’s also very important to be honest with yourself about your desire and the intention behind wanting to lose weight (I prefer the term weight release) and I think it’s really helpful to focus on acceptance, compassion and health over weight release. When we do this it’s easier to dive into the inner work because you have released that fear and urgency of needing to lose the physical weight. When you do this inner work, you start to understand and believe that your worth does not come from your physical body or the way you look. You start to value your heart, soul and mind.
I never focus on weight with my client’s even when they wish to release weight. This is like focusing one the physical pain of an ulcer and when that happens you tend to take antacids to prevent the pain (which is the bandaid approach), but the problem is it’s not dealing with the root issue. When you deal with the root issue you can heal the ulcer and prevent further ones. This would include looking at the areas of stress in your life that are affecting your digestion as well as the types of foods you’re eating and even doing a stool test to determine if you have some sort of pathogen overgrowth (yeast or parasites). If you feel you have excess weight, you can’t just focus on your diet and exercising. You probably know by now that this hasn’t helped anyways and maybe even made it worse. You need to examine your belief systems and thought patterns, do inner child work, reconnect with your intuition and find your own spiritual path. Learning to be with your emotions, feel and process them. Mindfulness will increase your awareness and when you are aware and conscious you will be able to make better choices.
So with all that said, I think you can be body positive and still want to release weight, but I don’t think it should be the focus because it’s just a symptom.
I have weighed less and more than I am now. Both times my mental and spiritual health were suffering big time. I was lost, depressed, felt hopeless and stuck. I was unconscious and so disconnected from my body. There was so much pain I was pushing down with either restriction or bingeing and excessive exercise. I think it’s really important that when you start to feel confused about what’s right and wrong for you with the messages you’re getting, that you stop and go within. That you check in with yourself and feel what is right for you in that moment, instead of listening to everyone else’s opinions including mine girlfriend! I had to go through a phase of not caring as much about my physical health and really experimenting with eating all the foods I used to be afraid of so I could release that black and white thinking around food. All our journeys will look differently just as there is no one way for us all to eat. Bio-individuality applies to more than just food.