I often get asked:
“How can I still lose weight without feeling crazy around food?”
The ones that ask, tend to know me well enough to know that if their reason for wanting to lose weight was purely for body image purposes, I’d redirect them to my previous content explaining why this is the worse thing they can do if they want to find food and body freedom.
They say they want to pursue weight loss because they have a “legitimate” reason as to why they “need” to lose weight, outside of body image.
For example, women ask—
“But what if I need to lose weight for [fill-in-the-blank-health-reason]”
“But what if I need to lose weight to improve my performance at a sport that I love”
“But what if I need to lose weight to fit into old clothes [and I can’t afford new ones].”
“But what if I need to lose weight because I’m an actor/dancer/public-figure.”
Having “legitimate” reasons to want to lose weight compared to most women’s reason which is:
To seek safety, acceptance and be seen as “good enough” in the biased world that we live in today.
It doesn’t magically make dieting safe or effective—
Forced weight loss attempts almost always fail long-term, regardless of your reasons for trying.
More importantly, attempting to lose weight almost always causes rebound weight gain, binge eating and obsessing about food and your body image.
And for those that are creating a list in their heads right now of all the people they know that have “successfully” lost weight for a long period of time, this is for you:
Those few people who are able to “successfully” lose weight and keep it off long term, are at huge risk of suffering the physical and emotional consequences of restrictive/disordered eating.
Such as constantly feeling crazy around food, always worried about how their bodies look, anxious about being judged by their appearance, physically hungry almost all of the time, consumed by food thoughts, Slow metabolism … just to name a few…
Given this shitty reality, you would be better off pursuing your “legitimate” reasons to lose weight in weight neutral ways instead of through dieting.
For example, you may want to pursue your health goals—including managing illnesses like diabetes and heart disease—through weight-neutral health practices, instead of the standard approach (dieting). Such as:
- Eating protein whenever you eat sugar/carbs to balance your blood sugar.
- Moving your body in a loving way to improve cardiovascular health.
If you have a sports goal, decide to practice at the level you’re healthfully able to —without risking your safety and sanity purely for the sake of competition.
If none of your clothes fit then give them to charity/sell them go and shopping for clothes that actually fit you today. Even if that means going to charity shops or low budget shopping if your bank balance is looking poor. (I’d much rather shop at a Primark or charity shops than risk my mental or physical health trying to squeeze into clothes that don’t fit me.)
If you’re an actor, dancer, or performer—Be a trailblazer! Create the roles you want to see in the world! Start a body-positive dance group, or write a play or show starring body-diverse characters. Wake up your industry (and change our toxic culture!) by radically pursuing your work in the body you actually have!
At the end of the day, dieting is physically and emotionally dangerous, and it very rarely produces lasting results.
There is no way around this truth bomb—and if we want to take care of our mental and physical health then we need to seriously consider this truth when making decisions about how to pursue our hobbies, passions, careers, health choices, etc.
Thankfully, there are lots of different ways to go after your desired outcomes without endangering your mental, emotional and physical health through dieting.
In other words, it’s time to start thinking about Plan B.
PS—We talk a LOT about how to pursue weight-neutral health in the “End the diet-binge cycle masterclass.”
If you’re just not sure and want to make sure the program is right for you because of your unique health goals, feel free to reach out to me.