You’re sitting scrolling on social media and you see on your already curated feed (because you follow my advice 😉) a friend’s weight loss post. You notice all of the likes and the “Wow, well done, what’s your secret?!” comments.
Or maybe you meet with your girlfriends and one of them has lost X amount of lbs on the X diet and everyone is telling her how amazing she looks.
In either scenario, here are the likely emotions that you’ll experience:
- Envy – you desperately want the weight loss too.
- Anger – All of a sudden you can’t stand your friend and you feel like she’s done you wrong somehow. Like you were quite happy in your anti-diet, food freedom and body love world and she’s come along and burst your bubble.
- Frustration – Maybe diets do work after all but you sure as hell couldn’t stick to one. “Why can’t I do that too? What’s wrong with me?”
- Hopelessness – you’re sitting there feeling awful about yourself in the body you have now since you gave up dieting. You thought you were doing ok until now… you wonder if you’ll ever be happy because you can’t stick to a diet no matter how hard you try (and even if you could, you know you’d gain the weight back plus more) AND your body positivity bubble has just burst. Hopeless, useless, sad, pointless, blah…
Can you relate?
So what can you do to stop yourself from spiralling into a negative, self-abusive thought pattern that ends with the solution of “I should diet!”…?
Let’s dive in my love.
#1 Take a pause & acknowledge
First of all STOP and just take a moment to acknowledge that it’s completely normal to feel the way that you do. Validation, praise and celebration for achieving what society has put on a pedestal… who doesn’t want that?
Be gentle and kind with yourself the way you would be toward a small innocent child (or puppy) who was having a moment of self-doubt.
#2 Differentiate between the ego & the true self
Ego: a structure of the psyche that frames one’s worldview. It is one’s filter on the world, creating the reality that passes through. The ego is lacking love and so seeks it from outside sources.
Any time you feel anything but love, peace and acceptance, you know that your ego is running the show. The ego absolutely loves and is addicted to an “ego boost.”
Ego boost: Something such as praise, success, etc, that makes one feel better about oneself.
The high that we experience after we’ve lost weight and get celebrated for (I’m sure you remember it well?) is boosting and feeding the ego. The ego needs external validation to feel good about itself.
The problem with this is that it’s never enough. The more you get the more you crave and when you don’t get it, the ego fears death and so, therefore, searches for something else to do that attracts external validation.
The true self
The true self on the other hand is love. The qualities of the true self: self-reliant, evolutionary, loving, creative, knowing, accepting and peaceful.
It’s your ego who is responsible for the envy, frustration, anger and helplessness that you may experience when you see someone’s weight loss “achievement”, not your true self. Although that doesn’t magically make you feel fantastic, it can help you to come back to what really matters.
A great question to ask yourself when you notice that you’re about to go down the rabbit hole is: “If the world didn’t celebrate weight loss, would it even matter?”
I get that most of the world does celebrate weight loss but that’s only because it’s intentionally been built this way for a reason… to keep us on the hamster wheel, distracted from what really matters in life and spending money trying to reach the ultimate goal.
The truth is, your body is simply a vessel to experience life through and to express the love that you are. Yes, we can, of course, put effort into feeling good in our bodies but focusing on feeling good and healthy is different to focusing purely on weight loss to look a certain way or to be accepted in society.
#3 Choose between a short term high or long-lasting fulfilment?
Next, you get to choose between:
- taking harmful action and dieting so that you too can attempt to achieve weight loss success and feel that short term high.
- Remind yourself that diets don’t work long term (it’s science, not just me preaching!) and they come with harmful physical, emotional and mental side effects. Choose long-lasting fulfilment by continuing your food freedom and body love journey.
If you choose the short term high…
Let’s say the pain of living in your authentic food freedom body is too overwhelming (because you’re not doing the work) and you choose to try to diet…
…one last time.
What do you think will be truly different in your life if you change your lose weight?
If you manage to lose weight – and therefore deal with all the side effects such as slow metabolism, hunger, food obsession, body obsession, and food anxiety just to name a few – you’re still going to be you… with all your life problems and everything that you like and enjoy in your life and everything that you don’t.
Weight loss promises that your whole life will be incredible and everything will just fall into place. But that’s not true. Believe it or not, your life can be incredibly fulfilled, regardless of what you weigh.
If you’re living for the short term highs you’ll constantly be on the pendulum of life. It’s physics.
According to Newton’s third law of motion, forces always act in equal but opposite pairs. Another way of saying this is for every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. This means that when you push on a wall, the wall pushes back on you with a force equal in strength to the force you exerted.
If you restrict your diet, your biology will push back to the same extremity of that restriction to “make up for the restriction” so that your body stays in its natural and happiest set point weight range. Those that keep themselves under their set point weight are constantly forcing, restricting and applying effort which is not only exhausting but consumes your whole entire life. The second they let go, the law of physics comes into motion.
If you are constantly chasing the highs, you’ll experience the lows. You can’t live a life of short term highs and be content and fulfiled – you’ll always be on a rollercoaster.
And after all the praise for your (temporary) weight loss and the short term high you get, you’re still left with you. When people get used to your new body and it’s no longer a celebration, the high is gone.
And then comes the immense pressure to keep it.
You’ll be constantly objectifying yourself. Worrying about putting the weight back on. Becoming more and more obsessed with your body. You’ll be living in your head and seeing your body as an object to be judged instead of the place where you live IN and get to experience life.
Where ever you go there you areJon Kabat-Zinn
Nobody really cares about other people’s weight loss either… they will no doubt feel the same way you do when you see someone’s weight loss. It’s all about them. Just as it’s all about you. They’re simply mirroring back to you what you think you want and currently don’t have because of the conditioning and brainwashing from Society that thinner is better on all counts.
Wanting to lose weight isn’t bad or wrong
I would like to add that you’re not wrong or bad for wanting to lose weight. It’s the default setting of the world we live in. You get to change your own personal default setting to that of inner peace and self-love and acceptance.
Weight loss alone isn’t wrong either. People lose weight for all sorts of reasons. It’s intentional weight loss that will almost always backfire – physically and mentally.
And for those that are holding onto the “health” concern. There is not one study that shows that dieters live longer than non-dieters. In fact, Lindo Bacon the author of Health At Every Size (recommend!) found that yo-yo dieting and weight cycling are more harmful to your health than living your whole life “overweight.”
So… do you really want to pursue weight loss again?
If you seek a life filled with peace, deep inner happiness and fulfilment then choose long-lasting fulfilment. Intuitive eating and body image work is sustainable, relaxed and peaceful.
External seeking validation is leading you away from the core of who you are. Internal love and acceptance and listening to your body to guide you with what and how much to eat is bringing you back home to yourself.
The people in your life who matter to you will love the real authentic you in your true authentic body. Those that don’t aren’t your people. It’s really that simple.
Your authentic body is the body you’re in when you are no longer trying to control your food and you’re allowing eating to be easy. This may include choosing nourishing foods and exercising your body to support your health and well-being or it may not. Whatever feels right for you is what is right for you. Wellness within the obsession is absolutely possible if that feels good for you.
Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mindDr Seuss
You don’t owe anyone thinness. Not the world, not your partner, not your mum, not your friends and not yourself. I choose a truly deep connection to myself and others over short-term attention. I invite you to keep choosing the same, over and over again.
And if you’re worried about your partner finding you attractive in your authentic body, attractiveness is way more than just the way your body looks. It’s about your energy, your sexual energy, your personality, your charisma and how you make others feel simply by being yourself. There’s a difference between being attracted to someone’s energy and essence of who they are and simply just having a judgment about a body part.
It feels a lot more rewarding to be at peace in your natural authentic body instead of feeling happy when you’ve lost weight because then you’re so scared of putting the weight back on again that you can’t be your true self. You feel stuck instead of free.
There is a lot more stability in living in your natural body size and a whole lot of FREEDOM! Not worrying about food, getting dressed and enjoying style and clothes without fretting about what you look like—feeling relaxed and content in your body without it having to look a certain way. Not having to count the weeks back before a holiday in an attempt to lose weight before. There is SO much to gain when you fully immerse yourself in your food freedom body love journey.
A great journal prompt I regularly asked myself when I was freaking out about my weight gain was:
“I’ve gained weight AND…”
Try it, you’ll realise that you’ve gained so much more overall and instead of weight, you’ll have lost things such as food obsessions, constant hunger, saying no to food when you really want to say yes, obsessive body checking, the list is endless.
You’ll also get to discover yourself and what really matters to you.
What are your values? Who would you be if you weren’t constantly thinking about your body and food?
#4 Presence is the shortcut to peace
Living in the now brings great peace and acceptance. If you notice that you’re constantly anxious or stressed then you’re future tripping my love. Fear cannot resist in the present moment. Our thinking about a future event that may or may not happen creates fear.
Practice being in the now as much as possible. It’s always here. It’s the only thing that is actually real. If you practice being here and now with the body, you have now that’s all you need to do. Choose to love and accept your body now. Not tomorrow, not next month when you’re on holiday. NOW. And you will welcome peace.
Accepting what is brings peace. Loving what is brings immense joy. And you always get to choose.
If you don’t know how to accept your body then take a look outside your window at the weather. What’s it doing? Is it sunny? Rainy? Cloudy? Chances are you simply accept whatever it is because you’ve not been sold a lie that you can control and change it! And you have with your body. Practice acceptance. And then you can progress to love.
- Allow your emotions to be there. Feel them. Make space for them without trying to shove them down. Don’t judge yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Remind yourself “this too shall pass.” Because it always does. Life is polarity and impermanence.
- Remind yourself of what’s truly important to you. A short term high or long term fulfilment, you get to choose.
- Be present. When you’re truly present, only peace can exist.
- Connect to gratitude.
You’ve got this sweetheart. The more you show up for yourself and do this work, you’ll become less and less triggered when you see someone’s “weight loss success.” If you need help, I’m here for you.