If you haven’t read Why You Should Stop Dieting and Start Living Your Life (Part 1), head over to that blog post first. I take a research-based look at why diets don’t work, what diets actually cause (they are harmful), and give an introduction to Health at Every Size.
Since diets work less than 5% of the time, the majority of us need an alternative approach. It’s time to ditch the restriction-crave-binge cycle, find food liberation, and develop peace with our bodies.
Enter Health at Every Size.
Health at Every Size is a weight-inclusive paradigm shift that encourages wellness without weight loss as a goal. The key phrase is paradigm shift. Since we have been living the majority of our lives with external messages of diet culture and weight stigma, that might have led to internal body hatred and restrictive behaviors, it’s going to take a mental overhaul.
- This means a deep dive into our thoughts.
- This means a critical lens when engaging with the media to identify diet culture.
- It means hard work that does not happen overnight.
An awesome place to start is with the Body Trust workbook or purchasing Body Kindness. With new information on the way we look at food and bodies, your thoughts will begin to change. You’ll begin to make decisions from within, rather than from pressures of what you “should” do.
At the same time you will begin to unpack diet culture and how it has affected your relationship with food and bodies, here are some other practical tips that will foster your new wellness journey:
5 Practical Tips to Start With:
- Find joyful movement. Rather than dreading the treadmill, maybe you find a walk or hike outside enjoyable. Do you like to dance? Do you like to skateboard? How about playing with your kids? Begin to shift away from “exercise” that you may loathe and towards “movement” that is fun. Enjoyable movement is way more sustainable than a grueling workout.
- Work on intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is paying attention to the kind of food you want and how much of it you need to eat. Try slowing down while you eat and notice your hunger and satiety level. Put yourself back in charge of what you eat, rather than following external cues like Instagram, friends, or rules from diets.
- Be mindful. There are so many mindfulness exercises that you can try, such as meditation, journaling, grounding, and breathing exercises. If you are unfamiliar with mindfulness, you’ll want to try a few different techniques to find what works best for you. Mindfulness allows you to gain clarity in your thoughts, cope with stress, and be present. Why is this important? So you are able to control your reactions and find peace within yourself and relationships (food, body, people, work, etc).
- Try Yoga. This is a mindfulness technique, but it deserves a bullet on its own. The beauty of Yoga is that it connects the mind and the body through the breath. Being in touch with your body is a great first step to body acceptance and kindness.
- Find a mantra. When you identify a trigger (i.e. your mom saying, “Are you sure you want to eat that?” or a “fitspo” picture on Instagram or a fitness instructor saying, “Let’s work extra hard today to earn our cookies later!”), repeat a mantra to remind yourself of the journey. You might try, “I’m making peace with my body” or “I’m listening to my body” or “I’m in charge of my hunger.”
Over time, we can take back the control of our lives and live by our own rules, not those of diet culture.
Want more information? Head over to my resources page for more on Health at Every Size.