ETR 285: Help! I have a friend who “watches their weight” (Body Image Series)

SummerBody Image, Eat the Rules, Self-Love, Self-Worth

Podcast on Help! I have a friend who “watches their weight”
Help! I have a friend who “watches their weight”

In this episode of Eat the Rules, I’m talking about what to do if you feel triggered by someone in your life who is “watching their weight,” and five things to consider when this happens, as part of the Body Image Series.

I also talk about how the weight loss industry is designed to make us question ourselves,

In This Episode, I Chat About

  • My tendency when I find myself in these situations,
  • Why my rage is directed at society, not the other person,
  • That it’s important to remind yourself how dieting worked out for you in the long run before,
  • The relief I feel in knowing that weight loss isn’t an option for me,
  • How seeing someone who is “succeeding” with their diet can make you second guess what you know,
  • That the weight loss industry is designed to make us question ourselves,
  • Why weight loss doesn’t actually increase self-worth,
  • How calling out your assumptions can help put things into perspective,
  • That dieting is usually not in alignment with our values,
  • The importance of finding community,
  • Plus so much more!

Listen Now (transcript below)

Watch on YouTube

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Links Mentioned in Show


How does it make you feel when you see a friend who is watching their weight? Do you feel inadequate? Do you feel jealous? Or do you feel a sense of rage? All of those emotions are valid. But there are ways to become more chill in these situations to be able to care a little less about what anyone else is doing.

This is eat the rules, a podcast about body image, self worth, anti dieting, and intersectional feminism. I am your host summer Innanen. a professionally trained coach specializing in body image self worth and confidence and the best selling author of body image remix. If you’re ready to break free of societal standards and stop living behind the number on your scale, then you have come to the right place. Welcome to the show.

This episode of eat the rules is brought to you by you on fire you on fire is the online group coaching program that I run that gives you a step by step way of building up your self worth beyond your appearance, with personalized coaching from me incredible community support and lifetime access to the program so that you can get free from body shame and live life on your own terms. Get details on what’s included and sign up for the next cycle at summer forward slash you on fire. I’d love to have you in that group.

This is episode 285. And it’s another installment of the body image series. I’m talking about what to do if you feel activated by someone in your life who is quote unquote watching their weight. When you’ve quit dieting, it can be hard to witness those around you still partaking in those behaviors. You might hear a family member talking about their latest diet or see a friend that’s lost weight. And it’s normal to have feelings come up around that in this episode and giving you five things to consider when that happens so that you can deal better when you have a friend that’s watching their weight. You can find all the links and resources mentioned at summer forward slash 285

I want to give a shout out to Ms just love his kids. I think I got that right. Summer brings light to the dark parts of myself that insist on telling me over and over again that I am not good enough. I listened to this podcast usually while riding my bike and by the end of my bike ride I am renewed her insights and those of her many accomplished guests remind me of who I really am unique, beautiful and perfect just as I am. Thank you summer for being a pioneer and a fearless rebel, you really have made such a positive impact on my recovery. And on my life. Thank you so much. Oh my gosh, that means a lot to me. I’m so happy to hear that. You can support this show. By leaving a review, go to iTunes search for eat the rules, click ratings and reviews and click to leave a review or give it a rating. If you haven’t already done so you can also subscribe to the show via iTunes or whatever platform you use. And hey, if you listen to the show on Spotify, and this podcast shows up in your Spotify wrapped as one of your top podcasts, then tag me in that or share it with me and I will share it. That’s super exciting news. I will think that you’re awesome for for having that. Don’t forget to grab the free 10 Day body confidence makeover at summer Forward slash freebies with Tom’s 10 steps to take right now to feel better in your body. And if you are a professional who works with people who may also have body image struggles, that the free body image coaching roadmap at summer forward slash roadmap.

All right. I’m going to try to get through this episode sounding like a normal person. I have been sick for many weeks in a row. I have a constant cough sound like I smoke cigarettes. I don’t. And yeah, it’s kind of annoying at this point. But not as life with a young child. You’re just constantly sick because they’re constantly sick. And and let’s also hope that this recording goes well, because my GarageBand just did a massive update with this annoying like metronome sound that seems to just go every time I hit record. And yeah, really, these are all super trivial problems. But I’m happy that you’re listening today. So I wanted to do this episode because with the holiday and new year coming up, we’re bound to be around people who are talking about their latest diet. Or maybe you’re at a family gathering and someone has been complimented on their weight loss or they’re talking about ozempic or something like that. And personally when I’m in these situations, I often feel low grade rage. And it’s not. It’s not at the other person but it’s at our culture. Are for creating this environment where we hate our bodies so much that we’re willing to deprive and punish ourselves. And our value is in how we look. And I feel a sense of rage for the impact that has on other people, how it perpetuates weight stigma, discrimination, and how that’s compounded when someone holds multiple marginalized identities. I don’t have the best responses, I tend to go into fight or flight mode when I feel like that. So I really have to consciously regulate myself to find the best response. That said, I know that for many people who I work with, who are newly out of dieting, or still struggling with their own body, it can be really hard to be around friends or family who are engaging in dieting behaviors, or watching their weight. So it can maybe make you feel really inadequate, it can make you question yourself, you might start to wonder why is their body smaller than yours? If I did those changes? Would my body be smaller too? You know, it can really trigger a lot of negative thoughts in the diet mentality. And it can absolutely make you feel inferior question yourself. And in the worst case, it can send you into a spiral. So I wanted to give you five things to consider when this happens, so that you can start to build some resiliency in these situations and feel more self assured less triggered, and know that you’re on the right path.

The first thing to consider is your own personal experience. Whenever we see someone who has, you know, lost weight, I think it’s pretty common for us to think like, oh, maybe if I made that change, it would happen for me, too. We have to really remind ourselves about how dieting has not worked out for us before, I don’t want to say worked out because it like really doesn’t work out. But how has dieting worked out for you before? How did it work out for you in the long term. More importantly, because the short term diets are meant to work. And then it’s the long term that our body cannot stay in that space of energy deprivation. And that’s when our body fights back. Most of us have a history of losing and gaining the same amount of weight over and over. And that’s not because you did anything wrong, it’s because diets don’t work. And for me, I know with 100% certainty that weight loss is not an option for me anymore. And that’s actually like a really powerful belief that I have knowing that weight loss is just not an option for me that it’s not possible for me is a relief, because I’m just not even tempted. I’m just like, well, I know that absolutely nothing would work for me. But I know for some people, that belief is a hard place to get to. And so you might start to see someone who is, quote, unquote, succeeding with their diet. And you might start to think that there was an option that you haven’t considered, you know, like, oh, maybe I should try using cauliflower to make my waffles. I saw that recently. But I want to remind you that this is exactly why the global weight loss industry is worth 175 plus billion dollars US. It’s designed to make us question ourselves like if it if we didn’t, if we knew that diets didn’t work, like it wouldn’t be worth that much. Right? It’s so it’s designed to make us question ourselves, it’s set up to work in the short term, and then fail in the long term so that we blame ourselves and think that we did something wrong. It’s designed to offer us shiny, new magical solutions every couple of years that are a little bit different. To make us think, oh, this time it’ll work this time. It’ll be different. I haven’t tried this one little tweak yet. And time and time again, it just doesn’t work. Because if it did, that 175 plus billion dollars wouldn’t be growing at six to 8% over the next year. So I think that we really need to take that information to remind ourselves that like, Okay, this really doesn’t work. But look at your own experience. How has it worked for you? What did you like about it or not like about it? I find it helpful to revisit a couple of the past episodes that I’ve done episode 218 with Alexis conocen. What the research says about weight loss is a really comprehensive review of the peer reviewed studies that have gone in and looked at, okay, here’s what all of the different mean, like analyses on past weight loss studies, here’s here’s a compilation of that analysis. Here’s what it says. And in addition to that, you can listen to episode 217. How diets work and don’t that’s an episode that I did and re released a couple of years ago.

The second thing to consider if you feel triggered by someone who’s watching their weight, is to be curious about what you’re making that mean about you. Anytime that we’re more activated by something. It’s because it’s it’s triggering some sort of belief in us, you know, we’re making it means something about us. And when we can uncover that, it makes us much easier to see that dieting isn’t the answer. So what I mean by that is that our body always represents something deeper in us, whether that is this belief that I need to belong, this belief that I’m inferior, this belief that I’m undesirable that I’ll never find love, like something about our body represents some sort of belief in us. And it’s usually like multiple beliefs. And if we lose weight, it doesn’t heal that belief, it doesn’t change that belief. So if you feel inferior, and that’s tied to your body, losing weight isn’t going to take away that belief, it’s that belief still going to be there, you’re just going to redirect it to something else. And so we want to get to these beliefs, that’s a lot of the work that I do with people is getting to that. Because that’s where change can really happen. Weight loss doesn’t increase our self worth, it only diminishes it, because it’s just reinforcing that our values and our body size and that who we are is not good enough. And this is the type of work I love to do with people. So absolutely seek out support if you feel like you want to explore that further. But just being curious about like, what am I making this mean about me is a good first step.

Third thing to consider is your assumptions. Calling out your assumptions can be a helpful way to put things into perspective. So when you see someone who’s lost weight, or he’s talking about their diet, what assumptions are you making about that other person? I think oftentimes, we just assume, because they’re smaller, because they’re getting praise that everything in their life is better, that they just must feel great all the time. They’re successful, they’re confident. But the truth is, we don’t know how they’re feeling. We don’t know what they’re experiencing, especially if they’re restricting food. I just read Britney Spears book, The woman in me, and let me tell you, when we were all probably looking at her body, when we were in our, whatever, 20s I think I’m older than her. So when I was in my 20s, looking at her body feeling inadequate about my own, but now reading her book, I’m like, Oh, shit, like no, like she, her life was definitely not better than mine. And we make a lot of assumptions about people based on their body size. And so really getting bringing those to light so that we can, like, call those out, clear them out of our mind, can be helpful, because then we can challenge that, because we don’t know, we don’t know how they’re feeling. We don’t know what’s going on in their life. We don’t know the thoughts that are in their brain, we’ve been so conditioned to connect weight loss and dieting with happiness, success and confidence that our brain will easily fill in the blanks and assume that this is how the other person is feeling. The reality is, is that we all have hardships going on in our lives, we all experienced tough emotions. So we want to be cautious of how we’re filling in those blanks. on someone else’s life, we likely see, like, maybe 1% of what is actually going on. Depending on your relationship with the person, maybe it’s going to be a higher percentage. But if it’s just someone you sort of, you know, if it’s a friend that you see every couple months that you know, you don’t know every aspect of their life, you don’t know how they feel every second of every day, then we make a lot of assumptions.

The fourth thing to consider is what you value. So I love doing values work. It’s one of the fundamental pieces of work that I do with people because it’s a blueprint for understanding what’s really important to us. And what actually brings us fulfillment and we can use it to make decisions in our life, we can use it to make sense of why we feel a particular way in a situation. And I don’t approach values in the traditional way of looking at a list of values and circling the ones that resonate, I use a different approach to find ones that really feel authentic to us and that we have experience with. But when we take a good look at our own values, dieting is usually not in alignment with them, it’s usually counter to them, it usually takes us away from living in alignment with our values. And so sticking with our values doesn’t always feel good because we’ve been conditioned to value diet culture values, we’ve been conditioned to value like white supremacy type values, like perfectionism and all or nothing thinking. And when we can really recognize that those ways of thinking are taking us away from our own values, then it’s easier to stay in alignment with with our own values. It’s easier to say like, you know what, this might feel uncomfortable for me right now, because it’s triggering this belief, or it’s making me feel inadequate. But I know that dieting is not in alignment with my values anymore. altering my appearance in this particular way is not in alignment with my values anymore. So having that information can help us to decipher that and it can help us make sense of the situation a bit more and help keep us grounded and know where we want to direct our energy to move forward.

The fifth thing to do if you have a friend that’s watching your weight is to find communities is to support you. Dieting feels a lot more tempting when we don’t have anyone supporting us on this path. So if we’re operating alone, if we don’t have any friends we can talk to about this, then it can be really hard, it can be hard to stay on this path. Because if everyone else is dieting, if everyone else is smaller, then you don’t really have a counter voice to that. And we need counter voices to the beliefs that we’re trying to unlearn. In other words, if I’m trying to unlearn the belief that dinner is better than I need to counter voice to that I need a counter voice to show me that this is not true. And if I don’t have that, it’s really hard to shift those beliefs because beliefs require evidence to change. And that’s where having some sort of touch point, some sort of community, whether that be online or in person, or you have people that are accepting their bodies, they don’t talk about diets, they’re cool around food. That is super helpful, extremely helpful. We’re swimming in this culture of anti fat bias, which is rooted in anti blackness, which is tied up with ageism, classism, transphobia, sexism, ableism, etc. We’re inundated with messages all the time telling us that who we are is not good enough. And we’re going to be around those messages, and people that try to dissuade us from being who we are. And so having community and community can just be like one or two other people that share similar values to you, and also believe in body liberation. And that dieting is bullshit is extremely helpful, because when you know you’re not alone, it makes it so much easier to reject the temptations of dieting.

So this was a quickie episode. I hope it’s timely for you. I wanted this to come out around the time that people start seeing a lot of other people. Hopefully you found something useful from this you can let me know message me. And if you need support, check out my you on fire group coaching program, go to summer forward slash you on fire if you want to get some support around some of the things that I talked about today, or go to the body image You can find everything and if you are a professional who’s listening to this and trying to understand how you can help your clients with that then definitely check out the body image coach certification program that I run with Danny am a pancake Adams. Thank you so much for being here today. You can find all the links and resources mentioned at summer forward slash 285 rock on.

I’m Summer Innanen And I want to thank you for listening today. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook at summer Innanen. And if you haven’t yet, go to Apple podcasts search eat the rules and subscribe rate and review this show. I would be so grateful. Until next time, rock on.

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