Through my years of dieting and endlessly tweaking my food and “lifestyle”, my weight would go down and then end up higher. It gradually inched higher as my body stopped responding to my attempts at weight loss.
When I finally quit dieting and started to eat like a grown-ass woman, I went through a period of weight gain and eventual stabilization and one of the hardest things was looking at pictures of my “thinner” self and desperately thinking, “Pleeeease, if only I could go back to that body, I promise I will appreciate it.”
I would beat myself up for not appreciating what I had and wished with all my heart to be able to go back to that version of myself.
Detaching from your former body or the fantasy of what you desire your body to look like is one of the biggest hurdles of body acceptance.
In order to stop wishing for a thinner body, I had to get real about these two facts:
Fact #1: The “thin ideal” (as seen on TV) represents less than 5% of women’s bodies.
We are meant to have diverse body shapes and your body is unique to you. Much like you can’t choose how tall you’re going to be, you don’t get to choose the body shape you are born with.
The majority of us women are not going to have a body that fits into our society’s “ideal” box. Our body size might vary throughout our life based on different factors, but for the most part it’s outside of our control.
If women were meant to fit into the “thin ideal,” then the gurus who promote dieting nonsense wouldn’t be doing money throws into their gold-plated swimming pools.
But honestly, isn’t that a relief? We’re not golden retrievers. We’re meant to have different body shapes. You are meant to have whatever body you have.
When you can settle into this fact, it becomes so much easier to move on.
Own your unique shape, say hell yes to diversity and don’t waste another second wishing you were different.
Fact #2: Studies have shown that long-term weight loss only occurs in 5% of people. The most consistent side effect of weight loss is actually weight gain.
You are not a “failure” for gaining weight back after dieting. It’s simply a fact that only a small percentage of people can keep weight off in the long-term. It’s easy to blame yourself because weight loss always works in the short-term and that first diet is always “effective”… until it’s not …and you regain the weight, plus more.
Again, we don’t necessarily have control over our body size. As the set point theory indicates, our body has a weight range in which it functions optimally and this can be dictated by so many factors, including some that are not in our control (like genetics).
Our body will fight to keep us in this range, which is a good thing, because it does that to protect us against things like starvation. It’s also why trying to force yourself below it always ends up in rebound.
Dieting or over-exercising often results in a higher set point as your body struggles to normalize after being given famine signals (a.k.a. no carbs/no sugar/no fat/smaller portions/excessive workouts etc.).
Bottom line: You cannot fuck around with biology.
Taking a “health at every size” and intuitive eating approach are going to be better for both your mental and physical well-being in the long-term.
Aside from what the research shows, what has your experience with this been?
If it was anything like mine, it consisted of years spent obsessing over, tweaking and trying different variations of eating, supplements and working out only to end up eating a pan of banana cake directly from the fridge, gaining weight and hating myself even more.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get a different result, then I was ready to be locked in a padded room with a straight jacket.
It is NOT your fault that dieting didn’t work for you. The system is faulty and it profits off of your “failures.”
Instead of thinking you’re a failure, realize you are a success for learning this now before you waste any more time going down the rabbit hole and putting your life on hold.
As much as I pined for my former body, I had to get real about these two facts and that my momentary thinner body was not the body that I was meant to have.
I had to get real about the fact that even though I look back at those photos and think “this time I would appreciate it,” it’s not going to happen. But, I can appreciate what I have now.
I had to get real about the fact that there likely wasn’t some missing nutrient or food or supplement or undiscovered disease that was contributing to my size. And even if there was, I had to look at how much of my life was being compromised by searching for it.
Perhaps you know these things and you’re still longing for your thinner body. I get it.
The intellectual piece of letting go of your former or “fantasy” body is only a small corner of the puzzle.
For most women, these facts aren’t enough and there are many more layers to unfold in order for YOU to truly move forward and leave the past behind. And I want to help you because that’s my jam baby!! Next week we’re going to explore another layer to this.