In early 2018 I had this radical epiphany.. I was dieting, and I was selling a diet lifestyle to my clients.
Up to that point I thought I was just being healthy–always watching what I was eating, monitoring my calories or macros, and exercising daily. I tracked my weight daily for a long time.
My focus was always to be healthy enough to be there for my family.
If you looked out at the health industry, I was doing it all right.
All of this was stressing me out.
And that kind of stress is the same as being chased by a bear or a hungry lion. Your body doesn’t know the difference. Stress is stress. Ironically stress also contributes to all sorts of things…including weight gain, which is the main thing you’re being taught you need to avoid. Wah wah wah.
As you can imagine going from being so obsessed with food, calories, and what my body looks like to not thinking much about my body on any given day beyond what it ‘feels’ like has been a huge mindset shift.
One that has taken time, mindfulness, and so much patience to cultivate.
Will my body change if I stop dieting?
Not being overly worried about my weight or how much weight I “need” to lose has changed the way my body looks no questions asked, but not nearly as much as you might think.
It’s softer now. It’s still strong and muscular, but doesn’t look it at first glance because you can’t “see” the evidence.
I’ve been doing tons of mindset work over the past couple of years. And one of the biggest epiphanies has been: you get to choose what to think about your body.
This kind of thought work is what the Bible talks about when it tells us we should manage our minds. Be mindful of what you let in. Guard your mind from the lies and the toxic thoughts that want to come in.
If that is true, and you can choose what to think of your body regardless of the shape or size or weight, then that means that there is no such thing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ body. It’s all relative. It’s all about perspective.
Unlearning body shame
Being steeped in diet culture doesn’t make it easy to let go of those negative thoughts dragging you down. It takes daily work and practice.
There will be days where you feel great in your body, and other days when you might ask yourself if you need to step up the workouts or tighten your diet up a bit.
This will steal your joy. It will put you in a funk. It will make you second guess all your progress, all your effort. And it’s actually more likely to discourage you to keep going. You’ve been down that path, and you know how the story ends.
You will have moments when you are tempted to start pinching or berating yourself for you cellulite or your imperfect body. But if you’ve ever reached your goal weight or got your dream body, you likely did that stuff too.
The reason? You driven by negative feelings about your body. The fuel for the lifestyle changes were thoughts about how much better you’d be when you were a different size. But negative emotions will never create positive results.
It’s not always easy to jump right to positive thinking though is it?
Especially when you’ve hated or have felt so negative about something–like your body for so long.
At first it will feel phony to tell yourself your body is ok as is. Remember, your body isn’t good or bad based on what it looks like. It’s a good body regardless of what it looks like.
You may feel like you’re betraying some belief you’ve always had–that thinner was better, leaner is always healthier, or any other diet minded thought that has floated around in your head.
You get to decide what a good, strong, and healthy body looks like for you
You may be surprised with what your ‘good enough’ body looks like.
For me, it’s been the body that seems to take the least amount of effort to maintain.
This goes back to the minimum dosage effect.
Do enough to get the results you want, but no more.
Save that time and energy for other things–like building your business, going back to school, loving your family, or laughing with your girlfriends.
Take one tiny step toward a more neutral feeling toward your body today.
Appreciate what it allows you to do.
Practice looking at yourself without judgement. And don’t judge when that negative voice comes back. Instead, observe.
Unfollow accounts or media that triggers negative thoughts or feelings about your body.
When you creep back into body shaming
The negative voice comes back from time to time. But it comes less often and is quieter with time and intentional work.
You will see images or messages in your feed that undermine the work you are doing.
You have to remind yourself that you don’t want to go back. Don’t let the magic thinking that it was better then get the best of you.
You will make peace with your non-diet body over time, I promise.
When you do, you will have more time and energy to invest in doing the things that light your soul on fire and allow you to honor your calling.
As long as negative thoughts about your body fill your mind, you will never have the capacity to do what matters most .
Don’t be consumed with negative thoughts, feelings, or the insecurities they stir up. Your time is better spent elsewhere…
Like going for a walk, taking a new workout class, meeting a friend for coffee, or taking the next step toward your dreams.
Go from stressed out, self-obsessed, and insecure to present, calm, and confident.
There’s a weird peace that I had never experienced even at a size 0. I have so much more room to enjoy the holidays or birthdays without thinking about how I’ll have to pay for it later.
That, my friend alone is worth following your heart right out of the diet mindset.