A couple weeks ago, a good friend of mine posted on her Facebook page the quote, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” She included a message that she was working out, eating the best she ever had in a long time and feeling great. She also happens to be naturally skinny. I texted her and told her she had to take the post down. It wasn’t the message that she was really saying. As well as, that quote makes so many women feel awful about themselves. She asked me if it was the word “skinny” that bothered me so much. This is when I perched myself up on my soapbox…
She felt good because she was eating foods that fueled and energized her body versus being tired. She was moving her body in a way that made her feel strong and energized. These two changes have absolutely nothing to do with being “skinny.” But there are so many women (and men) who do the exact same thing and will never be “skinny” by societal standards. Therefore, they will never feel that they are or have done enough. They are “failing.” These women will go on rigid eating plans, they will cut out carbs, they will exercise compulsively and punitively to burn off whatever food they “should not” have eaten. They will criticize, critique and shame their bodies. They will cycle this over and over. Feeling worse and worse about themselves as “skinny” becomes more out of reach.
You can understand why the diet industry is a $60 billion industry! Diet, “fail”, gain weight. Diet, “fail”, gain weight. Rinse, Repeat. I use “fail” because a diet is never maintainable. You will never be the one that fails the diet, but rather the diet will fail you. Rigid eating plans, strict food rules, cutting out carbohydrates, pushing your body to a state of exhaustion day after day- it’s all a set up. You may lose weight, but you have a 98% chance of gaining all the weight back plus an additional 10-20 pounds.
When you’ve been in this cycle and at war with your body for a long time, the thought of “accepting” your body may too feel too out of reach. This is why you may feel a diet is the only answer. But what if instead of going on that next eating or exercise plan to change your body, you gave yourself the space to respect your body. Respect where your body is. Respect what your body has done for you. Respect where your body is in life. Respect your body to listen to it. Listen to when it is hungry, listen to when it says it had enough food. Listen to how your body feels after you eat certain foods. Does it feel energized and fueled or does it feel tired and upset? Listen to how your body feels with exercise-how does it want to move today? When we put ourselves in these boxes of what we “have to” do, we miss the natural rhythm of our body. Our body will always tell us what we need, in movement, in food, in sleep, we just have to cue in to listen. We lose grasp of that when we are following plans that dictate the what, when and where of everything when it comes to our body. Instead of connecting into yourself, you are lost in your head with criticism, negativity and shame. Respecting where your body is, is the start of the journey to being “enough.” But it is by your definition and no one else’s.