May 08, 2023
On my social media I like to answer common questions that I get from clients or from people coming in to my DMs. If it's a question that is coming up a lot in session, I assume that it's not just my clients who are wanting to know the answer. A few weeks ago, a client asked me about weight loss. When I answered their question in a post on Instagram, it got a lot of traction. Since social media moves so quickly, I wanted to add my answer here on the blog so people would have an easy time finding it and referring back to it if they needed.
In my practice, I often work with people who are managing a chronic disease (diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.) and while weight loss is never a focus, there is a common misconception that when individuals start making dietary changes to manage their chronic disease, weight loss will follow.
After all, we're always taught that if we eat the "right" foods and move in the "right" ways, our bodies will get smaller. This is also a common misconception about Intuitive Eating as well. There's an assumption that if you learn to listen to your hunger and fullness, you'll automatically be less hungry than you are now and you'll start to lose weight. This is not necessarily the case.
What most people don't know is that your biology is WAY more complicated than that. Not only does chronic dieting change your metabolism, but there are many factors that can contribute to your body looking a certain way (most of which you have no control over).
Factors like genetics, income, education, employment, job security, food security, housing, early childhood development, access to health services, and discrimination may all play a role in determining your body size. So while you can eat all the "right" foods and move in all the "right" ways, your body may never get smaller. In fact, you could line up 100 people eating the exact same foods and moving in the exact same ways and they would still look different from one another. This is because body diversity is a real thing.
I know that can be difficult to process. You may feel angry, disappointed, and frustrated. It's important to direct those emotions at diet culture, not at yourself. It is not your fault for falling into the trap that a multi-billion dollar industry set for you.
This is why, as a weight-inclusive healthcare provider, I work with clients to separate health from weight loss. When you move the focus away from weight loss and instead work towards respecting your here-and-now body (regardless of what it looks like), you have the freedom to eat foods that nourish your body rather than punish it. The "right" foods become what's right for you, not anyone else. Not only is this is going to feel so much better, but it will go further in actually promoting health. We know that eating consistently, getting more fibre, eating more fruits and veggies, moving your body in a way that you enjoy, etc. are all health-promoting behaviours. They are health-promoting whether you lose weight, gain weight, or stay the same. So while you may be surprised to find that healthier eating does not necessarily impact your weight they way you expect, it can still go a long way to change your health.
Do you have questions about Intuitive Eating? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You never know, you may find your question on the blog in the future.
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