Weight loss is a tricky topic.
More accurately it’s a loaded topic.
It's LOADED with lots of fear, hope, shame, guilt, marketing, and $MONEY$.
The majority of people I encounter WANT to lose weight…
and they HOPE Intuitive Eating will be the answer.
It’s a completely logical hope given the messaging we absorb every dang day from a culture that praises, rewards, and idealizes thinner bodies, while simultaneously stigmatizing, fearing, and critiquing larger bodies.
It’s also completely logical to assume that Intuitive Eating will be "the answer" to help you lose weight because:
A: We don't have much (cough, more like ANY) exposure to conversations about food/eating that don't have promises of weight loss wrapped up in the messaging somewhere
B: Nowadays almost any health-promoting behavior (eating, movement, or otherwise) is infused with the suggestion/promise that 'weight management' will be a natural side-effect
When it comes to Intuitive Eating and weight loss the reality is this:
Pursuing intentional weight loss, or prioritizing the goal weight loss, is going to be counter productive to healing your relationship with food and your body.
We must be VERY clear on keeping those two desires VERY separate.
But we don't have to pretend that the desire to lose weight doesn't still exist
OR that the decades of thin-praising/fat-shaming societal messaging will magically disappear overnight.
How could it?
And we definitely don’t have to be at total peace with our body as a prerequisite to start the work of un-learning diet culture and re-learning Intuitive Eating. Often doing the work of re-learning of Intuitive Eating is the pathway to being at more peace with ourselves.
Intuitive Eating simply invites us to place the PURSUIT of weight loss on the back burner.
While it's simmering away back there we can get busy doing some new pursuits. Like talking openly and honestly about our HISTORY with food and dieting (including those sneaky "wellness diets" and “lifestyle changes”) and our experiences with body and weight shame.
We can then work on absorbing how those past traumas directly affect our relationship with food and movement TODAY.
Understanding what role dieting and body shame played in disconnecting us from our bodily cues is the KEY to helping us reconnect with our bodily cues.
I regularly discuss WHY someone might want to lose weight, even if they choose not to pursue it right now.
We explore how much pain comes from not liking the way their body looks, being frustrated at how it functions, and how angry they are that they have been sold weight loss and "wellness diets" as the magical answer to every health or life struggle they have.
The choice to put weight loss on the back burner while choosing to work on healing your relationship with food/your body is profound and paradigm-shifting.
Sometimes that choice gets easier with time and sometimes it gets harder, but the same is true with dieting.
You can go back to dieting whenever you want.
You cannot fail at Intuitive Eating, it's all about curiosity, experimentation, and observation.
In the future you can prioritize weight loss again, dieting isn’t going anywhere.
Whatever you choose to do with your body is your choice and your right.