Six reasons why it’s time to let go of the pursuit of weight loss and practice body acceptance instead.
Letting go of the pursuit of weight loss and practicing body acceptance can mean a more peaceful relationship with your body.
How many times have you thought or said, “I need to lose weight”?
From the time I was a teenager through my late 20’s, I felt like I needed to lose weight. It didn’t matter what size I was, I believed that my body wasn’t good enough.
I probably spent thousands of hours thinking about my body and food, researching weight loss plans, planning my meals, prepping and cooking meals, planning out my workouts, and exercising.
Spending over a decade pursuing weight loss left me with disordered eating behaviors and feeling worse about my body.
When I stopped pursuing weight loss and began practicing body acceptance, I was finally able feel more at peace with body, heal my relationship with food, gain back hours and hours of my time, and truly focus on my health and well-being.
I’ve also been teaching group exercise classes in gyms and studios for nearly 10 years, which means I’ve heard hundreds of women talk about their bodies and their perceived flaws.
I can’t even count the times I’ve heard women say, “I need to lose weight” or “I need to lose XX pounds or XX% body fat.”
Most of the time, women struggle to articulate why they feel like they need to lose weight because thinness is an expectation for women. But some women say they “need” to lose weight because they want to get healthier.
Maybe you’re one of these women. You’ve been feeling like you should lose some weight either because your body doesn’t fit society’s standard of feminine perfection or because you believe weight loss will lead to better health. If this is you, no judgment. We’ve been conditioned to believe that weight loss will lead to happiness, success, and health.
Before you make a plan to pursue weight loss, take a deep breath and consider these six reasons not to pursue weight loss and practice body acceptance instead…
1. Your weight does not determine your health. You can incorporate healthy habits into your life and they will most likely improve your health or the way that you feel.
You might lose weight because of those healthy habits, but you might not. Either way, your health would be improved. Weight loss could be a side effect of healthy habits, but weight loss itself wouldn’t be the reason your health improved.
Solely focusing on weight loss typically requires behaviors that aren’t healthy like calorie restriction, cutting out food groups, food and body obsession, or over-exercising. So weight loss may actually result in poor physical, mental and emotional outcomes. You can read, The Damage of Dieting, for more on this.
2. Dieting is expensive, time consuming, and has a five percent success rate.
Ninety five percent of the people who diet will gain the weight back that they lost. Most people end up gaining back more weight than they started with because calorie restriction negatively impacts your metabolism and hormones.
Despite the low success rate of dieting, it’s a $70 billion a year industry. Each program requires an investment in books, programs, monthly subscriptions, or monthly memberships. Since diets don’t work for most people you’ll end up buying program after program, spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
The amount of time and energy required to follow a diet will have a significant impact on your daily life. It’s a time commitment to figure out the rules of your diet and learn what you can and can’t eat. Tracking everything you eat in an app takes time, especially when you follow a recipe and have to input every ingredient into your app.
The mental and emotional energy you put into sticking to a plan also takes a toll. Dieting can cause food obsession, body and weight obsession, a negative body image, disordered eating, eating disorders, food anxiety, social anxiety, and depression.
I recommend practicing body acceptance and Intuitive Eating to create a more peaceful relationship with food and your body.
3. Thinness is a beauty standard set by the patriarchy. Our obsession with thinness is rooted in fatphobia, which has racist origins.
We are not all meant to be thin. Our genetics play a much bigger role in the size and shape of our bodies than we give them credit for. There isn’t a thin person inside everyone just waiting to emerge with enough willpower.
Many things out of your control such as environment, demographics, access to food, access to healthcare, weight bias, and more can also impact your weight.
4. Moving your body will be more enjoyable and you’ll do it more consistently when you aren’t focused solely on weight loss.
Using weight loss as a motivator requires you to focus on what you think is wrong with your body. Which means you’re putting negative energy into your movement practice.
Thinking about how movement makes you feel will create a more positive experience mentally, emotionally, and physically. You can find body positive movement practices in the Body Positive Virtual Yoga Studio.
5. Talking negatively about your body and telling people that you need to lose weight can be triggering and damaging to the people you’re talking to. It could make them feel as if you’re saying that being fat is bad therefore their body isn’t good enough.
For someone who has struggled with body image and disordered eating, hearing someone else talk negatively about their body can bring back old thought patterns.
Talking negatively about your body, dieting, and trying to lose weight is especially harmful to the young girls in your life.
I wrote a post, Understanding Diet Culture, Fatphobia, and Weight Stigma, that can provide you with more insight around this.
6. You are enough just as you are in this moment. Your weight does not determine your value in the world.
Body acceptance can be a powerful practice when you’re deconstructing your weight from your worth.
Letting go of the pursuit of weight loss can be challenging, which is why I’ve created the Body Positive Virtual Yoga Studio to provide you with support around a body acceptance practice.
I’ve intentionally created yoga practices, guided meditations and workshops to help you connect more to yourself and your body, practicing trusting and honoring your body, and develop self-care practices.
In the studio, you have access to nearly 100 streaming videos and downloadable guides for just $12 a month. JOIN HERE.