'Tis the season to blame our bodies for all things wrong, and a quick weight loss fix is the answer to everyone's problems. Or at least that's what it felt like as I scrolled my Instagram feed this morning.
The message is the same: do this diet, and you will find health and happiness. Change your body, and you will be valid, loved, and popular. And because the messaging is insidious, the well-meaning people in our lives not only believe it but tell us the same thing.
That is because the diet industry is a $71 billion industry.
But when 95% of diets fail, what the hell are you supposed to do?
A few years back, the pain of trying a new "doomed to fail" diet hit right smack up against the self-loathing of staying in my current size forever. And when I looked around for another option, I found the body-positive influencers.
Their underlying message of removing judgment from food and eating whatever you want was liberating. For me, it was a necessary step off of the harmful diet rollercoaster. But today, as I seek emotionally healthy behaviors around food and body image, I struggle to co-sign all of the messaging within the body-positive movement.
In between the weight loss advertisements, my Instagram feed is cluttered with plus-size women eating a box of donuts as if it's the only choice outside of a diet. Some days it feels like the entire world is one end of the pirate ship or the other.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with eating the occasional donut. But I do think there’s a problem when we overstuff ourselves with any food just to show that we can, whether that’s on Instagram or at home alone.
Here's how I see it at this point on my journey; neither group––diets or donuts––has a realistic approach to how food affects our health. Without regard to what actually feels good to one's body and without taking a holistic approach to food and nutrition, both sides are doling out unhealthy advice in the name of self-love.
The long-term effects of both choices can lead to me feeling worse about myself. This is because not taking care of my gut health, and thereby creating an imbalance of microorganisms in my stomach, can suppress my immune system and also affect dopamine production, causing depression.
Plus, there are some really serious health conditions related to overindulging in saturated fat and sugar on the regular––donuts. And a whole other set of serious health conditions are associated with restricting calorie intake, substituting juices for meals, and chemically altering food––diets.
Diets and donuts don't work, both for the same exact reason. They don't address the fundamental issues of unworthiness, simply bypassing the significant underlying bits and skipping straight to the surface bits.
Instead, both approaches gave me a tool to numb, either by stuffing my feelings of unworthiness down with food or by restricting and avoiding food and emotions. In other words, they handed me a ready-made unhealthy coping mechanism masquerading as a solution.
Both approaches provided fuel for my inner mean girl, which kept me beating myself up, not feeling worthy, and hating my body.
But if all this is true, what the hell are you supposed to do to find a happy medium?
I wish I could tell you there's a "quick fix," because I would love to have one too, but in my experience, it doesn't work that way.
What I can tell you is that with proper support to help build your self-worth muscles, it's possible to start taking care of your body because you love it, and stop punishing it by restricting or binging because you hate it.
I would love to support you to find the same health and happiness other plus size lady krewe members have found by working with me.
Grab a time on my calendar and take the next step on your journey toward self-love.
Here's the link to schedule your no-cost discovery session: https://jaclynmccabecoaching.as.me.