If I was to ask you to describe yourself to me. What would you say? I think most people would describe their personality, passions, occupation, and hobbies. If I was to ask you to describe a loved one you would probably do the same thing.
Did you notice what wasn’t mentioned? Weight. Truth be told, I don’t think anyone of you would have used weight to describe yourself or a friend. Our weight is not who we are. We are so much more special and complex than that.
However, in my experience as a dietitian working in private practice, I don’t always see people separating weight from who they are. In fact, it is often deeply and unconsciously internalized. So much thought, energy, and stress is put into the number on the scale. Time and energy are spent devising the next diet plan and exercise regimen. Why is that? Some reasons may be the way parents talked about themselves, those in larger bodies, the “thin ideal” on social media, magazines, diet plans with coworkers, etc. There are a million reasons why we struggle to find our self worth. The diet industry makes 72 billion dollar per year off our insecurities. When was the last time you said something positive about your body? We were taught to hate our natural body and to always strive for something better, probably something thinner. In the name of health, though right? But health is not seen from the outside...what about our emotional, mental, and spiritual health?
At Lemond Nutrition, we strive to help our patients focus on overall wellness and body neutrality over weight change. The idea behind body neutrality is to help us steer away from self-hate without feeling we have to love our body. I often tell my clients when they are feeling less than happy with their appearance to make a neutral comment such as, “I have a body” or “These are arms” and move on with their day. It no longer has to dictate how they feel about themselves for the rest of the day. It is no longer a negative comment, but they are not forcing themselves to pretend to be positive either. They are moving toward a place where they can respect their bodies. It’s completely understandable that we start feeling anxious if our body size fluctuates. However, we have to remember that our bodies will inevitably change during our life. We need to take a step back and be sure we’re not wrapping our self identity up in it.
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