Just today somebody said to me, "Kelley, how much weight have you lost?" I have no idea, I don't weigh myself and I haven't been trying to lose weight. "Well, you are & that's a good thing, right?" I'd rather be getting more sleep, but I'm busy growing my nutrition coaching/counseling business, working part-time and working side by side with my hubby to raise our kiddos (ages 5, 3 and 1). So, worrying about my weight is not really on my to-do list today, this month, or really ever. But, thanks for asking. I am actually going to ask this person, the next time I see him, what he meant by the "it's a good thing, right?" Either he is trying to flatter me, thinking that I want applause for getting a smaller body, or he thinks I am too big and need to lose weight. I'm just curious, really, because it can open the door to a really powerful conversation.
What is Weight-Neutral Living?
Well, let's start by clarifying what it means to be weight-neutral. Have you ever been told by your doctor, family member, friend or just some nosy person that you need to lose weight to be healthier? Did this immediately (or eventually) launch into "fixing your diet" through food restriction, calorie counting, exercise and daily weigh-ins? How did that go for you? I've been there, too. You know what? I was even told by my physician "I know I am preaching to the choir, but you could really afford to lose weight." I was furious! He did not even bother to ask about my habits, which happened to include training for a 150 mile bicycle ride from Richmond, VA to Williamsburg, VA and back!! Needless to say, it can be consuming, the drive to lose weight and see the number on the scale get lower and lower...and lower.
The less accepted, but more effective approach is a weight neutral mind-set. This simply means your food, exercise and self-care behaviors are not focused on losing weight, but tuning into you and your needs and what YOUR body is telling you. There is no judgement. No guilt. No shame. There is movement towards body acceptance. All of these things lead you to a peaceful relationship with food, which opens the door to satisfy your nutrition needs while making your taste buds happy as you enter into your best health (no matter your weight...aka "health at every size"). Need more reasons?
3 Reasons for Weight-Neutral Living
1. Better Health
That's right, you might actually improve your health! When you stop focusing on weight loss, you will stop trying to be so rigid with diet and exercise, you will end the yo-yo'ing of your weight and begin to really feel good. You will learn how to pay attention to your body and no longer be dictated by the rules and rigidity of diets. You will learn nutrition strategies that are best for you.
2. Clear Your Head Clutter
A heightened focus on weight loss opens the door for obsessive thinking. Now, it is possible that not everyone will experience this, BUT many people will begin to think about calories, measuring food, weighing food, putting labels on food (good or bad), which then leads to feeling good or bad depending on which food was eaten. The scale comes into place and when the number is not going down, here comes frustration, guilt, feeling like a failure, increased food restriction and possibly over-exercise. When a weight-neutral mindset is present, these obsessions & thoughts fade away, opening the door for other, more life giving thoughts.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit,the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6
3. End Comparison
Though there are many more points to make for weight neutrality, we will end on this note of comparison, which Theodore Roosevelt said "is the thief of joy." RIGHT?! Have you been on the comparison bandwagon? Wow, it always has just left me feeling negative about myself and wishing I could look like her! I compared my beauty to others a lot when I was growing up. I always felt inadequate, so I made it up by being the best in other things: sports, academics, music...But, I did not know God then. I know him now and I know I am beautiful regardless of what the world says. (I still have days where I forget this and have to be reminded!!) You are a designer brand! You are a masterpiece!
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Are you ready for a weight-neutral life?
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fulfilled by God, not by a number.
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You are loved.
You are accepted.
You are more than a number.