We are continuing our series on the back to school supply lists for intuitive eating success. This is to help fight with you and for you to be free of food, body, and weight obsession so you can experience the promise of a full and abundant life.
I want to do one of my favorite things, and that's bust a few myths about weight and health.
What are the first things that come to mind for you when you hear the word health?
If you're like many people, the first thing that comes to mind is weight.
It’s not the only factor to consider.
In 3 John 1:2, it says,
“beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health just as your soul prospers.”
It talks about being in health and our soul prospering as a result.
When I think about that in the world of health, I always want to ask, "what is health?" What does that mean? Because it's not just weight, right?
Too often at the Doctor's office, you might be criticized by the nurse, staff, even the physician because of your weight. And they focus less on you as a person, while focusing more on the number, on the scale. You wind up thinking that your worth as a person and your overall health is based on that number and it's simply not true.
There's a great book out there called Big Fat Lies that goes into a lot of detail about why our weight cannot be the only indicator of how well we're doing. Doctor Linda Bacon who has the book Health at Every Size, which is a wonderful movement. It promotes helping people in all body shapes and sizes receive the care that they deserve to have without being shamed, without being chastised for their body weight, shape, and size.
Sure, health can be physical, and part of physical could be weight. The thing that we have to consider is how does weight loss happen?
A lot of people are going to prescribe a diet, right?
I'm a dietitian, and people will automatically talk to me about losing weight. That's not what I'm going to do. I'm not going to put you on a weight loss plan. I'm not going to give you a meal plan that makes you count your calories, and things like that to achieve a specific look or to achieve weight loss.
Part of the reason for that is we don't have any studies of long-term success related to dieting. Dieting has a 95% failure rate. If you have been on a diet and it's not worked out, it's not your fault, right?
You did not fail. the Diet failed you!
Diets are not designed for long-term success. Undoubtedly, you see progress in the beginning. When describing their diet history, my clients often say “it worked while I was on it.”
My next question is, well, what does it mean that it works?
Often my clients will say that they lost weight. But they find that they develop a relationship with food and their body that becomes more obsessed.
It becomes more rigid.
it becomes more limiting.
It also becomes toxic with met negative thinking.
It also induces fear. Fear of favorite foods that they once ate before because they're afraid that the number on the scale will go back up.
Then we start to demonize food, unintentionally of course. Food becomes a bad guy when it is really our obsession with being thin that harms us! We've become disconnected from our body, and we're going by external drivers to tell us what, when, how much to eat. There's no diet book out there that knows more about your body than you know about your body.
My hope is to empower you, to be your own expert, to be able to take charge and do things in their life for yourself.
When considering health, remember that weight is not a causation of health, but is a correlation. We also have to think about other aspects of physical health. Blood pressure, diabetes and other disease states that might be going on. Are there any lab abnormalities going on for you? Physical health can also include how active we are each day or week.
Did you know that fitness can improve without having a change in body weight, shape, and size. Someone can have a larger body and be fit and healthy.
Health includes your social health:
how are you doing integrating into the world around you
making friends and hanging out with friends
building meaningful relationships and community
Health includes spiritual health.
It's essential to dive into spiritual health at a deep level. I bring the truth of God's word to help you be able to have a foundation of which to rely on to begin healing this food and body disruption that you have.
Though weight might have an impact for some people, we can't approach it mindlessly and blindfolded with the just pat answer of, "Oh, well, here's a diet." Because there are no studies that show that any diet long-term has a success rate, and what we do find is that people who start dieting often become chronic dieters and chronic dieters may be at risk for developing a full-blown eating disorder.
We recognize that dieting disconnects us from our hunger and fullness and we just get disconnected from a spiritual level with God. We get so focused on the number on the scale or counting calories or avoiding carbohydrates or getting the macros or doing the intermittent fasting or whatever diet trend is the latest. That is actually more stressful to our body and stress is not good health, right?
Having that kind of stress is not good for us. Through the intuitive eating approach and bringing in God's word, I hope to calm your stress, to create and cultivate peace with food and a peaceful relationship with your body and a firm understanding of who and whose you are in Christ. Because when you have that figured out and you have your faith, that is the foundation of what you are basing your interactions with the world. You're going to experience the world differently, and the level of peace that you will have will surpass your understanding.
But it's a peace that no diet can give you. No amount of weight loss can provide you with that kind of peace. Hold firm to the truth that is in God's word and remember that your health is not based on your weight. They are related potentially, but having a certain weight is not direct causation. There are correlations to weight and health, but your weight does not cause poor health. We have to think about our overall patterns. Physical health, mental health, emotional health, spiritual health, social health, we have to consider all of these things.
Are you getting enough rest?
Do you have an adequate food supply?
Do you have good relationships in your life?
Are you staying hydrated?
Are you getting regular physical activity?
By physical activity, I mean, keeping your body moving without obsessing about the movement.
I want you to be healthy. To have your best health, and I want you to be thinking about how you can do that without focusing on the number on the scale. When you start to do that, you begin to nurture patterns and habits in your life that are more life-giving and life-sustaining than worrying and obsessing about the number on the scale.
How is your thought process with health and weight? Do you feel caught up thinking that the only way to good health is to change your weight? Remember that as you focus more and more on the scale and trying to lose weight, you create more stress in your body. When the body is deprived of nutrients, it is stressful! You also get hyper-focused on the number, dieting rules and you miss out on life.
You are more than a number. Your health is more than your weight.