My number one battle as a dietitian is to undo a lifetime of dishonest, screwed-up, derogatory messages women receive from the fashion industry and society as a whole that equate body shape with worthiness.
Undoing the Diet Mentality
Too many women spend their lives on diets. I remember as clear as day the first time I was put on a diet. I was 9 years old; my family doctor handed me a leaflet that put me on 1,000 calories a day food plan. The second time I was 12 years old. I joined Weight Watchers for young people and lasted for two weeks. Each time I “failed” at a diet I felt worse about myself. I poured over fashion magazines, picturing what it would be like if only I could lose 20 pounds.
By age 16, I was working-out like crazy. When the Jane Fonda Workout came out I did it twice a day plus I ran about five miles. I did lose weight but I didn’t feel any better about myself and it almost drove me into an eating disorder. I am fortunate it didn’t go that far but others aren’t so lucky.
The diet industry tries to convince us we are not lovable so they can sell their products. We are subtly told by the fashion media and its advertising that we are too short, fat, tall, white, black, whatever the latest craze is. So my number one battle as a dietitian is to undo the diet mentality that women who sit in front of me are suffering from. It’s not uncommon for a gal to come to me and as she takes her seat in my office, her tears come. I always have a box of tissues on my desk. And I have heard horror stories about diets women have been put on by medical doctors. Not every doctor of course but there are a few medically supervised programs out there that recommend under 1,200 calories a day and promote one carbohydrate serving a day. These plans are unsustainable and outrageous.
One heartbreaking story I heard was from a woman who went into the “doctors” office, where they tested her urine for ketones to see if she had been compliant with the diet. That day she had been, quite literally, starving so she had eaten “off plan” a piece of fruit and some carrots. She didn’t pass the urine test and was kicked out of the program because they said she wasn’t disciplined enough.
I am here to tell you that the way to safe weight loss is by loving and nurturing your body. We start by loving ourselves where we are. We drop the blame game, drop the shame game, and for goodness sakes, we drop the should game.
Weight loss, hormone balance, and health management all start with self-love. We learn to nurture ourselves by setting realistic goals every week – manageable, doable, and actionable goals. So I just wanted to send this out to all of you amazing women who are struggling with hormone imbalance, weight loss, and more importantly with negative thoughts that keep telling you you’re not good enough.
You are good enough and the easiest way to bring yourself into balance is to start by loving yourself. I want women to undo the negative messages. I may sound hypocritical here because I do sell a program that promotes weight loss however the women I see want to lose weight because their health depends on it. I firmly believe there is a way for women to bring themselves back into balance without restricting, blaming, or criticizing themselves.
If you can sustain manageable, actionable, doable goals within a plan, you will not only achieve health and wellness, you will lose weight. It might not be 40 pounds but it is much better to lose 10 pounds of belly fat and keep it off so you can live a healthy life the way you want to live life. Setting actionable, doable, manageable, goals starts with love.
Once a woman learns that she doesn’t have to be perfect to achieve her health goals, she actually starts to achieve what she’s wanted to achieve since she was a girl on her very first diet. A big part of what I do is remind every woman that sits in front of me that they need to love themselves exactly as they are. I can tell from the first moment whether a woman is going to need some gentle guidance in this area.
You are special, you are good enough, and you are lovable. If you’d like to know more and you’d like to celebrate with other women who are making sustainable, actionable, changes you can join my hormone hangout group.
We do lots of exciting things. We have challenges every Monday. We have “Talk to me” Tuesdays. And on Wednesdays we have recipes. It’s all about hormones and wellness and spirituality and health. I hope you will join the conversation.