Where Self Love and Self Acceptance Fall Short
If you’ve worked with me you know that my approach is grounded in two fundamental science based facts:
1) Diets Don’t Work
2) Weight and Health Are Not Always Synonymous
No matter what the “pseudo-wellness” or diet industry wants you to believe, weight is not a behavior that you can control.
Since 1959, research has shown that more than 95% of attempts to lose weight fail and that 66% of dieters gain back more than they lost. And yes that’s ALL DIETS.
What the evidence tells us is that this lack of success is biologically mediated. it’s not a failure of willpower or a character flaw.
Bottom line, body weight is a much more complex issue than you’ve been led to believe. It’s a function of a whole interplay of factors that affect health such as food quality, psycho emotional stress, the composition of your gut microbiome, age, lifestyle, spiritual practice, education, genetics, gender identity, race, culture, socio-economic status, access to healthcare, physical environment, personal and intergenerational trauma, emotional resilience, childhood experiences, etc..
So why the toxic obsession with weight loss, size, shape and body image? Why do people spend huge chunks of their lives manipulating their bodies and shaming themselves into believing they just need to try harder? Why have 80% of 10-year-old girls been on a diet? Why from a public health standpoint despite all this “wellness” and dieting does our health continue to suffer?
Because we live in a society that’s built on an oppressive system that privileges some bodies over others. And when you don’t fit into the dominant cultural norm, you feel coerced and conditioned to perpetually work on your body or otherwise be rejected for failing to comply,
When you bear the shame of feeling that something is wrong with you, or you’re not good enough, it taxes your health and your health behaviors. And while self love can be a potent remedy, it’s a tall order when you’re feeling unwelcome in the world.
There’s a limit to personal behavior change, whatever the issue: illness, addictive behaviors, exhaustion.
We need to consider the social context of why people feel the way we do about their bodies and why they want to lose weight at all costs. It helps to end the cycle of self blame when we acknowledge the oppressive systems that persist and that our dissatisfaction with our bodies and efforts to change are taking place in an unsupported environment.
So for those of you who feel the stigma of being in a larger body, an older body, or for one reason or another not the “right” body, you need to know that it’s not your personal failing, it’s the culture that’s failing you.
If you want to explore more about this: tune in to this week’s enlightening podcast interview, “It’s Not Your Body, It’s In the Culture with Dr. Lindo Bacon.