Because of the hold that Diet Culture's obsession with thinness has over our hearts and minds, folks encountering the concept of Body Kindness/ Body Positivity/ Body Acceptance or Body Liberation for the first time often misunderstand this approach as a giving up on health. We have been told by weight obsessed health professionals for over a century now that our weight IS our health and so the paradigm shift to weight neutrality is very hard for most folks to understand.
The reality is our obsession with weight as the sole marker for health arose from health insurance norms imposed on medical care. Many health professionals -- including medical doctors and personal trainers -- have ALWAYS known that obsession with thinness was actually unhealthy and often led to physical and mental health issues but our health insurance/ medical industrial complex had to figure out an easy way to categorize people who were worthy of coverage and those who were not OR how much to charge and what interventions to offer based on an easily accessible number that didn't require a lot of individual time or attention.
Judith Matz and Amy Pershing, two social workers specializing in a Body Positive approach to Eating Disorder recovery explain that " there is no weight loss program or diet plan that can show long-term results. In fact, the pursuit of weight loss often worsens health conditions as weight is regained and/or other treatments and strategies are ignored. To make matters worse, weight stigma is an independent risk factor for health problems."
This week, take some time to make a list of your health-related goals. What do you want to be able to do with your body that you can't do right now? Or, what do you want to continue to be able to do? How do you want your body to feel on a consistent basis? What are some of the things that you know help your body feel that way? If weight loss or a "need" to be at a lower weight crops up, take note of that too. It is so hard to let weight-centric health go after a lifetime of being inundated with that expectation. Just take note of the variety of goals and behaviors you want for your body that either have nothing to do with weight or much less to do with weight than you think.
If you have questions about your list or any of the Body Kindness Activities provided in UNLEASHED, please bring them to our weekly coaching call and get them answered!
is an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer; an ACE-Certified Group Fitness Instructor; a certified Yoga Teacher; a Certified Intuitive Eating Professional; and a degree-holding Health, Fitness Specialist. She lives in Frankfort, Michigan and owns Every. Body. Fitness and Yoga Studio.