With warmer temperatures and swimsuit season on the horizon, chances are you have felt triggered to engage in behaviors to try to make yourself smaller. This, my friends, is my attempt to combat some of those negative feelings! 😎👍🏻
This is true for everyone, but especially women. If you are a woman in western society, chances are you struggle with body image and/ or fear of being fat.
Our society floods us with unrealistic expectations of what our bodies “should” look like. It starts from a VERY early age, and it is so ingrained into us, most of us don’t even realize how much time and energy we spend trying to be “good enough.”
Despite what our society tells you, there are a bunch of things you can be that are WAY worse than being fat. And they are all the direct result of dieting.
For the purpose of this conversation, dieting is any behavior that you engage in for the purpose of weight loss or “maintaining” thinness. Specifically those that tell you what, how much, when or what kind of foods to eat.
I am doing this countdown style!
I am targeting this more toward people who have already moved away from dieting, but are feeling some tension around the appearance of their bodies. Warmer weather and lighter clothing can be triggering for a lot of people, and I hope this helps!
I 100% know that not everybody agrees with me on this. I want to acknowledge that everyone has free will and complete autonomy over his or her own body. If you choose to diet, that is YOUR choice and your business. I would never presume to tell you what to do with your own body.
I mean no judgement by sharing this list, and I definitely don’t want to insult anyone. Just read it and see if any part of it resonates. Take whatever you need from it.
My intentions for creating this list are
- Pure love and concern 💖
- To help *especially* women learn to be kind to ourselves
- To help you think about things in a different way 🤔
- To help a few of you break free from a prison that you may not even know you were in💃🏼
- Most of all I hope you will WAKE UP to YOUR LIFE. 💖
10 Things That Are Worse Than Being Fat
10. Feeling constant anxiety over food/ calories/ points and weight
How much of your time do you spend worrying about what you will eat, how you look or what you weigh? Be brutally honest with yourself.
When I was in diet mentality, I had a false belief that when I finally achieved my thin body, then I wouldn’t have to worry so much or put so much time into food, exercise and weight concerns.
Basically I believed that rainbows would pop out of the sky, and my life would magically be easy. And that everything else would fall into place. Boy is that a lie! But this type of thinking is reinforced over and over.
It is almost never about the weight itself. It is about what being thin means to us individually. Examples: thin translates to earning love, social currency, power, control over life, etc.
Spending significant amounts of time and energy trying to shape your body with dieting is a worthless pursuit.
9. Having a mind that is at war with your body.
When you try to override your mind with your body, it puts you at war with yourself. And you literally cannot win. You may feel conflicted and anxious, and you may not understand why.
The truth is that ALL parts of you are designed to work together in peace and harmony: mind, body and spirit. When one part of you gets on a power trip and tried to boss the other parts of you around, it is damaging to your well-being. No bueno.
8. Becoming self-absorbed and having a life completely void of service to others
This is so sad, and I am 100% guilty of being too focused on myself at times. I think everybody is guilty of this on some level. So again, no judgment.
But y’all! If you have the luxury of worrying about your weight or your food AT ALL, here is a newsflash: You are privileged.
There are MANY parts of the world that literally may not have enough of food to eat. Your life is their fantasy. Literally. So next time you get all tied up in knots about what to order at a restaurant, remember that.
And also remember that there are a lot of people that need help. They need love, support and tons of other things.
Open your eyes, and be a light to somebody. It doesn’t have to be huge. But if you are hyper-focused on yourself, your weight, your appearance…you will miss those opportunities to be of service to others.
7. When the diet betrays you – raises you weight set point, slows your metabolism, makes you MORE insulin resistant
Yep. This is a cruel, cruel reality. One that is both ironic and devastating. And there is plenty of research to back it up. (<- That is just one small example. There is much more.)
Our biology doesn’t value thinness as a virtue. It values keeping us alive!
There is a statistic that around 95% of dieters will regain the weight they lost (usually, plus some more) within three to five years.
6. Heightening food and body image issues in others (kids, friends, loved ones)
The birth of my daughter is one of the catalysts that snapped me out of diet mentality.
I never want her to suffer for the sake of a “look.”
And women are SO prone to this in Western society. Right around the time my daughter was born, I heard the statistic that a woman’s self esteem peaks at age NINE. This was both heartbreaking and devastating for me to hear, and as a society I believe we have a responsibility to change that.
The truth is that when we continue to participate in diet culture, it affects everyone else. Our attitudes and actions affect those around us.
5. Social isolation because you can’t handle the “food situation” at restaurants, social engagements, vacations and life celebrations
This one hits hard. I am sure it resonates with a lot of you. Dear ones – don’t miss out on your life!
Birthday celebrations, vacations, holidays and family events are the stuff life is made of.
Enjoy yourself, and don’t avoid these events for the sake of weight management.
It is not worth it (re-read number 7 if you doubt this!).
Even if you go to these events, often times you are not fully present because you are in your head adding up numbers, or stressing out about what you are eating.
4. Silencing your intuition
This was a huge one for me. Once I started listening to my body, my intuition came pouring out. That is very common, I am learning. Because feelings, emotions and intuitive information are experienced in the physical body.
When you are dieting, the mind devalues any information it receives from the body. This is damaging, and you are losing out on a BIG part of what is means to be a human being.
Honoring your own core values and intuition is the ultimate form of self-love and self-care.
Also, I have heard countless people tell me that they cannot stop eating. That their “full button” is broken.
Relying on trackers, programs and meal plans to feed yourself is the very thing that broke that full button, y’all. You are not broken. Your natural instincts around food can be healed with work and time.
3. Giving away your power
Stand in your power, my friends. The world will tell you every single day that you are not good enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not organized, not “together” enough. And these messages are thrown at us relentlessly, usually for the purposes of getting us to BUY something. 😒🙄
The only power to feel confident, at peace and at home with yourself is right inside of you. You will never get that from weight loss, beauty products or any material or external thing.
Cultivate resilience and inner confidence. It does take practice, and I can share more on that if y’all are interested. But! Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you are not enough.
2. Not pursuing your life’s purpose
Imagine that you are on your death bed at this very moment. Your time is up! What are your regrets? What do you wish you had done that you have not done yet? What would you want to be, do and experience?
I believe with all my heart that every single one of us was sent to earth for a specific purpose. If you are too distracted with body-shaping, you may miss your purpose!
Most of you reading this are women, and let me tell you a few things that are NOT your life’s purpose: looking pretty, being thin, and making yourself small (literally and figuratively). Your life purpose is not to martyr yourself for your kids or your family.
You have some very specific and profound gifts and talents. And the world needs your gifts!
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that you cannot stay home with your kids, if that is what your heart desires. The intention behind your action is what matters. And our life’s purpose is not always tied to a career.
What I AM saying is this: Do not cast yourself aside or put yourself on a shelf for anything or anyone else.
1. Hating yourself
This is the single worst thing that dieting causes, in my opinion: self-hatred. Hating yourself is toxic. It is literally like poisoning yourself. And there is some evidence that it can literally cause diseases and physical ailments.
You need to practice self-love. And I think that term is grossly misunderstood by a lot of people. If self-love feels too woo woo for you, try thinking of it as self-respect, self-kindness, self-compassion and honoring yourself. You deserve to eat when you are hungry and rest when you are tired.
I have tons more to say about this, and perhaps I will get into self-love more in a future post.
Just know this: You will model for others how to treat you, based on how you treat yourself. And how you see yourself, how you value yourself, and what you say to yourself is infinitely more important that your appearance, your weight or what you food you put into your mouth.
I want to be clear. I am not saying that you “should” give up on your health. Being healthy will make us feel better, move more freely, etc. And Lord knows I still have work to do there! I am far from perfect.
But even if you choose no to pursue health at all, you are still valuable and worthy. Yes, it is true. Every person is valuable and has unlimited potential.
I have come to realize for myself that a certain number of pounds on a scale is NOT a worthy goal. I believe that we are much better served by pursuing things like getting enough sleep, managing stress, finding more autonomy/ freedom in life, eating fresh vegetables, playing outside with kids, making meaningful connections with people, serving others and designing a life that is truly worth living.
Whether you agree with me or not…Do not miss your life! I am sending so much love and compassion to those of you struggling. 💖
Join my private Facebook group where I help women make peace with food, the mirror and the scale at any size. We talk about Intuitive Eating and stopping dieting and releasing all the noise relentlessly pushed on us by society. Here is the link, if you want to join. It is a closed group (other FB friends won’t see your posts, only group members), and it is free. I would LOVE to see you in there.
Lisa Sanphillippo says
I couldn’t finish this article because every other paragraph had a Noom advertisement. I thought someone was playing a joke on me.
Marjorie @APinchOfHealthy says
Ugh!😫🥴 Thanks for letting me know. I put in a request with my ad management company to remove all weight loss related ads.👍🏻
This really resonated with me
Oops, sent it without finishing! This really resonated with me and gave me a whole other perspective on things. Especially the part about being so privileged with food while others go without. I’ve never been one to count calories (too lazy, I guess) but I love food and I love to eat and that comes with a lot of guilt for me. I’drather eat yummy carbs and sweets than look perfect in a bikini but in this world that’s just not ok. Thanks for writing such a positive, happy article, I’ll definitely keep these things in mind when the guilt rolls in 😉
Marjorie @APinchOfHealthy says
I am so glad it resonated with you!💖 Girl, drop the guilt and enjoy yourself. Hugs!🤗 I know it is easier said than done. On that note, I do have a FB group where I talk about Intuitive Eating and stopping dieting and releasing all the noise relentlessly pushed on us by society. Seeing your comment reminds me that I need to add it to this post. Here is the link, if you want to join. It is a closed group (other FB friends won’t see your posts, only group members), and it is free, just FYI. https://www.facebook.com/groups/291374087990114/
Needs saying. AMEN!!
I’m 65 and can vouch for the wisdom of your post.
Thank you Heidi! 💖
Amy @ The Quiet Homemaker says
So wonderfully written and so very true! I think we all struggle with self image at some point in our lives and we need to remember that our worth ONLY comes from our Father in heaven. He is the only one who can fill that void of imperfection that we feel. Thank you so much for the reminder that each of us is valuable, just the way we are!
Thank Amy! So true! And we have to be willing to recognize and accept that value from our creator, and become resilient to all the other BS thrown at us from society, media, whoever.
Melissa A Smith-Smith says
Thank you for this! I sit here crying this morning because of what 3 weeks in ketosis did to my hormones and what it is still doing. I needed your words this morning!
Sending lots of love and hugs to you Melissa. 💖😘 I am glad it helped in some way.
Amy @ The Quiet Homemaker says
Awe, I am so sorry for all that you are going through. I hope that you feel better very soon! Praying for you and yours!
Thanks Amy. 💖 I am actually feeling pretty empowered these days. 💪🏻