THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FOOD AND BODY
The misleading nature of weight loss culture is a perpetuated theme in society. We live in a world that obsessively celebrates fitness and health through a very narrow lens—one that actually dismisses many of the real components of wellness.
Faulty ideas around weight loss, like ones that subscribe solely to repetition and intense regimens, have been amplified in society through an industry that relies on the failure of customers to make money and expand.
For most people, popular restrictive diets are not effective in the long-term, and they often tend to only focus on certain aspects of our bodies and well-being while neglecting others. Modern science has informed us that, of course, our bodies and brains are not mutually exclusive of each other; the two are entirely interconnected.
There is no “physical self” and “emotional/psychological self.” To approach overall health through this limited understanding of our bodies is a gross oversimplification.
Most mainstream diets put people on a regimen of deprivation and restriction. For some, this may work for a few weeks. When it comes down to it, these steadfast weight loss plans typically do not result in a positive outcome. They simply do not work.
However, the biggest impact that this form of dieting can have on us is actually how the failure makes us feel. This can be the most dangerous result of a faulty diet. We internalize the ineffectiveness of the diet as some kind of symbol that we, ourselves, are inadequate.
Popular diets are designed to feel like punishments, to feel like they are testing our grit and willpower. This is part of what makes them so toxic. Weight loss is the only industry where we do not blame the product, we blame ourselves.
Rather than denouncing the diet itself, we reinforce a negative belief that we are not capable of making meaningful change as individuals, that we simply are not good enough.
Most typical diet plans tend to solely focus on what to eat and how much to eat, but this is only one small component of what we should think about if we want to actually improve our health.
For example, stress plays a huge role in our behaviors and the way we interact with food—as do sleep schedules, anxiety and depression, the influences of interpersonal relationships, our level of physical activity, exposure to sunlight, etc. The list goes on and on.
Our individual relationship with food is deeply complex, and it is ever-evolving. We cannot view weight loss as an isolated factor of health and wellness.
As many of us have most likely come to learn, there is no single “fix it” recipe or overarching algorithm to getting healthy and feeling fit. The method of tackling a new habit head-on contradicts the way our brains really work and ultimately leads to a sense of discouragement and hopelessness.
The truth to new habit formation falls outside of what we have been told about repetition. Habit formation is linked to our emotions, and it creates a feeling of success when we wire in a new habit. When you do something and feel successful, that behavior becomes more automatic and incentivized.
Feeling good can really be the key to forming healthy habits that are long-term. Genuine behavior change is rooted in identity change.
Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin. We are all worthy of moving freely throughout the world and interacting openly with life without feeling physically constrained by a negative relationship with food and our bodies.