Are you one of the many people who sees exercise as punishment?
If so, you are not alone and it is the result of us valuing what it says on the scales above our health.
Thankfully things are slowly starting to change around the way we talk about health, but for many years the very loud and powerful multi-million dollar diet industry has told you that the only way to be healthy is to lose weight, and it can be hard to shut that voice out.
Let’s make it very clear, in no uncertain terms your weight is simply a number and its effectiveness in determining your health is no more an indicator than the colour of your skin – as some ethnicities are more likely to suffer from some medical conditions than others.
So let’s think about why we put so much emphasis and thought power into being thin rather than being healthy.
We use food so often to determine our worth, we use it to abuse ourselves, reward ourselves and let it control what we can and can’t do. You eat a salad, you are good people. You eat a hamburger, you are a bad bad person. Sound familiar? Here’s the scary thing, the diet industry is the only product that when we buy it and it doesn’t work we blame ourselves. When you hear yourself saying the words ‘I didn’t have enough willpower’, ‘I cheated’, ‘I’m not strong enough’, or ‘I’m not good enough’, that is the diet industry winning, because no doubt you will be back to try another unsustainable product in a few months time and the cycle begins again. Even worse a diet product that worked quickly to help you lose weight, but then you gain more weight back, we tend to glorify (soup diet anyone).
How often do you hear of someone who lost 20kg on weight watchers 5 years ago and kept it off for a year but today they are 5kg heavier than when they frist started? However they insist it was a great diet and they ‘need to get back on it’. Once again they think that they are the problem, they are fat, lazy, or unmotivated. You have to understand that they aren’t the failure, the diet culture is!
Don’t get me wrong, eating well is a factor in your health, but this can simply be achieved by eating a wide variety of foods, including lean meats and nutrient rich carbohydrates and sugars. Depriving foods is more likely to cause disordered eating than health gains.
We are in a total shame cycle of binging and depriving ourselves rather than food being just a part of our overall health and well being. What we need to look at for overall wellbeing is combating loneliness with connectivity, and getting outside to move our bodies, this is how we truly put health first.
We need to look at food for what it is, nutritional different but moraly the same! We need to stop the deprivation/binge mentality and start living more consciously and find things that give us meaning, celebrate who we are and learn to fall in love with every inch of ourselves again – OH that is hard!
So join me with the following mantra moving forward, which is simply to choose health over scales.
To do this we need to:
- Eat intuitively
- Celebrate what our bodies can do
- Not punish our bodies for what we have eaten
- Take morals away from food
- No more guilt and shame
- Connect with others who also want to spend time outside doing positive movement
- Make and keep meaningful relationships
- Be positive
- Set and accomplish goals, such as a bike hike.
Are you ready to do your part in changing diet culture and choose health over scales?