Hello, my name is Dr. Lisa folden. I am a weight inclusive, licensed physical therapist, as well as an anti diet, health wellness and body image coach in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Today, I would like to talk to you about five ways to begin breaking up with toxic diet culture. I know most of us know what diet culture is nowadays, it is this pervasive obsession within this that promotes body size over actual health and wellness, mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, all of those things.
So how we begin to break up with that toxicity in our lives can be very nuanced and confusing if you are new to the idea of walking away from diet culture.
So the first tip I have for you is number one to break up or end your relationship with your scale. Now for some of you, that might look like throwing the whole thing out, and that’s fine. But for others, that might just mean not weighing yourself as often. Maybe if you’re doing it every day, you drop down to once a week, once a month, every quarter, whatever feels good to you.
The whole point is that if the scale is influencing your mood and making you feel a certain way about yourself, it’s probably not a good thing to do on a regular daily basis, if you can look at that information as just data, totally fine.
Alright, so tip number one, end your relationship with your scale.
Tip number two is to stop dieting obviously, and replace diets with intuitive eating.
Learn what Intuitive Eating is. I highly recommend the intuitive eating book by Evelyn Tribole and Elise Resch. It will help you understand what it means to listen to your body signals for hunger and fullness, and to find other ways to cope with your emotions, as well as joyful movement, which we’ll talk about in a second.
But replace dieting with intuitive eating so that you can get rid of all of the restrictions and all of the external forces governing your food intake, how much and when and things like that.
Alright, so tip number two, stop dieting and replace diets with intuitive eating.
Tip number three is to stop doing workouts that you do not like, workouts that you find degrading, workouts that make you feel worse about yourself. And instead replace exercising and workout programs with joyful movement.
How do we do that? We have to figure out what you actually enjoy. So this process may take some effort and trying new things regularly to see what actually feels good to you. If you know, activities that you enjoy doing that just happen to require movement. Start there! See how you can change the intensity and or the frequency and make it more of a workout.
But find things that you like doing. It could be gardening, it could be housework, it could be skating, it could be playing a sport, anything that you can come up with, that you actually enjoy doing.
And if you enjoy being in the gym, great, that can continue to be your form of exercise. If you enjoy classes, that can be your form of exercise, if it’s dancing, if it’s kickboxing, if it’s you know, some sort of cardio activity, anything that you find enjoyment and fulfillment from, that’s what I want you to replace your current workout routine with.
Okay, so tip number three is to replace degrading workouts that you hate with joyful movement.
Tip number four, is to switch up what you see. Our world is so focused on diet culture, and we are so inclined to believe that people in large bodies are unhealthy, unfit and unhappy. And it’s really just not the truth.
So start with social media, begin curating a social media feed that shows you people in medium mid size, large and even larger bodies doing exciting and exceptional things like running, like lifting weights, like dancing, like teaching, being instructors. Those are important images to see so that your brain starts to unlearn this connection between weight and health.
Because the reality is you can be healthy at any size across the spectrum. Individually, there may be things that you can do in a large body that someone in a thin body cannot do and vice versa. And we need to start embracing that and erasing this connection between weight and higher weights equalling poor health.
All right, so tip number four is to switch up what you see and curate a social media feed and eventually a real live feed that shows people in different size bodies doing dynamic, wonderful, exciting things.
Alright, the last tip, and this is my favorite one, be kind and gracious and compassionate to yourself. Because unlearning diet culture is hard. We are bombarded with it day in and day out. And so you need to give yourself some grace.
There are going to be times where you’re just not really filling your body. There are going to be times that you want to revert back to dieting. There are going to be times that you obsess over the scale and it’s okay because you are a human and you are allowed to figure this thing out as you go.
No progression that we make is linear we will have dips and and highs and lows, ups and downs and that’s okay. So be compassionate and gracious and kind with yourself.
Because remember health and wellness is not just about our bodies. It is about our mental health, our emotional health, our spiritual health, our financial health, our environmental health. There’s so many components to our health. And you have to remember that you can’t neglect one to solely focus on another. We can’t do all these great, amazing physical things and not manage our mental health and manage our stress and take good care of ourselves in other ways. At the end of the day, we are more than bodies.
So tip number five is to be kind and gracious to yourself as you seek to improve your health and wellness across the spectrum, not just in your body.
I hope this helps!
Dr. Lisa N. Folden is a licensed physical therapist and mom-focused lifestyle coach. As a movement expert and women’s health advocate, Dr. Lisa works to help busy moms find their ‘healthy.’ The owner of Healthy Phit Physical Therapy & Wellness Consultants in Charlotte, NC, Dr. Folden works with clients recovering from orthopedic and neurological injuries. Additionally, she assists busy moms seeking a healthier lifestyle by guiding their food, exercise and wellness choices through optimal organization, planning strategies and holistic goal setting.
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